Artificial Intelligence Assisted Patient Engagement with Ramani Narayan, CEO, Co-Founder at Kencor Health
Episode 139

Ramani Narayan, CEO

Artificial Intelligence Assisted Patient Engagement

Leveraging on technology to improve patient population

Artificial Intelligence Assisted Patient Engagement with Ramani Narayan, CEO, Co-Founder at Kencor Health

Episode 139

Artificial Intelligence Assisted Patient Engagement with Ramani Narayan, CEO, Co-Founder at Kencor Health

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders. I really want to thank you for tuning in. And I welcome you to go to outcomesrocket.health/reviews where you could leave a rating and review for today’s podcast because he is an outstanding individual a friend and also a friend of another guest that we’ve had on the podcast Dr. Chang. He is Ramani Narayan. He’s the CEO and co-founder at Kencore health. He’s a really senior serial entrepreneur. Season management executive who cofounded Ribbit scenario and junction Incorporated which sold the Cisco. His specialties include startup specialist executive management expertise in building amazing tools that are scalable and help improve outcomes and that’s why I wanted to have him on the podcast. Ramani welcome to the podcast my friend.

Thank you. Thank you. Nice to be on this.

So Ramani tell me what got you into healthcare out of all the things that you’ve done in the past and the things that you’re into now what is it that got you focus into the sector.

Good question actually kind of started with a person a lot. My son at the time few years back was a high school senior who was going to go to college. He is one of those kids have Regulus see a regular Ayesha’s with allergies and whatnot and then he’s in touch with his pediatrician and allergy specialist. And on and off so he was going to head to college she was going to go far away from home. And I was looking at and say Jeez there has to be a way for this kid to stay connected with his existing doctors that he had they have a history with them. So it was kind of my communication background was raised I can now bring that together. That’s all it kind of started.

Interesting. And were you able to find a way to piece this relationship so that he could work with the same provider from college.

Yes certainly. So our first priority when we start any kind of work with the pediatrician as well as the CEO for local hospital. You kind of liked the idea because he was looking for ways to improve communication between providers and between various different specialists and doctors from primary care physicians to the specialists and the patients more around. How do you keep communication open and he was looking for a solution in that space so I kind of came along at that time we kind of chatted put together a solution and that’s linked in all started. But since then you know it has evolved into much more than that.

Wow. So that was actually the basis for which can cause health was built on.

Right. That’s the perspective with which I came into this and I ran into. Now we have two of the cofounders and the team the other co-founder not Peter Tang I’ll come to that in a second. There was a second go for. He comes with a health care background as well he’s been all around health care I.T. and he got me in from workflow and abrasion not to mention boom bringing in various forms of wearable technology to the max. He was kind of attacking the health care problem from a different perspective. We both realized hey you know there’s a lot to do. You know by teaming up together so you know we borrow along the combined forces and then ran into Dr. Chang who I describe as a doctorpreneur meaning a doctor who is also an entrepreneur in specialist cardiology. Your hands are tied. Your time is pretty much in full time serving patients. You don’t have time to do anything else but Chang is an amazing person who kind of go out of his way to find the time to do things innovative things to then bring into healthcare. So we partner with him and it turned out to be the right mix of a technologist like myself a health care specialist as well as say a doctor himself.

Yeah that’s a good mix of cofounders that you have there to really provide insight across the spectrum so you don’t have any blind spots. I think that’s a really creative way that you guys did that.


So Ramani what would you say today. Out of all the things going on in healthcare needs to be on the agenda of healthcare leaders.

