Name: Paul Mercante
Title: President and Co-Founder
What is your affiliation with the HHS/IBM Innovation Exchange?
I am President and Co-Founder of GeneBlueprint, a biotechnology start-up. We provide personalized fitness and nutrition solutions, utilizing genetic information to help clients achieve their health and wellness goals faster, more cost effectively, and with longer lasting results.
GeneBlueprint is part of the inaugural class of the Innovation Exchange. Together, we’re addressing challenges that impact patient experience and health outcomes using cloud-enabling technology.
What’s the biggest challenge in healthcare that you’d like to tackle?
I believe today more than ever people are taking control over their own health and wellness by collecting and analyzing their health data. This hypothesis is supported by the massive growth in the wearable device industry. Keeping individuals from entering the healthcare system by empowering them with personalized information will serve as motivation for them to make better lifestyle choices.
With this renaissance of the “empowered patient” through data-driven decision making, we hope to help people to improve their health, and ultimately require less support from our hospital system.
What is the most rewarding part of the work that you do?
Being a part of the paradigm shift in how we approach optimal health and wellness is very rewarding to me. Most health and wellness professionals continue to practice traditional trial-and-error regimes. An individual presents with symptoms, and a “most likely” recommendation is made. In contrast, our personalized health and wellness programs use a much more refined approach, taking into account the client’s particular biology, genetics and environmental influences. We’re proud to be on the leading edge of this shift.
Where do you look for inspiration to help fuel your ideas and energy at work?
Sometimes we can draw inspiration from our biggest failures. Setbacks can set the stage for our grandest successes. As a business, we struggled from an identity crisis early on. We thought having the most predictive gene scores was our competitive advantage in the world of consumer genetics. Experience taught us that we needed to redirect our focus.
We regrouped and focused on our patented gene prediction scores to personalize fitness and nutrition regimes for our clients. This has helped us better support our clients and grow as an innovative health and wellness company.
What’s the one thing you think that great innovators do differently?
Great innovators are problem finders and solution collaborators. At the heart of innovation lies a question not an answer. Innovation does not happen in isolation. When ideas are shared amongst many, new and better ideas develop.