Sramana Mitra: Help me parse what you said about TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is actually become a booking site. Isn’t that how they make most of their money? I haven’t been following their business model shift lately.
Ted Chan: They look at it as a marketplace. When they show a sponsored listing, they are really showing it on what provider or what hotel or flight they think will monetize best for them. That’s the bid.
Sramana Mitra: How does that parallel with your model? Are you trying to do that as well?
Ted Chan: We are. There’s a specific way you have to do it in healthcare. We’ll compare CareDash with Zocdoc which is a largely closed loop site where all of the providers they list out are Zocdoc clients. In health care, you run into referral law with that. But for us, we list all the providers based on their star rating, their reviews, and the completeness of their profile regardless of whether they’re doing a sponsored listing or not.
I think healthcare providers are allowed to market themselves, but we’re not in the business of making a deterministic referral. So we wouldn’t say, “Here’s somebody that’s paying us for a sponsored listing. This is the only choice that you have.” Our approach is this is a choice that you have and we think it’s a good one. In this case, we’re disclosing. You can see very clearly that it’s a sponsor profile. That’s a fair and transparent way to do it as long as we’re fair and transparent about maintaining the ratings and reviews for those providers.
Sramana Mitra: What are the trends in your space?
Ted Chan: Even when we started three years ago, one of the things the healthcare industry is really known for, not in a great way, is messy data, data silos, and lack of standards. The patient experience is plagued by this. There’s no standard way or standard platform to push out healthcare provider information. So you’re running into state-by-state silos, the federal database, and Medicare database.
CMS practice and hospital databases are incredibly messy. They’re full of typos, duplicate listings, and incorrect billing addresses. Our team has 20 data analysts and data scientists that are working on just cleaning this data up because that’s the core of what good patient experience starts with.
Another piece is the health insurance data is also really messy. So you can be insured or you can be on a certain plan and there’s very little in terms of knowing what the price of your care is going to be based on your plan. So, there’s very little cost transparency. Eligibility is hard to do. Scheduling is also in silos. Every single specialty uses different systems.
There’re very few standard API’s. It’s one of those things where there’s a lot of work to do for companies like ours in stitching the experience of researching, booking, and scheduling a doctor just simply due to the messiness of the data, the lack of inter-connectedness, and an aggregation in the system.
The reason why I wanted to work on this was when my family was going through their health issues, it was stressful not knowing who to trust to get information on doctors and not being sure whether her insurance would cover a referral to us or would cover seeing a certain type of specialist or a certain medication. On the scheduling side, there’s spending many hours on hold. In some cases, we were told you couldn’t see a provider for two months when you’re suffering from an illness every day that you don’t see the provider.