BetterDoctor: Powering the Healthcare System
“Why don’t you just Google it?” The 21st century response to most of your difficult questions. In an era of instant gratification, Google has become your best friend. But what happens when it’s wrong?
For several years, Ari Tulla hit road block after road block. When a family health crisis hit, Tulla struggled to connect to the experts that could provide him with the help he needed. After all, finding a doctor shouldn’t be difficult. Yet Tulla received emails that bounced back, non-existent phone numbers, and accessible but unreliable information. He turned to his years of expertise to take matters into his own hands. Thus began the journey of BetterDoctor, which Tulla started with CTO and co-founder Tapio Tolvanen. Their goal was simple: to power the healthcare system with accurate, validated doctor data to help people find the right doctor when they need one.
BetterDoctor is a company dedicated to the development of software tools that bridge the gaps of information between every group affected by today’s healthcare system. Focusing on every level of healthcare, BetterDoctor creates tools for health groups to stay connected to their providers, for providers to connect with patients, and for patients to find information that is accessible and more importantly, trustworthy. BetterDoctor serves to bring forth accurate information to the people who need it, so that you can count on it when you need it most.
Most entrepreneurs have a defined mission. What is yours and how does it translate into BetterDoctor?
My mission is to help power the healthcare market with accurate doctor data. So many people, including myself, have had trouble finding doctors because online data is incorrect. Data inaccuracies lead to delayed treatments, huge out-of-network costs, and many other issues. This problem is personal for me. My family and I have struggled with medical issues in the past and I found myself using most of my time to search for doctors. At the time, I worked at Nokia building games and apps. I knew that there had to be a better way. BetterDoctor builds tools that bring trust, confidence & transparency to the process of finding a doctor. Today, our data and platforms are used by health plans, provider groups, web developers, and hundreds of practices around the country to help people find the right care.
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Describe the “Eureka moment.” When did you have it and what was the original idea that you had? How did your current model deviate?
The original idea spawned from my personal frustration of trying to find the right doctor for a complex family medical problem. Tools on the web didn’t help, information was hidden in multiple hard-to-access silos, and no one was able to help. The initial intent was to collect all relevant information in one database and offer it to all patients for free.
Moving forward, what was one of the most difficult lessons that you learned in your journey with BetterDoctor?
Making a real impact in healthcare is very hard. The market is complex and dominated by incumbents who want to build moats to uphold the status quo. As a start up you have to be nimble and willing to work with everyone without a big ego.
Photo Credit: BetterDoctor
Tell me about one of the best moments of your journey so far.
Every day I wake up and get excited about the new challenges. Not one day has been the same. The best moments come from teamwork, and witnessing the team take your initial idea much further than you
What are a few pieces of advice you would give to a budding entrepreneur or start up enthusiast?
Think twice before you start and ensure that you care about the industry, idea or concept you want to work on. Building your own business is a long journey. Many people get tired because they work on things that they really don’t care about.
Start now. It’s never too early or late to start your own business. Even if you fail you will learn more than you ever did at the cozy corporate job or while studying for an MBA.
Finally, what are a few of your guilty pleasures?
Surfing, snowboarding, and rock climbing are my “drugs” of choice. As you get older you get less extreme and now I sometimes skip a climbing session and have a cup of tea and very dark chocolate.
Recommended reading: “OPENTABLE FOR MD’S: BETTERDOCTOR LAUNCHES TO HELP YOU FIND THE BESTAVAVAILABLE CARE NEAR YOU”
Featured Image: BetterDoctor
This article was done in collaboration with Matthew Yip, a research student at the Frankland & Josselyn Lab at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada.