Introducing illuminate.health

A Personal Story From CEO Varun Goyal

Six years ago, while trying to start our family, my wife was dealing with a minor but annoying case of a bacterial infection. Thankfully, she was proactive about her care, and saw a doctor, who prescribed an antibiotic. By chance, I spoke to a physician friend before picking up the prescription, who told us the medication was alright unless we were pregnant or were trying to get pregnant, which we were. As it happened, five days later we found out we were pregnant with our first child. 

Why didn’t the prescribing clinician ask us about the pregnancy implications if it is standard protocol and so important? 

More recently my wife, who has a history of ear problems and is prone to tinnitus (ringing in ears), was prescribed a medication where tinnitus is a common side effect. I shared this rather minor health event with friends and family, only to learn how common and frequent these types of healthcare mishaps are.

These issues can arise for many reasons, not simply because the prescribing physician or dispensing pharmacist is not doing their best to prescribe the most clinically appropriate drug. Most clinics, despite adopting electronic health record (EHR) software, lack relevant records from other doctors you’ve seen or prescriptions you are currently taking. Likewise, your local pharmacy may not catch a drug interaction because you pickup medications from other pharmacies also. 

As I talked to more and more people and researched the topic, I had a scary thought. If someone like me, an educated professional working in the healthcare industry is unaware of the frequency and danger of medication interactions and errors, what are the risks to the average person?

It became clear to me that not only was there a need to help people safely take medications, but I felt a moral obligation to do so. If I could prevent other families from experiencing healthcare complications, that would be fulfilling. 

I experienced frustration because of my experience while starting a family or due to my wife’s tinnitus, but what about more serious and risky interactions? What about interactions that are asymptomatic, but can result in hospitalizations and severe complications over time? Adding to the complexity is that we all live in the real world, with real schedules, real bills to pay, and real urgent issues that makes it unrealistic for us all to become experts in medication safety.

That’s how the idea for what is now illuminate.health was born.

Our Name and Purpose

Illuminate means “to shed light”, which we thought was a simple and powerful way to share what we are trying to do. Our goal is to shed light on better health – whether it be how and when people take their medication, educate patients on expected side effects, or provide the means to easily connect to their support network.

We have done deep research into medication safety, the complications of managing chronic conditions, and the complexities and challenges faced by individuals who take care of an aging loved one. We have interviewed hundreds of people, starting with our friends and family all the way to leading researchers to understand what types of problems patient’s & their families face, and what types of solutions could help.

Most importantly, we recognized that technology alone is not sufficient when dealing with people’s health. As we built our solution we kept in mind, the need to keep things personal, and the importance of making sure our technology connects people to their loved ones. We have designed the tools I wish my family had 6 years ago, so other families can manage their child’s health and aging loved one’s health with peace of mind.

Our Motivation and Journey Forward

As we launch illuminate.health, I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished thus far, and am even more excited about our path forward. Taking a moment to reflect, I recognize that none of this would have been possible without my co-founder, Kushal Sacheti. Kushal has been motivating me to take the entrepreneurial leap for years. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey till now and look forward to the next phase. I am honored to have a team of high caliber individuals who decided to join this mission. I hope you will try our first consumer tool, Med Guide, a mobile app available in both iOS and Android stores. For my clinician friends, we have tools to monitor patients, view reports of compliance and symptoms apart from being able to communicate with all stakeholders, all on the same platform. Lastly, we have started working with a hospital in the Midwest in behavioral health to help Opioid Use Disorder patients with recovery and are firming up more collaborations in other clinical areas.

illuminate.health: shedding light on your health, one dose at a time.

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