The one thing that comes to my mind which is kind of a key focus for us as well is to look around in the data that consume technology out there into the patient population. The technology has permeated into every walks of life you know whether it’s a smartphone with a herbals the life of an average individual has actually gone much better and smoother. Thanks to all this innovative technology is out there. Well when it comes to health care we are pretty basic. So if you want to go all day which are good profits you still have to get them the phone and then keep calling them they phone dads and finally hope somebody will be on the other end. Or you know they have this infamous patient ordered where you can go and see some minimal things in. That’s the length of technology exposure we have between the patient population and if you jump into the wider side. It’s not any better either because the charge is just beginning to kind of penetrate into the hospitals and the pride of space and we just again build Web billing in mind not solving the problems of a given doctor or a nursing staff or a patient. If you ask every doctor they Haiti see a chart today but it’s been touted as the most innovative component inside the hospital spectrum today. So each of those folks whether they are serving health care from outside or they are indeed being a provider being part of the hospital spectrum. They need to look into what is the technology out there that’s already parliament and the enterprise as well as in the consumer space. How can we actually bring them into health care space to make life easier for providers as well as for the patients.

I mean that’s a really great call out and what would you say today. Ramani is the way that you and the folks at Kencore health are doing this to improve outcomes.

So we’re attacking from the side so we’re doing what we call as a platform play where we provide a platform for the providers i.e. the hospitals to let folks who run the clinics and big health plans for them to engage among themselves as well as better to engage with the patient population so that you really don’t actually go reinvent the wheel with bring in the existing technology which is out there how can we take that make it actually play in the healthcare space meaning make it combined make it Riseley into one of the requirements in the healthcare space play by the rules. But the same time make it innovative and get the same exposure that people how they consume technology out there today.

So at this point you guys are putting together these dashboards the way that you filter the data through. And you walk us a little bit through that and how it’s currently being used.

Yes. So let’s take a typical example typical problem that we are solving today. We’re focusing on C had to have a cardiac heart failure scenarios. So in that space what we actually try to do is most of these hospitals have an outpatient clinic where they’re trying to stay engaged with their patient population that is detected with CHF conditions. And the idea is to stay connected with them. They can actually wait and wonder. Hospital visits. So process by which they do is a traditional phone calls or education. And people form all those things they did today which makes it very cumbersome for them to scale the aid to the population. So we provide them with the platform where we allow the care team the hospital to engage with the patients in a much seamless matters. So for example we provide patients where they are in what we call it as a virtual companion Sami so that patients overall would Samih with consist of communication component as well as a white biometric device component so that the data they collect basically are like your Windscale or rapprochements or PASOK some of these data seamlessly move from a patient into a care provider setting through Wi-Fi technology. Right so they don’t have downgraded down some piece of paper remember and go to a computer and then have to do the data entry the data automatically goes. Similarly whether the person is savvy with the way that technologies like iPad’s an iPhone or any other smartphones or they are not tech savvy they are more of a regular Blackphone type person or you know newer technologies like Alecks and Google home which are now walking into every home these days. They can use the technology they are comfortable with based on their level of expertise and stay engaged with the characters and on the care team. All this data are coming from the patients the mission language they outdo them process them but do not make decisions for them but rather make all this data available at their fingertips at the right time when they need it.

Love it. And so you guys have been developing some really interesting solutions there Ramani what would you say a setback or a failure that you experience in this business and what you learned from that to make you guys better.

Like any other entrepreneurial journey will not be seeing success from day one or you had to run into a few barriers and hard to overcome. Likewise we had a couple of our seriously encountered first and foremost Lavely retired we will build this technology and the doctors will love it and kind of feel it will start using it or not. They loved it. They liked it and they are ready to invest in a handful of doctors invested in the technology. But when it comes to actually using it they are not the right candidate for it right. They are busy with water with the lifesaving services they provide to their patients. They’re busy with their stuff. So the last thing they have in their mind is sit and learn about new way of doing this.


So that was actually home. They like it. Love it but they are not the right users who the right users for this kind of technology. Where do we actually see the major adoption turned out with the advice we find out the real folks who actually carry a lot of these mundane heavy lifting is the nursing staff and the administrative staff that surround these doctors offices. Right. So they are the primary targets. The doctors are second so we kind of done things in this sudden way so that our primary focus for people within the hospital setting is that the nursing staff and the administrators.

That’s super interesting Ramani because you know on the one hand you think wow these physicians think it’s great they’re investing in it. There are a user and then you find out they’re not the user and it’s just these little tweaks that you have to make and you finally realize that the actual end user was nursing an administrative staff physician assistants etc. and now you guys have tweaked and have you started to see a swifter uptake.

