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Startup Interview: Docphin Co-founder

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We had a chance to talk to Mitesh Patel and Sachin Nanavati Co-Founders of Docphin: Doctor’s personalized health information network about their journey of creating one of the most innovative networks in the medical field. Take a look at the Q&A below.

How did you come up with Docphin?

M:. I was an undergrad at University of Michigan with Derek Juang while Sachin Nanavati was studying at Colombia. We were all going through our medical training when the idea struck. We were all looking at the same problem from a slightly different angle. And so, that is the problem we set out to solve.

S:. There are all kinds of research that is out there particularly medical research. The question then becomes how do you translate that into patient care? How can it reduce cost and save patients lives? When we thought about solving the problem, it wasn’t only to unlock it and make it easier to access. But, it was recognizing that if we were to solve the problem, it would have a tremendous impact on healthcare and as it relates to patients and quality of care and reducing costs.

So, how did you translate all that from a concept on paper to a fully fledged product?

M:. It took a while to get started. We started on the idea back in 2010 but really started working on it in 2011. The three got together, flushed out the idea and talked to over 100 physicians trying to figure out what they were doing, how they were going about their activities and how this could used within healthcare systems to improve patient care. Sometime in 2011 we had John over who is the lead developer of UPENN health system with indepth knowledge of medical field. We were able to build a prototype beta site that launched in November 2011. The day we launched we were covered in TechCrunch which was a really big deal. This accelerated over 1000 sign ups and we got all kinds of partners and investors and other interested people reaching out to us. We were at 3 institutions through May of 2012. By September we had built up a waitlist of over 50. So we were trying to keep up with the waitlist and really trying to get everyone on board. But the good thing is we had raised funds that enabled us recruit a development team. This way we were able to expand rapidly to over 100 hospitals in the country as of now.

 Take us through your SXSW experience.

M:. One thing we liked about SXSW was being in that environment with a group of people passionate about changing the way the world works, not only in healthcare but across all fields. I think there were over 500 startups that applied to the startup accelerator pitch competition. We were lucky to be chosen as one of the top eight for the healthcare category. That was great for us, for people to realize how much of an impact we have made so quickly. We were really excited. We only had two minutes for the first round and five minutes for the second round. SXSW did a great job at helping us facilitate. .

S:. The energy of that conference is pretty incredible. We have been to a bunch of these things. It was really important for us to get the team to rally around the competition. Getting everyone together was a pretty important juncture for the company.

Why is New York ideal for you?

 S:. Some obvious reasons for being in New York. The investment and the interest on entrepreneurship and in particular in the health tech space was of interest to us. We never at one time felt we were at a disadvantage being here versus Silicon Valley. So, for us, it’s always made sense for us to be here. It affords us many opportunities and this ecosystem continues to grow. There is such an emphasis on entrepreneurship.

We’ve worked in a couple of workspaces. The design and comfort level is there. Private office and everything is opened up. This encourages collaboration and there is the added benefit of being around other innovators on a daily basis.

 Where was the need the greatest?

M:. Stacks of journals. I would pay for those even though the hospital would pay for thousands of journals. Stack of journals that were high. Every time I would pick up a journal, it was like a 20 minute process. I would go through advertisements and articles and find those that Medical societies, staying on top of new medical guidelines and worked on converting those from paper journals to mobile to web. Smartphones have changed the way we view content.

Mobile tech on medical field?

 M:. Everybody has a phone. Whether it is medical research published in a top journal, or new clinical guidelines. To be able to have that at the touch of your fingers is a dramatic change from before. From going from paper to a computer where you can only access in a hospital to be able to just look something up. We built a whole social layer. You can see what articles are trending right now. We built niche communities that want to collaborate.

S: We have taken a consumer focused approach. That makes sense for how they live their daily life which is on the go.

 

We wish the team at Docphin the very best in this exciting journey ahead. we look forward to seeing them scale the heights of technology in the medical field.

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