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Integrated Healthcare, One That Our Loved Ones Deserved
Episode 657

Albert Tai, Founder, and CEO of Hypercare

Integrated Healthcare, One That Our Loved Ones Deserved

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Integrated Healthcare, One That Our Loved Ones Deserved

Episode 657

About Albert

Albert Tai is the founder and CEO of Hypercare, a health care technology company that connects the health care providers at the right time to collaborate for patient care in hospital and community settings. Prior to Hypercare, he spent several years creating software for different large companies and universities. 

Albert completed his double degree (Medical Science and Computer Science) and his Master’s from the University of Western Ontario.

Integrated Healthcare, One That Our Loved Ones Deserved with Albert Tai, Founder, and CEO of Hypercare transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Integrated Healthcare, One That Our Loved Ones Deserved with Albert Tai, Founder, and CEO of Hypercare was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Hey, welcome back to the podcast, everyone, Saul Marquez here and today I have the privilege of hosting Albert Tai. He is the founder and CEO of Hypercare, a health care technology company that connects the health care providers at the right time to collaborate for patient care in hospital and community settings, starting at 11 years old. He started programming and created several software companies during his master’s degree. He shadowed doctors and hospital on call that and he was really just shocked that they were still using pagers and fax machines to communicate about patients in our day-to-day. And so he devoted himself to creating a better solution for patient care. And out of that is where hyper care was born, which is what we’re going to be talking about today. I just want to, first of all, Albert, say thanks for joining us today and I’m really excited about our conversation.

Albert Tai:
Thanks for having me today. It was a wonderful angel.

Saul Marquez:
Thank you. Hey, man, you’ve done some cool stuff at a very young age. And in this area of health care, it doesn’t matter who or what age, it just matters that results are delivered. And so I love that that’s what you and your team are focused on before we dive into hyper care and the work that you guys are doing. Tell us a little bit more about you, Albert, and what inspires your work in health care.

Albert Tai:
Yeah, great question. So I always wanted to probably a little bit on it a little bit later where I wanted to go into computer science, but my family wanted me to go to health care. So I did medical science undergrad and slowly convinced them. So I did a double majoring in computer science and graduated. And I thought I left the healthcare setting behind because I was really passionate about computer science. In my master’s, one of the first projects was kind of like building a software company itself. And I learned through that course project is the healthcare setting by having three doctors and mentors, how broken the health care system was. Like from a technology perspective, I just thought health care would be this magical place where every single software, every single medical device that the health care system could afford would be used to maximize patient outcomes. And what I saw was a complete different show where no providers was having patient binders actually pointed out trying to find these binders, spending a lot of valuable time chasing things around. And it was so archaic. And I even learned what a pager was. I was born I mean it was so archaic and so outdated that I was trying to buy a pager on Craigslist and I couldn’t even find someone that was working. And so that made me really motivated to come and solve these impactful problems. And for me, I’ve always really cared about impactful problems in itself. I think spending time on that is more worthwhile. So, yeah, that’s how I got into health care.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome, man. Where can I get one of these pager things? You can sell them anywhere.

Albert Tai:
I was trying to understand how it works. I’m like wait so it’s one directional. You get a phone number. What do you do with this phone number? You always call back. So anyway, super archaic.

Saul Marquez:
I love it, man. Yeah. I had a guest several years ago say he was a physician. He’s like the only people that used pagers. Besides, physicians are drug dealers. So it’s so totally archaic. I agree with you a hundred percent. And so let’s talk about what you guys are doing, Albert, with Hypercare. Tell us a little bit about how your business, Hypercare is adding value to the health care ecosystem.

Albert Tai:
Yeah, good question as well. And by the way, this update to that joke now, so even drug dealers don’t use pagers, they use phones, right. disposable phones because so cheap now, though, unfortunately, we still use pagers. But yeah. So in terms of the health care system and for providers, one of the things I saw when I was shadowing providers was the amount of time they’re chasing each other around. I didn’t realize how complicated care coordination was in health care. Even within the acute setting, like a hospital, you have patients coming in and you have multiple care providers taking of all. Back in the days there used to be one doctor that took care of you from beginning to end, and now you have the emergency doctor that gets you in and then realize, OK, you need surgery so they send you back to radiology and all these different segments specialties with different providers, doctors, nurses, allied health workers, all need to work seamlessly all together. And unfortunately, it is only something called a pager, which is this this fun thing.

Saul Marquez:
You have one?