Yeah definitely. And we’re seeing there are in we are already in couple of hospitals with this platform and we’re finding that kids in loving it because it overall increases their operational efficiency and the doctors finding that they don’t have to again and again say the same thing every person. So the information is captured documented or tagged and processed and rescinded in the right way at the right time so that it saves everybody a lot of time and that’s it.

Love it. Ramani thank you for sharing that listeners. It’s a journey. And don’t think that what you have in front of you is going to work immediately and if it does be ready because there will be another obstacle and it’s being flexible like Ramani and Dr. Chang and his team and the whole team over there has done with Kencor health. I know that around the corner they have some pretty big successes and what is in it for you as well. For Ramani he took this experience of his son you know as a very personal experience he was able to put the pieces together. But in doing that he found an opportunity to do more. And fast forward to today he’s doing some pretty amazing things with this company and helping patients and staff. So Ramani you’ve done a lot. What would you say out of your entire career is one of your proudest medical leadership experiences today.

I have to say the proudest moment so far and the journey at Kencore is to be able to go talk about this problem and the solution that we bring to table to the doctors and the hospitalist and them believing in it and saying I like it I love it and I’m like Dustin.

That’s big. I mean that’s proof of concept. If somebody is willing to put their money on the line that tells you you’re doing something right.

Actually you know that kind of helps us to stay focused on what we do so that we’re not actually jumping all over. We’re primarily focused on solving the basic fundamental problem and then make sure it is actually gaining traction.

Love it. Nothing like getting affirmation of what you’re doing by somebody investing. That’s like be in business that is the best way to get it.

That is true.

So tell us a little bit about an exciting project or focus within Kencore today.

Yes so what we are actually focusing right now is turning our attention towards the patient engagement aspect because without the patients are fully engaged with the care team you’re not going to see the effective results that you’re shooting for. And the patients come with a wide variety of choices right. So patients are an age group for medical condition and the social economic status. So how do you actually engage. There’s no one tool that will actually one way of engaging with these patients so what can you do to kind of get a majority of the population engage and turned out technology into the lesson we learned in that area was technology cannot be the barrier the technology needs to play a second role is to kind of enable what they’d like to do which is they want to be stay connected with your care team and get better. So how do you actually do that. So you got to actually dig the solution that you’re providing them to their native environment where they are comfortable with it whether it’s a simple computing technologies or a phone service or even sometimes a family members and the caregivers are the person who are better equipped to deal with the talking to the care team and getting the right medical solution to the patients. So that journey we find out that the Amazon Alexa and Google home like waste services that is actually getting more traction out there is probably a much better tool suited for this aging population with the medical condition because it’s a lot easier to interact with someone with their speed you don’t hydroplaned them or teach them how to do that. And it is also they are not. It doesn’t intimidate them to kind of tap this device like that. But whereas they put an iPad computer in front of them sometimes scares them. Plus you know technology issues might stop them from actually completing what they want it to do. So we are actually now working on a submission they’ll bring the Alexa’s and the Google homes of the world into this mainstream patient population interact with the curtain.

That’s pretty cool. And you know I think one of the things Ramani that people are afraid of is and especially on the provider side is wall if I integrate these technologies how do I keep privacy up hippas always comes up and I think oftentimes it’s misunderstood. Can you talk to that.

Yes absolutely. And so that that’s actually the third lesson we learned is when you build something for the healthcare sector like the enterprise where phage asked for you to get better healthcare. That is not an option. You cannot Ryles hotchpotch and then put them together. You have to have a product that is fully functional for like. Before we take it to your potential customer base because this is a lifesaving medical field where there’s no room for half baked solution because they don’t have time for right. They need to actually engage with a solution that is going to make them be more efficient and in doing better than what they’re doing today manually. So there’s no room for error. So you have to have whatever product you deliver in this space right from day one. Make sure it is Compline make sure that it is fully gone through the audit process that they have set aside. Make sure all the people who are working in that space is well-trained to know what privacy means what compliance means what is allowed. What does not allow and follow the process and procedures because standards are usually well known for flaunting all the processes that they think process is kind of a bad word for them or close them down. But it may not be the case because in this case if you don’t do that Afren it is not a practice that you can inject late into the game and you are going to feel the pain you’re going to take much more longer for you to penetrate into this even if you’re just going for a simple pilot. They want to put you through a review process to make sure every day that you touch every interaction that you do is going through the right way. So our data is protected that it is encrypted that has no rules even if there is any kind of debris. There’s a way for you to find out first and take an immediate course of action.

