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Raj has built and sold three HIT companies and is a real expert in the domain. Excellent discussion on the state of the union in the field and open opportunities that need entrepreneurial problem solving.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself. Give us a bit of background as well as your various healthcare IT companies.
Raj Toleti: I’m a serial entrepreneur in the health IT space. I was one of the founding members of Microsoft Healthcare. Ever since I left Microsoft in the mid-90s, my passion was to build technology that would help patients access care from their providers in a much better way.
My journey started with developing a platform that would help healthcare organizations build online presence. In the dot-com era, I built the first healthcare-specific content management company where we helped over 3,000 hospitals put their presence online.
That company was acquired by Mobius in 2001. It was the only company that was able to raise over $21 million after 9/11. My passion for building patient technology continues.
I started my second company called Galvanon right after my first company Cytura. Through Galvanon, I innovated the first online bill pay in healthcare and the first tablet-based registration in healthcare in 2002 to 2003. It was acquired by National Cash Register (NCR). NCR builds ATMs and self-checkout in retail stores. The healthcare division of NCR is my old business. I had the opportunity to even run the common software for NCR. If you ever fly on a plane or check in on your phone, you’re using some of the technology that I’ve innovated.
My journey didn’t stop there because in the late 2000s, self-service for consumers was top of mind where you don’t have to stand on line. We were number one in what we did. As healthcare regulations in United States morphed to providing more of a value-based care, that’s when I innovated a platform that finally became HealthGrid.
We combine population health with patient self-service. You can do a lot of things where you would have needed a patient portal. We went beyond the portal and pushed those experiences to the patient. We were number one from different metrics. We are still the fastest-growing patient engagement platform in the country, probably in the world.
As I pursue my dream to create the most ideal patient experience from a technology perspective, it has brought me to where I am. Having built and solved three companies in the space, my team that I have accumulated through the years is second to none in the space.
Sramana Mitra: Congratulations, first and foremost, on all your work in this domain and all your success. Let me start by asking you what is the level of adoption of the kinds of technologies you’re talking about, whether it’s web self-service or mobile self-service.
All these different behavior changes that you have gone through in this market, where are we? What is the state of the union?
Raj Toleti: Traditionally, the physician and hospital organizations have used what is known as the patient portal. It’s a monolithic application on the web where you actually have a user id and password. You have to go to that website to do any one of the transactions.
You have to self-motivate yourself. It’s all initiated by the patient. That utilization in the industry has been 10% on average. That means that 10% to 15% on the high end and maybe 5% on the low end of the patients go on to a patient portal and interact electronically.
We changed the default. You don’t have to log in. I push the experience to you. Today, we are prioritizing our day based on the messages we receive. My platform intercepts and interjects these activations right into your daily life.
Let’s say Dr. Smith wants to make sure that you set up your annual physical, I send you a text. You click on it. I see utilization north of 50%, even 90%. The state of the union is, you need to change the default. If you do the same thing, you get the same results. We need to meet the patients where they are able to get to that level of engagement.