43 minutes | May 18, 2023
Dr. Bassem Mikhael, Somatus, on realigning incentives to better serve patients with kidney disease
In this episode, I sat down with Dr. Bassem Mikhael, SVP, of the Clinical Enterprise at Somatus. Started in 2016 by Dr. Ikenna Okezie, Somatus partners with clinicians, health plans, health systems, and multi-disciplinary community-based care teams to improve health, quality of life, and cost of care for patients with kidney disease. Somatus employs over 1,450 team members and serves more than 150,000 patients across 36 states. Dr. Mikhael and I discuss: 1) The vital role that kidneys play in maintaining health, the issues that arise from diseased kidneys, and how these challenges translate into per patient costs that are 10x higher, on average, than those for patients without kidney disease, 2) The traditional model for treating patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) and how Somatus’ model realigns incentives to focus on integrated, preventative, and patient-centered care, 3) Why the federal government, CMS, and CMMI have prioritized investments in kidney care and what we’ve learned from their initiatives and care model tests, and 4) Clinical innovations that make Dr. Mikhael optimistic about the future for patients living with kidney disease.
45 minutes | May 3, 2023
Anna De Paula Hanika, Uno Health, on the power of social safety net programs
In this episode, I sat down with Anna De Paula Hanika, Co-Founder & CEO of Uno Health. Founded in 2019, Uno enrolls Medicare members in the federal and state programs – Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program, SNAP, energy assistance programs, and more – that they are eligible for, benefiting both the member and payor. Uno has put over $10M back into the pockets of low-income Americans. Its investors include Google Ventures, General Catalyst, Floodgate, and Cowboy Ventures. Anna and I discuss: 1) How she became interested in solving challenges related to the US healthcare systems and identified enrolling seniors in federal and state programs as the particular problem she wanted to solve, 2) Uno’s business and operational model and value proposition to payors and members, 3) The ways Anna has seen these safety net programs work really well and less well and how supplemental benefits programs from payors can fill some existing gaps, and 4) Lessons she’s learned during her journey as an entrepreneur and advice she has for people starting tech-enabled services businesses.
45 minutes | Apr 19, 2023
Mark Cuban, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, on bringing transparency to pharmacy
Our guest on this episode is Mark Cuban. In addition to a storied business career that includes owning the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and a role on ABC's Shark Tank, Mark is the founder and lead investor in the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, a generic pharmaceutical distributor that prices medications at cost, plus a 15% administrative markup and any relevant pharmacy and shipping fees. Founded in early 2022, over 1.7M patients have signed up for the service in their first year, and Cost Plus Drugs now offers over 1,000 generic medications for purchase on their website. Mark founded the company with CEO Dr. Alex Oshmyansky, a pediatric radiologist who originally tried to start an organization similar to Cost Plus Drugs as a non-profit, before pivoting and convincing Mark to be his partner. In this episode, I spoke with Mark about his journey to starting Cost Plus Drugs, how the company is able to drive down prices so drastically compared to the existing players, and how incumbents, such as traditional pharmacy benefit managers and new entrants, such as the Amazon RxPass, will impact the success of Cost Plus Drugs.
26 minutes | Apr 12, 2023
Marina Tarasova, Paloma Health, on modernizing thyroid care
In this episode, I sat down with Marina Tarasova, co-founder & COO of Paloma Health, the first and leading virtual clinic, modernizing thyroid care. Marina started Paloma Health with her co-founder and Paloma’s CEO, Guillaume ("G") Cohen-Skalli in 2018. Paloma’s model offers holistic care for hypothyroidism & Hashimoto's, reducing the cost to treat these patients by over 60%. With their full stack approach, Paloma is drastically cutting the time patients have to wait to start treatment, and they are seeing better outcomes and patient satisfaction than traditional brick and mortar clinics. Last year, Paloma raised their series A round of funding led by SpringTide Ventures. With the investment, they’re continuing to build towards their goal of becoming the leading thyroid care experts and highlighting the importance of personalized thyroid care. Marina and I discuss: Her path to starting Paloma Health and how her experience at large healthcare organizations led her to building in the digital health space How virtual specialty clinics can prioritize growth through the physician shortage How Paloma’s specialization in hypothyroidism and their holistic approach allows the virtual clinic to make strides in patient experience, symptom improvement, and cost of care
39 minutes | Mar 27, 2023
Sam Shear, Yes Hearing, on innovating & scaling a novel model of at-home hearing health
In this episode, I sat down with Sam Shear, CEO of Yes Hearing. Founded in 2019, Yes Hearing is an online provider of hearing care and hearing aids, partnering with 400+ audiology providers to provide in-home services such as phone and video consultations, hearing tests, hearing aid fitting, programming, and follow-up care. Through their unique model, Audiologists and hearing specialists bring the clinic directly to patients’ living rooms; the company is now the largest in-home hearing care provider in the world. The company was founded in 2019, and secured its $10M Series A funding in 2022. Sam and I discussed: 1) Yes Hearing’s background and mission, including personal family anecdotes that led him to start the company, 2) The company’s clinical model, go-to-market strategy, patient journey, and dedication to iterative feedback & improvement, 3) Trends in the broader hearing care and at-home care industries, including both tailwinds and barriers to patient adoption, and 4) Entrepreneurial advice relating to fundraising with investors, scaling with payers, and believing in the potential of an early-stage company!
