Sramana Mitra: What are the open problems in your industry that new entrepreneurs could be starting companies around?
Ted Chan: Telehealth is a very big opportunity for making healthcare more seamless, more efficient, and more cost effective. There’s a trend. A lot of consumer health companies have been getting mega-funding. They’re getting a lot of pushback in the medical community because, for instance, women can get their birth control pills through telehealth or the partner we work with in the teletherapy space.
Your diagnosis and prescription comes more from a company or service that’s backed by more traditional internet workflows. There’s a health care provider reviewing the data and signing off on it. Typically, it’s a nurse practitioner. There’re a lot of use cases for this. There’s pushback from the medical community, yet at the same time it’s reducing cost and increasing convenience to the patient. It’s actually taking some of the burden off of the health care system.
The second piece where I think there’s a lot of opportunity in is data silos and inter-connectedness of ecosystems. There’s a lot of room for developer-centric smart companies. I hope Amazon will be a part of this as part of their health care initiative to break down the silos in data whether that’s across the EMR or from even healthcare directories, patient data, and medical records. There’re a lot of opportunities there to break down the silos and improve the consumer and physician experience. Those are two areas that I think are big.
Sramana Mitra: One observation I have with telehealth is that the insurance systems aren’t caught up with covering telehealth – even the existing hospitals that are trying to do telehealth with their systems. The insurance companies turn around and say, “We don’t cover that.”
Ted Chan: That’s a huge problem. Insurance companies want to see proof points about the value because sometimes the way insurance companies look at it is, if we give you easier access to care, then you’re just going to use more care. It’s still a health care provider on the line and they’re still effectively billing us for an appointment. That’s going to have to be worked through.
One of the areas I mentioned is, we’re driving a lot of appointments in teletherapy. Most of that’s not covered by the insurance companies, which is why it’s being adopted quicker than other areas. We see that in a number of cases where, by elective or by choice, the economics are better, patient satisfaction is better, and really the consumer experience overall is better.
Sramana Mitra: I have your perspective. Nice to meet you. Good luck with what you’re trying to do. It would be very helpful to have more reviews around the specialist system. The insurance company’s covering all this telemedicine stuff and so forth, but it looks like it’s taking so much time to get there.
Ted Chan: It’s a journey but the way we’re doing it is makes it worth working on. We have a big push in the next few months. We’ll get a little bit of growth capital in. That will help a lot too.
Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.