When you’re a nurse in the Emergency Room you experience first-hand what happens with a patient and family members in an emergency situation. That’s what Paula Rapp repeatedly witnessed over many years. With a degree in psychology, she didn’t ultimately imagine herself as a nurse and upon graduation, got an internship at The National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing-home Reform.
It was during this internship that Paula met a dynamic nurse who became her mentor and would cause her to dramatically change the direction of her career. Getting her nursing degree from Georgetown, this new life path led Paula to a job in the ER. Continuing studies in Health Advocacy gave her the desire to be a strong advocate of patient’s rights.
Seeing how patients communicated with doctors and nurses in the ER – an idea began to germinate. So many patients come in without any idea what their health history entails. They don’t know what medications they are taking or in what dosages. Some patients would come in with a bag of empty pill bottles for the ER nurses to decipher, while others would request that their doctors, local pharmacies or family members be called to retrieve vital information.
Many were also equally confused as to their diagnosis or even the name of all their treating physicians. When time can be critical, hospital personnel may not have the time to play detective. An idea was coming into focus. Paula wanted to create an organizational health binder that would contain all of the pertinent health information needed by everyone as they age. Her nursing background gave Paula the knowledge to know what needed to be in the binder.
Why not put this information on a computer or the internet? “Most people want to be able to grab a hard copy binder and head to the ER. And an adult child of an elderly parent can have the binder and call in if they are in a different location.”
Paula says, “Sitting in triage and seeing patients overwhelmed by their own health history lead me to create my product. My most obvious target market is the older generation that generally has the more complicated health history.” Paula believes the binders serve to enhance the healthcare experience for both the provider, the patient and loved ones.
Wanting a name for her company that reflected her “eco-friendly” green focus, Paula chose Green Pear Health. A mom from one of her children’s play groups assisted with graphic design and Paula was ready to go. “Coming up with my binder format was easy, but I had no business experience.”
A three month class offered by the Women’s Business Development Center helped with her learning curve for running a business. Paula went live with her e-commerce site in November of 2010 which she manages in between raising her two boys, ages 6 and 3. Spreading the word on her product through health fairs and other venues, Paula plans to add additional logs to her line that already includes health related logs for specific diseases, advanced directives, symptom logs and nutritional tracking. Green Pear Health is here to help patients and their loved ones organize and simplify the medical part of their lives.
Take a base of knowledge and create a product around a need you see in your field.