35 minutes | Feb 6, 2023
Anne-Maree Cantwell, Empactful Capital, on Investing in the Future of Digital Health Innovation
In this episode, I sat down with Anne-Maree Cantwell, Venture Partner at Empactful Capital. Founded in 2016 by veteran healthcare operators and investors, Empactful Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that deploys targeted funds to invest in digital health companies that operate in the value-based care and behavioral-mental health verticals. Empactful brings its healthcare industry operating expertise and relationship leverage to help its portfolio companies scale. In this episode, Anne-Maree and I discussed: 1) Her background in medicine, and how that helped her both scale telehealth at Kaiser Permanente and become a Venture Capital investor, 2) Experiences scaling telehealth before the pandemic telemedicine boom, and what constitutes a successful telemedicine program, including the future of virtual care, 3) Empacful Capital’s approach to investing in leading digital health companies that are tech-enabled, including a recent investment example, Care Continuity, and 4) Perspectives on key digital healthcare trends in 2023, including the online treatment of higher acuity mental health disorders, AI applications on patients and providers, and use of consumer devices to detect medical conditions.
37 minutes | Jan 9, 2023
Farzad Mostashari, Aledade, on the power of primary care
Our guest on this episode is Dr. Farzad Mostashari. Farzad is the co-founder and CEO of Aledade, a primary care enablement company that partners with independent PCPs to transition to value-based care and, as a result, maintain their independence. Founded in 2014, Aledade works with 11,000 physicians across 40 states and DC, accounting for 1.7M patients under management in Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Commercial and Medicaid contracts. Farzad previously served as the National Coordinator for Health IT in the Department of Health and Human Services, he completed medical school at the Yale School of Medicine and a Master's in Population Health from Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Earlier this year, Aledade raised a $123M Series E round of funding led by OMERS Growth Equity. In this episode, I spoke with Farzad about (1) his journey to starting Aledade and the role policy expertise and evidence have played in the company's success (2) why he and the company are betting on independent physicians as the drivers of change in value-based care and (3) how Aledade became the rare profitable health tech company
45 minutes | Dec 12, 2022
Iman Abuzeid, MD, Incredible Health, on helping healthcare workers find and do their best work
In this episode, I sat down with Iman Abuzeid, MD, CEO and Co-Founder of Incredible Health. Founded in 2017, Incredible Health, the highest valued tech-enabled career marketplace in healthcare, transforms the hiring process for both nurses and health systems. In August 2022, Incredible Health raised an $80M Series B round led by Base10 Partners. The company partners with over 600 top health systems across the country, has over 10,000 nurses joining its platform every single week, and has reduced the average timeline for hiring a nurse from 82 days to less than 14. Iman and I discuss: 1) her background in medicine and how she became a startup founder in the healthcare ecosystem, 2) the current nurse staffing crisis that’s on track to leave the US 1M nurses short by the end of 2023 and how we got here, 3) how Incredible Health is reducing nurse burnout, improving retention, and empowering hospitals to set up their nursing workforces for career advancement, and 4) Iman’s evolution as a leader and how she has invested in herself and her team to keep up with the company’s growth.
38 minutes | Nov 28, 2022
Vijay Kedar, Tomorrow Health, on restoring healthcare in the home
In this episode, I sat down with Vijay Kedar, CEO and Co-Founder, of Tomorrow Health. Founded in 2017, Tomorrow Health builds technology to improve the way home-based care is ordered, delivered, and paid for. In August 2022, Tomorrow Health raised a $60M Series B round led by Bond. The company partners with over 100 health plans across the country, experienced a 317% increase in ARR year over year between 2021 and 2022, and has grown to 100+ employees. Vijay and I discuss: 1) his early career as an investor, why he transitioned to an operator role at Oscar Health, and what he took away from each of these experiences, 2) how a personal experience with home healthcare inspired him to start a company in the space, 3) how Tomorrow Health is shifting incentives for key players in home health including patients, provider, and payors, and 4)where Vijay sees Tomorrow Health going as well as the digital health industry more generally
33 minutes | Nov 21, 2022
Nick Desai, Renee, on creating a personal health assistant for elderly and underserved patients
In this episode, Zaid Malhees sits down with Nick Desai, CEO and Founder of Renee. Founded in 2021, Renee is the developer of patient-centric software designed to improve healthcare services for elderly and underserved patients. The company's application helps schedule appointments, request in-home services, fulfill medication prescriptions, and share vital signs remotely. Renee recently raised $4.4 million in a second seed round led by Quiet Capital. Other investors include Mucker Capital, Fika Ventures, Tau Ventures, Global Founders Capital, SaaS Ventures, City Light Capital, and the AARP.
