In the latest instalment of Meet a MaRSian, Angelo Casanas interviews Peter Adams, senior healthcare IT advisor at MaRS.

What does the role of senior healthcare IT advisor at MaRS entail?

My primary role is to mentor healthcare IT clients, from those just starting to grow their ideas to more established entrepreneurs who make revenues of $1 million and upward. I manage about 30 clients in the portfolio—a number that has doubled in the last year—providing help with resourcing, financing, strategy and product positioning. I also help them find the right partners to validate or develop their solutions.

MaRS has a number of strategic initiatives, of which the Health IT Innovation Forum was my primary responsibility. It was held this past June and included leaders from industry, the government, academia and the healthcare system. The goal was to accelerate the adoption of innovation in healthcare. At the end of the forum, we launched a social business network for healthcare professionals, and we’re now in the process of expanding that network across Canada.

With the advances in science today, perhaps you could talk about the importance of information technology in healthcare.

It’s now accepted globally that healthcare systems will not be able to cope with the increasing demand from chronic disease and an aging population. In the industrial and consumer sectors, IT is transforming business and the way we live our lives. In healthcare, the adoption of IT is 10 years behind, leaving enormous opportunity for improvements in efficiency, safety and patient outcomes. For example, improvements like these will help the public to avoid the onset of acute or chronic disease. This is the only answer to the current gridlock, as evidenced by the doubling of investment in health IT startups last year.

People today may know you for your work in IT and healthcare, but how else might people know you?

I produce and play music and was a member of a number of UK bands ranging from folk through rock to new wave. At one point, I even played the melodeon in a Morris-dancing group, but I had the most success playing punk and new wave music with a band called Last Resort. In 1978 our single, “Having Fun?” reached 29th on the new wave charts.

Peter Adams, MaRS Senior Healthcare IT Advisor (photo: MaRS Media, marsmedia.marsdd.com)

As an entrepreneur or a musician, how do you keep your audience captive?

The fundamentals of a good band include having talent and rehearsing a lot. People often think that performing is just standing there and playing a load of songs. It’s more than that, though, because people want to see a show with energy, which is what differentiates good bands from average bands. You also have to include variety in the production of songs. The majority of good songs have a “hook.”

It’s actually the same in entrepreneurship. The production aspect relates to marketing, communications and delivery of the product, and each company has to have a hook, that one unique thing that reminds consumers what the company is doing. That hook, positioning or message has to be understood and communicated by everyone in the company.

Ultimately, you have to have really good music (or a product), you have to get seen by or connected to the right people and you need a little bit of luck.

As a musician, where do you get the most satisfaction?

Playing and recording, I get my satisfaction from completing the production of a song. Secondary to that is playing music with other people. When you get people playing together and you get that resonance going, it’s just a great feeling.

Angelo Casanas

Angelo is the associate for corporate services at MaRS. As a recent convert to innovation, he assists the many moving parts of the MaRS ecosystem to meet the demands of both internal and external stakeholders. See more…