Sanjay Pathak, MPH, MBA, is a Senior Vice President of Market Development for Kyruus. Prior to Kyruus, he was a Senior Vice President at Brigham and Women’s Hospital - where he had responsibility for clinical operations including surgical, imaging and procedural services and directed the cardiovascular and cancer service lines.
Tell us about your background.
I started my career in management consulting, first with Cap Gemini and then Deloitte, where I directed large scale provider strategy, operations, and transformation engagements. I left consulting for the provider side, overseeing strategy and planning for Partners HealthCare and then moving onto Senior Vice President at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
In my capacity as a senior executive, I would get countless requests from friends, neighbors, and relatives asking for recommendations for the right cancer, cardiovascular, or orthopedics specialist and for help getting them into the Brigham or Dana-Farber. It was from these experiences that I came to appreciate how systemic Patient Access issues are. I knew the problem was not only local but national in scope.
When Graham and Julie presented Kyruus to me, I became really intrigued with their solution and eventually made the decision to join their team.
What compelled you to join Kyruus?
One of my responsibilities at the hospital was to help build a new Patient Access model for the Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. As we were evaluating technology solutions, Graham and Julie came to demo ProviderMatch. I was really intrigued with the solution and the unique concept of the match, which not only helped get patients into the system but helped get them to the right doctor the first time.
The Kyruus approach that Patient Access is, first and foremost, a clinical issue really appealed to me. I liked the idea that Kyruus was looking to change the game by providing access staff and consumers the ability to search for providers based on clinical conditions, symptoms, and procedures. The Kyruus Clinical Library really helped persuade me that the ProviderMatch solution was different. I think our health systems are seeing that the platform we have developed can really enable patients to get the care they need faster and ultimately improve outcomes.
What has your work at Kyruus taught you about providers and the challenges they face in delivering care?
Despite the breadth of my clinical operations background, I probably didn’t appreciate the the number of access channels that patients use to get appointments at hospital systems. I was aware that hospitals were investing heavily in their consumer facing portals and that some organizations had transitioned to centralized call centers, but I didn’t have a comprehensive view of some of the other avenues like discharge settings, referral units, and Urgent Care Centers.
Tell me about the evolution of our company over your two years with Kyruus.
It’s been incredible to see how the company has really come together over the past year. I am seeing a lot greater alignment between our engineering and product teams as well as continued development of our commercial team. This is manifesting in much better velocity on product releases and enhancements as we’ve gained a much deeper understanding of customer needs and built our internal teams to deliver on those needs from a product, technical, and delivery standpoint.
What excites you about the future of Patient Access?
I truly believe that consumer-driven healthcare will force Patient Access to become the new “mega” category within healthcare IT. When I first started in healthcare in the mid ‘90s, hospital systems were just starting to implement Enterprise Resource Planning systems. They realized the value of having a single platform to manage payroll, HR, accounts payable, and inventory management and they invested millions of dollars in ERP systems.
In the early 2000s, I saw the emergence of end-to-end solutions that allowed hospitals to have a single platform to manage revenue cycle. This market took off and hospitals and their related physician organizations invested significantly in transitioning to enterprise revenue cycle systems.
And more recently with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and Meaningful Use, we saw tremendous investments in enterprise EHR. I do believe we’re still at the early stages of the consumer-driven healthcare and that Patient Access will evolve into another major healthcare IT sector. I think what we’re doing now is unique from the past waves of health IT, and that’s why I’m very bullish on what we could be doing in this area in the next 5 years.
And what do you think that will look like?
There’s no question that consumer self-service is going to continue to be the driving force behind all the changes. Consumers want a similar experience as they currently expect with retail, financial services, and hospitality. Consumers want to play an increasingly important role in decisions regarding their care, the specialists they see, and the treatment options they pursue.
More and more healthcare leaders are embracing this patient experience trend and making investments in Patient Access and the lifetime value of the patient, such as centralized access and referral centers to better manage patient experience. More health systems will be making investments in higher skilled workers to provide a better first encounter with the patient and investing in platforms such as ProviderMatch.
Does that shift involve more cultural challenges or technical?
I don’t think the challenge is in technology. I think this is largely a cultural shift, and it won’t happen overnight. Policy around payment reform will help to facilitate that shift. And I think that’s another unique aspect of ProviderMatch. It’s a platform that supports hospitals as they operate in the current state, where fee-for-service is still the predominant form of payment, but it also positions the organizations to manage populations and coordinate care within a network moving forward.
Last question: do you still get calls asking for physician recommendations?
All the time. I bet I could pull up my email...see here, just yesterday, “Sanjay, do you know a good endocrinologist?” It keeps happening.