Yosi is a mobile patient check-in and communication platform that helps patients skip the paperwork at doctors offices.
An excerpt from an interview with Co-founders Hari Prasad, Sathish Gururajan, and Dr. Tal Raviv.
How did you come across the idea?
That’s where we go back to a ER story.
ER stories are never fun.
I spent the last ten years working in business operations in healthcare. I worked for large national insurance companies and I’ve worked for big hospital systems with about 2,000 doctors. Therefore, I’ve been up close to a lot of the transactions that happen between doctors, insurance companies and patients. So, one of my first experiences as a consumer was when I was playing basketball with some of my friends in a backyard. Should have never gone for the dunk. Went for it and the shoulder pops out. My friends and Sathish wheel me to the ER. As a consumer, my first thought is “I’m in the ER…they’re going to first fix my shoulder back in and then ask me the rest of the questions.” But of course I learn that's not how healthcare works. The first thing that gets pushed on to my face was a clipboard. The ER staff told me that I needed to fill out the paperwork before the shoulder could be put back in. I said, “I’m right handed. My right shoulder is out. I don’t think I can write.” They said, “No, no, no. That’s ok. Fill out as much as you can.” It was a four-page form. It drove the message very, very clearly that with all of the things that we’re doing with technology, healthcare is years behind.
Tal: I’m an eye surgeon. In the last 15 years, we’ve had technological advancements that are just incredible. The disconnect between what is technologically possible — where we’re cutting up eyes—to whats happening in my front desk is just shocking. It’s a fragmented system, so I’ve always thought that we needed to streamline this. Everything is already there. I knew the problem was the fragmentation of the electronic health records.
What is the biggest challenge you face? Have you seen it more of a challenge to get patients on board or doctors on board or are you hoping that patients come through doctors?
Sathish: Yosi was designed by doctors that understand doctor office workflow. Right from day one, we acknowledged it is important to make it as easy as we can to get physician adoption. Our web based SaaS platform is designed to support a doctor office workflow and it requires no clunky software installation. Doctors have been thrilled with how Yosi supports their office. Once we got the doctors excited, we are seeing an uptick in patient adoption. Once we start marketing directly to consumers, we expect the growth to be exponential. So to get the doctors on board Yosi with our slick software was the key to overcoming any adoption barriers.
Hari: Yosi is a B2B2C company. We don’t market directly to patients to drive patient engagement, because it’s very difficult both from a marketing perspective for a startup and from patient’s comfort level in putting their personal information onto an app. If someone came up to me and said, “put in your health information…tell me what allergies you have,” I’m going to probably not take them seriously. Going after the patient directly is not the ideal solution for us, which is why we’ve positioned ourselves to partner with doctors offices and practices. There needs to be a shift in consumer confidence about healthcare technology and we believe we are playing a key role in helping the shift.
How have you gone about reaching doctors?
Hari: One of the ways that has been effective so far, is going door to door. Going cold. That’s why New York is great for a company like us. There are 26,000 doctors in Manhattan. Most of the clients that we’ve signed up are basically cold, knock on the door. You get pushed back. You tell them what we do, get them interested and sign them up. Sometimes the challenge is to enable change. We have also been very fortunate that our clients are extremely pleased with Yosi and we get referred to other doctors.
What has been the most satisfying moment so far?
Hari: The first thing that was very satisfying was when we saw how Yosi was able to coordinate care for a patient. A patient completed their registration at a doctor’s office. When that patient was referred for a specialist office. The patient information was shared with the specialist office (with patient consent). The patient did not have to fill out any more paper work at the specialist office. The medical notes about the patient were sent in advance. So, to see that happen where we saw our vision of connecting patients and doctors was very gratifying. That was one of the moments in which we said, “You know what, if we can do it with one patient, we can do it with million patients and be a part of the change in our healthcare system.”
Sathish: Before the idea went full blown into development, Hari and I scoured the streets of New York, going from doctors office to doctors office. We collected each doctors own intake form and ended up gathering about 6,000 of them, all from different doctors. We created a mapping technology, which we have a provisional patent on, that takes health information and allows it mapped on to the different forms, in the appropriate fields. When we show this to the doctors, we generally get a ‘wow.’ And that right there is our foot in the door. That is every day satisfaction.
Tal: I agree. As I doctor, I looked at myself. I have a very tech-savvy office. Doctors are in the dark ages. Any patient we have under the age of 45, any millennial, and any post-millennial is shocked when they’re handed a clipboard. Post millennials have never even filled out a form. millennials know what it is but are disappointed. The ones that are now handed iPads really love it. That’s the goal - to make it so easy for the patients. They come in to see me and they say, “That was pretty cool.” It’s sort of what they expect with every other facet of their life, from transportation to retail but they’ve never seen it in a do
What would you see as success?
Hari: Immediate success for us is closing our financing round that gets us to an important milestone in how we scale the company. We have some very cool upgrades that we are about to launch and I’m excited about that. But, what’s fascinating for us is that the team we put together was passionate in our own way about technology and improving healthcare. A lot of us were driven by what we were able to solve and how we, as six individuals, could make a difference. That’s a sort of satisfaction, not a measure of success.
In 10 years, where do you see Yosi?
Tal: Do people think that far ahead?
Hari: In 10 years, the one measure that we want to see for ourselves is people having their Yosi health profile. The vision behind all this is to give patient’s access to their hhealth records in one simple, secure and convenient place and to allow them to transact with their doctors easily. There’s no limitation to how they can manage their health once they have access.
What apps do you use?
Hari: For someone that's passionate about using technology to solve healthcare challenges, I have zero social apps on my phone. I don’t use them. And I can’t be bothered with them.
Tal: I tend to use productivity apps and health apps.
Hari: Unfortunately, there is no overlap in those categories. We are trying to change that.
- Interviewed by H.B., ROKO Labs.