Human Practice: A bootstrapped startup in residence at Doejo

Choosing a new doctor is a judicious and intimate process; internal medicine practitioners and specialty surgeons are rarely a mere Google search away.

When selecting new primary care physicians about half of consumers seeking health care relied on recommendations from family and friends and many used doctor recommendations, studies have shown—it’s all word-of-mouth.

It’s this sweet spot Human Practice—a startup in residence in the Doejo offices—hopes to hone in on. 

Human Practice is a healthcare social-recommendation platform for discerning users to find doctors by specialty and location, suggested by people you trust, be it friends, relatives or colleagues. Steered by CEO and co-founder, Moses Hohman, Human Practice has already received praise in beta, winning the first annual Chicago Health 2.0 startup pitch contest in 2011 and being asked to speak at the Stanford Medicine X healthcare and technology conference in the fall.

Founded in December 2010, Human Practice has been completely bootstrapped by Hohman, who has an ample biomedical software background, and his wife Sehjin Han, a surgeon with diverse clinical experience. The two University of Chicago alums wanted to develop a platform to help people find new doctors knowing that rating and review sites had no brand recognition with patients. There was simply no go-to resource.

This became a social network model after the duo spoke with physicians and patients and poured through studies saying users didn’t have time to read through tons of long bios of random doctors but valued recommendations by people in their social networks. The site has recommendations by users for primary care doctors, OB/GYNs, midwifes, allergists, gynecologists, pediatricians, among others, while offering doctors an updatable expanded profile for a monthly fee. For users, Human Practice will always be free.

“Two problems we’re trying to solve are, how do we make this information flow better socially, and how can we help you navigate your social network so you know who to ask,“ Hohman told us in a conference room at Doejo. Hohman and his team are currently preparing the site before an end-of-August launch. 

As far as lessons he’s learned as an early stage start-up, Hohman says he has plenty. He’s learned to stay as lean as possible and that you really have to understand your target demographic without overthinking it or making it too broad. But more than anything he says the hardest part of entrepreneurship is learning to accept and learn from mistakes.

“You’re usually wrong in some significant way when you start [a startup] and you have to learn that it’s OK, you’ll fix it as you move forward.” He said. “You should seek out advisors that help you ask the right questions.”

Filed in: Startup Community