Throughout his career, HealthMyne’s Marketing Vice President, Neal Miller has followed an unconventional path guided by an innate sense of what’s possible and a healthy respect for different points of view.
Early on, Miller leveraged a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics to not become an actuary, analyst, or pundit, but instead to spend more than five years helping a friend triple the business of his small, family-owned jewelry store. When he decided to move on from cut, color, and clarity in search of a more balanced family life, he discovered healthcare marketing. Now, with more than 20 years’ experience in that field, he’s focused on emerging possibilities in clinical decision support in oncology.
“I sold diamonds and I loved it,” says Miller. “But everyone I know has a cancer story, including me. It is incredibly fulfilling to be involved in organizations that create products that can potentially save patients’ lives.
Doing More Good
Miller joined HealthMyne from Mobius Medical Systems, where as Director of Marketing he gained experience within the radiation oncology community by marketing software designed to streamline quality assurance processes and increase positive patient outcomes. He helped build the foundation that led to the eventual purchase of the company by Varian Medical Systems. Previously, after nearly ten years in marketing roles at Standard Imaging, Inc., his focus was on products supporting radiation therapy – radiation calibration and quality assurance instruments for patient safety and effective cancer treatments.
“I was happy at Mobius, but an intriguing call with a recruiter introduced me to HealthMyne,” Miller recalls. “Researching the company, I realized Dr. Rock Mackie was involved. I had met him several times over the years and he’s incredibly well respected – a standout in the radiation treatment industry.”
Impressed with HealthMyne’s concept and team, Miller agreed to interview and met with CEO Arvind Subramanian. A 90-minute chat with Subramanian was enough to convince him that HealthMyne was where he needed to be.
“After the interview, I knew I wanted to work with Arvind and the HealthMyne team. So, I went through the rest of the interviewing process with high hopes. I was on vacation with the family when I got the call telling me I got the job.”
Since joining HealthMyne three years ago, Miller has been a key player on the company’s leadership team and was integral to the company’s rebranding. He was also involved in the recent venture capital raise.
“We were at the point where we were building awareness about problems in the market. We were right at the start and basically driving a new paradigm for the way images and imaging data were going to be used,” Miller says. “We’ve been creating a whole new market for the past two and a half years and it’s been quite a journey. It was exciting to see how investors responded when we did our Series B financing, which turned out pretty well.”
“Pretty well” is an understatement. HealthMyne raised $15 million through the Series B financing process and forged a relationship with Ascension Ventures with over $800 million under management. Ascension invests in health IT, health services, medical devices and diagnostics on behalf of thirteen of the nation’s largest non-profit health systems.
“Connecting with Ascension was key because of their contacts: the limited partners that they have in their funds are all hospital systems and they’ve been making some great introductions for us,” says Miller. “It’s been an amazing six months. We now have a truly commercial product that we know is going to make a difference. We’ve got sites up and running and I’m starting to hear our marketing messages played back to us. It’s working and momentum is building.”
Learning and Leadership
As a career marketer, Miller’s approach to driving product success has evolved as he broadened his skills. Following that early start in retail sales, he developed deep expertise as a graphic designer and small business marketer. He helped launch a new drug in his first foray into healthcare marketing, working with Bone Care International to create and market Vitamin D-based pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. That effort required quickly coming up the curve on FDA requirements, website development and corporate communications.
After leaving Bone Care International to join a cooperative of other marketers, Miller honed his graphic design chops even further, and landed Standard Imaging as a client. He later joined them as full-time Product Marketing Manager, overseeing the product life cycle for eight radiation therapy software and hardware products and acting as a liaison between engineering, design, programming, communication, product support and sales to advocate for client needs. While at Standard Imaging, he immersed himself in the study of medical physics and went back to school for an MBA, seeking “more science” to support his leadership. With subsequent moves to Mobius and ultimately to HealthMyne, Miller honed his management style.
“So much of what I did for so many years was based on gut feel,” Miller says. “When I got my MBA, I realized my gut was usually pretty right. As a manager, I don’t know everything and I’m not always right, so I’ve made sure that my team understands they are always welcome to question what we’re doing and to provide ideas for different ways to do things, and I’m always willing to listen. I’ve got a poster I had custom made on my wall that sums up my approach as a manager: ‘Be human. Find the positive. See the possibilities.’ That’s my philosophy.”
Everyone Has a Cancer Story
Miller wrote a blog recently for the HealthMyne website that explains what it is about his job that gives him the most satisfaction. “What we are doing can positively impact the lives of patients diagnosed with cancer and it is unfortunately very difficult to find someone that hasn’t been touched by that awful disease,” he writes.
The blog shares Miller’s very personal cancer story about his mom’s cancer battle, which began with breast cancer diagnosed when she volunteered to help with quality assurance on the first mammogram machine installed at the Wisconsin HMO where she worked. The image taken on that new piece of technology started her cancer journey, which lasted almost 30 years.
“30 more years we had with her because of that mammogram,” Miller writes. “One of the things we say here at HealthMyne is that every cancer patient’s story starts with an image. My mom’s cancer story started with an image, an accidental one to be precise. Her second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth stories started with images also, but none of those were accidents.”
His mom’s story is powerful motivation for Miller as he works to push HealthMyne forward.
“Yes, some days things are tough, but if we get our message out there, if we make sure that this amazing software gets into the right hands so a patient gets diagnosed earlier, so a patient gets the treatment that they’re supposed to get, maybe another family will hear good news — and not the other way around.”
The “gem” that Neal Miller markets these days is good answers. Here is his marketing message. Please pass it on:
HealthMyne’s software is designed to allow clinicians at the point of read – mostly radiologists – to easily extract quantitative data from the images they’re reading. That data is then used to drive workflows downstream at the point of care to enable better patient management decisions. HealthMyne impacts both the cost of taking care of patients and the quality of that care by reducing a lot of the variability currently fed into the system at the point of read. As a result of using HealthMyne, significantly fewer patients fall through the cracks. Instead, they get the testing and treatment that they need.