Five minutes with Josh Komenda, CEO of Veyo
Veyo is an American non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) company, operating one of the largest fleets of its kind in the US. Here CEO Josh Komenda tells us what sets them apart.
Why was Veyo founded?
Each year, 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care due to transportation issues. These issues stem from an overly complex and difficult-to-manage process that has not changed in decades. The non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) field is plagued by inadequate technology, high costs, outdated business models, inconsistent and unprofessional medical transportation providers, and virtually non-existent transparency for the health plan or customer.
After spending years building the technology behind a consumer on-demand rideshare model, we founded Veyo in 2015 to bring that model to medical transportation. We saw the same issues with reliability, quality, and transparency in the healthcare space that we had seen in the consumer space and knew that we could help bring those same innovations seen in the consumer industry to NEMT.
Veyo was built from the ground up to be a healthcare ally and increase access to care. By combining the flexibility and scalability of a rideshare service with the health experience of a full-service NEMT broker, we’re transforming NEMT and delivering higher levels of reliability, quality, and transparency.
What is the difference between a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) company, and companies like Uber and Lyft for example?
Unlike Uber and Lyft, who are transportation providers, Veyo is a full-service NEMT broker. That means we manage the full transportation benefit for a health plan. Everything from managing call centres to credentialing transportation providers to handling grievances and reporting benefit data back to the health plan.
Veyo’s full technology suite was built specifically for the complex needs of Medicaid or Medicare Advantage trips and offers end-to-end transparency for the health plan.
Similar to Uber and Lyft, we also contract with independent contractors as a part of our transportation network. All Veyo drivers must meet healthcare credentialing requirements and standards including training in CPR, First Aid, HIPAA and PHI, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. They also undergo annual background checks and drug tests to ensure the utmost safety for our passengers.
While rideshare drivers are great for transporting ambulatory members who need minimal assistance, many people using NEMT services typically have needs that exceed the capabilities of your average sedan - for example some patients require hand-to-hand service, while others have oxygen tanks or require wheelchair or stretcher accessibility. Veyo is the only platform that was designed to match these health-specific requirements, and our drivers and fleets are trained to accommodate and manage all member needs.
Who are the typical consumers Veyo supports?
We work directly with healthcare facilities and health plans, including Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans in nine states, to provide NEMT for their members. Because NEMT services are covered benefits under Medicaid and some Medicare Advantage plans, we are often serving vulnerable, underserved communities that lack reliable transportation options. To date we have completed over 35 million trips to and from critical health appointments.
What tech do you use and how?
We’re focused on using the latest technology to improve how the transportation benefit is managed. Our model uses predictive analytics, machine learning, automation, and rules-based algorithms to better distribute trips to our transportation network and continuously improve our service.
Our real-time platform records millions of data points, analyses trends around supply and demand, and uses that information to predict where demand will be in the future and recommend adjustments. The Veyo team is then able to optimise trip distribution to the lowest cost, most appropriate, highest-performing provider and ensure that rides are available when and where they’re needed, as well as monitor, control and coordinate service in real-time to ensure the highest possible quality.
How have you been supporting patients during the pandemic?
In addition to expanding our footprint, the pandemic has shown us how our powerful transportation network can serve the healthcare industry and patients in new ways and we plan to continue those expansions in the future. In 2020 we launched specialised transportation fleets for COVID-positive patients and the country’s first initiative to cover drive-through COVID-19 vaccinations via transportation benefits.
We also utilised Veyo’s existing transportation network to deliver emergency goods such as meals, supplies and PPE to both Medicaid members and healthcare workers across the country, and hope to further enable on-demand healthcare delivery services using our existing technology and transportation networks.
What what you like Veyo to achieve in the next 2-3 years?
Over the next few years, we’re focused on continuing to provide exceptional transportation services and exploring how our technology and network can play a larger role in the overall healthcare supply chain. We’re launching our newest market, Wisconsin, later this year, and we plan on expanding into several additional states over the next 2-3 years.
We’re proud of the way we’ve been able to change the landscape of healthcare and improve the member experience, and we look forward to bringing those enhancements to additional members over the next few years.
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025.
At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance.
Meeting regulation requirements
It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.
Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.
However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.
Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk.
With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?
Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.
Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.
Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools.
When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone.