The credence of Pardeep Athwal cannot be questioned due to a long list of published work in several well-renowned publications. He has a Bachelor’s of science in biology, MD from St. George University and an MBA in healthcare administration. He started his career as an intern at a medical center and within a span of few years became the radiology resident at the University of Connecticut.
He has always been vocal about the causes he cares about which is why he pondered upon the idea of launching his own startup. Orunje.com was conceptualized to provide an innovative new healthcare platform. It offers On Demand healthcare in a cost effective manner. Orunje links patients needing healthcare services with vetted healthcare providers in their area. Providers do not need to worry about filling out healthcare charts or insurance claim forms; Orunje provides direct cash reimbursement so providers can spend time where it really matters, with the patient.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
A patient visits Orunje.com and simply clicks request a visit. They fill out a short form asking them what their chief health complaint is and to provide any pertinent details. They are also asked to provide any general medical information such as past medical history, surgeries, and medications. Next, they input their address and review their request. The entire process takes 5 minutes or less. Upon clicking submit, every provider in their area is notified that a request has been placed and providers have the opportunity to review the request (without knowing the patient’s name or exact address) and accept it. Once accepted, they will see the patient within 2 hours, will have access to all of the patient’s information and can contact the patient directly to update them as to their status. The patient will also be able to see which provider will be coming to visit them. Once the visit is completed, the patient will have a full record of their visit through our EMR system and can take it with them wherever they go for reference.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Orunje is healthcare on demand. We are a healthcare delivery platform, which will send a physician to a patient’s home within two hours with the touch of a button. Healthcare. Simplified. Is our motto because we truly believe healthcare can and should be simple and convenient. My personal motivation for starting Orunje has to do with my background as a physician. I was attempting to schedule a physical for myself and during residency, my daily working hours were 7 am to 7 pm, which allowed a little time to squeeze an appointment in. I asked myself, “if I work in a hospital and am a doctor and cannot see someone easily for my physical, I’m sure there are millions of people who are running into similar problems”. Lastly, as a physician and patient, I understand the inefficiencies that exist in healthcare and feel that as the world around us advances, it’s a necessity for healthcare to keep up since health is our most important asset.
What is your life mantra?
Change your dreams, not money…This is my life mantra because I feel too often we’re swayed by those things we feel will make us wealthy. When you chase wealth, you end up being unhappy and success rarely finds you. Chase your dreams and things you are passionate about, because regardless of how much money you make, you will be happy doing what you love.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Our greatest challenge was curating a malpractice policy that would allow us to maintain our cost effective model while affording provides the comfort of knowing there was more than adequate malpractice coverage. Malpractice insurance is like car insurance, every physician has coverage and although you never expect to use it, it is impossible to practice medicine without having something in place. We overcame this by being persistent, allowing insurance companies to truly understand what we were trying to do and how partnering with us would be beneficial to them in the long run as we grew and added more providers.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Persistence and creativity. If someone says they can’t do something, find out why and go back to the drawing board to find a solution. Established industries didn’t grow overnight, it took years of creativity and persistence, which afforded solutions for new problems. You will receive many No’s during your journey, and most individuals simply don’t see the value in the new product you are pitching to them. It’s your job to be creative, show them why they need it and how it will benefit them.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We are currently raising a seed round, so my response to this question is somewhat limited. The money we have raised has come from friends and family and various investors. Interestingly, most of our investors are physicians, who really believe in Orunje and what it is doing for the healthcare industry.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We are a relatively small company so “Brain Drain” has not been a large problem for us. In the future, I believe the key to preventing attrition is creating a culture and atmosphere, which individuals want to be a part of. Salary can only go so far in retaining talent if the culture is unpleasant, most people will sacrifice money to work in an environment, which is less malignant.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Hard work
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Google APPs for work and Slack are probably the two tools I have used the most. These allow for seamless communication between your team members and makes collaboration enjoyable. Communication is key, so finding a platform, which allows you to do it effectively and seamlessly will save you time and headaches at the end of the day.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Optimism. I’m a very optimistic person and feel there is a solution for every problem. This has helped me to become extremely productive as I don’t give up easily and continue to overcome any obstacles I encounter.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Patience. I get really excited about new developments with Orunje and want to incorporate changes immediately. I don’t necessarily see the excitement as a bad thing, however, I grow impatient and often spend endless hours working. Although the demands of a startup are high, I’ve since learned to be more patient, enjoy my free time more, which has not only made me a happier person but has led to fewer revisions and changes since the implementation is more thoroughly vetted.
Answer in less than 50 words
Don’t give up. Nothing in life comes easy and you will suffer many setbacks in your journey. But those who are passionate enough about something, will find a way to overcome adversity and keep moving forward.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Stubbornness. Your idea is something you will become attached to as you nurture it and pour your valuable time and resources in. Learn to take criticism and pivot if necessary as you will invariably encounter obstacles, which will require you to do so. Stubbornness to change can be your biggest enemy.
- One most important lesson that you have learned till now:
Competition isn’t always a bad thing. When I first started out with Orunje, I was always upset to find my competitors were incorporating an idea I had come up with several weeks earlier. I felt like this would be the end for my hopes and dreams. You’ll learn that no industry is without a competitor and if it is, then you should question why no competitors exist. Perhaps there is no market for what you’ve thought of or it’s too early for its time. Don’t be disheartened by competitors, focus on your product and keep reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself and stop worrying about what someone else is doing.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Transform the healthcare services industry. A lot is changing in healthcare and we are seeing new technologies and companies disrupting an industry that has lagged decades behind its counterparts. In the next three years, Orunje will be a leader in home healthcare delivery and have a nationwide presence.
If you get a chance to start your career, again what would you do differently this time?
Nothing at all. I’ve been asked this question several times over the past few years and all I can say is I love what I’m doing right now and whatever choices I made in life that got me to this point, I would make all those decisions again, even the mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable in life, you will make them regardless what you do, even if you are the most risk averse person. They are a necessity in life, as if you’re not making any mistakes, chances are you are not trying something new or challenging yourself. For anyone out there reading this and trying to decide if they should change their career, my only advice would be to not completely shun your prior job, training and etc. Take everything you learned from there, good or bad and use that as a catalyst to succeed in your new path.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
My top three getaway destinations all involve being outdoors. Hiking in Yosemite, skiing in Tahoe or surfing in Hawaii are my idea of the perfect getaway. Outside of taking in the outdoors, I enjoy traveling nearly anywhere. Most recently I visited Europe and Asia, which was a wonderful experience.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”