An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Arvind Raichur (co-founder and CEO) of DrOwl, which was honored in our:
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in New Mexico
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Albuquerque
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in New Mexico
Tell us the origin story of DrOwl – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
I’ve always had an interest in creative problem-solving and finding new ways to use technology to help make people’s lives better. I’m a serial entrepreneur who has founded four companies, including my latest company, DrOwl, a HIPAA-compliant platform that empowers people to better understand their health by enabling them to access, understand, and share their medical records.
Life lessons can come at the most unexpected times. One such important lesson came unexpectedly during the last couple of years of my mom’s life when my wife and I became her caregivers. She had a number of health-related issues which caused her to be frequently admitted to the hospital, including living with one kidney, several heart attacks, and breast cancer.
We quickly learned that in an emergency, the medical professionals providing her care had trouble seeing a full clinical picture of her conditions and medications. Her medical history was from too many sources and they simply didn’t have enough time to go through the stacks of records. As her caregivers, we kept repeating the same information about her conditions, medications, and allergies to every new medical practitioner who took care of her. This experience taught us how critically important it was to have access to an up-to-date summary of her medical history so that we could effectively advocate on her behalf to help ensure that she got the best possible care and outcomes.
Our frustrations with the experience led to conversations about what we as entrepreneurs could do to help make it a better experience for other families. This inspired us to create DrOwl, a HIPAA-compliant platform which empowers people to better understand their health and can help lead to a better quality of care/improved outcomes.
On DrOwl, users add their medical history to DrOwl from thousands of providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, and receive a combined health report summary of their conditions, medications, and allergies, that is searchable and shareable. It’s also written in easy-to-understand language so that patients and their families can better understand their health. When we were taking care of my mom, having this type of electronic resource would have made a dramatic difference in our experience.
What does the future hold for DrOwl?
Healthcare is complex and the common thread throughout your medical history is you, the patient. The Cures Act and Information Blocking regulations that went into effect in 2021 require that providers give patients access to their records from third-party apps upon request. Consumers are growing more aware of their right to their medical records, which will help lead to better patient outcomes and lower costs for everyone.
Unfortunately, providers don’t always have visibility into a holistic view of your full medical records and what other specialists are treating or prescribing. Studies have shown that mistakes are the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S.
When we were taking care of my mom, we found out that she had a major allergy to a specific medication. She had been prescribed a common medication for her breathing problems and suffered a heart attack. Unfortunately, new doctors still tried to prescribe the same medication to her based on their lack of visibility into her medical history. Had we not been there and been able to point out her allergy, she may have been given that drug again and could have suffered another heart attack.
What your medical records say is essential to your health. Mistakes in them can lead to serious consequences, which is why it’s important to make sure that your medical records are correct before an emergency happens.
Medical practitioners rely on the information in your medical history to make crucial decisions. Visibility into that history is critical for providers because everything is interconnected. It is the foundation for them to make an accurate diagnosis and create the right treatment plan. DrOwl enables people to easily share their medical history on-demand with providers, caregivers, or family members as needed.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Sometimes a little extra motivational boost is what a business needs to grow. Inspiration can be important for newer entrepreneurs who may feel lost or overwhelmed in the early stages of their growth. The book You Only Have to Be Right Once by Randall Lane has helped to guide me along the way. Lane tells stories in the book about successful leading companies like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, and others. Knowing the stories of successful companies can help inspire new ideas and help give you a boost when you feel like giving up. Refusing to give up is what will make you successful, and sometimes a little motivational boost is what a business needs to grow.