Albert Tai:
eah, I do have one. I bought it for one of the hospitals and it’s a little bit archaic. So if I wanted to page you, you should page your doctor specialty. So I realize my patient needs surgery, for example, and I need to figure out who’s on call. It could be multiple surgeons working, but only one person is on call. And in order to figure that out, I actually have to pick up a phone, usually a landline, and I call switchboard, which is basically a call center, so back in the days with phone lines, you have switchboard. I can actually together. And health care still has switchboard operators and they’re the ones who know who exactly is on call. And they look up the surgeon, look up your number and then call you on their behalg. And then I have to sit by the phone until you call me back, and if I have to somehow go take care of the patient because they are deteriorating I’m going to miss that callback and not have to go through the whole process again. So it’s not uncommon for people to spend the whole day playing phone tag with one another for something like five minutes because I get busy, you get busy. So essentially what we have done here is we built a care platform that if you work at the hospital, you work in community. Wherever you work, you can figure out one another. You can communicate with each other and can figure out who’s on-call in real-time on one platform.

Saul Marquez:
Well, it’s certainly necessary. And so talk to us a little bit about how it works exactly and how is it typically adopted? Who’s using it? Talk us through that. Yeah.

Albert Tai:
So I have to layout a little bit more of the problem before I kind of talk about how it works. So, unfortunately, the pager is only the beginning of a problem. So with health care settings, typically it is on-call schedules as I mentioned, it’s all fragmented. So typically in health care organization, each department will send their own call schedules to the switchboard. And it could be on excel. it could be on a word document, it could be scribbled on a piece of paper. And the poor department every night has to make the master schedule. Who’s on call the next day? Any last-minute changes. All the switchboard operators have to cross it out on the piece of paper and say this is a personal call and said, and so we have to kind of begin with the problem. So in order to solve this problem, we’ve got to understand where the cost schedule is. And unfortunately, since it’s not consolidated, we have to build a platform where we allow department heads directly to put in who’s on-call into hyper care. And then this list allows anybody in the health care organization to figure out who’s on call. So there’s no need now to call into switchboard with the platform itself.

Albert Tai:
I can look up the surgeon, the resident in surgery that’s on-call today, and then directly communicate with them. And then it’s very similar to What’sup or I messages with the compliant messaging solution, where we can send clinical information images, which is super important in the health care setting. It’s so hard to try to describe a wound of a phone call, send you a picture of the wound. It’s so much easier, it makes sense. And then you can also even send urgent messages over Hypercare, which actually bypass and do not disturb. It’s very similar to –. It wakes you up. It even does automatic escalation. So call you as well. And now we’re moving towards even giving clinical words to providers. So for example, doing COVID, we will let clinicians know if their patient who has COVID was rapidly deteriorating and it would message with urgent work and also a message, the infectious disease team as well. So it’s really amazing what kind of technology can be enabled. And this all provides providers with a closed-loop. So, you knoW exactly. Someone has seen it as read it and all that stuff compared to a pager, which is one-directional unknown until you call me back.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, no, that’s great. Albertan you guys are covering really a lot of different care settings. Did you care to highlight where exactly the platform is being used and maybe not all of them or maybe high level, all of them and then zoom into one that it’s most impactful? Yeah.

Albert Tai:
So we’re a relatively young company. We just got our first deployment last year in February. And so, you know, in health care, as you probably know, go on to be first, second or third. And now and now, thankfully, we’re actually in more than 60 health care organizations. We’re a lot different, unique, interesting settings. We’re providing care for providers who are taking care of the native reserve up in rural B.C., who has no Internet except satellite Internet. And it’s wonderful to see how they’ve been using Hypercare. We’re also in mental health organizations. I go directly into people’s homes when home can palliative care, taking care of people at the end of life. We’re also in hospitals and recently we got deployed at an entire greater Toronto area for the actual primary platform to coordinate care for the homeless population. So if you can imagine, especially doing COVID, homeless patients can’t just go back to a shelter because they’re going to infect everybody. And so you have to go get them set up with the hotel. And everything is a lot of social aspect as well as clinic operations. And that’s all done through Hypercare. I think the best case of Hypercare’s success has to be with this hospital.

Albert Tai:
They deployed in November of last year and within a month they had about two hundred clinicians on Hyper care, all from different specialties, primarily physicians. And now I’m really proud to say. But we’re nearly over a little bit over 800 hundred clinicians out on Hypercare with nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and they even involved the family providers that was around the area. So they don’t work in the hospital, but now they can communicate with the hospital specialists with one click of a button and be able to send messages. And some of the really interesting cases they’ve been able to do, like, for example, is they have a patient with Bendl detachment being able to set up an appointment directly with opthamologist for the next day for the patient, so the patient doesn’t have to go to the emergency room, spend hours waiting for no reason, and then go back for the. And so we’ve been able to reduce emergency readmission rate and then on top of that really fascinating stuff, too, is we have a graph that is provided where the pages are decreased extremely rapidly as our messages increase and the organization now sends over forty thousand messages a month.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome. And so the usage of the pager probably almost eliminated. Think about how much does a pager plan cost compared to what you guys offer? Right.. I mean, it’s probably like maybe even cost savings for that.

