An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Ed Park (co-founder and CEO) of Devoted Health, which was honored in our:
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in the US
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Massachusetts
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Waltham
Tell us the origin story of Devoted Health – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
My parents instilled in my brother and me the importance of service to others, of using everything at our disposal to improve the lives of those around us. As we looked at the healthcare experience for older Americans, we saw a fragmented and uncoordinated system resulting in massive gaps in preventative care that cost lives and consumed unnecessary expenses. We asked ourselves what we could do to help enact the meaningful change our country’s seniors deserve in order to improve outcomes and save lives.
With this as our guiding star, we set out on a mission to dramatically improve the health and well-being of older Americans by caring for each and every person like they’re our own family. This work culminated in Devoted Health, an all-in-one healthcare company combining Devoted Health Medicare Advantage plans, access to top local providers alongside virtual and in-home care delivered by Devoted Medical, full-service guides, and world-class technology powering it all.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
While we always intended to deliver care primarily telemedically, we initially focused on delivering in-person house calls due to members’ preferences. All of that changed with the onset of the COVID pandemic, however, when we ceased to be able to visit members in their homes and simultaneously were confronted with an unprecedented need to get them care in their homes.
To meet this challenge, we radically accelerated the use of telemedicine to deliver Devoted Medical services. Our members, given the circumstances, became much more receptive to virtual care, and we mobilized an intense effort to pioneer terrific telemedical care oriented toward seniors’ needs. We built our own video conferencing software module specifically designed to offer ease of use for even the most technologically-challenged seniors. For members without their own devices, we shipped them cellular-equipped iPads to enable video visits. We provided members with pulse oximeters, wireless scales, wireless blood pressure cuffs, and more, and incorporated data from these devices into our software platform for continuous monitoring, analysis, and action. As a result, we built the first truly great virtual care provider for older Americans, one whose progress continues to accelerate (and note that over 90% of Devoted Medical’s care today continues to be delivered telemedically).
What does the future hold for Devoted Health?
After over five years of painstakingly building Devoted Health from scratch, we’ve seen the impact. We are now ready to bring the Devoted Health experience to people nationwide. Our focus is to provide the best possible care to as many older Americans as possible, and we are looking forward to continuing to expand our footprint in more states to deliver complete, coordinated, and customized care to more seniors, so stay tuned on that front!
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Waltham?
We’re really proud to be a Massachusetts-based company, and it’s incredible to see the innovation coming out of Waltham. The first modern American factory was built in Waltham at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, so there’s a long history of entrepreneurship and leadership in this community. Devoted’s headquarters actually are located in the historic Waltham Watch Company building, where the first 100 percent American-made watch was produced, so we feel very much like we’re carrying on that legacy. The previous company that Todd and I worked on together, Athenahealth, also got its start in Waltham – we’re truly longtime fans of the Waltham tech startup scene!
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I would encourage anyone to pursue their passion, a mission in which they truly and deeply believe. Find the corner of the world where you can make a tangible difference and put your heart into driving that change. Now more than ever, the world needs innovators committed to using their talents to improve lives.