Entrepreneur of the Week: Randy Farr, Healthspek, Co-Founder & CEO
Healthspek is a free app that manages all personal and family health information in one secure place, accessible from multiple devices anywhere in the world.
The unique myDashboard helps consumers manage medications, track vitals and access care. Users can also record physician, insurance and emergency contacts, a personal photograph and even a signature, as well as allergies, medical charts, legal documents and more.
We spoke to co-founder and CEO, Randy Farr about Healthspek and the opportunity he sees in the 50+ market.
Longevity Network: What does Healthspek do?
Randy Farr: At Healthspek, we’re all about empowering a consumer over her personal healthcare for a lifetime. We make it easy for a person to gather and organize her records into one cloud-based spot. More importantly, that person can instantly and securely provide that record to any healthcare professional through a dedicated website called ChartNow.com. So, for the consumer, there is no more waiting for one doctor to send records to another doctor. The consumer controls the flow and access – and all of it is free to both provider and patient.
Further, we provide a platform called myDashboard for consumers to do things like self-manage their meds, find emergency care, see articles of interest, find health insurance, etc.
We exist to liberate the healthcare consumer.
LN: What opportunity did you see that you wanted to address with Healthspek?
RF: Bruce (LeFew, COO and Co-founder of Healthspek) and I lived in the world of physician offices for a decade. We provided software that automated clinical and billing record keeping (EHRs). When you live in that environment, you see a lot of frustration in doctors and patients with things that would be routine in any other industry. For example, records not getting transferred or not even existing. This results in duplicate labs or scans and perhaps physicians guessing about drugs and family history. That inefficiency creates enormous problems in the quality of care for individuals, not to mention the cost of delivery.
Part of the problem is technical (lack of standards), part is no motivation for providers and vendors to share, and then there are the legal hurdles (HIPAA privacy). We solved that lack of fluidity by avoiding the bureaucracy and putting the patient in charge. For example, there are no privacy issues if the patient himself shares the record with a doctor – as there would be if it were from one doctor to another. And who is better motivated to make sure records are shared than the patient? Healthspek provides that tool.
LN: What shortcomings did existing products in your field have?
RF: None of our competitors has understood the need for making the distribution of your health record instant, anytime, and anywhere. Our implementation of ChartNow is unique in its combination of security and immediacy, on any device from anywhere in the world. And adding a low-tech CarryCard with a unique ChartNow code is highly favored by our users.
LN: Who are your users?
RF: Broadly, our users are anyone concerned enough about her healthcare to take charge. Demographically it results in users that are engaged 50+ individuals. They may be managing their own healthcare or engaged in caregiving for parents. Another key constituency tends to be young mothers.
Our users are also interested in healthcare more conceptually. Like: What’s new? Where can I go for this service or product? This makes them ideal candidates for businesses to reach through our dashboard “marketplace.”
LN: How did you assemble your team?
RF: As I mentioned, we come from a decade of experience mired in the detailed level of care giving in doctors’ offices. It was the perfect vantage to know all that is needed to be part of our offering. Our other team members (product development, admin, and business development) are hand-picked. Energy and motivation is more important to us than degrees or pedigree. We have a great team that is highly interested in solving the problems that Healthspek is here to solve.
LN: How has what happened with Healthspek differed from what you imagined would happen with Healthspek?
RF: Good question. Nothing ever goes as you originally imagined it. As an example, last year we discovered that there was a natural match between genetic testing and having the best of breed personal health record on the market. It occurred to us that our health record could be thought of as a life-time wallet. As such we filled the need of the exploding genetic testing business to have a relevant place to store results for the consumer. Let me explain. Genetic test results are permanent for life, unlike cholesterol, PT/INR, HbA1C, or any other traditional test whose results have diminishing value.
So we recognized the natural fit between offering genetic testing to consumers and having their results automatically stored for life with all their other health records. What a great lifetime resource! We created, and now have in place, our first of many genetic tests that give our consumers information on how they process most medications, normally or abnormally. This is extremely valuable information to have now, and for life, as doctors prescribe medications for you.
True to our mission, we have empowered the consumer to perform this test in the comfort of his home, and the results appear less than two weeks later in their Healthspek account.
We never would have imagined being in genetic testing two years ago. But here we are.
LN: What do you wish you had known before starting Healthspek?
RF: I’ll turn this question on its head. I’m glad I didn’t know how long it takes to get great things accomplished, such as developing award-winning software and creating a genetic test that is frictionless for the consumer. But now, on the other side of these efforts, I’m super excited and proud of what we’ve done. We are making a real contribution to the new trajectory of healthcare.
LN: What most excites you about health tech for the 50+ market?
RF: The 50+ market are heavy healthcare consumers – so there is a lot of good that can be done in terms of empowering, improving care and finding value for the consumer. All of this is needed at this pivot point of Healthcare in the U.S. We want to be a major instigator in those trends. To us, that’s exciting.
LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the 50+ market?
RF: Have patience. Everything takes time and the 50+ crowd are a deliberate and discriminating bunch who have seen enough in life to be appropriately careful. That’s a good thing.
LN: Where do you see Healthspek five years from now?
RF: I don’t. It sounds weird, but I withhold my judgment on our 5-year what-will-we-look-like. All I know is that we will continue a leading and innovative role in changing how consumers engage in healthcare. That’s our job.
And if we continue our success trajectory, the future will take care of itself. Experience has taught me that predicting the future is less necessary than engaging with and shaping the change elements of your market every day.
LN: What health or wellness technology do you hope exists by the time you retire?
RF: I like nanobots in your tissue and blood stream. That will be so cool — real-time, streaming data that can alert you to immediate and long term problems.
LN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
RF: I really like chocolate.