The healthcare industry is in dire need of a shake-up and Geeta has the experience and the vision to do it. We caught up with this dynamo entrepreneur to find out what she will be speaking about at our YBL conference in June.
Pursuing Real Change
AGEIST: Why would you leave the security of the corporate world to pursue a startup?
Geeta: Sometimes in one’s career I think it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself, what do you want to do for the next 3 years, 5 years, how you want to spend your talents and time, and then evaluate whether your current path is on track with that goal. We are at an inflection point in healthcare, consumer experience, digital transformation, and AI. I have been at the helm of all of these and driving transformations that are needed for the last 15 years and now, for me, it is about pursuing real change so the end consumer actually feels the impact of my efforts. That means executing with speed and agility, starting with an industry that needs it so badly. I also think I can be more effective, at least for the time being, to step outside of the corporate world to enable the change needed at a much more rapid pace. The industry is hungry and ripe for solutions that put the consumer first. Some might call me crazy, leaving the securities of the corporate world behind… but then again I think all great founders started with a little crazy.
A Broken System
AGEIST: This is an obvious question, but what would you say is broken about the US healthcare system?
Geeta: It’s a complex answer, as there are so many factors that come into play. For example, there is the shortage and burn-out of doctors, nurses, and caregivers who are trying to keep up with the demands of an aging and unhealthy population, who are living longer with multiple chronic conditions and who are more socially isolated. Then there are the layers of complexity that consumers have to self-navigate through and doctors have to daily work within to get reimbursed, impacting the amount of time they can actually spend with consumers diagnosing and treating them. All of this ultimately points to the waste and redundancy in this industry and to an unsustainable cost structure. Administrative and IT spend continues to increase for payers and providers, largely due to legacy systems made up of siloed solutions that have been cobbled together during the ’70s and ’80s that simply do not “talk” to each other and have poorly designed data models, where data and workflow are not easily ported between all the different entities. These, I think, are the more tangible problems.
If I take it up a notch, I also see an industry that fundamentally does not truly see who it serves: a consumer, not a patient. The term “patient” is an outdated term that has no place in today’s landscape; it carries with it outdated notions of someone who is long-suffering, able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
A Person First — Not Their Condition
I get the sentiment of wanting to extend compassion and not see people as transactions but I also think something happens to healthcare when they see someone as a patient, essentially a victim — it unintentionally gives them a free pass and that they don’t truly see consumers for who they really are: that is a person first and not their condition. We need healthcare to be on par with what we have learned to experience in other industries, that in the exchange of goods and services there are basic expectations that are met, e.g. prices of services, what to expect, when to expect it, the basic ability to do comparison shopping and make the most informed choice with our purchases. This industry desperately needs a good dose of consumerism.
AGEIST: How will the Consumer Society address the issues?
Geeta: Being an early-stage company, we thought long and hard about our focus and even what we called ourselves. We didn’t just want to be another company that tagged on “health” or “care.” We strive to be consumer activists at our core and have that reflected in our name and in the delivery or our services. We help companies to frame, design, shape and build experiences that put the consumer first — unequivocally, particularly in healthcare.
We intend to design, build and replace those very systems that were created in the ’70s and ’80’s with a cloud-based, decisions-driven, AI-enabled experience platform that will empower payers and providers to know their consumers at a personal level, earn their trust, engage them differently in their health, and empower them to be better consumers, all while drastically lowering their cost-to-serve and getting better health outcomes.
We will also help companies to pair up the human experience that goes well with the technology so the personal analog experience is also felt, whether that’s in their home or on their phone. We will target the most complex population first, the aging population, and address their distinct needs and preferences. Finally, technology will create an opportunity to unleash an army of caregivers into the industry that is recognized, supported and compensated for what they do and participate in the gig economy.
As a sidebar, I like to refer to the Consumer Society as having “hustle muscle” and that we make things happen, at an accelerated pace, working from the consumer back, and that all assumptions get tested and validated with actual consumers before we go to market.
Sharing Knowledge and Experience
AGEIST: You will be in conversation on stage at YBL with Paul Irving. What will you be wanting to ask him?
I think Paul has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to this demographic that I would want to tap into. I would be interested to learn what he views as the barriers with the healthcare system currently and what are the key issues that need to be overcome for people as they age and how can we support the idea of longevity.
We also know folks are nothing like those before them, so how has this population changed over time? How should we be communicating with this population? How is the notion of retirement being redefined and what is it that we as a society need to do to support that? How do we see the aging population currently and what do we need to do change that? What does this particular demographic have to offer that is important for us as a society to tap into?
What, if any, are good examples of organizations out there who speak to the advances we are making with this population?
Are you excited about the next decade as you are about your past decade? What keeps you moving forward with purpose and meaning? Living in LA, does aging mean we should strive to look or be paradoxically younger?
YBL: Intimate and Intentional
AGEIST: Besides the after party, what is most exciting to you about YBL? Who do you hope to meet there?
Geeta: In addition to spending time with the AGEIST group and their super cool CEO David Stewart, YBL is exciting because I will be meeting with like-minded people who are there to reframe the idea of what it is to age in this country and globally. It will also be the first-of-its-kind conference where we will be face to face, learning, listening, understanding, and reshaping our pre-conceived notions about this demographic. All with the intent of actually changing the experiences in our respective organizations. I am excited that I will be amongst a group of activists who are on a mission to change the way we interact, communicate and engage with this population. I don’t think it’s going to be like any other conference that I have been into — it’s going to be intimate and intentional.
Geeta will be speaking at the YBL conference, June 11 in Los Angeles. Get your tickets today.
Read here for YBL speaker Susan Feldman starting a business in her 60s
Read here for YBL speaker Naveen Jain on personalizing food as medicine
Read here about YBL and why AGEIST is doing this event