From Laika Kayani
March 8, 2021
When my husband and I moved to San Francisco in 2011, we couldn’t have been more excited. For one thing, we were finally going to get to live together. We had spent a good part of the last few years living apart, claiming residency in no less than four different states between the two of us.
As you can imagine, after years of having to get on a plane just to see each other for the weekend, we were eager to settle into our life together in the Bay area—and to start our family.
We tried conceiving for a year but, like so many other couples, we ended up needing help. Our first step was to see a fertility specialist so we could better understand what was going on. But just preparing for our visit was taxing. I had to gather health records from all of the providers I had previously visited, a process that included sending paperwork by snail mail and fax. It took weeks to gather this information, at a time when my husband and I were already emotionally drained.
And the mad scramble for health records didn’t stop after that first appointment. For anyone who has been through IVF, you know what I’m talking about—the doctors appointments, the genetic tests, the egg retrieval appointments, the specialty fertility drug prescriptions.
The whole production repeated itself when I was having my second child, which, incidentally, was during the height of the pandemic. Once again, I found myself searching for health records that were all over the place, including on my dresser, in my car, and in my kitchen drawers.
I remember thinking, “There has to be a better way to do this.”
At the time, Google and Microsoft both had products to solve this problem. Most recently, Apple has been enabling records in Health Kit with direct integrations with health systems. Certainly, there are more companies who are trying to solve this problem as well. The question I asked myself was, why haven’t consumers adopted these products at scale? In using these products, I found that they were not not built for how I as a user would want to see my health information, search for it, share it, and get insights from it.
As I started to sort out what health records I wanted to keep or throw, my Product Manager hat kicked in and I started asking myself:
- How might I solve this problem for myself so that I know how to better manage and search my data?
- How great would it have been if all of my historical data was available to my fertility specialist so that he could better understand why my husband and I couldn’t conceive naturally?
- How great would it be to not have to decide whether to keep or throw away a picture of an embryo that I received when my daughter was implanted?
We all have similar health experiences and yet somehow we continue to allow health data chaos to be normal. Other questions that go through mind are:
- What is it about existing products that don’t meet the consumer need?
- What is it that consumers really want from their health data and exactly how would they want to use it?
After years of thinking about how I might want to solve this problem, I finally decided to make the transition from my full-time Product Manager role at a health-tech startup to being a full-time entrepreneur. Starting a new business in the post-Covid economy, when many people were trying to ride out the wave of layoffs sweeping the country, was scary. But I knew I had to do it.
My experiences in the healthcare system made me want to solve the health data challenges I had faced when I was preparing to enter motherhood, and that we continue to face as parents. After all, now we’re not just managing our own health records.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that time is precious. And I want to spend my time fixing problems that need to be fixed. Because being able to easily access your health information isn’t just about spending less time pushing paper. It’s about being able to better manage your health, and the health of your loved ones. What could be more important than that?
If you want to join me on this journey, whether as a thought partner, investor, or co-creator, reach out! I would love to chat! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.