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June 9, 2022

Meet Angie Inlow, imaware's Chief Growth Officer

Few people understand the business side of healthcare better than Angie Inlow. Get to know this passionate leader ushering in a better way to empower patients.

Never underestimate a business leader who coaches volleyball. The game isn’t so much about controlling the ball as it is teaching each player to assume a defensive posture in anticipation. There must be effective communication within microseconds. The element of surprise can be more powerful than a kill shot. And above all else, the ball must be kept in play. 

These same tactics and strategies have made Angie Inlow a force in the field of healthcare for over 25 years. And now, as imaware’s Chief Growth Officer, she brings a competitive spirit coupled with a passion for patient health to lead the business into a new era of care. Here, she shares her thoughts on healthcare versus “sick-care”, keeping up with population demographics, and what it really means when she makes you run a lap around the court. 

For me, taking all the problems of traditional healthcare and trying to solve them with more convenient care is so important. I’ve seen the success in sending genetic tests home coupled with virtual counseling; it works. 

Tell us why you’re uniquely suited to lead the business growth at imaware? 

Healthcare is what I live and breathe. It’s a passion of mine that’s illustrated in all the jobs I’ve had: I worked at a hospital for a decade. I’ve helped to build medical malls, surgery centers and urgent care centers. I’ve implemented electronic medical records (EMRs) and was a compliance officer. And, my husband is a physician. I managed his four offices for 16 years — I did this on the side. Having lived and worked in the traditional healthcare space, I’ve seen all the ways you can be as inefficient as possible in dealing with patients and their challenges, such as mobility. I’ve had to think outside the box, creating accounts with rideshare companies just to get patients to the doctor’s office, for example. 

Before I came to imaware I was with a telehealth genetics company for three years and we specialized in virtual care. For me, taking all the problems of traditional healthcare and trying to solve them with more convenient care is so important. I’ve seen the success in sending genetic tests home coupled with virtual counseling; it works. 

That sounds exciting. What made you pivot and bring your expertise to imaware? 

What I love about imaware is we’re actually fixing two problems. The first is overcoming the inconvenience of lab work with the convenience of at-home testing, enabling people access to tests they otherwise could not do, or find difficult to do. For example, if you need to do a diabetes screening test, first you have to take time off work which not everyone can do easily, then drive or take transit to a lab while you’re starving [because you have to fast before the test]. And then you have to get blood drawn, which isn’t comfortable, then make your way back home again. Our tests mean you can do all of this at home. Plus, so many people are scared of needles. Just having a different method of blood collection solves that fear for a lot of patients. 

The second issue solved by imaware is in delivering information through seamless, trusted technology. A layperson might think “Oh, you’re a lab.” We are not just a lab. We have relationships with labs and talented technology teams who manage the end to end testing experience. We commission independent reviews to ensure our tests follow industry-leading protocols, manage the logistics of getting tests to patients and their samples to the lab, and we design the tools that keep our patients informed throughout the experience. 

So combining those two solutions of convenience coupled with solid technology, plus our ability to seamlessly do this at scale, makes this business unique. We are a service provider, and work with B2B customers in addition to patients. 

We’re not just in the background plugging in the wires. We are rooted in science, meaning there’s a reason there aren’t 100 tests on our menu. That’s another thing I love about imaware — it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality healthcare being delivered at home that’s backed by science. We have an entire physician network. We do the test ordering. We take on the harder work by actually ordering the tests and providing clinical backup. None of our competitors can compete with us on that clinical level. 

Can you expand on the clinical side of imaware?  

We’re not just in the background plugging in the wires. We are rooted in science, meaning there’s a reason there aren’t 100 tests on our menu. That’s another thing I love about imaware — it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality healthcare being delivered at home that’s backed by science. We have an entire physician network. We do the test ordering. We take on the harder work by actually ordering the tests and providing clinical backup. None of our competitors can compete with us on that clinical level. 

There are a lot of companies and brands that want to do good and provide more, but they don’t have the technology to do it. They also don’t have the industry knowledge plus the relationship with the labs — all the things that make at-home testing a reality. And then there are companies that may provide the technology, but they’re not clinical-based. They may do direct-to-consumer in larger volume but they compromise on the science. They’re not as rooted in medical expertise as we are; you don’t ever have to question our science. 

It sounds like there’s a fleet of highly-skilled professionals in the background

There really are, but we are not meant to replace physicians, hospitals and all the people taking care of you. We’re there to augment and provide low-cost, efficient tools that allow access to clinical services that may be otherwise missed. For us the vision is that everybody should have easy, affordable access to knowledgeable tests they could just take at home. 

And with that knowledge, people are more likely to take preventative measures

Exactly. The second side of our business is empowerment; empowering patients and consumers to know about their health before they get sick. In America, we call it ‘healthcare’ but it’s really ‘sick-care’ — symptoms arise, you see the doctor, they order a bunch of tests, you go back to the doctor to talk about it, and then they’re going to diagnose and treat you. That is ‘sick-care’, treating active symptoms that have occurred.  

What if you could do a wellness check so you can be aware of your health so you don’t get sick? For example, if you know your blood sugar is already high, maybe you’ll steer clear of sugary foods more often and educate yourself on foods that might be better for your body. This is a wellness approach versus a sickness approach. It’s in our name: imaware. If we can help make you aware of something you’re prone to, now it’s up to you to do something about it. And if you choose to ignore it, that’s fine, but at least you know. 

The other thing is, people spend a lot of money on vitamins and supplements. How do you even know what deficiency you have, and whether the vitamins you bought are working or not? Maybe do some biologics, actually test your biomarkers, to see if your deficiency is a true statement or not. Stop making assumptions and actually get some facts — and with us you have the power to do that. 

What if you could do a wellness check so you can be aware of your health so you don’t get sick? For example, if you know your blood sugar is already high, maybe you’ll steer clear of sugary foods more often and educate yourself on foods that might be better for your body. This is a wellness approach versus a sickness approach. It’s in our name: imaware. If we can help make you aware of something you’re prone to, now it’s up to you to do something about it. And if you choose to ignore it, that’s fine, but at least you know. 

Speaking of empowerment, I heard you coach girls’ volleyball

Yes, I love to coach! I’ve coached volleyball for my girls for over five years now. I love to mentor young minds through coaching, teaching them how to be team players and preparing them for life through play. For example, if I can teach you to trust that your teammate behind you is going to get that ball when it goes over your head, then you’re going to know how to trust and delegate later in life. They don’t know I’m teaching delegation, of course, but I am through sport. And through play they learn more, and they learn faster. When girls show up and their shoes are untied and I make them run a lap, for instance, they don’t show up with their shoes untied again. They learn to show up prepared. To me, the sport applies to life in general. 

You also have your eye on the way younger generations use technology for health 

More and more of the younger generation would prefer to "self care." They’ll happily pay for a test and seek advice remotely. They follow nutrition advice over social media; they exercise at home with a trainer on a screen. And we want them to use the old, traditional medicine model? No thank you, they’ll say. We need to keep up with what the younger generation is doing. They’re on the go, they want it fast, they want it easy and they want results on an app they can see and act on.

This is something the healthcare industry as a whole needs to think through, keeping up with innovation and the populations we’re serving. Efficient, affordable, at-home testing can replace some of the difficult, cumbersome processes in healthcare today. 

Updated on
June 9, 2022