Cherrill Farnsworth – Healthcare Entrepreneur – Starting and Selling a Bus Company, What It Takes to be a Successful Entrepreneur, and Discovering the Need for Utilization Management

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In this episode, our guest is Cherrill Farnsworth, an accomplished entrepreneur and influential expert on healthcare change. Over the course of her career, Farnsworth has started and sold 7 companies. Her first project was a bus company, and her most recent was HealthHelp, a utilization management company. Farnsworth shares how she had the idea to start a bus company in her early 20s, what she learned about becoming a successful entrepreneur, how she discovered the need for utilization management, and describes her hands-on approach to board membership.
Starting and Selling a Bus Company in Her Twenties (2:45)
Farnsworth recounts the beginning of her career when her decision to move to Houston disrupted her graduate degree, scholarship, and career trajectory. She took a job as a 5th grade math and science teacher, and her desire to explore a new city gave her the idea to create a bus company that could transport people from the suburbs to downtown. She shares the highs and lows of trying to run a new company in an unfamiliar industry, and the tactics she used to succeed. This ultimately led to the City of Houston buying her company.
What It Takes to be a Successful Entrepreneur (13:53)
Farnsworth now has decades of experience starting and growing companies. This experience equips her with insight about entrepreneurs’ need for encouragement and security, along with their desire to solve problems. In response to Winnie Fritz’s advice to “just say yes,” Farnsworth talks about how businesses are full of walls and an entrepreneur must look for the windows. It takes grit and an unending pursuit of solving problems.
Discovering the Need for Utilization Management (21:10)
One of Farnsworth’s most successful healthcare businesses was built around the need for utilization management. Now a common practice between Health Plans and Providers, she and her team at HealthHelp bridged the gaps between doctor’s orders, insurance payments, and patient safety. She shares what she learned by identifying the need to build imaging centers for medical universities, and how that prepared her for running a utilization management company.
A Hands-On Approach to Board Membership (35:43)
Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Farnworth continues to be involved in various healthcare boards and shares her desire to give entrepreneurial companies her assistance through a hands-on approach. She describes her board membership as her “sport” as compared to others who may choose golf or tennis. She most recently joined Shearwater Health’s Board of Directors.
Humans in Healthcare is produced by Shearwater Health in Nashville, TN, and hosted by Chief Marketing Officer, Nathan King.
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19 episodes