Kelly Xu, WG’17 and Vinayak Kumar C’13, G’13, M’18, WG’18
Bringing Hope To Chinese Cancer Patients
The average five-year survival rate for cancer patients in China is only 30%, but in the U.S., it’s 70%.
Due to this huge quality difference, Chinese cancer patients often seek medical care in the United States, though this option is limited to relatively wealthy patients.
E-Health Now is bringing the expertise of U.S. oncologists to Chinese patients through affordable tele-consultation, allowing superior cancer management plans to be available for the first time to the Chinese middle class—and saving countless lives.
How It Works
The HIPAA-compliant digital platform that E-Health Now is building connects a U.S. oncologist with a Chinese patient and his/her doctor in China, plus a licensed medical translator if required, over a video conference call. This allows all parties to have a real-time conversation and create an optimized plan, which the Chinese doctor will then enact, bearing all medical and legal risk. Through application of machine learning and AI technologies, operating as a B2B business model, with exclusive focus on oncology care, E-Health Now can provide higher quality of service at 1/6th of the cost and 1/7th of the processing time of existing services.
Because E-Health Now operates on an entirely digital B2B model, they have minimal overhead costs and patient/provider recruiting costs. These and other savings are directly passed on to the patient, keeping prices low. To reduce processing time, they will have direct access to physician calendars to schedule appointments.
Additionally, though long-term application of machine learning and AI technologies on its medical record processing, organizing, and analyzing process, E-Health Now could further reduce operating cost and increasing efficiency.
One substantial non-financial benefit is the knowledge transfer from the U.S. to the Chinese doctor, making the Chinese doctor better able to help all their patients. This cannot be understated as the U.S. has the highest cancer research spending in the world, but the results are in English and not readily accessible to Chinese doctors.
Summer in China
Founders Kelly Xu, WG’17 and Vinayak Kumar C’13, G’13, M’18, WG’18 spent two weeks of summer 2017 in China, testing their beta version with real paying cancer patients, meeting with current business partners to set up pilot programs, and meeting with potential partners and investors to further expand the Chinese partnership network. The trip was a great success as the business started receiving paying cancer patients and expanded its Chinese partnership network by more than 300%, now providing access to 2.2 million target Chinese cancer patients, with more business partners in the pipeline of negotiation.
The entire team—Kelly and Vinayak, plus their tech lead Ram Prasad—shares a passion for improving global health, and see E-Health Now as the most impactful way they can imagine to improve healthcare on a truly global scale.
Looking to the Future
In addition to the three cofounders, E-Health Now has eight additional staff members who include a team of coders and web developers in India, a marketing intern in the U.S., and, while in China, they have hired two additional members on-the-ground to onboard, maintain, and expand Chinese partnerships.
In the next one to two years, they hope to add additional services around cancer care, such as post-op rehab and remote physical therapy, and in ten years, they envision not just short term knowledge transfer, but a deeper impact, shifting the paradigm of disease prevention and management.
Kelly Xu, WG’17
Kelly was born and grew up in China, speaks Mandarin, and has worked in healthcare and in China before coming and during her time at Wharton. She previously led a $1 billion joint venture investment project with Chinese government and a U.S. company. She comes from a family of serial entrepreneurs, and she wants to bridge the gap between the health care available in developing countries compared to that in the U.S.
Vinayak Kumar C’13, G’13, M’18, WG’18
Vinayak was born in India, and while he moved to the U.S. as a baby, he frequently travels back to their village to visit extended family. An MD/MBA student at Penn, he’s instrumental in bringing oncologists into the network. As an undergraduate, he founded a nonprofit that works in Peru, providing healthcare access and microfinance opportunities. His father, a scientist who designs clinical trials for cancer drugs, provided the inspiration for the E-Health Now model; when family members in India had cancer, he got on the phone with their local doctors to help optimize their treatment plans.