Dr. Jeff Scott’s: “We all want our lives to be better in a multitude of ways”

We all want our lives to be better in a multitude of ways. As a physician, I am always striving to be better. But becoming better requires changing, and change can be difficult. We need healthcare professionals who are willing to evolve their old methods to newer evidence-based medicine to be true advocates for their […]

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We all want our lives to be better in a multitude of ways. As a physician, I am always striving to be better. But becoming better requires changing, and change can be difficult. We need healthcare professionals who are willing to evolve their old methods to newer evidence-based medicine to be true advocates for their patients.

As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jeff Scott.

Jeff Scott, M.D. is a practicing gastroenterologist with over 25-years’ medical experience. A compassionate physician who has witnessed too many patients fight colorectal cancers that could have been prevented by recommended screenings and removal of precancerous polyps, Dr. Scott has made it his mission to help stop this fatal disease that is preventable through recommended screenings and removal of precancerous polyps.

Because many people delay — or do not schedule — colonoscopies due to the unpleasant side effects of the prep, which historically has involved liquid laxatives that do not taste good and can cause bloating, cramping, nausea, and vomiting, Dr. Scott realized “there must be a better way.” This is why he sought to create an alternative solution to help patients prepare for these necessary screenings, therefore increasing the percentage of timely colonoscopies to save lives.

Armed with a lifelong curiosity and quest to improve, Dr. Scott developed Happy Colon Foods, a patient-centric prep kit made up of low-residue comfort foods, which eliminates the unpleasant side effects of liquid preps and helps ensure a successful colonoscopy exam. Today, Dr. Scott continues his mission to educate, encouraging people to #JointheMovement, as well as introduce doctors and patients to Happy Colon Foods to help fight colorectal cancers.

Jeff attended Northeastern State University on a President’s Leadership Class scholarship where he focused on attending medical school from the moment he enrolled. He obtained his M.D. from The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1988 and went on to complete an internship in general surgery at The University of Arizona. Jeff returned to The University of Oklahoma for his internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship before establishing a private practice in 1995. He is currently a partner at Digestive Disease Specialists in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

That is still a bit of a mystery to me. It seems like a lot of people search for a lifetime to find what they want to do, or even more unfortunately, simply do what they have to do.

For me, there was never anything else I wanted to be except for a doctor. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t raised around medicine — as a matter of fact, both of my parents only had an 8th grade education. But I always knew this was my calling.

Can you please share with us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’ve been a physician for many years, but one period of time that stands out is the late 80s when I was a young resident on the medicine wards. The AIDS epidemic was in progress and my world experience to that point was limited to the rural Midwest.

The fear of contracting AIDS from accidental needle sticks was real and we didn’t know enough yet to be certain it wasn’t contagious through close contact. At that time, contracting HIV was considered a death sentence.

It was overwhelming and so challenging at first, but as I began to care for patients who knew they were dying, I was struck by their genuine display of warmth, kindness, and strangely enough, humor. The intensity of that experience changed my whole perspective on medicine. From then on, I knew I would always strive to ease patients’ “dis-ease,” even when I cannot cure their disease.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

It’s pretty simple and actually the same for both.

1. Everyone deserves to be cared for, especially those who can’t care for themselves.

2. Seeing things from a different perspective and always wondering, can I make it better?

Ok thank you for that. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?

Colon cancer kills thousands each year and is now affecting even younger people. It is, however, one of the few cancers that is largely preventable. Unfortunately, experience and studies show many people delay colonoscopies not because of the procedure, but because of the prep.

Happy Colon Foods has developed a new, counter-intuitive prep method. We combine low-residue comfort foods with tasteless laxatives and use a unique dosing schedule. Our research demonstrates this method achieves a high-quality prep and at the same time, patients are allowed to eat, the dreaded bad taste doesn’t exist, and we help eliminate unwanted side effects such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, and bloating.

How do you think this will change the world?

I don’t think of it as changing the world. I think of it as saving lives, so those people are able to continue to have an impact on the world. The main reason people delay or cancel colonoscopy exams is because of the intense dread surrounding the prep. By providing a colonoscopy prep that eliminates this dread, people will get colonoscopies on time, which will save millions of lives — as colorectal cancers can be prevented with detection of precancerous polyps and more easily treated when discovered.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

I would say my experience was more like a thousand paper cuts. I performed so many colonoscopies relatively early in my career, and therefore forced thousands of patients to do horrible preps. The complaints were always the same: extreme hunger, terrible tasting drinks that not only caused diarrhea, but frequently prompted nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Sometimes I tried to joke with patients about the prep to lighten their mood, but overall it was an awful feeling to know I was making healthy patients feel — or actually get sick in order to have a potentially life saving procedure. I just knew there had to be a better way.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

We all want our lives to be better in a multitude of ways. As a physician, I am always striving to be better. But becoming better requires changing, and change can be difficult. We need healthcare professionals who are willing to evolve their old methods to newer evidence-based medicine to be true advocates for their patients.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Even if there is a better way, it’s still hard to get people to change.
  2. We met with a food middleman in Chicago when we were just starting Happy Colon Foods and he looked at us like we were crazy when we described what we wanted to do. He said it was almost impossible to get that many food companies to work with a startup. He was almost — but thankfully — not right.
  3. Not to sweat the twists and turns so much. Every time we had a door shut, an even better one opened up.
  4. Don’t focus as much on the success of your company, but more on the success of the patient.
  5. I always thought being a physician was all consuming until I also became an entrepreneur.

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?

Never consider yourself a total success; there are always new problems to solve and opportunities to grow.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Colorectal cancer kills 50,000 in the U.S. and 900,000 people worldwide every year. We have two times when we can save patients’ lives:

1. Screening and removing pre-cancerous colon polyps before they become cancer.

2. Early colonoscopy in patients of all ages with warning symptoms.

Startups are all about potential. What is the potential market share? What are the potential sales and profit margins? We see potential differently. What was the potential of someone you knew who died of colorectal cancer? If you don’t know someone personally, what do you think Chadwick Boseman’s potential was to change the world? And finally, if you had the potential to help save that person, would you? Happy Colon Foods solves the single biggest reason people don’t get colonoscopies.

Website — https://happycolonfoods.com/

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/happycolonfoods/?hl=en

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/happycolonfoods/

Twitter — https://twitter.com/happycolonfoods?lang=en

Linkedin — https://www.linkedin.com/company/happycolonfoods/

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