In our tech-enabled world, people have access to a variety of services with the touch of a button.
The one industry that Dr. Karen Klein saw lacking this level of quality and convenience was her own – the healthcare industry.
Trained as a dentist, Dr. Karen Klein’s career took a turn when personal experiences showed her how challenging it was to book an in-home health consultation for her toddler. This, coupled with an introduction to her eventual co-founder, Mike Gaspar, and an MBA from the University of Toronto focusing on Health Management, Dr. Klein began to build HealthCasa.
HealthCasa is a tech-enabled business that focuses on in-home podiatry services and custom orthotics for busy patients who value accessibility, convenience, and transparency. I had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Klein to learn more about her company HealthCasa and the changes she is bringing to the healthcare industry.
In two sentences, what do you do?
I am the CEO and co-founder of HealthCasa, an online platform that allows patients to instantly book a healthcare appointment with a fully registered practitioner in the comfort of their home or office, for services covered by private insurance. We specialize in podiatry services and custom orthotics and will be expanding our list of complementary healthcare services in the future.
As the CEO, what does your day-to-day role look like?
Every day is different and I always tell people looking to start their own business that they should be ok with the fact that this is not a typical desk job. But that’s the best part of being an entrepreneur! A “typical” day starts with an hour or so to catch up on emails. Then I try to review my task board – we use a platform that allows us to allocate and track the progress of all our executive tasks (and the list keeps growing). I will also review any tech development and send feedback to our developers. The rest of the day is typically comprised of meetings, phone calls and strategy sessions interspersed with any urgent issues that arise. The focus changes based on the priority at the time – tech development, preparing for corporate events or presentations, marketing, etc.
What personal experiences pushed you to change the way people make appointments in healthcare?
As a healthcare practitioner, patient, and mom I’ve always valued quality, convenience, choice, and transparency when it comes to healthcare delivery. Living in downtown Toronto, I’ve become accustomed to the ever-growing variety of on-demand services, that make life simpler. However, I’ve always found the healthcare sector struggling to catch up. I can buy groceries and diapers online and have them delivered to my door – why does it have to be so difficult when it comes to healthcare?
I experienced a major gap in the system when trying to set up an in-home health consultation for my toddler. It took numerous phone calls to multiple healthcare practitioners over three weeks to find a practitioner whose availability was compatible with my schedule and worked in my neighbourhood. Around the same time, I was introduced to my now business partner, HealthCasa co-founder and COO, Mike Gaspar. Mike had owned and sold a small chain of successful foot clinics and an orthotics manufacturing lab in the GTA and was looking to start a mobile clinic. The idea of bringing the healthcare clinic into a patient’s home and making the process so much more convenient really made sense to me. That’s how HealthCasa began.
What are you most passionate about as the co-founder and CEO of HealthCasa?
I’m passionate about making quality healthcare services more convenient for busy people like myself. Foot, knee and back pain are actually very common, but also very inconvenient to deal with. Because of this, people tend to neglect their health, and non-critical services such as podiatry services tend to be pushed off. Unfortunately, foot pain becomes one of those things that is ignored and accepted as normal. I love hearing our patients tell us how their appointments made them feel so much better and that they didn’t have to waste any time sitting in traffic or a waiting room to make that happen.
Sometimes I need to remind myself of the huge value of the service that we are providing. I had one of our practitioners come to my home for an appointment a couple of weeks before my youngest child was born, and she advised that I needed a follow-up appointment in 6-8 weeks. I remember doing the math in my head and actually telling her that I wasn’t sure that would be possible because I didn’t want to have to leave home with a tiny baby to go to a health clinic. She just looked at me until I realized what I had said!
Are there any competitors in your space, or, have you seen any other health practices make the shift toward online booking?
Many “traditional” healthcare clinics have started offering online booking to their patients. This usually means that patients complete an annoying booking request form online and then wait for a response via email/phone notifying them if there is availability. With HealthCasa, we’ve created a “live” booking platform, which means that a patient can instantly book and confirm their appointment within minutes. In terms of competitors, there are platforms that specialize in massage therapy, physiotherapy and others that act more like a “marketplace” platform where they connect patients to various practitioners across multiple different specialities. We’ve positioned HealthCasa as a tech-enabled mobile clinic. We’re not just a “matching” platform, which means that patients receive the same standard of care and pay the same price no matter which practitioner they see. All practitioners use the same materials, tools, techniques and lab so that we can ensure consistency and quality of service. We also pride ourselves in being very educational in our approach to every patient that we see – it’s not just about performing a podiatry treatment or designing a pair of orthotics, it’s about looking at a patient’s lifestyle, activities, habits, and footwear to determine the best treatment plan.