Jim Corum brings extensive experience in health system strategy and business operations. He founded Diana Health to offer an innovative health delivery model that improves patient outcomes, lowers cost, and enhances the patient experience in a segment that needs change.
Prior to Diana Health, Jim served as Vice President of Business Development for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). His responsibilities included exploring venture opportunities for VUMC either through acquisition or internal development and oversight of the Liaison Program. Prior to VUMC, Jim held various roles in health care industry segments, including ambulatory surgery, physician practice acquisition and integration consulting; patient satisfaction, and managed care where he serviced in both business development and operational leadership capacities.
Jim has spoken nationally on physician integration and ambulatory services and is a graduate of the Nashville Health Care Council Fellows program.
What inspired you to go into health care? Tell us a little bit about your career journey.
Early in my career, I was always inspired when working with clinicians. These are some of the smartest, most passionate people in the world, doing deeply important work. Though I do not have the same talents as them, I am proud to use my business capabilities to help them more effectively care for patients, and that has been my life’s mission.
After earning my master’s degree from Owen Graduate School of Business, I went to work with Joe Hutts, a well-known Nashville health care leader who was CEO of Surgis at the time. I worked in the ambulatory care sector, then in consulting before going on to work at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for another great leader, Dr. Wright Pinson. I’ve been particularly interested in helping hospitals as they transition into systems of care over the past 15 years or so.
How did your past experience lead to your current work at Diana Health?
I strongly believe women’s health is an area that really needs improvement in the United States. We spend three times as much as other countries, but the quality is nowhere near where it should be. We are also seeing a shortage in providers, a deficit that is expected to grow in the future.
My partners and I saw potential for a model of care in which we work with health systems to bring an integrated team approach to delivering women’s health care. We’ve been able to bring best practices and create alignment around the goal of better outcomes, lower costs and higher patient satisfaction.
How did the Fellows program influence your career?
Being a part of the Fellows program was the single most important experience I have had in furthering my career and education. Being with such a high level group and interacting with the guest speakers, it really helped us think bigger about what health care should be. I was able to have frank discussions about how we can lead the health care system to a better tomorrow. And I took what I learned forward into structuring our company and building relationships.
What is the most challenging part of starting your own business?
Being an entrepreneur is incredibly rewarding, but having come from large institutions, I realized early that I took a lot of the infrastructure such as the IT and HR departments for granted. It takes time and intentionality to build up these necessary functions and I suppose that has been the most challenging part for me.
How do you think the Nashville Health Care Council continues to play a meaningful role in shaping the health care industry?
The Nashville Health Care Council is more important than ever. Having an ecosystem where we can collaborate and connect is invaluable. And for younger companies like Diana Health, access to large provider systems is vital to scaling innovative ideas.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Early in my career, Joe Hutts told me, “We can make mistakes with the head, but not with the heart.” That really stuck with me in that health care must focus on mission first. That helped guide me as I chose which companies I wanted to work for and what kind of company I now want to build.
Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.
I have three sons and their baseball schedule keeps me busy most of the time when I am not working. As far as personal vs. business personalities, I would say I am an open book, and the same person no matter what setting you see me in.
What books would you recommend that have shaped your business thinking?
I read Bad Blood by John Carreyrou and the Theranos story is a good lesson in what NOT to do. A culture of secrecy like the one described in the book has no place in health care.
Also, while it’s not a book, I’d recommend the podcast “Business Made Simple” with Don Miller. The advice given is particularly helpful to entrepreneurs as they navigate building and scaling their businesses.