An Epitome of a Career in Business: #WCW Dr. Iman Abuzeid, Founder and CEO of Incredible Health

Sharvari Johari
Oct 23, 2019 · 6 min read

Welcome to All Raise’s Women Crush Weekly (#WCW), a series where we highlight genius women who are funding or founding tech companies. Please come back to the All Raise Medium blog weekly to find a new profile of an awe-inspiring female VC or founder. We’re focusing on HealthTech and our crush this week is Dr. Iman Abuzeid, Founder and CEO of Incredible Health.

By starting her own company, Dr. Iman Abuzeid believes she is living the epitome of what she can do building a career in business. Iman envisioned solving the severe problem in our health system: staffing shortages.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects we’ll need an additional 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026 to both fill newly created positions and to replace retiring nurses.

Understaffing is a detriment to patient outcomes. A study by the Journal of Nursing Administration found that infection risk was 15 percent higher for patients treated on understaffed units during both the day and night shift. Despite drastic staff shortages, it takes qualified nurses over three months to secure new positions.

Both Iman and her co-founder grew up in medical families — one hails from a family of doctors, the other, nurses. The problem of staff shortages were regular dining table topics. After becoming a doctor with the aim to help patients, Iman realized her interests were beyond the one-on-one patient-doctor experience. Instead, her passion lay in the larger issue of solving systemic problems that impact the healthcare industry.

Iman sought to solve the problem of understaffing by founding Incredible Health, a career marketplace for healthcare workers, beginning with nurses. By founding her own company, Iman is able to make decisions that positively effect change in the healthcare industry, affecting how hospitals are run, ensuring they have proper, experienced personnel. Given the healthcare industry is the biggest labor industry in the country at $3.3T annual spend — and touches all of us — the scope of her impact is huge.

I talked to Iman about how she knew she should start a company that will help solve the problem of understaffing:

What is Incredible Health?

Incredible Health is the fastest-growing hiring platform for healthcare in the country. We are a marketplace with hospitals and health systems on one side and nurses on the other. Several aspects of our solution make us different. Firstly, employers apply to nurses instead of the other way around. We’re able to do that because there’s such a significant shortage of qualified workers. The second piece is that we’ve largely automated talent screening. We’re able to deliver to hospitals high-quality staff at high rates. We have also been able to automate the custom matching between hospitals and nurses, providing matches that are the right fit for both.

What is the benefit for hospitals?

We have increased hiring efficiency by 25X and increased speed by 3X. We have enabled hospitals and health systems to meet their goals, which are to deliver high-quality care, which an organization cannot do if it is understaffed. We have also enabled hospitals to reduce costs significantly, saving on overtime spend and reducing the need for contract workers, individuals who usually cost twice as much as permanent employees. When hospitals are understaffed, they are more likely to have medication errors, readmissions and patient deaths. When a hospital is adequately staffed and not running its team ragged — leading to burnout — it’s better able to deliver quality care.

What is the benefit for nurses to get on the platform?

We are a platform where nurses are hired in permanent roles in less than 30 days, whereas it statistically takes them 90 days or longer. They get their job in less than 30 days. Also, on average, nurses on Incredible Health enjoy a 15 percent increase in salary and a 17 percent reduction in commute time when hired through our platform. Usually, outside Incredible Health, nurses have to apply to an average of 15 unique listings. Even more frustrating, they usually don’t hear back on their applications. If they do, it usually takes months. However, on Incredible Health, they simply create a profile, sit back, relax and let hospitals apply to them.

How did you discover this was a problem you want to solve?

I’m a medical doctor but I no longer practice. I worked in hospital operations and strategy during my time at McKinsey as well as Booz & Company. After obtaining an MBA at Wharton, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and led product at a healthcare company, AliveCor. My co-founder and I both come from families of nurses and doctors. We knew how bad understaffing was but were also hearing from the other side about nurses who were very qualified but taking months to find the right position. Hospitals are using antiquated tools — tools that require manual work and limited automation. Healthcare is the biggest labor sector in the country in terms of the number of workers — $3.3T is spent annually in healthcare, and $1.6T of that is spent on healthcare workers. Yet there’s a huge shortage of over 1 million nurses by 2024. If we as a country want to deliver high-quality care, we have to have enough workers in the necessary positions.

Iman with co-Founder Rome Portlock

You described Incredible Health as being mission-driven. What does that mean to you?

Our mission is to help healthcare professionals live better lives and find and do their best work. We’re very intentional and mission-aligned with the nurses. We believe that whoever gives them the best experience, celebrates them and appreciates them the most will be the company that wins. Entrepreneurship is hard. This is a 10-year journey that I’m on and if I’m going to dedicate 10 years of my life to something, it better be something that has a purpose.

The second piece to it is that the mission is also what attracts both employees for our team and the nurses to our platform. They are both looking for a new way of doing things and a company with a product that has a conscience. It also aligns so well with the hospitals’ mission of taking care of patients and delivering high-quality care. Moreover, it’s important in terms of hiring internal talent for our team. We’re trying to win in a highly competitive talent market in terms of software engineers, designers, marketers and more. It helps to be a mission-driven company because employees do not want to spend years of their life on something that does not have a purpose.

How did you decide that entrepreneurship was for you?

Personally, I think entrepreneurship is the epitome of what you can do with a career in business. You have an insane amount of autonomy and responsibility. The impact you can have on your clients, your team, on the world, on an entire industry is massive. There are very few other jobs in business that enable you to do that. I’m also comfortable with risk. I have a lifetime of training being an entrepreneur. Both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs, and I am an immigrant from Sudan who knows firsthand what it means to start something from scratch. Plus, I’ve been doing this for years. At this point, with all this experience, I’m in a situation where I’m quite comfortable.

Why was it important for you to get stamps on your resume?

This is a controversial topic, one which I’m happy to discuss frankly. Yes, I do have “stamps” on my resume: Wharton, McKinsey, etc. In my case specifically, having these brands mattered — when fundraising, selling, getting a job. Unfortunately, we live in a world where talent is evenly distributed but opportunity is not. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do the research on your school or company. There is a distinct advantage if you have McKinsey on your resume, or if you have Wharton on your resume or my co-founder having MIT on his resume. That is the easiest way for the deciding few to categorize you, the singular one amongst the many. It is the easiest way for them to pattern match as well, to optimize for a potential “win” and quickly move on. This is the world we live in. That said, there are thousands and thousands of ways to do entrepreneurship and having brands on your resume is definitely not a requirement.

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