June 17 2014
by John Backus

Health Care Pricing Transparency 2.0

Pokitdok was the first investment we at New Atlantic Ventures made out of our latest early stage venture capital fund. We invested in Pokitdok because we are big believers that the Affordable Care Act will change how healthcare is delivered – and many of those changes will result in a more efficient, classic marketplace for health care consumers (that is you and me) and health care providers (that is your doctor.)

That investment theme is playing out quite nicely at Pokitdok, where I sit on their Board of Directors.

I recently had the chance to sit down with Pokitdok Founder and CEO Lisa Maki, to ask her a few questions. I would like to share that with you here:

1. Why does the world need PokitDok?

As the ACA results in more healthcare expenses being paid by consumers, naturally most of us are asking for the cost before we agree to have a service or procedure. To date, most doctors didn’t know the real cost of a procedure but now that’s changing. Consumers need a simple way to get cost and quality information up front to make more informed purchase decisions. Doctors and other health providers need a simple way to communicate cost and quality at scale. PokitDok facilitates transparent healthcare purchases by connecting consumers directly to practitioners in a transparent healthcare marketplace.

2. Where did you get the idea?

I started my company, PokitDok, after overcoming a spinal injury discovered while studying Karate. I spent nearly a year researching treatment options. While experts recommended that I fuse my lower spine, a random Facebook post led me to a study conducted by Dr. Marc Dubick at Roper St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, SC, for an experimental treatment that has left me pain free and able to return to the activities I love. Through it all I kept thinking it shouldn’t be this hard for people to discover treatment options and their cost. That’s what inspired me and my co-founder, Ted Tanner, to start PokitDok.

3. What are you most proud of to date?

When we started PokitDok we were told repeatedly that physicians would never quote a bundled cash price for a healthcare procedure. People said the country wasn’t ready for a free market approach to the business of health. With PokitDok, we’ve proved doctors just need simple straightforward tools to report prices and are proving the skeptics wrong every day. We’re also most proud of the graph of health data we’ve applied to the business of health. This allows us to provide vastly more efficient ways to facilitate and process health transactions which we think gives us a distinct advantage.

4. What surprises you the most since you got started?

The overwhelming interest we have received from insurance companies. They are eager to help their customers on high deductible plans spend their out of pocket and health savings account dollars wisely.

5. What did you do before starting PokitDok?

The last company Ted and I created – BeliefNetworks – was acquired by health and employee benefits company, Benefitfocus, which experienced one of the top performing IPOs of 2013. We built a system that produced semantic intelligence and predictive analytics. Earlier in my professional life, I spent time at Microsoft, during Bill Gates’ tenure and used to be a snowboard instructor in Utah after graduating from Stanford.

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