Name: Jason Reminick, M.D., MBA, MS
Employer: CEO and cofounder, Thalamus
Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania
Postgraduate: University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine & Dentistry, Simon Graduate School of Business Administration (MBA)
Internship/Residency: Combined Pediatrics and Anesthesiology Residency Program, Stanford University Medical Center; Stanford Children’s Health-Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
Reminick developed the idea for Thalamus after getting stuck in New York City during Hurricane Sandy. After several of his residency interviews got cancelled, he returned to his medical school and brainstormed with his mentor, now Thalamus cofounder, Suzanne Karan, M.D. Thalamus is the premiere cloud-based interview management platform designed specifically for application to graduate medical education training programs. The software was established by a grassroots collaboration of medical students, residents, fellows, program administrators and GME leadership to provide comprehensive online interview reservation and travel experience via a real-time scheduling system. Thalamus assists over 25,000 applicants and schedules more than 50,000 interviews at over 100 institutions nationally for all medical specialties.
What do you enjoy most about your role? To be clear, I’m not an engineer or coder, but lead our app and product development. What I most enjoy is the fact that we experienced a problem firsthand and then, along with my cofounder, built the solution into our product to best manage and streamline the residency and fellowship interview scheduling process.
It went from an idea to a successful app solving problems for both medical students and administrators. We’re really proud of that, and hopefully it’s making the process easier for all involved.
What’s the most challenging part? I enjoy this a great deal, but remain frustrated by the amount of anxiety that exists on both sides of the interview scheduling process. We are trying to figure out ways to allay that because applicants are applying to more programs than needed, further increasing their application costs. Similarly, programs continue to over recruit the amount of applicants, inviting more applicants than they have available interview positions. All are trying to protect themselves, and yet it’s adding even more anxiety and noise to the process. We are continuing to explore analytic solutions to allay these concerns.
What’s your advice to other physicians with an idea? I think the most important thing is to keep an open mind and be creative. Continue to learn by reading blogs and online publications. Also, connect with people and network.
There’s no unique formula, but seek out physicians in entrepreneurship, be that through Google or other search. It is a matter of networking with them. People are usually pretty forthcoming.
I believe it is important for physicians to be involved with innovation because we have firsthand and front-line knowledge of health care processes and can implement our experience to innovate health care, improve patient care, and benefit the medical profession as a whole.
Medicine is very structured in a lot of ways and often establishes a set path with limited flexibility. If you want to be an internist, an anesthesiologist, a surgeon or otherwise, you have a very set and distinct training path. Conversely, entrepreneurship is in many ways the opposite. It allows you to be creative and often face great uncertainty. It’s a different type of expertise, which at times can be challenging to fit into the paternalistic structure of medicine. It’s a matter of finding your passion and seeing it through. Surround yourself with the people who can help you get there.