Category: Entrepreneurs

Social network for cancer patients: Interview with Belong’s CTO Irad Deutsch

published date
October 2nd, 2018 by
Irad Deutsch
Irad Deutsch

Belong.life bills itself as the largest social network for cancer patients and caregivers. With over 100,000 participants, Belong is approaching the scale at which it can generate meaningful insights, and leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to create a “hyper-personalized” experience.

I spoke recently with Irad Deutsch, Chief Technology Officer. He described how his personal experience as a caregiver led him to co-found the company, and talked about what makes Belong valuable and differentiated.

Overview:

  • (0:12) What are some of the main unmet needs for cancer patients and caregivers? Why was there a need for Belong in the first place?
  • (2:15) What, specifically does Belong do for patients that they can’t get elsewhere?
  • (4:23) How are providers and payers involved with Belong? Is this mainly a branding and cost-saving tool for them?
  • (7:03) What about pharmaceutical companies?
  • (8:00) You recently released a cancer fatigue survey. Why did you conduct that and what did it show? Any real surprises?
  • (10:08) You talk a lot about big data and machine learning but it’s not readily evident how those play in to Belong. Can you explain?
  • (12:50 What is the company’s business model?

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Off your walker? Foray’s founder Dr. Kavanagh takes a new approach to an old need (podcast)

published date
August 7th, 2018 by

What’s worse than needing help with gait, mobility and balance? Being told you need a walker. No wonder, when the typical walker basically screams “frail elderly,” and is difficult to use as well.

Neurologist Patricia Kavanagh was struggling to get her patients with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders to use a walker.  So she teamed up with a design and production team to found Foray and create the Spring, a modern device that is more functional and stylish.

In this podcast interview we discuss:

  • (0:13) Dr. Kavanagh’s clinical practice and the types of patients she treats
  • (1:19) Key challenges she faces working with patients with movement disorders
  • (3:24) Problems with current assistive devices like canes and walkers
  • (6:11)  Whether walkers are unique in their poor design
  • (7:26) The story behind the birth of Foray and the development of the Spring
  • (8:42) The target audience
  • (12:04) Price point for the new device
  • (12:50) The thinking behind the branding of Spring and Foray
  • (13:31) Potential line extensions
  • (15:20) Impact of burden of chronic disease on mobility and exercise tolerance

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Preparing for value based payments. Podcast interview with MediQuire CEO Emily Chen

published date
June 18th, 2018 by
MediQuire CEO Emily Chen

Despite all the noise and dysfunction on healthcare in Washington, DC, the move toward value based payments is continuing apace. But providers and payers continue to straddle the fee-for-service and value-based worlds, slowing and complicating the transition.

MediQuire helps providers and payers measure, improve and get financial reward for improvements in performance and patient outcomes. In this podcast interview, CEO Emily Chen and I discuss:

  • The current state of affairs in value-based payment
  • How the value-based movement has changed (or not) since the new administration arrived in office
  • The key capabilities needed for success
  • How MediQuire helps
  • What the future holds

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Amazon in healthcare: my HFMA keynote

published date
June 4th, 2018 by

Alexa: What can we expect from Amazon in healthcare? That was the title of my keynote address at last week’s Massachusetts/Rhode Island Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) managed care conference.

My basic message was that while other tech companies have stumbled in healthcare or at best made a bunch of money without really impacting the overall system, Amazon has the potential to do a lot more. It is still unlikely to transform the system, but it has the best shot.

In particular, Amazon has the potential to help shift healthcare to the home, and to surround patients with the full complement of lifestyle products and services to address social determinants of health and wellness. Amazon Prime, Echo, Dash and Key give Amazon unparalleled access to the home and make the company the default for any purchase.

Amazon Web Services is also a strategic asset as healthcare moves to the cloud; new devices like the Echo Look (introduced as a fashion assistant) have real potential in healthcare, too.

The company’s very long term outlook (which I illustrated with a reference to Jeff Bezos’ 10,000 year clock) and the fact that everyone is willing to provide Amazon with free advice, are also differentiators.

I shared my perspective on the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan cooperative venture as well, leaning on the thoughts I posted in Amazon: Force the healthcare system to become patient-centric.

If you’re looking for a conference speaker to hold forth on Amazon’s potential in healthcare –or another health business topic– please feel free to contact me.

Photo credit: HFMA

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

SafeRide Health looks to improve care through better transportation. Podcast with the co-founders

published date
May 17th, 2018 by
Need a ride?

SafeRide Health is focused on redesigning the non emergency medical transportation experience to reduce patient risk and streamline care coordination. In this podcast interview, co-founders (and brothers) Robbins and Whit Schrader talk about how losing a friend to DUI in their teenage years got them started down the entrepreneurial path to what became Saferide.

Overview

  • (0:10) What are the main challenges in medical transportation?
  • (0:47) What is the impact?
  • (2:04) What is NEMT? How well does it work?
  • (3:16) There is a revolution going on with transport, especially companies like Uber and Lyft. Lyft is a partner. How does that work?
  • (4:21) What is the experience like for the typical patient? How does it vary depending on whether or not you are involved?
  • (6:12) You said you can drive the no show rate down by half for one client, just by improving transportation. Is that replicable?
  • (6:57) How did you come up with the concept for this company? How does it go as brothers working together?
  • (8:05) How do markets differ: urban/rural, different geographies? Can it work outside of cities?
  • (9:29) Where are things headed? How much tie in is there with healthcare delivery?
  • (10:30) How do autonomous vehicles fit in?
  • (11:23) When you work with Lyft, does the driver know they’re getting a patient versus a regular retail customer?

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.