Tag Archives: Healthcare

Eren Bali presenting Carbon

Eren Bali is co-founder and CEO of Carbon Health, a digital healthcare system and network where we’re investors.

In this talk from a recent Wired Health conference, Eren shares the source of his inspiration for Carbon, what the service looks like now, and where it’s likely to go in the future.

You can watch the 15 minute talk below.

Carbon’s new round

Carbon is a digital healthcare system where we’re seed investors.

The company recently announced its new funding round which brings the total funding raised by the company across two rounds to $6.5M. We participated in both rounds.

We welcome this round’s new investors including its lead BuildersVC to the company, and look forward to continuing to watch Carbon’s CEO Eren Bali and his team execute on their ambitious vision.

Carbon’s Android app

Carbon, a digital healthcare system where we’re investors, recently released its Android app. This complements Carbon’s existing iOS app to ensure that the company can serve the vast majority of smartphone users.

Carbon currently serves all of California with its virtual care, and offers in-person care at its 55 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco location.

So if you live in these areas, you can check out Carbon’s Android app to see just how Carbon uses technology to provide you with a significantly better virtual and in-clinic healthcare experience than traditional healthcare systems.

Carbon on Product Hunt

Carbon, a digital healthcare system where we’re investors, was trending on Product Hunt yesterday.

From an earlier post which I wrote on Carbon, “Carbon serves as a technology layer that takes care of the administrative tasks like registration, billing, and providing shared access to medical records which are currently the responsibility of hospitals, while letting doctors focus exclusively on what they do best, that is giving the actual care.”

You can check out Carbon’s Product Hunt page and read through the community’s feedback here.

Catastrophic care

I recently read the book Catastrophic Care by David Goldhill.

The book provides a great overview of the US healthcare industry with a specific focus on rising healthcare costs in the country which are already well above global averages. The book’s core argument is that while intermediaries like insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid should theoretically negotiate lower healthcare prices for patients than what patients who are at an informational disadvantage to healthcare providers could negotiate on their own, in practice these intermediaries are incentivized to increase their profits by covering more conditions and increasing premiums rather than controlling costs. The solution is to return to a structure where the patient is the payor for all but the truly catastrophic conditions that insurance was originally designed to cover.

If you want to read the full book including data and case studies of specific programs and treatments, you can buy it here.

Carbon

Carbon, where we’re investors, is looking to become the world’s largest hospital without owning any hospital buildings.

In practice, this means that Carbon serves as a technology layer that takes care of the administrative tasks like registration, billing, and providing shared access to medical records which are currently the responsibility of hospitals, while letting doctors focus exclusively on what they do best, that is giving the actual care.

The company is co-founded by Eren Bali, a co-founder of Udemy, the world’s largest school which doesn’t own any classrooms.

The company recently presented at TechCrunch Disrupt, and you can watch the full presentation below.

Healthcare problems

I visited the hospital earlier this week. I injured my fingers after tripping and falling over while running outside, and two of my fingers were in pain and swollen following the accident. Rather than wait it out, I decided to see the doctor.

The doctor identified that one of my fingers was broken and recommended that I undergo an operation to fix the fracture. Without going into specific probabilities, he shared that there was a good chance that the fracture would heal itself, but that he was recommending an operation to be on the safe side. He also shared that, if I decided to undergo the operation, it would need to be done within a week as it’s easier to operate on a broken finger than a partially healed one.

After hearing this information, I had two questions. What’s the doctor’s track record in correctly diagnosing the need for and correctly performing such operations, and what’s the price of the operation?

In most sectors, you know what you’re getting and what you’re giving. A product has consumer reviews and a price. This isn’t the case in healthcare.

Although there are doctor review sites, including our investment Doktorsitesi, the reviews at these sites only share what patients thought about a particular doctor. These reviews largely reflect how comfortable the doctor made the patient feel rather than the accuracy of the diagnosis and the success of the subsequent treatment.

In light of my specific circumstances, the reviews that I want to see include the fraction of a doctor’s visits where he recommended an operation (including how this figure compares to that of other doctors in the same role), and the success rate of the operations he performed. The first is a proxy for the correct diagnosis of the need for an operation (sometimes doctors recommend operations even though the patient doesn’t need them in order to earn more money), and the second is a proxy for the doctor’s abilities. Doctors and the hospitals that they work for have this information but they don’t share it with patients.

Getting information about the price of an operation is equally challenging. I asked my doctor what the price of the operation would be and he directed me to his assistant. I asked his assistant who directed me to the hospital’s administrative staff. The hospital’s administrative staff asked what percentage of the price of the operation will be covered by my health insurance. When I shared that I don’t know, they followed up with two potential prices for the operation.

The first price is if my insurance covers 100% of the operation, and the second is if I need to pay out-of-pocket. The first figure is higher than the second. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the first figure is just a headline number shown to the patient and the insurance company actually has a separate agreement with the hospital whereby it pays a lower price for the operation. I think you get the picture.

Our health is our most important asset. But when it comes to making buying decisions for our health, we don’t know what we’re getting, it’s very challenging to find out what we’re giving, and what we’re giving reflects our ability to give rather than the quality of what we’re getting. These are all problems to be solved.