In the fall of 2016, Steve Pazos of Butler University, a small rural school in southern Ohio, decided to take on the task of creating a digital health system.
The result is a tool that can be used by students, faculty, and staff, and has helped Butler become one of the most well-known, highly respected, and respected universities in the country.
It was a move that made Pazs and his students very happy, but also left them with one big question: how did they do it?
How could a small college in a small town solve a problem that’s so huge that it’s literally the world’s biggest problem?
“The way we thought about it was, how do we create an entire system of online health resources that are easy to use, are easy for our students to access, and can be scaled to fit our students’ needs?”
Pazas tells Business Insider.
“It’s the kind of thing we do a lot on a regular basis, but to me, the only way to do it was to be a small community of innovators.”
For Pazans goal, the answer was to build something that could be used for almost anyone.
“When we started out, we started with a vision of building a digital-health platform that’s really easy to set up, and that’s very simple to manage,” Pazus says.
“So that’s how we were able to start up a team of over 50 people.”
The team created a website that, in its first two months, had more than 1 million unique visitors.
By the end of its first year, the site had attracted more than 13 million unique visits.
“We were really excited about this idea,” Pizos says.
Pazss team, in fact, has a huge following on social media, and Pazson says that the team’s success helped the university gain an incredible amount of visibility.
“The public recognition of us from the public has really helped our standing as a university, and as an institution.”
When Pazons team got the idea to build an online health system, they didn’t just want to get it built in a few months, but over the course of a year.
“What was important to us was that we wanted to build the system for everyone who needed it,” Piazos says, “We wanted to make sure that people were using it on a daily basis, that they were using the tools that were available to them.”
“We had to figure out a way to scale this, to make it a big thing.”
When they did, the team was able to do so without relying on an expensive network of people.
“A lot of the people who use our tools, it was just us,” Pozas says.
The team didn’t need to rely on expensive infrastructure to be able to deliver their digital health tool, and instead focused on building the infrastructure itself.
Pizss team spent more than $50,000 to hire an experienced IT architect, who had a background in business and was able work closely with the students to build their own infrastructure.
Piazs team then used that expertise to create the infrastructure they needed.
Pozss team created the first version of the platform in June 2017, and the team spent the next two months iterating and iterating.
By December, they were ready to launch.
The new website was live.
In just four months, the website had gained a total of 3.2 million visits, with over 2.7 million of those visitors coming from students.
In the first month alone, the platform saw a whopping 200,000 visits from students, with almost 60,000 of those students coming from Butler students.
The success of this system helped the team grow exponentially.
The network of students that use the platform, which is now referred to as ButlerHealth, has grown to include a whopping 2,500 people.
Puzss team has seen an increase in their user base each year, from just over 700 students a year to more than 4,000 students a month.
Pazaus says that he’s been able to maintain this growth by keeping the focus on providing a product that students can use for free.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a company where students have been able afford a piece of software,” he says.
What’s more, the growth of the online health platform has been so strong that Butler has had to start using its own system for its health information.
“At the end, I think we have about 200,00 people who are enrolled in ButlerHealth,” Puzs says.
“[We have] a big part of our health information in a CMS [computerized health record] system.
That’s why we have to have that as a part of it, because they’re our primary source of health information.”