Healthcare miscommunications could soon become a thing of the past with an emerging mobile and web platform that helps doctors keep track of everything that’s said and done to each individual patient.
Caremerge was founded by Asif Khan to make sure that medical professionals never misstep in their treatment, giving them access to a comprehensive record of each patient. The collaborative platform is looking to bring the chaotic whirlwind of medical information into a centralized service, pushing the information automatically to each healthcare professional as they need it.
We talked with Khan about his revolutionary healthcare product that’s bringing true collaboration to the field and the emergency trip that sparked the idea behind Caremerge.
What is the inspiration behind Caremerge?
My background has been with GE over 12 years, most of it at GE Healthcare IT business, where I was a global product manager. I was involved in various different teams and trying to see how we can exchange information in healthcare by using standards.
As this was happening my mom got terribly ill and she was put on ventilators. My mom and my dad were volunteering in a developing country at the time. It took me three days to get there and when I got there I realized that, as my dad was going through paperwork, he didn’t know all my mom’s medical information.
I was really upset with him because he doesn’t have his act together and he asked me, “You live in the United States—do you know which medications you took three months ago or which doctors your wife is going and seeing?”
That was an eye opening moment for me. I thought, Wait a second, he’s right. Here I am in a developing country but it’s no better back home in the US. That was when I left GE and started Caremerge. That was the fundamental reason behind it.
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I think all my life I’ve been an entrepreneur, from the time when I was nine years old and convinced all the neighborhood kids that we could open up a library. We brought everybody’s books together and we labeled all of them and we had a big board outside where people could come and rent or use books and pay a fee.
It was crazy. All the parents of the other kids got upset. “Why are you taking books? You need to pay me back.” It didn’t last very long.
I think I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Even at GE I did a lot of entrepreneurial stuff. I would quickly turn poorly performing products into blockbuster products.
It was just a matter of time that I wanted to make sure that I had the experience or professionalism to get to a point to be an entrepreneur. Not that you need it these days, but there’s a time and a place for everything and I think it was time for me to move forward.
What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing today with your startup?
It seems like these days it’s a lack of available capital. That’s what it seems like, at least in the Midwest. A lot of people have to travel out west to gain access to it.
I think that’s the challenging part of this point in time. We have paying customers and we’re in early growth mode, so it’s tough to break away from all the great things we’re doing for the company and spending time on raising money.
I just feel like we’re not doing justice to our customers or to the product but you just have to deal with it and go do it. That’s the most challenging part at this time.
What tends to be your daily soundtrack around the office?
I actually try not to get extra noise in my head. I guess everybody’s different. The only time I listen to music or do something is when I’m running or doing exercise or something because then I need my mind to clear out.
At work I’m a little different than others. I just want to have complete focus on what I’m doing because songs and all this other stuff distract you and take you somewhere else sometimes.
If you sold your company today for $10 billion, what’s the first thing you would do with the money?I think with that much money the first thing I’d do would be to put some type of process, at least in the Midwest, to give entrepreneurs good access to capital. That amount of money could help other entrepreneurs like me who are feeling challenges at this point in time.
If you could add one person to your team today, who would you choose?
One thing we’re looking for is someone with significant connections in long-term care to kind of get us moving forward. With that immediate need in mind -- when you’re thinking about it you can always have some visionary people on the team.
Obviously you want to have Steve Jobs on your team or something like that, but realistically we’re looking for someone with significant expertise in long-term care and really good connections. I think that will go a long way.
What’s in store this year for Caremerge?
It’s an exciting time for us. We’ve got a lot of momentum building; we’re not only growing with respect to our direct sales, but also signing some really large customers -- customers with 50 plus facilities. We’re already very much engaged with them and that’s important.
We’re signing partnerships with other technology products in healthcare because our product compliments a lot of the technology in long-term care and senior living. We’re partnering with a lot of technology vendors to become our channels.
Posted By Adam Fridman