SkyFounder Spotlight: Nibha Aggarwal of SkyTeam iTreatMD
This week’s spotlight is on SkyTeam iTreatMD CEO and co-founder Nibha Aggarwal. iTreatMD provides a point of care app that guides clinicians with a check list to treat diseases and generates encounter notes for clinicians and personalized treatment plan for patients.
Q: What problem does your startup solve?
A: We are a point of care application for doctors, and it really helps to optimize their workflow. That’s the problem that we’re solving, and the biggest problem that the doctors face: they have to write a lot and document the encounter. These are called soap notes, and we automate them; as a result of that automation, they don’t have to type, which is what some doctors do for 1.5 hour up to 2 hours a day, or some of them get it dictated, which is very expensive.
Q: What was your experience before this startup?
A: I have spent a lot of time in customer care, so I know how to optimize workflow. As part of my previous job, we were working at AT&T and Sprint where they have 50,000 agents at a call center, for example. And their workflow is very varied, because people can call for a number of reasons. How do you optimize that? How do you make sure that an agent can answer your call in a shorter amount of time? Because time is money. And there, if you’re AT&T, and you have 50,000 agents, literally, every second counts. If you can shave 5 seconds of that call, that’s amazing. So I knew how to solve the problem and I knew how to optimize workflow.
Q: How has your startup evolved over time?
A: When we first went to market, we had this hypothesis that doctors were really going to be excited about the fact that we can give patient material. So the biggest problem that we started solving is that the doctor-patient encounter time is only 7 minutes on average. When the patient leaves, they leave with nothing. They go home and they accurately remember only one-fourth of what the doctor told them. This is a huge problem, especially for the elderly; they are hard of hearing, they’re anxious, there are many reasons they don’t know what to do. And we solved that problem by giving them a detailed treatment plan, written in grade five english, telling them exactly what to do.
So we started out with this hypothesis, that this would be really successful. And what we found out is that doctors want to take care of their patients, but at the same time, we can motivate them by solving their problem, which is the problem of documentation. So we got more and more into documentation, whereas previously we were on the patient education side.
The whole key is you have to help the doctors to help the patients. If we can’t help the doctors and the doctors don’t adapt, then they can’t help the patient. Now, many patients can go to the internet, but they don’t know what applies to them. It has to be triggered by the doctor, which is the only source that patients trust.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A: Solving the problems. So we are live with the customers, sitting down with them. Pretty much every customer of ours loves our product. Yes, there have been bugs, there have been issues, but we have resolved them very very quickly. One thing we pride ourselves on is customer service.
I think I love doing what I’m doing right now. We’re really helping. Yes, of course you want to do well and you want to make money. As a business, you have to make money, but here, you’re actually helping people.
Q: What is the biggest challenge your startup has faced so far?
A: The biggest challenge is going to market. You may have the most fantastic product, you might know it makes sense, the investors know how it makes sense, but there’s still things that come in the way. For large companies, it’s budgets, for example. For smaller companies, it’s getting the buy-in, getting the budget. We were constantly scanning the horizon, trying to decide what to do. And sometimes the answer is, “we will not do this.” That’s fine. The market is too small, the market is not adjacent to where we are selling, the market does not make sense. A lot of times, it’s where the product and the market meet. That’s the biggest part of the success for our company.