This spotlight is on Joseph B. Brence, a PT who is now Head of Clinical Strategy for our favorite CEU provider, MedBridge!
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What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?
Joseph B. Brence, PT, DPT, MBA, FAAOMPT – Head of Clinical Strategy, MedBridge
What additional roles do you currently have?
Professor, Carnegie Mellon University & NYU
Where are you located?
Where did you go to PT school, and what year did you graduate?
Duquesne University, 2009
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
I practiced in a few care settings including private practice and home health. A large portion of my practice was focused on the treatment of patients with chronic pain.
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
My first role provided direct mentorship opportunities, which really paved the way for my longer-term professional journey.
I hated the hours…
What else have you done since then, prior to your current role?
I have spent the past decade in post-acute innovation. In 2016, I took on an innovation role with a large health network. I quickly realized the need for further education, so I pursued an MBA as well as non-clinical mentoring.
When did you decide to do something non-clinical?
I realized around 2014 that a long-term clinical path wasn’t for me.
What are you doing these days?
I currently oversee clinical strategy for MedBridge. In this role, I go out and understand what levers we have for continued growth. For example, a few years ago, we identified the opportunity to grow horizontally into the home health market. So, I went out to study the market (pain points, current solutions, etc.), and came back with recommendations and business plans for entry.
Additionally, I teach the Strategy and Management of Technological Innovation within Carnegie Mellon’s College of Engineering, as well as several business courses, such as Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, within a Masters of Healthcare Administration Program at NYU.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
I furthered my education by completing an MBA from Purdue and got an executive certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Harvard.
How did you find your job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?
I was a long-term friend of the MedBridge leadership team. They were growing, and had identified the need for market expertise in the post-acute space.
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
My family still has no idea what I do. They can grasp what a PT does, but trying to explain my role as a strategist is a bit more challenging.
What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time?
It is often a blend of internal and external meetings. I am routinely meeting with executives across the settings we serve to understand any continued pains and identify paths for continued growth. My documentation is often building our market analyses.
What are some of the rewards of your role? What are the biggest challenges?
Some of the challenges revolve around go-to-market planning.
How did your clinical background prepare you for this role? Which skills transferred?
I provide a lot of internal advice and consultation to our teams. For example, we recently announced the upcoming launch of a new digital patient care product called Pathways. For this, I provided insights on the various consistent workflows that exist across the care settings we will serve with the product.
Roughly speaking, how are the hours and pay compared to patient care?
It is significantly different. Working for a remote-first company provides a lot of flexibility that I didn’t experience in previous roles.
The compensation is very different than when I operated as a clinician, but it’s hard to compare because it’s essentially comparing apples and oranges. The category in which I work is different, and the responsibilities I have now make a broader impact on the care of patients.
What type of person do you think would do well in your role?
My role is a bit complex in that it requires someone with a blend of formal clinical and business training.
Because my role requires a lot of executive interaction and trust, you must be social, but also have thick skin.
Do you work remotely or onsite?
Remotely, but travel often.
Does MedBridge hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles? If so, what type of roles?
What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?
I am quite content in my current role, but I will continue to grow in my ability to provide better strategic and innovation leadership.