Ted Chan: CEO, CareDash

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Bio:

Ted Chan created CareDash after noticing two troubling trends on healthcare review sites: healthcare providers serving certain segments of the U.S. population were underrepresented, and many existing review sites accepted financial compensation in exchange for the removal of negative provider feedback. These practices have made access to information about the quality of provider care more difficult for many Americans. Utilizing his background in creating consumer-facing technology and his personal interest in social entrepreneurship, Ted created CareDash to address the need for transparency and improve the quality of healthcare information available for all Americans. Before CareDash, Ted founded Upward Mobility, a leader in mobile education delivery with more than 150 apps across six platforms, including PracticeQuiz.com (one of the world's most popular free test prep sites) and DynamicPath.com. Upward Mobility provides cost-effective educational materials to over 3 million users a year. Ted received his BA in History and Psychology with High Honors from Swarthmore College, and his MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

How did you get into the healthcare industry?

I had a very limited background in the healthcare space when I started CareDash. As an entrepreneur, I saw a consumer pain point worth working on – the lack of high quality, transparent information for those searching for a doctor. This came from a series of very personal experiences – loved ones and friends going through chronic health issues. I've found there are some advantages to being a pure disruptor in the space with an outside perspective. The healthcare industry is full of preconceived notions about how things need to be.

Are there any emerging healthcare industry trends?

There are a few convergent trends transforming the healthcare space. They are value-based care, big data/analytics, and the consumerization of healthcare. Innovative players are coming into the market and disrupting the way healthcare is delivered, improving quality while lowering cost – i.e., value-based care. The way they are doing this is highly data-driven and innovative.  Scaling providers like Iora and Oak Street are great example of using new delivery models and analytics to improve patient outcomes in a holistic and cost-effective manner.   

Additionally there is a shift from "the doctor is responsible" to a model that is more team-based, with specialized roles. These approaches feel more retail in a way I think is positive – more personalized and patient-centric.

These disruptive approaches are now flowing through as traditional healthcare ecosystem players try to catch up. We’re most excited to help educate the market about the innovators.  

What are the opportunities and challenges in the healthcare space?

I sort the maturity of industries by the quality of their data. There's a reason my team is basically all data scientists and data analysts. We saw an opportunity to truly be the transparency leader in healthcare, and we're proud to be one of the companies working on it. But providing good information requires good data, and in healthcare, that means wrangling messy data.

With a great data team, we can also create tools and analysis that are innovative in the space and provide real value for the customer. For instance, we have made a real effort to put the pharma payments accepted by doctors on each page. This isn't to antagonize doctors, but rather because we think it's important that patients be aware of the practice and how it might impact prescribing patterns. For many patients, it's not just "Do you need this drug?" It's that a co-pay for a brand over a generic might be a substantial part of their discretionary income.

What was the inspiration for CareDash?

CareDash comes from my personal experiences, and those of my loved ones, with the American healthcare system. We found it hard to get reliable information. Review sites were stuffed with bot reviews or incomplete/incorrect data. Building a disruptor in a space with many existing players and old guard brands might have seemed like a boondoggle from the outside. Digging into it, I found that many of the existing doctor review websites were ghost ships or had business models that didn’t give them any real reason to represent the patient. That for me was the pain point and the opportunity.

What's next for CareDash?

Right now, CareDash is focused on scaling up its outreach to practices, health systems, and other practitioners. To be the best place to research, verify eligibility, and book doctors and other healthcare providers, we need to have direct relationships and integrate their data into our user experience.

Your key initiatives for the success of the CareDash?

My focus is on laying out the strategic path we'll have to take to be the market leader in healthcare transparency and being the best place to find a doctor. I'm a hands-on CEO, and I touch every piece of the business from data to user experience to analytics to partnership development.

What was your most difficult moment at CareDash? (and what did you learn?)

2017 was a mental challenge for us. We felt like we had built a pretty good product, but we weren't getting much traction. I started to worry about keeping this amazing team we have. Progress with startups is lumpy, but the mindset is very month to month with your team. A slow growth quarter feels like forever and a day.  

Most people looking at us think we're growing crazy fast, especially when compared to Health IT peers. We pulled together as a team and worked harder than ever, making the product better to win traction with the consumer.

What is the ideal experience for a patient going to CareDash?

CareDash’s mission is to be the best place to research a provider, eligibility, and book an appointment. It sounds simple, but first you have to wrangle the data that makes that possible. Then you need to build a great user experience around it. And at every step, you must resist the temptation to relax your commitment to the most important stakeholder – patients.

How do you keep the CareDash team interested?

Ben Horowitz from Andreesen Horowitz said, “The Story is the Strategy.” Everyone at CareDash is rowing the same way because we have a great understanding of where we need to go and why it's important. We're inspired by our mission to transform the patient experience. We hire top talent from great schools, people who are motivated and passionate – they care about their work and each other.

Do you have any career advice to those in your industry?

I love disruption. Ask what incumbent leaders in an industry can’t do, and do it.    

There are countless opportunities to do that in healthcare.