Health Evolution | November 17, 2020
When Parag Paranjpe and the founding team started HealthLevel in 2010, the mission to democratize data and level the playing field to enable informed and impactful decision making for every participant in the care pathway.
Health Evolution interviewed Paranjpe about HealthLevel’s origin story, what to expect from the analytics moving forward and the accomplishments he is most proud of as a founder and CEO.
What is the inspiration fueling HealthLevel or its origin story?
Paranjpe: The origin of HealthLevel as a business idea goes back to the early 2000s when I and the founding team were with Stentor, a Philips Company with a large presence in health care medical devices. As product managers, one of the problems we faced immediately was that our clients had few if any helpful insights for vendors like us driving product development. They would invariably end up citing lack of data as the reason for not being able to offer better insights into their operations – insights that should have helped them realize ROI on the products we designed for them.
What they meant and we now know is that there was abundant data being generated in their ecosystem but they had no tools or means to harness this data in a meaningful and actionable manner. This manifested in inefficient workflows and bottle-necked operations with considerable impact downstream. Despite billions invested in medical equipment and related solutions, they lacked the capabilities to elicit data of value from their own systems for end-users, be it a CEO, manager, physician or other front-line support staff. To me this seemed draconian as imaging in health care generates some of the most time critical data for a spectrum of health conditions ranging from benign to life-threatening. The notion of such a large dataset not yielding value seemed like a huge gap that needed to be closed immediately.
That was when we decided to channel our energies towards solving this particular problem. We embarked on a mission to democratize data and level the playing field for every participant in the care pathway such that they could make informed and impactful decisions irrespective of their role and scope in the workflow and organization. What we are aiming for is not to disrupt the life of our providers, but to make it easier and have them achieve more meaningful outcomes on a daily basis. Our goal is to have data do its work so that providers could do theirs. We started HealthLevel in 2010 and since then haven’t looked back.
In a single customer deployment, we have over 5000 users on FoundationsTM, logged in round the clock across the 50 States. Designed for use with zero-training, the focus on end-users turned out to be a powerful idea according to our customers.
What should prospective clients expect in the next 18 months? The next 2-3 years?
Paranjpe: HealthLevel has witnessed continued success with our deployments for clients in the Veteran Healthcare space for imaging facilities such as Radiology and Cardiology. Given how our product has surpassed revenue expectations for clients, cost savings and better health outcomes for beneficiaries, we are poised for expansion in current VA markets. Solving the problem for a specific care pathway in VA Radiology helping our customers eliminate waste up to 30 percent in operations helped us understand that this was just the tip of the iceberg. We are planning to expand our presence in Government /Public healthcare and in commercial radiology, segments that continue to generate significant waste due to inherent operational inefficiencies.
Over the next 2 years HealthLevel is focused on a strategy that will leverage our strengths in pragmatic innovation for new offerings in the Payer markets addressing the Payer-provider continuum. While there have been significant strides since the ACA (Accountable Care Act) in making “value-based care” a reality, much of the success of this model depends on the ability of payers and providers to agree upon and execute successfully on mutually beneficial risk sharing arrangements. HealthLevel is on a foray into this space ripe for innovation. Even as the Triple aim framework has made the industry embrace a more patient centric paradigm, there is a significant quality (performance) component that relies on the payer-provider relationship. What we are looking to achieve is a baseline for data in this ecosystem that can drive consensus, trust and transparency between payers and providers on parameters/metrics that matter. Giving them the ability to negotiate high performance risk-sharing contracts and to forecast financial metrics against achievable goals will help bring in larger cohorts of the nation’s population under risk-sharing arrangements. We are in the PoC (Proof of Concept) phase for payer offerings and look forward to socializing our product roadmap in 2021.
Which accomplishments are you as a CEO and founder most proud of?
Paranjpe: I take great pride in our team that helped build HealthLevel and turned an idea into reality. Our most valuable assets are people, be it our team, our clients or partners. HealthLevel has developed a product that can realistically be applied to multiple use cases in healthcare and beyond. Most data driven AI solutions are built around data generated by the client’s ecosystem. However, we are differentiated in that we design for users, and around their role in the organization. Our solutions bring relevant data into their daily life with compassion, and with intuitive, actionable insights. End users should not be doing more than they already do. And CEOs should achieve better results than they have in the past
I am also proud of how we have impacted the lives of American veteran citizens, a fact that our clients have constantly vouched for. We did more than “develop a better mouse-trap”. As evidenced by our longest standing client NTP, a nationwide teleradiology practice owned by VHA (Veterans Health Administration). NTP was initiated to improve 24/7 access to imaging services in a timely manner for our veteran beneficiaries within the system. Over the last 10 years we have actually helped our clients surpass their own expectations on operational efficiencies and uncovered opportunities for strategic growth. Since deploying FoundationsTM, NTP has eliminated waste by up to 30%. And gained efficiencies enough to return anywhere from 5-15% of Gross Revenues to their clients, money that can now be used for other veteran health initiatives. Additionally, our clients have moved away from wanting to optimize their practice operations to planning for profitable growth and competing in markets with commercial players. This is a big win for HealthLevel just as it is for our clientele!
What is the most difficult challenge you have overcome on the road to success?
Paranjpe: Staying afloat as a bootstrapped startup. Keeping the lights on. Keeping customers engaged and happy by demonstrating value every step of the way. Experimenting with product ideas without losing our shirt in the process.
What advice would you give to other CEOs and founders?
Paranjpe: Be selective in adding features to a product. Build only those that can offer sustainable ROI/value. It is important to be relentless in finding value for all entities in the ecosystem. A quantifiable value proposition is critical to having multiple players adopt what you build.
Build for users. Develop passionate clients and users who will advocate for your solution.
Look for untapped opportunities – Clients start out conversations thinking they know what they want. But you can help them discover larger or different problems that when addressed could deliver greater value than they originally sought!
Believe in luck. The kind that can be contrived with effort and hard work. Luck is truly a dividend of sweat. The harder you work the luckier you get. The more opportunities and people you are exposed to the luckier you get
Invest in your team. Hire people smarter than yourself. Celebrate even the smallest of milestones with your team, not alone.