Friedrich Nietzsche argued that there are no facts, only interpretations.  It seems that this idea holds true for provider data too. Today’s guest is Andrew Kobylinski, Head of Platform at BetterDoctor. Andrew tells us that the provider directory issue is first and foremost a data quality issue.  At the heart of data quality, he says, is metadata that explains where the information came from, what it means, when it was updated, and more. This metadata is the interpretation and without it, your facts are pretty much useless.  According to Andrew, “collecting the data is one-half of the problem. It’s actually the easier half. The other half of the problem is taking the data that you’ve collected and sharing it with all the stakeholders that need it in the format they can actually consume and trust”.

Andrew admits that there’s a fair amount of complexity in the context (i.e. interpretation) of provider data and that it does make for an interesting challenge. However, he thinks the healthcare industry uses this complexity as an excuse for bad user interface design. With better user-interface design, many of the context issues go away.

Another key idea from Andrew is that there’s a consumer aspect to all of this. He’s not talking about the patient, but rather the provider as a consumer. That is, many providers are paying to have their information kept up-to-date and propagated to sites like Yelp, Yext, and others.  That, coupled with Andrew’s real world experience in working with doctors, suggests that they do want this data to be correct and they want people to have access to it. So, we have the need, the desire, and the resources. It’s time to give doctors the tools they need to get the job done.

Andrew, Shahid and I discuss all of this and so much more. Here are some highlights:

  • Why we should approach provider directory as a data quality problem (3:05)
  • How did BetterDoctor get into the provider directory space? (4:20)
  • How BetterDoctor’s involvement in the AHIP Provider Directory Pilot solidified their pivot (8:25)
  • How to know what the right data is and why it’s important to share the metadata in support of quality and context (10:12)
  • How the industry uses complexity as an excuse for bad user interface design (13:40)
  • BetterDoctor’s approach to collecting high-quality data (15:52)
  • What’s the provider’s incentive to respond to information requests and keep their data up-to-date? (21:30)
  • The often overlooked consumer aspect of this issue is that many providers pay to have their information updated and syndicated to sites like Yelp, Yext and more. They want it to be correct and they want everyone to have it (24:04)
  • Why many innovation labs and coding camps are making use of BetterDoctor’s API (26:03)
  • Should we incorporate credentialing into the provider directory issue right now? (28:30)
  • New innovation models like CPC+ and regulations like MACRA may require accurate provider network data as a pre-requisite for getting paid. Do these programs finally give us the incentives we need to solve this problem? (34:30)
  • What do you say to providers who look at the BetterDoctor form as more work or another distraction? (38:13)
  • BetterDoctor just closed an $11M investment round. What’s next? (47:07)

As usual, I had a lot of fun with this one and learned a ton. I hope you enjoy it!

– Don Lee

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About Andrew Kobylinski and BetterDoctor

As Head of Platform, Andrew leads BetterDoctor’s data and API business. Andrew has over ten years experience creating new products and bringing them to market at healthcare startups. Creating a solution to inaccurate provider data is his latest passion.

BetterDoctor delivers accurate provider directory data to ensure health plans, health systems, provider groups, and doctors are regulation-compliant and can provide patients with the care they’re looking for.

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Twitter: @BetterDoctor

About the Provider Directory Podcast Series

This episode is part of our ongoing Provider Directory series that aims to dissect the issue from all perspectives, including provider, payer, patient, and regulator. Our goal is to help facilitate an expanded national conversation that drives us towards an open, collaborative industry solution.

Check out all our Provider Directory posts and episodes here!

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