Who Am I?

How to embrace technology

Technology changes the quality of life, technology cannot replace human intelligence

— Dr. T. P. Chia

Hello readers,

Finding the right passion that drives your growth is critical. Building and scaling products that enable organizations to gain users is my passion. After 8 years of creating products and delivering growth, I have exposure across B2B, B2C, and B2B2C organizations.

Right now, I lead product management for intelligence (artificial intelligence and machine learning) at Athena Health. It’s a $17B dollar company recently acquired by Hellman & Friedman and Bain Capital in the largest ever levered buyout. At Athena, I am helping our customers increase access to care by adding more appointments on calendars and reducing wait times.

My passion for building products started with my first venture in healthcare where I developed an enrollment application that increased membership by 2.5 million members. I joined HM Health Solutions (HMHS) right after my master’s. HMHS is a sister company to Highmark, Pennsylvania’s largest insurer. It is a product company with more than 15M healthcare members and helps insurance organizations with a premium suite of health care products that help them enroll members, process claims, manage providers and create care management programs. My ideas for enrollment application were simple and focused on solving critical customer problems of not being able to select the right benefits and failing to understand insurance lingo. Customer research showed me that more than high insurance premium costs (which by the way do play a role in acquiring members) members were struggling to understand the benefits presented to them. I utilized artificial intelligence to utilize existing/past patient data (claims, care management, provider notes, SDOH, etc.) to come up with suggested health insurance plans that will enable maximum cost savings.

My top three learnings from this experience:

  • Simple solutions that focus on “needs” rather than “wants” work
  • Choose the right market for your product. Employer group was the best opportunity for this work as compared to Medicare, ACA, or Medicaid
  • NPS matters. Customers who like the product are the ones that talk about it. Make sure you are listening to the strategic customers

I continued my journey in healthcare and joined Athena Health with a focus to “increase patient access to care”. As a senior product lead, my responsibility was to create a calendar management application that will enable Athena’s customers (doctors, providers, and hospitals) to build calendars and schedules in an automated fashion. You will be surprised to know that a practice with 1- 15 providers spends around 600 hours per year (i.e. 0.3 FTE focused away from patients) on calendar management. Any guesses what is this time spent for a practice with >30 providers? (the right answer is close to 1000 hours which is 0.5 FTE away from patients). My solution to this problem was simple, it’s not a productive job for a human to create a calendar. The machine should be able to do it. I used simple AI/ML algorithmic tools to gather inputs and create a calendar specific to each provider’s needs that increased scheduled density by 25%, i.e. 10M more appointments and faster access to care (reduced patient wait times by 2 weeks). I will elaborate more about this problem in one of my blogs.

My top three learnings from this experience:

  • MVP need not be a working prototype, it can be a video showing your intent. This helped drive growth even before the product was built
  • Don’t lead the witness. While framing surveys and conducting interviews create a bias-free environment
  • Increasing user engagement is more important than going GA. Wait till critical features that drive adoption and engagement are implemented before thinking about GA

Thanks you,

Nikhil Varshney

Nikhil Varshney

Nikhil Varshney is a product manager by profession and technologist by nature. Through this blog he wants to showcase disruption in the technology world. The idea is to break the concept into simple layman words to help everyone understand the basics

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