Albert Tai:
Yeah, it’s crazy. Just like as I get deeper and deeper, there’s so much like really archaic technology that they adopt. A lot of them cost more thansix figures a year that we’re basically replacing, consolidating, like you have to get a pager software, just a page out so you don’t have to pick up the phone and call out as a switchboard operator, there’s on-call schedule management, there is scheduling software that departments use escalation. So right now, we’re deployed in settings where entire team needs to be activated because a heart attack patient came in and we do automatic escalation. So we call them. And previously, some poor fellows would pick up the phone and keep calling each provider until they came to the hospital to treat these this patient. But that also cost one in six figures with some competition. So we need to consolidate all with one platform. So, yeah, a ton of oil for the health care system for sure.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome. And obviously, during I mean, it’s always been an issue, but especially now during COVID right., we have to be extremely mindful of our spend. And so it’s certainly refreshing to hear there’s an alternative to health care coordination without having to significantly break the bank. And so talk to us a little bit about some of the outcomes you’ve been able to improve our business models you’ve been able to innovate on with this product.

Albert Tai:
Yeah, that’s a great question. So with the outcomes, I think the patient stories are always the best stories. So in the case with the family providers being able to talk to specialists right away, they’ve been able to reduce the number of emissions because they’ve been able to quickly figure it out. There’s also other cases where a COVID patient discharged from the hospital, but on a discharge, form is supposed to be at the hospital. So they’re able to clarify with the specialists and figure out why the patient wasn’t at the hospital itself. We also being able to see the actual response times. So for the health care system, they can actually see general surgeries respond really slow compared to internal medicine. Figure out why maybe is a lot of saturation in terms of patients going in or the amount of messages sent over there as well. And another outcome to be seen, the pager decrease as well as WhatsApp usage decrease. So a lot of questions, a WhatsApp or I-message, because it’s so much better for patient care, it’s not compliant, and it’s also your personal network. And so with all the health care settings we’ve been deployed at, we’ve been able to see a huge amount decrease around that, too. So they’ve been extremely happy about that. And then lastly, the number of calls calling to switchboard. So be able to reduce that number of calls to switch what also handles patients call in. So now they can focus more on the energy on patients calling in rather than trying to charge all these provider requests as well. So those are the kind of stories that we’ve been able to enable response times with. Some organizations are lower than one minute. So one of the health care organizations we recently deployed had less than 60 second response times per message, which is fabulous to see. And I was looking at my own organization was like six thousand second. And so the difference between that, yeah,

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome. Kudos to you and your team for really some of the results that you guys are able to help create for your clients. And as you reflect on the work that’s been done, the hard work with development, the hard work with user experience, what would you say is one of the biggest setbacks you guys have experienced and key learning that came from that?

Albert Tai:
Yeah, so I think in startups especially, there’s a chicken egg because there’s always the problem of not enough resources. And early on we have this problem where we understood the problem, fundamental level by shadowing doctors and talking to a few hundred doctors. But the problem we had was convincing investors to give us money. And a lot of investors were very skeptical of health care because it’s a very regulatory environment. It takes a while to scale and everything around that. So we had to convince a health care organization to the type of care, and we successfully did that by pitching to sea level executive at the organization and entire C-levels are brought in. And so really, our pilot with general surgery, on the other hand, we actually had to raise money yet. So I was not completely stable. And one of the things we learned and failed at was when we deployed our application was crashing. And one of the reasons why, too, was because we realized as a team product, you have a fragmentation of devices. So in this case, an eighty-five year old doctor who had this phone like, you know, six years or 10 years ago, like super old smartphone, who has a smartphone supposedly, but it was super, super old. And they’re crashing on that.

