HomeFocus → Interview Exclusive - Albert Santalo, CEO, CareCloud

Interview Exclusive - Albert Santalo, CEO, CareCloud Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Thursday, 11 November 2010 11:06

An experienced entrepreneur, Mr. Santalo founded CareCloud in 2009 with the vision of becoming a healthcare information technology leader focused on eliminating the waste and inefficiency in the healthcare industry today. Previously, Mr. Santalo was Founder and Chairman of Avisena, a software-enabled revenue cycle management company in the healthcare industry where he worked from 2001 to 2008. He is the lead inventor and has a U.S. patent for Avisena's Accounts Receivable Management Methodology. He holds an MBA from FIU.  CareCloud was founded with the explicit goal of uniting a disjointed healthcare industry by giving providers good cause to snap out of their software-imposed quarantine. The firm is striving to replace legacy practice management applications with online solutions that are lightweight, intuitive, and most importantly, connected.  Launched with $2.8 million, the firm just completed its second round of fundraising and has collected an additional $5 million (click here to see the full story published in SFBJ).  I had an opportunity to interview Mr. Santalo (AS) on October 20 and had a chance to learn more about the company as well as his views on health policy and the economy. Below is an excerpt from that conversation.     

Thanks for visitng!

Jeff Herschler (JH)

JH        Congratulations on the $5 million.  How will you spend it?

AS        Product development, programming, increased sales capacity, corporate infrastructure and staffing will be the main focus.  We are hiring.  We have 52 or 53 employees currently and will add 23 more this quarter.  Our firm intends to hire 50 more in the first half of 2011 and an additional 75 in the second half of the year.

JH        Impressive.  Now let's back up a step.  Can you explain to our readers what CareCloud does?

AS        We are a medical practice automation platform based in the cloud. Additionally we offer revenue cycle management services. Unlike legacy software solutions there is no upfront cost and you pay as you go. The CareCloud community is a social network connecting patients, physicians, practices and payers.  The solution is safe, secure and HIPAA compliant.

JH        You mentioned a social network.  Is CareCloud a FaceBook for healthcare stakeholders?

AS        In many respects, yes.  We utilize Facebook-like methods to engage doctors and patients in a secure, social network-like technology environment.

JH        The business plan's foundation is on cloud computing.  Isn't it possible that cloud computing is just another technology fad?

AS        No way. The benefits of cloud computing, otherwise known as Internet-based computing, are too great to think it will ever go away - it's not just another Internet bubble; it's the future of IT.  Physicians realize that to optimize their practice, they must embrace technology.  We offer that technology but you don't need to be a techie to use it.  It's also very accessible because it's a pay-as-you-go model.

JH        The medical home and the accountable care organization were two pillars of healthcare reform.  Can your technology help transform these ideas into reality?

AS        Without a doubt.  These two related concepts put the burden on primary care to keep patients healthy.  The systems in place now are practice centric.  CareCloud's solution is patient centric and cross-practice centric.

JH        The Republicans have added Healthcare Reform Repeal to their platform.  What are their chances of success?

AS        Pretty decent. We'll see what happens now that the Republicans have taken control of the House.

(see related article from Repeal 'Obamacare': GOP will try at least posted 11.03.10) 

JH        You launched in the depths of the Great Recession.  What's your view on the economy now?

AS        I think high unemployment is going to be with us for a number of years.  Millions of jobs were lost and now Americans have to retrain for new jobs.  Corporate balance sheets are healthy and the economy is back on a growth track.  Entrepreneurial activity creates jobs but entrepreneurs are also looking to reduce cost by automating and off shoring jobs. 

JH        These are pretty typical elements of the business cycle.  Why do you think unemployment is going to be so hard to solve this time around.

AS        Technology and innovation developments are evolving at a rapidly accelerated rate. This exponential change means some workers are going to be left behind if they do not retool.

JH        To what extent is the government responsible for transforming healthcare delivery?

AS        We need a national infrastructure for financial, administrative and clinical transactions.  The government needs to create the environment for capitalists to build that system. 

JH        Why hasn't the free market been able to do it without government help?

AS        Providers are fragmented and haven't been able to act in a unified manner.  Payers benefit from complexity and disorganization.  They are models of efficiency when collecting premiums but become mired in bureaucracy when it comes time to reimburse.  The whole health system is weighed down by antiquated technology.  We deal with one insurer that accepts submissions using a modem. The mentality is that healthcare is a zero sum game but really it needs to be about the patient.

JH        The prophets of doom would have us believe the nation is headed for ruin.  The reasons for our ultimate bankruptcy are healthcare inflation, unfunded government liabilities and an aging population.  How does healthcare IT prevent the Armageddon prediction?

AS        25 to 50 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent unnecessarily. The culprits are administrative waste, fraud & abuse and redundant care.  Well designed healthcare technology, properly implemented, can solve all three problems.


Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 15:46

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