Monday, April 24, 2017

HCSI Interview with Bruce Blausen of Blausen Medical Episode: 15

Lance King, of HCSI ( interviewed Bruce Blausen, founder of Blausen Medical.

Bruce Blausen, CEO of Blausen Medical
Personal Life
In this interview, we met Bruce Blausen, founder and CEO of Blausen Medical.  At age 56 he has two sons, ages 13 & 18, and enjoys Bruce tries to take good care of his body by being concious about the little things. He does push-ups during commercial breaks and stays away from processed foods.  Bruce says that when you teach about health, you must be cognizant of food and your own eating habits.

Bruce always wanted to be an architect when he grew up. He was the the best artist in elementary through high school.  While pursuing an architecture degree at Penn State, he spoke to a classmate who was going to be a medical illustrator.  Bruce decided that drawing the human body in 3-D sounded more interesting than drawing buildings in 3-D.  He ended up getting a Master's Degree in Medical Illustration from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Medical Illustration and Blausen Medical
Medical Illustration
Most people don't know very much about the medical illustration industry. In fact, most people don't know it's even a profession. There are only 700-1000 medical illustrators in the world.
People might think medical illustration would only be used in textbooks, but in the US, medical illustrations are used in over 20 markets, including libraries, museums, broadcast television, patient education, medical-legal, consumer health websites, and i-phone and android applications.  This industry earnded 110 million dollars this year and is projected to grow to 350 million dollars per year in 5 years.  The biggest growth opportunity is in virtual reality applications (VR).

Blausen Medical
In the late 1990's, Bruce's mother had to have have an angiogram and might have needed angioplasty. She asked him to help her understand it.  He put together a 2 minute vignette on angiograms and angioplasty.  A couple weeks later, she asked about migraines, then a week later asked about glaucoma.  He started to worry about his mother's health until she explained that she was asking for her friends.  At 15-20,000 for 1 min of animation (his usual rate), he realized no one would build high-end medical animations to educate patients and students, but there was a great demand.  He built 50 original animations.  Blausen Medical now has the largest 3-D medical animation library in the world. There are 1500 animations of medical conditions, available in 21 languages for free at  Each animation is about 2 minutes long. These animations are medically accurate and are vetted by medical professionals. If there are ever mistakes, Bruce says that users are quick to catch them and notify the company, which fixes them.  It used to be that people would talk to their doctors and then do what they said.  Now everyone searches, wants to learn, wants animations, and don't want to read.  Doctors hate when patients just use Google for healthcare information. Now they can send their patients to Blausen Medical to see animations which are medically accurate.

Future of Blausen Medical
Within the next 3-5 years, students will be able to use an app to scan any text-based document for 1500 key words, which it will highlight. Once those words are highlighted, a user can click a word and see a related animation.  Intel recently funded Blausen to create a skeletal muscle contraction app. It is now regarded as the best VR application for student education.  The company is figuring out how to convert all of its1500 medical animations into VR.  Once available, students/patients can use VR for education by going into a  VR lab, stand inside the illustrations, and move them around, or just by using an app on their phones and a VR device.  Blausen Medical is currently developing an avatar that will act as a healthcare concierge to help you find information and it will be able to know/remember a user's search history.

Since Blausen Medical began, it has had two total collapses.  Every small company will have great years, average years, and horrible years. When speaking about being an owner/CEO, Bruce said, “If you're not comfortable on your knees, crying and begging God to lift you up, this is probably not the job for you.”  Through failures, Bruce learned that the path to success, like life, is not a straight path and everyone will have highs and lows.  When you're in the lows, you just need to know that you will make it to the highs.  He said, “God will make up the difference.” When Bruce was 19-20 years old, he was asked if he was religious. He said, “Not at all.”  Now, he prays all the time—with children, wife, employees, and a business, he has found that he has to rely on a higher power to direct him.

One Habit That Has Contributed to Success
Bruce says the ability to believe in himself and trust his instinct has greatly affected his success. He says there will always be a group of people who will tell you how to run your business. You need to figure out what is best.  Don't try to live out someone else's dream. Live your dream.  According to Bruce, if you live a normal, quiet life; remove negativity; remove drama; and keep a pure focus, you will have greater levels of success and will have the energy and wisdom to be able to run a business.

Bruce's goal for Blausen Medical is to educate 1 billion people worldwide.  It already educates tens of millions per year now.  Just the VA had 1 million views of animations last year.  When people think of great medical illustrators, Da Vinci and Michaelangleo come to mind.  He hopes that when people think of medical animation that Blausen Medical will come to mind.  All people can be elevated through education. He wants to be part of the process.

More Information about Blausen Medical
Please visit if you want to learn more about the company or just want to learn about medical conditions for yourself or your family.  The majority of people who visit the site are anatomy/physiology instructors and students; the next biggest group of visitors is healthcare providers and patients sent there by doctors. Blausen Medical has provided $48 million worth of animations for free on its website.  Feel free to use it!

Three Absolute Truths
1. God exists.
2. There is an afterlife. Your spirit will go into another dimension.
3. You can always be better, kinder, nicer.  Everything else doesn't matter. Do good and try to please God.  Get better as you go through life.

Entrepreneurship and Change
Over the years, the medical illustration industry has changed. Bruce learned that as an entrepreneur, he had to be aware of technology and the changes that were coming from it. A business must be quick enough to make a decision and adjust direction.

Thanks to  Bruce Blausen for allowing us to interview him!  For more information about Bruce, please see his bio below. And thanks to our listeners/viewers/followers for keeping the Doctor Entrepreneur podcast alive.  Please share with your friends and colleagues and contact Lance King, of Healthcare Compliance Solutions, Inc at for any healthcare compliance needs.

Bruce Blausen is the founder of Houston-based Blausen Medical, and developer and owner of the world’s largest library of 3D medical animations. Blausen earned a Master of Arts in Medical and Biological Illustration from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1991, he founded Blausen Medical after recognizing the growing commercial and educational need for more accessible methods of illustrating and animating medical processes and functions. Today, Blausen Medical makes its library content available for multiple platforms. The award-winning animation library is now viewed in every country in the world and has been translated in over 21 languages. Blausen’s company and its products have received over 35 honors, including the 2013 Platinum Award for Best Interactive Site and Gold Award for Best Mobile Communications in the eHealthcare Leadership Awards. Blausen Medical has also been honored with numerous Web Health Awards and with an ABBY Award from the Adaptive Business Leaders Organization, for developing innovations that reduce the cost of quality healthcare. In 2014, Mr. Blausen was a recipient of the prestigious Penn State Alumni Fellow Award.

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