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Spotlight on: Yosi, Digital.NYC's Startup to Watch for July 2016

Each month as part of Digital.NYC’s Startups to Watch program we connect with the winning company to find out more about them. Here's what we learned in a recent talk with Hari Prasad, CEO of Yosi.


Digital.NYC: Tell us about your company. What does Yosi do?

Yosi is a digital health technology company. We are improving our healthcare system through the use of technology.

In the last 15 years, we have seen some incredible technology that has improved almost all aspects of our lives except maybe our healthcare. So we founded the company to improve our every day lives and how we manage our health.

If you take any other system – banking for example – it is a really well connected system.  Your savings account can provide the buffer, if your checking is running low.  Everything is connected in a way so that you, the consumer, are empowered by information.  The only system that hasn’t even begun this journey is healthcare.

One of the things we do with the Yosi platform is to help patients avoid paperwork during their doctor’s visit. They can simply answer a few questions on our app and we help complete their registration. We are imagining doctor offices in the near future where no one needs to fill out paperwork anymore. We hope it becomes a reality soon.

We believe that this will be the start of the much-needed digital revolution in the management of healthcare, both for the consumer and for the system itself.

Digital.NYC: What is your background?

I have spent over a decade managing financial operations and business intelligence for national health insurance companies and also for health systems. I worked at Montefiore Medical Center before founding Yosi. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe our healthcare system from up close and to have been a part of improving our healthcare system. I have a Masters degree in Bioinformatics. I have been well supported by my team that includes doctors, business professional and technologists

Digital.NYC: How did you come up with the idea and the name for Yosi? 

I have always been interested in improving our healthcare system either through technology or other ways. I didn’t realize how much we lag behind in technology until I had to go to an ER with a dislocated shoulder. I had to fill out those dreaded forms before I could receive care and that's truly when I decided I cannot be part of the broken system. I need to do something to contribute to fix the system.

I wanted to create awareness amongst patients and doctors that here is a better technology solution to help them. I grew up in India and in my vernacular, ‘Yosi’ literally means awareness. So I thought it apt to name our company Yosi. Also if you notice, we were able to neatly show a steth as part of our name and logo.

Digital.NYC: Who is your target customer?

Our primary targets are medical offices, urgent care centers and hospital systems. Yosi helps both patients and doctors. We have a mobile app for patients to check-in and keep track of their visits and a SaaS platform for doctors to communicate and coordinate with their patients.

We are very pleased that we were announced as a winner of a pilot program sponsored by NYCEDC. As part of the pilot we have partnered with a large NY health insurance plan. We are hoping that will help us partner with other health insurance companies in the near future.

Digital.NYC: How do you think Yosi is going to disrupt the market? What are the main differentiators between you and your competitors?

Our first challenge is to educate our clients that Yosi is a far superior technology than what they are used to. It will require lot of perseverance from us to continue educating our potential clients.

Every time a patient checks in using Yosi app, they are not only checking in with that doctor’s office, but also creating their health profile, which can be used to check in with any other medical practice.  Not only that, they are also beginning to build a history of their visits, track their prescription information, all in one platform. Yosi is very different from the competition in how we are tackling and addressing the main reason why the health system is so broken today, lack of interoperability between systems.  In removing those barriers at the check-in process (Yosi works with any practice regardless of payer or patient management system the practice uses), where a consumer’s health journey begins, Yosi is laying the foundation for further downstream disruptions by way of removing more and more barriers as we progress.

Our primary focus when we developed Yosi was to understand our customer’s needs and to design Yosi to serve those needs. We have differentiated ourselves by acknowledging that running a medical practice or a hospital is very complex and that we are here to serve them. We see lot of health technology solutions that try to fit a square peg in a round hole.

So far we have been extremely pleased with the feedback we have received from both patients and doctors that we serve.

Digital.NYC: Who are your main investors?

We are currently self-funded and recently started looking to raise investment from professional investors. We are excited about our prospects and look forward to sharing an update soon about our fund raising efforts.

Digital.NYC: Why did you decide to start your business in New York City? How long has Yosi been in existence?

I have both personal and business reasons. I moved to New York 13 years back and I continue to be amazed even today about how wonderful the city and the people are.

On the business front, New York is home to some of the leading medical institutions in the world (NYU, NY Presbyterian, Northwell, Mt. Sinai. Montefiore, Memorial Sloan and I can keep going) and has a great start-up ecosystem that can rival any city in the world. So New York presents us a great place to make Yosi successful. As they say, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.

There is nowhere else I would have started my company. This is also a way for me to give back to the city.

Digital.NYC: What resources in the startup community have contributed to the success of Yosi? (For example, co-working spaces, accelerators networking groups)

We have been very fortunate to be part of the New York startup ecosystem. We have some tremendous organization and people that appreciate entrepreneurship and supports us. For example there are various meetup groups that I attend, where I meet my fellow entrepreneurs to share ideas and to support each other. The City has done a fabulous job of supporting small businesses and most importantly its people have been very forthcoming in helping us build a successful business.

To be more specific, we would never have had an opportunity to partner with such a large, respected health insurance plan if not for the NYCEDC support. We have a tremendous support system in New York.

Digital.NYC: How do you use Digital.NYC professionally?

Digital NYC is a great resource for anyone that is looking to start a business in New York. It gives a platform and a voice to speak about our companies and a wealth of information about news, events, accelerators etc. My personal favorite is the curated list of events for entrepreneurs. I actively look for events that match our interest. It also has one of the more comprehensive lists of active investors. I urge anyone that is seeking investment to use Digital NYC as a source for finding investors.

Digital.NYC: What are the next steps for Yosi?

We are very excited about what’s next for us. We have some prominent urgent care centers, hospitals and large specialty offices that are going to start using Yosi. It will give us the momentum to scale our growth.

We also recently launched our waiting room tablet app and the feedback from doctors and patients has been very gratifying. So we will continue to upgrade our products with some cool new features. Stay tuned.

Digital.NYC: What is the most important thing our readers should know about Yosi?

One thing we’d like the readers to know is that Yosi is developed by doctors for doctors & patients. We are bridging the gap between technology and healthcare.

For the industry followers and enthusiasts, I’d like to share that we have made it very simple for patients to avoid paperwork and keep track of their health securely in one place and that we serve doctors by helping them overcome lots of their administrative burden at the front desk.

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