Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in healthcare but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rose Engler, Co-Founder & CEO of COAD, located in Oak Bluffs, MA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

COAD, which stands for Community ADherence, is a behavior-based digital healthcare platform comprised of a revolutionary smart pillbox integrated with a user-friendly mobile app that works together to boost medication adherence, facilitate caregiving, empower data-driven care, and improve health outcomes. We remind patients to take their medicine, notify their loved ones when they forget, and generate verifiable adherence reports to optimize and personalize patient care.

We plan to reach patients by selling our product and service B2B to value-based healthcare systems and organizations, specifically Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Unlike traditional fee-for-service organizations, ACOs are groups of physicians, hospitals, and healthcare providers that are incentivized to deliver higher quality and proactive care to prevent negative health outcomes and improve long-term health. Recent health initiatives and reforms, such as the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), have catalyzed the widespread adoption of value-based care—since the inception of the program in 2012, the number of ACOs participating in the MSSP has increased from 220 to 483. This past January, their leaders further reinforced their commitment to value-based care with a goal that 100% of Medicare patients will receive care from ACOs by 2030. Targeting ACOs provides a high-leverage opportunity to access a high volume of patients, with managed patient populations ranging from the hundreds of thousands to millions. Within these populations, patients suffering from chronic conditions are the most costly and high-risk as they require chronic medication, monitoring, and engagement. As a result, ACOs have increased investments in and experimentation with suites of data-driven solutions that enable them to better monitor, engage, and treat their patients. COAD is a perfect fit for ACOs, as it empowers their mission to create an increasingly integrated, holistic toolkit for their patients. Following the establishment of credibility and achievement of product market fit within the ACO space, we plan to expand our reach, serving a range of value-based care organizations, including senior care, military/veteran healthcare, and outpatient rehabilitation centers.

Tell us about yourself

The COAD solution grew from a negative health outcome Bill experienced due to his non-adherence. About two years ago, Bill was diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and prescribed medication. Despite trying several medication reminder apps, he would continually forget to take his medication—he would receive the reminder, click "complete," believing he would take it in a few minutes, and then get distracted with life and forget. Six months later, Bill suffered a devastating stroke, a wake call not only for Bill but for his entire family. His daughter, Rose, began calling him every day to remind him to take his medicine. Within a few weeks, Bill's adherence skyrocketed, and Rose regained her peace of mind. Motivated by this experience, Rose and Bill began talking through the solution with their co-founders Loan Anh and Rosh— together, they transformed this personal experience into a product they could share with the world. At COAD, our mission is to improve medication adherence by transforming medication management from an individual burden to a collective effort through effective and innovative adherence data collection, analysis, and circulation. Our technology will inspire a new era of medication management where patients, loved ones, and caregivers are empowered, and physicians, systems, and institutions can target adherence at every level of healthcare. We believe no one person should struggle with their long-term health alone and that every patient and caretaker deserves to feel connected and supported by people and resources that can help.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

At our venture stage of product development and pre-launch, our biggest accomplishment thus far has been the incredibly supportive and enthusiastic feedback we've gotten from future patients, caretakers, and healthcare professionals who have said our solution will change their relationships, health, and lives.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Delegating tasks/releasing control. Being a business owner requires a lot of responsibility, initiative, and leadership. However, as your team grows, it is as important to relinquish control and trust your team to support and contribute to your company in ways you sometimes cannot micromanage.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Have a problem-driven approach and motivation.
  2. Customer communication discovery should always be ongoing and be woven into every aspect of your product, solution, and business.
  3. Take every opportunity to talk to people about your venture; you never know where and when you'll be able to talk to a customer, supporter, investor, or partner.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.