Work and Money
How One Woman’s Telehealth Company Helped Over 9,000 Physicians
As COVID-19 became more prevalent around the world, healthcare professionals have looked to new technology as a way to screen patients safely and prevent hospital overflow. It’s common to have a doctor’s appointment in your own home now, through a screen. For some, telemedicine is a new way of keeping people healthy, but Charu Raheja, Ph.D. has been doing telemedicine for over a decade.
Dr. Raheja is the CEO of the TriageLogic Group, a telephone nurse and remote patient-monitoring software and services company. TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-led provider of high-quality remote-patient care solutions, including telephone medicine, mobile solutions for patient access, nurse triage, and nurse triage call-center software.
“I’ve used my strong background and education in finance to instill an entrepreneurial mindset with disruptive technologies to help increase patient access to care," Dr. Raheja tells CircleAround. CircleAround caught up with Dr. Raheja to learn more about TriageLogic, how she started the company, and how TriageLogic helps patients and physicians around the world.
CA: Can you tell us a little about how TriageLogic got started?
CR: I started TriageLogic in 2007 in partnership with board-certified pediatrician Ravi K. Raheja, M.D. Together, we identified a need in the healthcare industry: helping patients remotely (telehealth). We developed our own software to make it easy for nurses to handle calls, ensure that they are giving the best level of care, and follow the orders of the physician. We have not stopped innovating since. From there, we have expanded our software’s capabilities, all while keeping these solutions affordable.
CA: What experiences from your past inspired TriageLogic?
CR: My family’s health struggles and my own personal struggles have given me a lot of perspective on the importance of what we are doing. In 2009, my father ignored a stomach pain for days that turned out to be the onset of a heart attack. He didn’t survive, and the thought that a service such as what we provide could have saved his life is what got me to quit my job as a professor to run the company full time.
In addition, I suffered from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) eruption, which impacted my life significantly. Careful triage could have given me a better health outcome, and experiencing that in my own life added a great significance to what I do.
CA: How has your role been defined since?
CR: My current role as CEO of TriageLogic has me involved in almost every aspect of the company. I use my background in finance to lead the company down a fiscally responsible path, but there’s much more to running this company than that. I guide my team of marketing experts, IT personnel, customer-service reps, and nurses toward successful synergy.
Equally as important, I am often out in the different communities developing relationships and understanding the needs in healthcare so that we can continue innovating and finding solutions to help people gain greater access to healthcare.
CA: What projects are you currently focused on?
CR: The recent high rate of new communication technology development has focused our attention on remote patient monitoring. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) takes care one step further from a doctor's office visit and helps doctors collect and evaluate data from patients regularly. Patients wear a medical device that sends regular updates on important vitals to a doctor's office. It allows for early intervention in chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We will supply the nursing and software component of this new technology. If an alert comes through a patient’s device, a nurse will see that alert live and reach out to the patient or the patient’s doctor. This can curb ER visits and stop a major problem before it happens. It’s an exciting time for tech in healthcare.
CA: When it comes to your work, what are the biggest challenges?
CR: Our company has been fully self-funded by personal savings and revenue. In the beginning, I placed a 100 percent mortgage on our house and depleted retirement and college savings to finance the company. I was leaving a successful academic career behind, and overcoming the risk and fear was a big challenge that I had to overcome. In addition to my stroke a couple of years after leaving my job and the physical and emotional setbacks made, it was challenging for our company to grow and remain independent of investors.
CA: What are the biggest rewards?
CR: In the end, the biggest reward is to know that we persevered through it all. Our TriageLogic team members are all very dedicated to our cause and always willing to step in to help. We have a culture of accountability and teamwork with a high emphasis on compassion and this is our key to success. Today, we remain independent of outside investors. We feel fortunate that we have the ability to pursue projects that we believe to be important and that we believe will help share the healthcare system.
Through TriageLogic, we have helped over 9,000 physicians and covered calls for over 20 million patients nationwide. Knowing that our software and services have saved lives is incredibly fulfilling and has ushered TraigeLogic into the new field of remote patient monitoring. Innovating new ways to save lives has guided us from day one.