Ashish Kachru, MBA, founder and CEO, Altruista Health
After working in several industries, Kachru joined United Healthcare as the national director of its business risk management division overseeing many safety net health plans. He soon realized that for the healthcare system to create a lasting positive change in a member’s health, the system would have to be organized around value-based care. To enable this change, technology would play an important role. Kachru founded Altruista Health with a mission to drive improvements in cost savings and health outcomes through such technology. He led the development of a suite of applications called GuidingCare, which ties payers, providers, and members together on a single platform to manage the entire continuum of care. GuidingCare is on track to double its 38 million members this year; its use by provider organizations and health plans continues to grow.
MHE: Why did you choose your profession?
Kachru: I worked in several other industries before healthcare—manufacturing, nanotechnology, consumer product goods, and venture capital. But because several of my family members work in healthcare, the mission to serve others was a strong motivator. I was passionate about leaning into my experience from other industries to drive positive change in healthcare.
MHE: What has been your biggest learning experience?
Kachru: Healthcare is vastly different from any other industry in which consumers drive the market. Rules that apply in other industries don’t often apply. Change in consumer-driven markets can usually happen more quickly based on buyer needs and wants. Healthcare is a rather challenging industry to drive change in, but it is possible. You need to address the various forces driving the industry which requires a delicate balance.
MHE: What change would you like to see in healthcare in the next 10 years?
Kachru: I would like to see all stakeholders in the industry aligned—patients, payers, providers, policymakers, and vendors. We all need to be driving the bus in the same direction to achieve the kind of transformation we need to fix healthcare in our country. Until this happens, we will not see the changes needed to truly deliver value-based care.
MHE: If you could sit down to dinner with anyone involved in healthcare, who would it be?
Kachru: Ted Kennedy—who was extremely passionate about healthcare reform throughout his political career. To have this much passion and drive for a single cause, and to dedicate your entire career to it, is very impressive. I’d like to understand what fueled his passion and how it kept him going, even during times when he did not achieve his goals.