42 minutes | Nov 7, 2022
Sean Duffy, Omada, on scaling virtual specialty care
Our guest on this episode is Sean Duffy. Sean is the co-founder and CEO of Omada Health, a virtual integrated care solution that helps people manage a range of conditions, including pre-diabetes, diabetes, hypertension, and musculoskeletal conditions. Founded in 2011, Omada works with over 1500 employers, health plans and benefit consultants to deliver integrated care pathways for over half a million members. Earlier this year Omada raised a $192M Series E round of funding led by Fidelity. In this episode, I spoke with Sean about (1) his journey to starting Omada and launching one of the earliest virtual specialty care models, (2) turning Omada into a one-stop-shop for employers and health plans in a sea of point solutions, and (3) a new survey of healthcare buyers' perspectives on virtual care offerings
41 minutes | Sep 19, 2022
Erica Jain, Healthie, on enabling healthtech companies to support longitudinal care
In this episode (and Jing’s last for The Pulse!) we are excited to feature Erica Jain, the Co-Founder & CEO of Healthie. At Healthie, Erica empowers health and wellness organizations to launch & scale their businesses and build long-term relationships with their clients to deliver personalized, preventative care. Healthie is an API-forward platform that allows companies to build the back-office infrastructure systems necessary to support patient-centric operations. Healthie uniquely enables companies to effectively dispense longitudinal care. Healthie recently raised $16.5M in Series A funding in a round led by Velvet Sea Ventures with participation from Greymatter Capital, Watershed Capital, and Builders VC. We discussed: -Designing a solution to support longitudinal care coordination between patients and their care teams, improving upon the legacy healthcare infrastructure systems geared towards one-time episodic care. -Healthie’s API-first, out-of-the-box offering enables healthcare companies of any size to focus their resources on developing their core product without sinking resources into creating complex backend systems. -The importance of operational excellence for healthcare startups and continued interest from venture capital firms and other investors to accelerate innovation across the healthcare industry.
42 minutes | Aug 22, 2022
Colin Quinn, President of Included Health Communities, on patient-centric healthcare experiences
In this episode, I sat down with Colin Quinn, President of Included Health Communities & Co-Founder of Included Health. Colin started Included Health in 2019 to improve care equity for underserved populations, starting with LGBTQ+ individuals. In May 2021, the recently merged Grand Rounds, a care navigation company, and Doctor On Demand, a virtual care company, acquired Included Health. In October 2021, the new entity rebranded as Included Health, which provides integrated navigation and virtual care across everyday and urgent care, primary care, behavioral health, and specialty care. As President of Included Health Communities, Colin leads the organization’s work on health equity and raising the standard of care for underserved populations. The company’s first offering, which we discuss in-depth in the episode, is tailored to the LGBTQ+ population. Colin and his team are also working on a solution designed to serve the black community’s needs. Colin and I discuss: 1) his path to founding Included Health and how his prior experiences at a Fortune 500 company and a startup prepared him to start his own company, 2) his decision to sell to employers as well as how employer healthcare purchasers’ priorities have evolved in recent years, 3) what Colin and his team learned from the research study they conducted and how its findings influenced the company’s trajectory and product strategy, 4) why partnering with Grand Rounds and Doctor On Demand made sense for Included Health and why the new entity took on his original company’s name, and 5) what it will take to rebuild trust in healthcare amongst populations for which that trust has been broken
50 minutes | Jul 26, 2022
Kevin Dedner, Hurdle Health, on cultural humility in mental healthcare
In this episode, we sat down with Kevin Dedner, Founder & CEO of Hurdle Health. Based in Washington D.C, Hurdle Health provides culturally intentional teletherapy to eliminate barriers that make it harder for people of color to get mental healthcare. Hurdle Health raised $5M in seed funding, led by Point 406 Ventures and Seae Ventures. F-Prime also participated in the round. We discussed: -Kevin’s personal struggles with finding culturally responsive mental healthcare as the motivation for founding Hurdle. -Hurdle’s emphasis on training its therapists in cultural humility to provide more efficacious mental healthcare for low to moderate-acuity patients. -How minority founders must build a solid business plan instead of only following a vision and nurture mentor relationships to raise capital and overcome systemic barriers for launching successful companies.
