Dr. Rekha Bhandari
Conversation with Dr. Rekha Bhandari, CEO & Founder, Dejavu Health
Making Healthcare Records Consumer-Friendly
March 6, 2019
1. What is your business?
DejavuHealth.com is a healthcare technology solution that uses the power of blockchain to make it easier for people to manage their own health records. Our mission at Dejavu Health is to engage, enable, empower the consumer to take ownership of their own health.
There are many issues facing the healthcare system right now, and one of those issues is interoperability of systems like electronic healthcare record, electronic medical records resulting in fragmented care, duplication of services, high cost and at times poor patient outcome. Consumers or patients who are the center of this ecosystem have no ownership of their own health records. We are trying to fix that by using the power of indelible records found in Blockchain.
This problem of lack of interoperability isn’t only a problem for consumers. Real-time information isn’t available for physicians, clinical providers, and hospitals either, and this is especially a problem when patients use various clinical facilities for treatment. This leads to duplication of services and redundancy in clinical delivery, and sadly it results in inferior population health that costs more. This unnecessary extra cost is a problem for all Americans.
Dejavu Health solves this interoperability puzzle through a series of apps we are developing. Dejavu records the patient’s information and it becomes a transparent, immutable, and decentralized ledger that is confidential and HIPAA-compliant. All of the players in the ecosystem, Hospitals, Clinics, SNF, Clinical Providers, Pharmacy and most importantly the owner of the information, the consumer/patient can access the information.
KnoMyHealth is our first app and it is a multi-service solution. It allows the consumer to carry his or her medical records, interact with their providers, and have the capability to share and scan the needed medical information in real time. While the original concept was interoperability, we wondered what else we could do to improve consumer experience and engagement? Machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities within the app allows for more intuitive behaviors and rewards with Dejas Coins.
2. What made you decide to start your business and/or switch careers?
As a physician with a presence in various healthcare setups, I realized how patients, physicians, and health systems were struggling with the interoperability issue across the continuum. Once I understood how Blockchain worked, I realized that it would be incredibly valuable with personal health records. It is high time that healthcare systems partner and our innovative technology is the path for breaking changes that are duly needed.
We founded Dejavu Health in February 2018, and we are currently undergoing beta-testing of KnoMyHealth with 100 consumers. Globally, we are focused on the South-Asian market for population health solution based on the needs of specific geographic areas. For example, only around 27% of Indian health systems use electronic health records. When all of the systems are able to coordinate and speak to each other, we envision there to be a groundbreaking difference.
3. Was there one moment that gave you the confidence that this was a good idea?
I knew conceptually the vision was phenomenal. But my confidence came from family and friends who were able to connect to the idea at a granular level. Furthermore, the feedback we received from the users (beta testing) was very encouraging.
4. What obstacles did you face in getting started and thinking of yourself as an expert in a new setting?
I am a clinician, but to understand the technology was tough. There was extensive researching involved. I had to commit a lot of time to understand how blockchain worked and to conclude how to make it work with currently existing systems.
5. Were your family and friends helpful or obstacles in launching your business? How so?
The first believers in this product were my family and friends. They were the first to commit their investment to help me raise seed money. They were and are very supportive of the vision and the product.
6. Were there any partnerships or advice that were particularly helpful?
My Co-Founder has wealth of experience with start-ups, planning, and execution. Her technological background is one of the driving force behind Dejavu Health
7. How have you been able to grow professionally? What tools have you used?
For two decades, I have been practicing and teaching medicine to future medical professionals. This stems from my own desire to seek and explore new venues so that I may continue to learn, evolve and be more informed. Once I took on this role, I had to radically learn the new domain and come out of my comfort zone. It was also about getting a team together who believed in the vision and complemented each other.
8. Was outside funding/cost a challenge to getting your business off the ground?
Yes, it was. As with any new venture, it is a challenge to find someone who believes in you and your product.
9. What are some successes you have had with your business that make you proud?
We are still in infancy but one thing I can say with some certainty is that one day we can look back and proudly say- we were the leaders in changing the way healthcare is delivered.
10. What are some of the biggest positive or negative surprises in your business?
The biggest positive is the consumer adaptability. One of the biggest challenges is to make people understand why Dejavu Health is not one more health app. There are hundreds of health apps out there, so we really have to drive home the point that Dejavu is a one-stop solution with multiple integrated solutions running within.
11. Is your business impacted or helped by government regulations?
The confidentiality behind HIPAA is the most important regulation. And then there are small contracts between consumers and health systems that are something we need to comply with. Other than that, it’s immutable, transparent, and confidential so we would be in compliance with current healthcare needs.
12. What was the best and worst piece of advice you have received as you were starting your business?
The best advice was just to continue believing in our product and the solution it is providing. The worst advice was about how our solution is equivalent to cryptocurrency and that that e-currency of blockchain becomes cryptocurrency.
Date of conversation: December 27, 2018