David Vivero is co-founder and CEO of Amino, a new consumer health care company that empowers people to make confident health care decisions, starting with the doctors they choose. He guides the vision and direction of the company and its personalized, data-driven approach to health care.
Previously, David was VP of Rentals at Zillow, responsible for the world’s largest online rental marketplace. He arrived at Zillow after the company acquired RentJuice, which he co-founded in 2008. David is also a General Partner at Red Swan Ventures, a seed investment fund that has supported Warby Parker, Birchbox, AltSchool, and dozens of other high growth companies. A Forbes "30 Under 30" entrepreneur, David has been quoted in Forbes, New York Times, TIME, TechCrunch and more. He holds a BA and MBA from Harvard University.
How did you get into the industry?
Before Amino, I founded an online apartment rental service called RentJuice, which was acquired by Zillow in 2012. I was inspired to start Amino after a frustrating experience of having to switch insurance plans and find a doctor for my specific health care needs (turns out recommendations from friends and family aren’t enough when you have a rare condition like hemochromatosis). I realized that I could tap my experience applying data and information to help inform consumer decisions in the housing market and use it to improve health care for everyone. With Amino, we are leveraging existing, albeit siloed, data sources to create a consumer interface for health care and help people make more confident decisions.
Any emerging industry trends?
There is certainly a growing trend of leveraging big data across industries (retail, transportation, housing), and health care is ripe for a transformation. A number of US government reforms (including the 21st Century Cures Act and CMS’ data sharing program), coupled with increasing adoption and use of digital health data, have really opened up the field in the past few years. Big data is being used to predict epidemics and assess local health care needs, promote system efficiencies and profitability, and, increasingly, bring transparency to consumers like never before. We at Amino are riding on this trend, having spent the past two years compiling a dynamic, patient de-identified database from this ever-growing health care paper trail in order to empower consumers.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
There are a number of challenges working in the health care industry, regardless of what you’re building or whom you’re serving. Many people cite HIPAA as a big hurdle, but we actually see it as a great win for consumer access to valuable health care information. The real challenge in our mind is working with siloed, complex data sources – obtaining the data, aggregating it, and translating it so it’s useful and meaningful to consumers. Data such as ICD-10 codes were never made for consumers’ eyes, but they can help consumers understand doctor practice patterns, outcomes, and more.
As for opportunities, patients are increasingly becoming active consumers in health care and are eager for more (and better) information that can help them navigate the health care system. Case in point: 1 in 20 searches on Google are health related, and WebMD gets more than 154 million visits per month. People are also bearing more of the cost burden, and having to make tough choices about where and when to get care. There’s tons of room for companies and organizations to meet consumers where they are and provide them with personalized information that can make a difference in their care.
Inspiration for Amino, and your vision for it?
I was inspired to start Amino after going through a very frustrating, time-consuming process to find a doctor for a rare metabolic condition (hemochromatosis) that accepted my insurance. I was shocked by the lack of resources and highly-biased, ad-driven information on the web and wanted to do something. There was simply no consumer interface for health care. The idea for Amino was born, and we spent the last two years aggregating, organizing, de-identifying, and weaving together highly complex medical data to create the single best picture of what’s happening in American health care for everyone to see.
What's next for Amino in the near future?
In addition to Amino’s platform to help people find and book doctors, we will be rolling out a series of products and services, based on our unbiased and proprietary database, that will help with questions about other aspects of health care, including facility quality, physician outcomes, treatment options, and cost. We also plan to open up our database to researchers and companies who can leverage insights to better understand American health care and improve processes and outcomes.
Your key initiatives for the success of Amino?
Earlier this year, Amino achieved Qualified Entity (QE) Status under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' data sharing program, making our organization the first for-profit company to receive a complete set of national, physician-level claims data from Medicare. These CMS claims are being added to Amino's expanding database. With this milestone partnership with CMS, we’re able to continue to build on our industry-leading database, and, for the first time ever, give people an unprecedented resource for navigating health care throughout their lifetimes.
Most recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services certified Amino to define new health care quality measures specifically aimed at helping consumers make better health care decisions. Amino is now one of only two Consensus-Based Entities (CBEs) under Medicare's Data Sharing Program, and the only for-profit organization to propose consumer-first quality measures. With this certification, Amino will define and seek public approval for 'standard measures' that can be utilized by other companies working with CMS data. These recent endorsements from CMS acknowledge Amino's mission to paint the clearest picture of health care for all Americans, as well as its strong commitment to patient privacy and data security.
Additionally, Amino is also working to paint a clear picture of American health care through data journalism and reporting, recognizing a huge need in the market for comprehensive and accessible data. These reports have uncovered average C-section rates across America down to zipcodes, highlighted IUD utilization among new moms, and confirmed comorbidities for common gut issues (for instance IBS and migraines). These have garnered attention from top tier media and researchers, and led to strong consumer and partner interest.
Your most difficult moment at Amino? (and what did you learn?)
Licensing our first health care data. We had no health care experience, were barely financed, and had to convince much larger players to work with us. I learned that every industry is just about people: before a partnership can work, you should understand what motivates your partner. Early entrepreneurship requires being resilient about your vision while also listening to others’ needs. That transcends any industry or company size.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Although health care is critical to our society, it is currently not oriented around the people who matter most – the consumers. While there’s a wealth of resources for consumers when making decisions around food, travel, and home-buying, there is shockingly still a lack of information available to us when making choices about health care, when differences exist and they can matter to the quality or cost of care. Amino makes it easier for patients to choose the best doctors for their specific problems. Amino’s data-driven, personalized service allows anyone to find and book an appointment with doctors based on their experience with specific conditions or procedures, accepted insurance, location, and more – something that was impossible to do prior to Amino.
How do you motivate others?
Amino is all about the mission: to connect everyone to the best possible care. We are reminded of our mission every time we share our own health care journeys with each other or see some of the notes our users share with us. In the end, I try to make sure each person is challenged by their work, connected to the impact it could have, and supported in every way we can. I ask these questions explicitly during monthly costs with each team member.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Surround yourself with people you'd want to work with forever. At Amino, I'm privileged to work with a team of people whom I began working with at Zillow/RentJuice, and I expect we will work together for a long time. Invest in your relationships because you never know how many ways there will be to collaborate in the long run!