Albert Tai:
And we learned very quickly that health care was definitely not a landscape or definitely not an environment that people tolerate these things. You only have one tribe, basically you. It works or you disappoint them, and people don’t want to try again. Clinicians especially because they have so little time. So one of the things we quickly learned from the lesson and we moved on and we established that within our own company is first off, we hired a QA engineer super early. While a lot of people would probably love companies, technology companies would probably engineers to build. We hired engineers to test really quickly. Second was, we now under promise and over deliver rather than vice versa. That’s super disappointing for people. And lastly, you don’t want to make the users feel like they’re beta tested. And we’ve learned a ton of about this because is not an industry where people get excited about testing new product. They’re really skeptical of new products. You’ve got to make sure it works and they never give you a second try. So we learn a ton about that. Thankfully, we were able to raise our money, and thankfully, we’re still friends with a general surgeon that we disappointed. But that was a big lesson for us.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, for sure, man. And sounds like you guys responded to it quickly. QA engineer and some probably operating procedures within the company to make sure that those things didn’t repeat themselves. Kudos to your learnings. You’re obviously in 60 plus health systems now. What are you most excited about today?

Albert Tai:
Yeah, so I’m really excited about all the technological innovations that are being adopted doing COVID because with COVID that went on, there was a lot of stress into the health care system that previously people saw, but it was just not breaking under the strain. So a lot of technology innovation. That was adopted rapidly. I’ve seen people, even Eventbrite, for example, to do a bookings assessment centers, which I never imagined also even for zoom. Prior to COVID I never saw a hospital system that use Zoom. They use WebEx and Cisco. And I think one of the things that get me really excited is that I feel that health care is moving towards a direction that even administrators are adopting solutions that they feel is actually the best solution, not just like, oh, they have a big branding, but actually, does it work in production? Does it deliver the results that you want to do? So I hope it stays after COVID. one of the themes I see doing COVID is like transferring information between each other. So I’ve seen a lot of prevalently being shown. Records are showing medical records and CT scans, images, all the stuff doing covid. And I feel that we’re going to move in that direction even more. And just big players like Apple that allows you to see your own health record and try and build an ecosystem. So I’m really excited about that personally as a company as well. We also moving towards that direction. We have a lot of primary care providers that send patient charts to specialists at the hospital. And right now, unfortunately, that exported the chart as a PDF. So I’m really excited to build a lot of integrations around, not just all the additional problems. And I think in five years we probably see the landscape completely different. And the expectations really also change as a patient is like, yeah, that’s just health care. But now, no, we’ve seen what things work and what things don’t work and what things disappoint us in the health care system, even as a patient.

Saul Marquez:
So, yeah, that’s cool. And it is exciting. I agree with you. There’s an opportunity to do more in this landscape where there’s higher acceptance for things that are doing the job, not just because it has a name that is legacy inside of the system. So kudos to you and your team as we conclude our chat today. I’d love for you to give the listeners a closing thought and then the best place to visit with you and learn more about what you guys have to offer, a place where they can connect with you, of course.

Albert Tai:
So I think one of the feedback I’ve given to both physicians as well as technology leaders is trying to innovate in health care is to make sure you understand the workflow very deeply, I think, with physicians. And they’re more of understanding where to find engineers and evaluating whether or not to be an engineer. But I think from the technology standpoint, I think many people try to force technology into health care, where even like other industries with an understanding exactly the tipping point, I think it’s important for any engineer who’s out there solving for health care to shadow clinicians to talk to them as much as possible. Early stages to understand deeply about the workflow. I’ve heard of success stories even living. I know, for example, I shot on and lived at the hospital. I know people who lived at the nursing home when they solved a nursing home problem. So I think fundamentally try to put yourself in there. And I think there’s a ton of problems with the health care system. The physicians will be happy with clinicians in general. I’ll be happy to share that with engineers, too. So I think engineers should actively seek out and talk to clinicians because there’s a ton of problems and they don’t have enough time or expertise to actually solve them. And then for them, if they have any questions, I’m happy to help as well. I’d love to see health care grow. They can reach out to me as well. They can send email to more admin on LinkedIn.

Saul Marquez:
Awesome. That’s great. And folks take Albert up on the invitation to connect and learn more Hypercare.com is their website. Tons of great resources there where you could learn and interact. Check out a demo. And so my favorite is The Wall of Love that has pretty clever all the testimonials of satisfied customers that they have Albert, awesome work today, really appreciate what you guys are doing and the work that’s making such a big difference and care coordination and keep up the great work. And so glad you made time to be with us today.

Albert Tai:
Thank you and fantastic to be on your podcast. Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
Thanks, Albert.

Saul Marquez:
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Things You’ll Learn

  • Healthcare has adopted a lot of archaic technology. It is time to update things for better outcomes.
  • There are ways to provide better care coordination without breaking the bank. 
  • It is better to underpromise and overdeliver. 
  • Adopt technological innovation. 
  • Make sure to understand the workflow deeply. It’s important for any engineer who’s out there solving for health care to shadow clinicians to talk to them as much as possible

 

Resources

https://www.hypercare.com/