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A Doctor-Entrepreneur Takes on Digital Healthcare

Jordan Shlain could be described as the house doctor of the San Francisco tech scene, treating many prominent executives and investors through his exclusive concierge medical practice, San Francisco-based Private Medical. But the ebullient 46-year-old internist, long a sought-after speaker and advisor on health policy issues, has also built a parallel career as an Internet entrepreneur and investor, bringing his experience as a practicing physician to the burgeoning digital health market.

Dr. Shlain’s Canvas Venture-backed startup, HealthLoop, is a cloud-based service that automates follow-up care between office visits–and aims to make sure doctors get paid for it. The idea for the just-launched company came directly from his own efforts to keep patients out of the emergency room. “Back around 2001, I had a 70-year-old patient who didn’t follow up with me after I’d treated her for pneumonia, and she ended up in the ER,” he says. “We’re trying to bridge the gap between total care at the doctor’s office and what happens when the patient is home alone.”

Dr. Shlain took time during a leisurely, traffic-jammed drive on I-880 to talk about how the Affordable Care Act is encouraging healthcare innovation, where he’s investing and the companies that could win big in the race to impose order on the chaos that is the U.S. medical care system.

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We’re talking with big insurance companies so doctors can get paid for the structured system of emails and calls that HealthLoop provides, and insurers currently think that good outcomes are more achievable with communication. We can help them understand if the trajectory of a treatment is good one. Then doctors will get paid when patients check in. 

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