43 minutes | Jul 11, 2022
Josh Hix, Season Health, on making "food as medicine" accessible
In this episode, we connected with Josh Hix, Co-Founder and CEO of Season Health. Season Health is a platform that connects members with healthy meal ideas and grocery options to help members and providers manage chronic conditions.
35 minutes | Jul 7, 2022
Chris Altchek, Cadence, on delivering care outside of the four walls of the hospital
In this episode, I sat down with Chris Altchek, CEO and Founder of Cadence. Founded in 2019, Cadence is a health tech platform that combines personalized clinical care with a breakthrough technology platform. With this Cadence offers consistent care for people managing chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and COPD, from the comfort of their home. Cadence recently raised a $100M Series B round, putting its latest valuation at $1 billion.
43 minutes | Jun 27, 2022
Jerrica Kirkley, Plume, on rebuilding the trans healthcare experience
Our guest on this episode is Dr. Jerrica Kirkley, co-founder & Chief Medical Officer of Plume. Plume delivers gender-affirming care via telehealth for trans and non-binary individuals, currently operating in 41 states. Plume provides hormone-replacement therapy, such as estrogen and testosterone, as well as letters of support for gender-affirming surgery or changing name or gender markers for its patients. Jerrica and her cofounder, Plume CEO Dr. Matthew Wetschler, raised a $14M series A round of funding last year Craft Ventures. In this episode, Jerrica and I discussed: (1) her journey to starting Plume, (2) her experience as a patient and provider of gender-affirming care, and (3) the current anti-trans political climate and Plume’s role as an advocate for the trans and nonbinary community.
50 minutes | May 26, 2022
Kelsey Mellard, Sitka, on solving the specialty care access problem
Our guest on this episode is Kelsey Mellard, founder & CEO of Sitka, a virtual specialty consultation company facilitating primary care and specialty communication via video consults, also known as eConsults or "curbside consults". Sitka and their virtual specialty provider network, Sitka Medical Associates, work with payers, provider groups and accountable care organizations to improve access to specialty care while avoiding unnecessary specialist costs. Last year, Sitka raised a $14M series A round of funding led by Venrock. In this episode, Kelsey and I discussed: (1) her journey to starting Sitka and how her time in the public sector has impacted her career (2) how Sitka closes the specialty access gap by removing scheduling inefficiencies and virtually connecting PCPs and specialists, and (3) her experience as an early-stage founder, including how she navigated taking parental leave as a Series A CEO
52 minutes | May 17, 2022
Dr. Somi Javaid, HerMD, on expanding access to female sexual health
In this episode, we chatted with Dr. Somi Javaid, Founder & Chief Medical Officer of HerMD. Dr. Somi Javaid is a board-certified OBGYN and pioneer in the women’s sexual healthcare space. She founded HerMD, a female-forward, insurance-based women’s healthcare center to help educate, advocate for, and empower women to take control of their health care. Recently, HerMD raised $10 Million in their Series A fundraise to bring their unique healthcare model to women across the US. JAZZ Ventures led the Series A round. We discussed: -Watching her mother struggle to receive the care she needed and experiencing personal job dissatisfaction and burnout led Dr. Somi Javaid to found HerMD, a clinic specializing in menopause and female sexual health, designed to empower both patients and clinicians to create a positive care experience. -The importance of promoting access to innovative therapies treating menopause and female sexual health disorders through insurance reimbursement, opening physical locations in “flyover” states, and championing education and patient advocacy. -The rise of female healthcare-focused startups is likely to persist in conjunction with more VC funding, with opportunities for consolidation and collaboration across brands.
43 minutes | May 9, 2022
Isabelle Kenyon, CEO & Founder of Calibrate, on a new standard of care for managing metabolic health
In this episode, I sat down with Isabelle Kenyon, CEO and Founder of Calibrate. Founded in 2020, Calibrate is a metabolic health company on a mission to change the way the world treats weight. In August of 2021, Calibrate raised a $100M Series B round led by Founders Fund and Tiger Global. Since then, the company has hired hundreds of new employees and onboarded thousands of new patients, released its first Results Report, and geared up to launch its first enterprise clients. Isabelle and I discuss: 1) Isabelle’s own interactions with the healthcare system and why these experiences led her to commit to spending her career building a better, more consumer-centric system, 2) Why Calibrate’s emphasis on metabolic health represents a paradigm shift in how we treat weight loss and obesity, 3) Calibrate’s clinical model that combines medication, a holistic curriculum guided by synchronous 1:1 video coaching, and community, 4) The company’s plans to expand access to treatment through enterprise partnerships, and 5) Isabelle’s focus on developing both her own and her company’s self-awareness as Calibrate’s leader.