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Snapshot: Cynergy

Name: Christopher Mahoney
Title: Director, Healthcare Strategy
Company: Cynergy
Location: Houston, San Diego, Seattle, Grand Rapids, Rochester, Baltimore, Tempe, Washington D.C.
Social Media: @cynergy_systems
Year Founded: 1997
Number of Employees: ~180
Description: Cynergy is the experience agency. We create powerful digital experiences through a combination of strategy, design, development, and delivery all through a single, integrated team. At Cynergy we’re focused on building the right experience, for the right person, on the right device.

What does it mean to be an innovation partner to the life science industry?

Our clients hire us because we are experts in ideating, creating and building incredible digital experiences, in software and user interfaces. Because Cynergy has solved a number of tough problems in industries, like financial services, energy, and retail, we bring a comprehensive perspective to health care and life sciences. By asking experienced questions to challenge the status quo, we help drive innovation for our clients and partners.

Why do companies need innovation partners?

Innovation is hard and can be hard to do well without the right resources and expertise. Companies often need to work with innovation partners who have differentiated and integrated capabilities that cannot be captured in-house. Because everyday we are focused on technology and creating great digital experiences, we can help our companies see further and go beyond “what is” to “what could be” to create market-changing solutions and products.

How do you work with life science companies?

Today, we are surrounded by technology that is helping us live better lives. We see the promise at the intersection of health and technology. As a company, we are focused on building and delivering great experiences that leverage technology in novel ways to solve real-world business problems and challenges. In health care, we believe that applying our knowledge in user experience, motivational design, and software development can help solve some major problems in health care to ultimately deliver better care for patients.

What are the factors for success in your industry?

The factors for success in our industry are people, process and passion.

People: Cynergy has an integrated team of people, strategists, visual designer and experience developers, focused to meet our clients’ needs. Having all of these skillsets on one team, focused on the problem from day one is the only way to succeed at delivering an incredible digital experience. Often times, strategy, design and development are engaged separately or outsourced, which ultimately delivers a less impactful product.

Processes: We have a set of proven processes and methods to deliver on great digital experiences. We first make sure we are solving the right problem. Then through the lens of technology and with great design-build experience, we focus on solving that problem in an engaging way for the user.

Passion: Cynergy’s people are passionate about the problems they are solving and are consistently innovating in their field. They are passionate about how technology can improve they way people engage with the world around them.

Why California?

For us, we found incredible talent in San Diego. We are looking for people who are not only great at what they do (strategy, design or development), but also passionate about technology. Our philosophy has always been to find the best talent and create an environment to nurture those people to doing the best work of their lives.

What is mHealth?

mHealth has and will continue to change the way we will engage with our health and health care. More practically speaking, mHealth is the use of sensors and mobile devices, like iPhones and tablets, to enable the delivery of health. By working to better connect people to their health, mHealth seeks to improve the delivery and outcomes of health care.

What impact will mHealth have on the life science industry in the next five years?

In the next five years, we expect patients, providers and payers are going to be actively leveraging technologies, like mHealth, to better deliver and receive care. If companies are not considering how mobile could potentially impact or disrupt their markets, they are in for some surprises. Our biggest point to companies, is to not focus on needing an iPad or iPhone app but to think about why and how will mobile disrupt my business and what are we as a company going to do about it.

What impact will mHealth have on patients in the next five years?

I think the greatest impact that mHealth will have, will be with behavior modification or facilitation. For most Americans, they leave the house with at least three things: keys, wallet, phone. Of these three things, the mobile phone has become an essential part of how people navigate their day.

Given that importance, I certainly see patients will be in the driver seat as to how they want to use their phones to receive health care. How patients want to receive care and how providers want to give it must continue to evolve. Cost, quality and convenience will all be significantly impacted by mHealth, and the innovation it will spur in how health care is given, received and paid.

What are the hurdles?

The barriers today have nothing to do with technology. The barriers that exist today are going to soon be artifacts of how our system is set up today. The health care industry as a whole is pretty resistant to change to begin with, and that is going to be a big hurdle.
I think of examples that have the potential to stifle innovation, like:

  • FDA guidance has been somewhat vague and hard to find clarity in what will and will not be regulated.
  • Health data is hard to collect and or access, in part because it is collected in silos, due in large part to security concerns, that still exist today but can now be better mitigated.

What could be changed to improve the success of mHealth?

How data is shared and exchanged is going to be a huge step in creating opportunities here. The more health care as a whole starts to adopt things like “the cloud” the better the opportunities will be for progress and innovation. I am very hopeful that health reform will be a catalyst here as well. How we pay for health care is likely to change, and how that change happens and what any new payment paradigm looks like will impact mHealth.

Why California for mHealth?

California is the seat of technology and innovation in this country. What better place could there be to find incredible talent and access to the best thinking on technology and how technology can and will impact our health and well-being.

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