We continue our Experts in Patient Access series with Vinay Seth Mohta, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Kyruus. Before joining Kyruus, Vinay held roles in search and analytics at Endeca and Kayak, and he comes from a family with several doctors. Read what Vinay has to say about his history at Kyruus, the patient access challenges facing healthcare today, and what he has learned from founding a startup.
What compelled you to start Kyruus?
I wanted to solve a huge problem and instinctively felt that better patient-provider matching was going to be such a challenge. There were a confluence of changes happening when we started the company that supported the idea that 2010/2011 was the right time. We started with the premise that data is going to be key. Readily available physician data was proliferating, and the bar was relatively low in terms of solving this compelling problem for the three stakeholders - the hospital, the patient, and the provider.
We didn’t even know it would be called “Patient Access” when we started - we just started with the premise that we could do a better job matching patients to doctors.
Tell us about your background and how your previous experience has contributed to your work at Kyruus.
I come from an enterprise software background. Early in my career I developed software and have spent most of my more recent years at the intersection of business and technology.
I focused on search and analytics at Endeca and then on the consumer and digital marketing side at Kayak. The consumer piece was interesting because the things that matter to consumers are really different than the enterprise. Early on we flirted with the idea of going direct to consumer and have a kyruus.com destination site, so it was helpful to have that background.
What have you learned about our customers and the challenges they face in delivering care?
Surprisingly, it’s not very clear who owns solving the problem of getting patients to the right doctor.
Another is the evolution of provider data management in the last few years. When we first started, people were mostly focused on population health and population-related data management. There was a lot of interest in patient de-duplication, master patient index, risk stratification, and attribution - but all focused on the patient. Now people are asking for provider data management solutions or actively recognizing that they need to solve that problem first before they can solve the patient access problem or build sophisticated digital consumer experiences.
Even in the population health use case, you need to deduplicate providers so you can attribute cost and quality properly. So getting the provider data right is key to solving some of the problems they thought were solved.
What’s one of your most important startup lessons?
Don’t hire people until you’re absolutely desperate for more help in a specific area where the need is abundantly clear. Desperation focuses your priorities and allows you to narrow in on who is the right person and what is the role they’ll play because you’re feeling a particular kind of pain.
Know what you need for your stage. In a startup, you tend to start with generalists who are raw horsepower and have broad experience. Over time, as you scale, you identify specific functional needs for which you can hire folks with specific experience in that area.
Support your team’s ability to take risks because that is how you will innovate. A startup starts as a bundle of risks and as you scale, it eventually gets beaten out. I’ve shied away from creating an Innovation Group and giving a few people a monopoly on that. Instead, I try to build a culture that encourages natural curiosity and exploration.
Be open to the innovation that is happening outside your organization and how it can be applied to accelerate your roadmap. For example, we needed to put more infrastructure around our API to provide authentication and to throttle the number of requests that come in. Someone found a product that does this for any API. It required some work but was really cool and will help us scale the capabilities across a much broader set of APIs over time.
What excites you about the future of Patient Access?
I think this is a category that will define a decade of innovation in healthcare. It’s almost shocking that it’s taken so long to figure out how to get patients to the right doctor. And once you see the clinical benefits of it, there’s no turning back. Our role in supporting organizations and helping to catalyze that for them is very exciting.
What do you love most about your job?
I’ve always enjoyed being at the intersection of business and technology and I can move relatively easily between those two roles at a product company. It’s fun to be close to the buyers and users and have the direct level of feedback around the capabilities that we enable. Also the rapid pace of innovation - what we’ve built was not possible to build 5-10 years ago, at least for the cost and at the scale and speed that we can today.