The Patient Company: Q&A with Andrew Heuerman

By Hunter Mylek

Andrew Heuerman is a 2016 GVSU Graduate who studied Clinical Exercise Science and Entrepreneurship. During his time at Grand Valley, he played on the men’s tennis team, of which for two years he was the captain.

Prior to GVSU, Andrew Heuerman grew up in Clarkston, Michigan. He is the son of two entrepreneurs; his Mother is a yoga instructor, Father is a dentist. This upbringing combined with his education at GVSU set Andrew on a course to pursue a career in new product development/innovation which he started locally at Spectrum Health, working in their Innovations department.

Andrew is an eternal optimist and grateful for every day he’s given. While he has been generally healthy his whole life, he has sustained innumerable sports-related injuries, which if you ask him, he blames mostly on himself. Ranging from Sever’s disease, Osgood slaughters, concussions, broken bones, torn ligaments and muscles, etc. While dealing with all of these injuries he learned how frustrating it can be to be kept from normal day-to-day activities or participating in what you love. But he also learned patience. When he started his career at Spectrum Health, he was drawn to help solve these types of problems, and he was astounded to find that clinical employees, IE nurses, sustain very similar injuries just from trying to do their job. This finding has ultimately led to The Patient Company’s creation; the embodiment of Andrew’s personal mission to better support those who take care of us when we need it the most.

Today, Andrew is simply a sport-obsessed technology enthusiast who is trying to make his corner of the world better. While he lives in Scottsdale, Arizona he spends a LOT of time in Michigan with family and friends.”

Q: How did your time at GVSU shape who you are today?

A: “In my time at GVSU, I met my wife. I made incredible lifelong friendships; many with people who I played tennis with while I was there. I worked hard at what I thought I wanted to do until I failed, pretty dramatically. Then I learned, and while some were from textbooks, more importantly, I learned what I wanted to do and how I may be able to do it, both personally and professionally.”

Q: What is The Patient Company?

A: “The Patient Company is a group of people who are dedicated to improving the lives of the people who care for our patients and patients themselves through technology development.”

Q: How did you come up with SimPull?

A: “I personally did not come up with SimPull, the idea was actually originally from a Spectrum Health employee who directly oversaw several of his employees getting injured on the job. While I was working for the Spectrum Health Innovations department he brought this problem forward and it was our job to support him by developing a new solution. Through hundreds, if not thousands of hours of working directly with clinicians and engineers we came up with SimPull.”

Q: What does The Patient Company have planned for the future?

A: “While we’re focused on SimPull today, our focus is to continue to develop outstanding technology that improves the lives of clinicians and patients. This work takes shape in many forms, whether it’s projects, products, research, or general support, but we aim to be a leader in technology development.”

Q: What are some hurdles you had to overcome during your entrepreneurial journey?

A: “I left my job to start The Patient Company in December of 2020… 3 months later I nearly closed the company. During COVID we were essentially shut out of the hospitals who we were developing this product for. However, it was these same stakeholders that shared how helpful the technology we were developing would be if it was available at that time which pushed me to keep going. While objectively this was the biggest hurdle, there are big and small hurdles every single day. These add up and require extreme resilience to take on day in and day out.”

Q: What advice do you have for our aspiring entrepreneurs?

A: “If you think you want to do something your way, do it for someone else first. Ideally, do it for free. If you like something enough to do it for someone else for free and still be a top value creator for the group, there’s a good chance you may be on your path to doing it for yourself. De-risk as much as you can, then go all in. Also, take help from anyone offering. It’s up to you to learn who to listen to, but if anyone is willing to support your goals and dreams the absolute least you can do is hear them out.”

To learn more about Andrew and The Patient Company visit the website today!

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