Simplicity and Reliance: Redesigning Healthcare IT with Bobby Guelich

In this episode of Friends of Project Healthcare

Bobby Guelich, Co-founder of Elion, joins host Eric Thrailkill to discuss his career journey from finance to healthcare technology, and Elion’s mission to simplify the vendor research platform for health IT decision makers. Bobby explains the strategy behind Elion’s business model, which focuses on transparency and quality of service, and the ways that AI will transform healthcare technology for the better. 

“We set out to build a marketplace and intelligence platform, a place where people can go to get an understanding of the landscape, what are the different categories of solutions, how are they defined, what’s the full list of vendors,” he says, “And then give them the information they need to really narrow down that list to maybe two or three finalists.”

Working for Bridgewater Associates after completing his undergraduate studies at Princeton, Bobby entered Stanford’s Graduate School of Business seeking a more mission-driven career path. Amongst his studies, he began an internship for Oscar Health in its early stages of development, a transformational experience that revealed to him the impact he could make in the healthcare industry.

“Everybody’s sitting around one table in a building in lower Manhattan for what I thought was going to be a really interesting internship, but it turned out that I loved it. Loved the team, loved the mission, really exciting time with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, and Oscar was kind of one of the first really consumer-driven health insurance companies.”

Bobby loved it so much he dropped out of business school and took a full-time job at Oscar Health for over four years.

Working for various healthcare IT companies, Bobby began to observe some inadequacies in vendor data systems.

“The short version is I had to make a lot of vendor and technology decisions across both of those runs and frankly just found the entire process to feel far more challenging than it seemed like it needed to.”

“Particularly through Covid,” Bobby explained, he says “what was already a pretty fragmented and difficult to navigate market was getting even more complex. There was a huge explosion of healthcare technology solutions.”

Bobby decided to attack the problem head on, and sought out like-minded individuals to co-found a company based on a shared vision. Elion was brought to life. 

“We did a bunch of customer discoveries. I think we had a pretty strong intuition based on our own experiences,” Bobby explains, but Elion’s founders aimed to “validate that others were really feeling the same pain and then decided to take the leap.”

Bobby was able to get a hold of what would be in highest demand from a market and intelligence platform to provide categorized solutions and vendor details. Elion, Bobby offers, focuses on the quality of user experience and optimizing outcomes.

“We try to provide in-depth information about the actual quality of these solutions, which we do through essentially really in-depth interviews with users of the products. So if you think about most healthcare technology purchases, they’re very ‘word of mouth’ driven.” 

Bobby reveals how the drivers of innovation at Elion will ask, “‘Do I know someone who happens to have used this solution in the past? Essentially, what we’re trying to do is enable that at scale. One place you can go to get access to what people actually think about.”

Looking ahead, Bobby expressed optimism about the future of healthcare services as they are enhanced by AI tools, which should simplify processes and relieve healthcare workers of structural and operational burdens. “The introduction of an AI scribe has been the biggest impact I’ve seen on my clinician’s experience in my entire career versus anything I’ve ever done on the care model development side.”

As Elion develops in its abilities and expands the amount of companies they work with, Bobby looks forward to serving additional areas, within the provider and beyond. 

“There is so much runway to cover. Right now, I feel like we’re only covering a small segment of what providers care about, and there’s a need for what we’re building across healthcare broadly,” he says. “So we really see an opportunity to expand, certainly within the provider vertical, but to additional areas as well.” 

Bobby believes it’s both a “breadth and depth thing” as he looks ahead to the next few years.

About Bobby  Bobby is the cofounder and CEO of Elion, a healthcare technology marketplace and intelligence platform. Prior to Elion, Bobby built and led operations at TrialSpark, where he oversaw the company’s patient recruitment, trial site network and clinical operations. Prior to TrialSpark, Bobby spent four years at Oscar Health, joining as one of the company’s first 15 employees. At Oscar, Bobby held a series of roles, including Head of Sales, and VP of Customer Care Strategy. He began his career as an investor at Bridgewater Associates. Bobby received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and attended Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

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