By creating meaning and scope, founders must ensure that their life’s work is not being misused to cause harm.
5 min read
This article has been translated from our English edition.
The opinions of the employees of You are personal.
- Become a B Corporation to balance purpose with profit.
- Make founder board seats irrevocable to ensure founders are part of the company, whether they are still operators or not.
- Set deadlines for independent board positions to eliminate bad actors and directors who are inconsistent with the company’s core values.
Earlier this year, I came across news that caught my eye immediately: Practice Fusion, a company I founded in 2005 and left in 2015, had come to terms with the Justice Department for suddenly partnering with an opioid company and encouraging doctors to do so the platform to prescribe opioids to patients. I was horrified.
As someone with friends and family who have fallen victim to the opioid crisis, seeing my life’s work corrupted in this way has been particularly devastating. How should I and other founders prevent something like this from happening again?
Originally he founded Practice Fusion, the cloud-based electronic health record platform with the true mission of “connecting doctors, patients and data to improve health and save lives”.
During my tenure, our team worked tirelessly to use data to drive better health outcomes and ultimately save lives. The platform enabled hundreds of millions of patient visits and could be used free of charge by both doctors and patients. As a result, our innovative functionality has helped make millions of patients safer. We completed our mission to make the world a healthier place.
So there was a radical change. After my departure in 2015, my successors appear to have taken on a new mission – they allowed the aforementioned pharmaceutical association to take root – and for that I suggest they see the full retribution of our judicial system.
Of course, my successors are not the only ones to fall victim to the appeal of money to human life. Specifically, we can look for pharmaceutical companies that are increasing the cost of life-saving therapy or a variety of companies that use slave labor to make their products. We could even involve your social network in starting the genocide and threatening democracy as we know it. And in the case of Practice Fusion, doctors are told 230 million times to prescribe opioids. But what can you do now to prevent something similar from happening in your company?
Image: Austin Distel via Unsplash
Although founders cannot explicitly control what happens after an exit, this traumatic experience led me to create a preventive framework for founders, especially those in healthcare and biotechnology.
In my opinion, these are the practices that will help protect your company’s heritage:
When we started my current company, 100Plus, we incorporated several of these controls and raised capital from social impact funds like Kairos K50, which invest in founders to make life better and more affordable for everyone.
All of the above elements need to be considered for founders in building and building ethical and long-lasting businesses. Most founders believe they will stay with their companies until they retire, but the truth is that more than half leave within 18 months of raising institutional capital. Therefore, it is important for modern founders to think about the definition of the basic principles and values of your company at an early stage.
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Full Disclosure: I was never contacted by the DOJ or any other agency regarding the practice merger investigation. As CEO, I also did not take part in any conversation with an opioid manufacturer. The association referred to occurred in 2016 after my departure, as described in the official DOJ report (p. 18).
In this article by former Practice Fusion Director of Business Development Dan O’Neil, learn about the clinical decision support function, its original intent, and how it was used to identify elderly people in need of vaccinations.