For sure. And so as it relates to the use of these devices and what did you learn is as far as Hippo’s concerned and and what can and can’t be done if you had this bike. In a nutshell yes.

For example even though we have good traction in terms of adding Catullo we’re ways based technologies. There are some issues with the complaint they are not still fully compliant where you can you cannot distinguish with the Alexa whether it’s the real patient or somebody in the house.


Basford production. Just coming up now. Recently some of these vendors release some software to enable those so they slowly wallet’s you how do we get to be a little patient about some of these you can rush as the right patients to kind of approach these problem and make sure it is fully compliant.

Well it sounds like you guys are working on it way ahead of the game and you’re learning as the technology goes so that when it is ready you guys are going to be ahead of the curve here.

We hope so.

Awesome. Now this is really super interesting that you guys are approaching this problem of heart failure from so many angles. And we had a good chance to connect that the health 2.0 meeting I could tell that you’re super passionate about this solution and I’m excited to see where it goes from here so getting here to the end. Ramani let’s pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine today. It is the one on one or the ABC of Ramani Narayan and so I’ve got four questions for you followed by a book and a podcast that you would recommend to the listeners. You ready. All right. What’s the best way to improve healthcare outcomes.

By targeting a particular problem a problem and solving it. With the help of the right your customer base. Don’t try to stay outside and try to solve the problem.

What does biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Not getting to the ground and not looking at the compliance which is understand the basics that are absolutely required in the healthcare space and make sure they are taken care of right from day one.

How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change.

The good example is you have to keep your eyes and ears open you have to adapt you need to be willing to move fast.

What’s one area of focus that should drive everything else in a health organization.

Metrics and data is our key focus. You have to actually have a goal. If I’m doing X Y and Z that needs to kind of get me the results that I’m looking for it’s not eager to go back and keep fine tuning it. You don’t have that metric minded mindset. You’re going to be all over the space.

Love it. What book would you recommend and what podcasts would you recommend to the listeners

The book. Recently I came across a book called Checklist Manifesto. It’s actually one of the Doctor is a surgeon who came up with a simple checklist mechanism within the hospital whether surgery or surgery or in a hospital setting. It’s it’s a fascinating book. The concept is very simple. It is simple to do a checklist before and after. And that book actually illustrates various examples of how is simple concept like that has save lives save money save processes. It’s a fascinating book. I love it.

Great recommendation. That’s Atul Gawande Right. Yep. And then how about a podcast you recommend to the listeners.

It’s yours.

Hey I appreciate that greatly. You have another one in mind or would you say just listen. Keep listening.

There are a handful of others but I would recommend this one for the format.

Awesome man I appreciate that shout out then listeners if you wanna get these show notes as well as links to the book and all of the things that they’re up to at Cannes. Core health and all the things that Ryan talked about please go to outcomesrocket.health/Ramani and that’s R A M A N I you’ll be able to get all the show notes and all the details there before we conclude Ramani and you share just a closing thought. And then the best place where the listeners can get ahold of you.

The best place to get Holofernes is on our website http://www.kencorhealth.com/. Also you can follow us on Twitter @kencorhealthinc is our Twitter ID. So follow us there and watch is out for innovative things that are about to come.

Outstanding. Ramani I really appreciate the time you spent with us today and looking forward to keeping up with your success so take care and now we’ll talk to you soon.

Thank you. Thank you, Saul.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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Recommended Book/s:

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Recommended Podcast:

Outcomes Rocket

Best Way to Contact Ramani: