As we become CEOs of our healthcare, are we actually ready?

Steven Loeb · February 19, 2016 · Short URL:

The topic will be discussed at Vator Splash Health on February 23 at Kaiser Center

On February 23, Vator will hold its second annual Splash Health event at the Kaiser Center in Oakland. Some speakers include Vijay Pande, who runs Andreessen Horowitz's $200 million healthtech fund; Ali Diab, CEO of Collective Health; Helmy Eltoukhy, Founder & CEO of Guardant Health; Lynne Chou, Partner at Kleiner Perkins, and Rick Altinger, CEO of Glooko. (Get your tickets here, before they jump up next week!)

One of our panels will be called "Innovators in patient-centered healthcare," which will take a deep dive into how consumers become more accountable for their own healthcare. Bambi Francisco, Founder and CEO of Vator, believes that the closer people become more accountable for their healthcare, or in other words - become CEOs of their healthcare - the closer the country will get to right-sizing the ever-increasing healthcare costs.

Right now, it's pretty hard for people to understand healthcare pricing, mainly because it's mostly constructed by insurers. But each of our panelists are from companies that are facilitating this type of change.

  • One of the members of the panel will be Jason Oberfest, Founder and CEO of Mango Health.

Mango Health builds mobile products that allow consumers to lead healthier lives by better managing their medications. The company puts the patient back in control of their own health. The app includes dose reminders, and a health history for each patient, including recording their blood pressure, and recording their weight. 

Mango Health also provides its patients with information about their medications, including drug interactions and side effects. 

The app makes managing healthcare fun through gamification, with points and rewards for taking medication, which they can use gift cards and charitable donations in raffles every week.

"At Mango Health we definitely believe in the idea of healthcare customers taking charge of their care. We think that a key component of this trend is new products reaching the market that bring much higher standards of product design to healthcare," Oberfest told me.

"Our focus is to make a critical component of healthcare for millions of people—managing medications and other chronic care activities daily—much easier and more gratifying. We believe that people are ready to take on the responsibility of managing care daily if they are inspired by new product experiences on their mobile devices."

Founded in 2012, Mango Health has raised $8.3 million in venture funding from firms that include Baseline Ventures, Bullpen Capital, First Round, Floodgate, Kleiner Perkins and Rock Health.

  • Another of our panelists will be Vic Gundotra, CEO of AliveCor.

AliveCor develops a device that can turn any smartphone into a clinical-quality ECG recorder. The AliveCor Mobile ECG records accurate ECGs and heart rate, and allows users tio track medications, symptoms, such as palpitations and shortness of breath, habits like caffeine or alcohol consumption, and activities like exercise or sleep.

Users can easily and automatically share ECGs, AF episodes and symptoms they are feeling with their doctor. Over 5,000,000 ECGs have been recorded from around the world. So rather than sitting around waiting for an appointment, or wondering if something is wrong, people now can take control and tell their doctor right away if they are worried about their heart condition. 

The company has raised $13.5 million in venture funding from Burrill & Company, Khosla Ventures, Oklahoma Life Science Fund and Qualcomm Ventures.

  • Our third panelist will be Peter Shalek, Founder and CEO of Joyable.

Joyable is an online program for overcoming social anxiety. It takes cognitive behavioral therapy and automating it.

Its technology leads a person through a series of activities that educational, thinking and behavioral, to achieve their goals over a 12-week period. Joyable also assigns a coach or peer instructor to help encourage clients to get through the activities. 

Social anxiety affects more than 15 million Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 85 percent of sufferers are not receiving minimally adequate treatment, often because no local help is available or because this type of anxiety is a barrier to seeing a therapist in person. With Joyable, patients are given more resources to help solve their problem. 

Founded in 2014, Joyable has raised $10.1 million in venture funding from Thrive Capital and Harrison Metal.

This panel will be moderated by Stephanie Lee, Senior Technology Reporter at Buzzfeed

Are people ready to be the CEOs of their healthcare?

Even with companies like these three attempting to put people back in charge of aspects of their healthcare, are people actually ready to be in charge? Accolade, an on-demand healthcare concierge recently commissioned a national Harris Poll survey to find out.

The results show that there is a long way to go on this front. 

In all, 1,536 American adults with health insurance were polled, and hearly one third, 32 percent, said that they are uncomfortable with their personal knowledge and skills navigating their medical benefits and the healthcare system.

More than half of people said they were concerned about having to coordinate all the different aspects of benefits and healthcare, as well as selecting and understanding benefits.

But 80 percent said it would be valuable to have "a single trusted person/resource to help with all of their healthcare needs – such as selecting and using benefits, understanding treatment options, finding providers and coordinating care."

Interestingly, only 24 percent said that wellness tools and condition management programs would help, while 47 percent wanted that single person to help them. 

So not only do these companies have a way to go to convince people that they can take control of their healthcare, they also have work to do to convince them that those companies can help them do it. 

Shalek, though, does believe people are ready to take on this role.

He told me that, with traditional healthcare, it's nearly impossible to get answers to the questions that patients most need answered. That means everything from how much things will cost, and the outcomes they should see.  

"Without accurate information, people can't confidently take control of their own health. At Joyable, we publish the outcomes of our self-help program on our website, we clearly explain what individuals will have to do, and we share our pricing transparent. This enables our clients to decide if Joyable is right for them and then to act confidently," Shalek said.

 "People are absolutely ready to take on the responsibility. And they need to take on the responsibility. By empowering individuals to make choices and equipping them with the information needed, we'll improve our healthcare system. Once people can pick based on cost and quality, providers will be incentivized to innovate and lower cost while improving outcomes."

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Joyable aspires to free the world of anxiety and depression. Today, it is the leading online program for overcoming social anxiety, a treatable condition that affects more than 15 million Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 85 percent of sufferers are not receiving minimally adequate treatment, often because no local help is available or because this type of anxiety is a barrier to seeing a therapist in person. Joyable provides an effective and affordable online solution for overcoming social anxiety, based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combined with expert coaching to ensure clients are supported and encouraged to achieve their goals. Learn more about Joyable or take our Social Anxiety Test at


Vic Gundotra

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Peter Shalek

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Co-founder & CEO of Joyable, where we aspire to free the world of anxiety and depression. Former health tech investor, founded and sold my first company in college.