Rahul Sharma, M.S., CEO of HSBlox, say that early in his career he learned “to be the bridge between business teams and technical teams."
Climbing the Career Ladder: Sixth of 10 profiles of healthcare executives and their careers.
Rahul Sharma, M.S., CEO of HSBlox, learned early in his career to take risks, build a team that works well together and focus on solving the harder problems that bring value to the industry and the shareholders.
“I also learned to be the bridge between business teams and technical teams to help provide solutions that bring the vision to life and bring value to everyone in the ecosystem,” he says.
Born and raised in northern India, Sharma spent the first 23 years of his life in India and the past 25 in the United States. As a youngster he played cricket and soccer, both competitive team sports, which helped instill in him discipline.
Sharma earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee in 1995 and then his master’s degree, also in engineering, from the University of Alabama in 1998.
He worked in India for the Tata Group before coming to the U.S. His first jobs in this country were with Peachtree Software, an accounting software firm that pioneered online accounting, and Manhattan Associates, a supply chain software company. At Manhattan Associates, he led the systems and database services group in the research and development department. The clients included Walmart, Mary Kay, Dell, Home Depot and the Mayo Clinic. After a seven-year stint, Sharma “took the entrepreneurial route,” a path that has included spearheading five startups.
Sharma’s introduction into healthcare came when he built a SaaS-based solution called VIMS (Vaccine Inventory Management System) at his first company, Decipher Information Systems. But then he shifted gears and partnered with Davidi Gilo, an Israeli entrepreneur, to build INVeShare, a fintech company.Sharma’s other startups included Bloxshare, which offered a blockchain platform for the fintech industry; PatientBlox, which built a prospective bundled payments platform that enabled payer and provider collaboration; and now HSBlox, a healthcare technology company whose CureAlign platform connects community care networks to address social determinants of health issues.
Sharma says he has a passion for building out great teams and tackling difficult problems. “This creates opportunities for our team members and value for our shareholders and the industry,” he says. “We have shown with our sister company PatientBlox, which we sold to Signify Health last year, that difficult problems like prospective bundled payments can be addressed with proper thought leadership and a technical solution that addresses those points.”
The current model of American healthcare is focused on “sick care” and crisis management, says Sharma. Perhaps it is his training as engineer; Sharma thinks that can be fixed with the right application of technology and data.
“One of the key reasons for this (the focus on sick care) is the data challenge that exists in the industry, not only pertaining to interoperability, but also to digitization of the wealth of data that is available in unstructured and semistructured data sets,” Sharma says. “In order to move towards value-based care programs, we have to start addressing the social determinants of health more adequately.”
Sharma says some challenges of traveling upstream to the social determinants of health can be overcome with digitization of the data, forming a longitudinal healthcare record — an LHR to go along with the electronic health record (EHR). The LHR could be used for better predictive and risk-score analysis.
“Technology exists today that can help us achieve these objectives and help us to be more proactive in providing care, and, hence, intervene before issues become a crisis,” he says.