The Business of Pharmacy Podcast™
Aug. 29, 2022

Leading a Startup | Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA, CEO at Illuminate Health

Leading a Startup | Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA, CEO at Illuminate Health

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA, CEO at Illuminate Health, discusses the skills needed to lead a startup.


Speech to text:

Mike Koelzer, Host: [00:00:00] Varun for those who haven't come across you online, introduce yourself and tell our listeners what we're talking about today.

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: My name is Varun Goyal, I'm CEO and co-founder of Illuminate Health and I'm an engineer by background and I see myself as a patient innovator. who's trying to elevate the role of Pharmac. and, part and parcel of that is of course, reimbursing them for the services they provide. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: RO you first went for a computer engineering degree and then computer science. Well then MBA too. But what are the differences between computer engineering and computer science degrees?

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: The engineering gave me a great background from a hardware software, really systems perspective. But then, when I went out into the real world and started doing the kind of work I like to do, I realized I need to get some more computer science under my belt, if you will,more business applications and things like that.

So that's why I went back for a computer science degree.

Mike Koelzer, Host: Give us a snapshot of the program.

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: We are trying to take more of a proactive approach to helping with medication management. because as you know, no one likes to take medication. Um, no one likes to be sick. And so if you've got someone who truly reaches out to you proactively and provides that caring experience, that's really what people are looking for.

There's a need for an ongoing medication management service. so that there's no care gaps.

We know when someone's gonna be discharged from a hospital or has any kind of other service coming up. and then we can do, what's called a medication reconciliation at the transition of care, apart from continuing that chronic disease management. So, that's the program. and the digital tools, are only there as an enabler, of that pharmacist delivering that care.

so when you look at it from a. From a business perspective, because only 12% of Americans have the health literacy needed to take their medications accurately on their own. there's a lot of non-optimized medication therapies, right? 50% of chronic disease patients are not taking their meds.

Mike Koelzer, Host: Our listeners, it's across the pharmacy industry, but let's say a good portion is pharmacy owners and slash. Pharmacists pharmacy challenge over the last 20 years has been a move from product into knowledge. And in my opinion, the knowledge came even before the need.

You've got people studying their tails off and getting the degrees and PharmDs and things like that kind. of Pushing that need in a way, like the cart before the horse, like we're gonna get this knowledge and then we're gonna get paid for it. And instead of having someone at the door ready to pay them to solve this problem, it kind of seems in reverse to me.

So that's been our challenge. We can give a ton of care, but in the minds of consumers, they have more thought of us. and especially insurers, they have more thought of us as a product versus paying for knowledge. We haven't cracked that nut. You being

more of a knowledge company. Has your vision been okay with that or has that been major, hill to get over that has come to you where does it all fit with your


Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: It's kind of really interesting the way, the way you describe it, Mike, and, it's Right. on. I mean, I think. Every healthcare startup to some degree, struggles with who pays for their service or their product. and, and to a large degree, what you said is exactly right. It's, it's, how we are trying to figure out how we get paid for the services we provide, which pharmacists lead and, and tech enabled.

 and, and that's where, Journey we've really come to the realization that it's really the payer, it's the health plans who are at risk for members ending up in the hospital due to an adverse event,or due to non-adherence. It's the health plan who, if someone is not managing their heart condition properly, is going to deteriorate and, and end up costing them more over time. so that's kind of how we've come to the, the, target,from a business to business perspective. and, and that's the challenge that a community pharmacy has, or a pharmacy has, is,they can impart knowledge, but how do they get paid for it? The good news is that some states have started recognizing pharmacists for their value in terms of the provider status.

and they're able to, to build for certain services prescribed and, and things like that. So, we're headed in the right direction, but a lot more can happen from That perspective. and, and then there's, the established collaborative practice agreements, That the pharmacies can establish with maybe a doctor's office or hospital and, then provide collaborative care. so, that's another model where people are trying to improve the outcomes of [00:05:00] a member population, if you will. But, but absolutely, I mean, that's part and parcel of how we sort of look at going to market, getting more traction, convincing health plans that the services, the interventions that a pharmacist provides have a lot of value.

and again, the good news is there's a lot of great research now published around the value that let's say an MTM consult provides, MTM being, medication therapy, and management. or how having a pharmacist as part of your care team adds value in multiple ways, you know, all impacting,like you said, not the product side of a physical medication, but, but really the downstream medical spend, and, and, and the outcomes, the quality of care.

So, So, that's really our focus. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: Sometimes it's better to come in from a different angle. Like you guys are. Even if it's, putting lipstick on a pig? Even if it's coming in with fancy technology from the other direction, it makes me think of PayPal.

I never really like's always kind of's clun than a credit card. The other day I was looking at my phone and I had to call Venmo , one of my kids or something. Venmo is a PayPal company. Same kind of thing. Maybe not a lot better, but they kinda wipe the slate clean and bring in a new fresh start. That's why your guys' stuff with

that fresh start on it might be the way to crack the 

industry. that's an 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: interesting perspective, Mike, in terms of looking at it as, as a fresh start for, know, pharmacies or pharmacists I think the, maybe the challenge is, where pharmacists were traditionally seen by a consumer, let's say even myself,Was, was always at, at a store,

 and then even at the hospitals, In most cases you're talking to a nurse, you're never seeing a pharmacist, who's working at the inpatient pharmacy, and so forth. So, I think that's part of the challenge where they've always been sort of behind the scenes, if you will. So,and then, I'll just qualify a bit in terms of, us, illuminate, help, you. i know, we are a tech company, we're a tech-enabled services company, so, so are you. At our heart, we're trying to enable pharmacists to deliver patient care. That's what we are trying to do.

And so whether you look at us as an MTM platform, or you look at us as sort of a patient engagement and pharmacy care management company, I mean, that's, that's positioning right in the marketplace. but really the value we are trying to bring is the value between the pharmacist and the patients they care for.

Mike Koelzer, Host: Every company needs money to run. Let's say that's gonna be our top challenge for anybody listening to this. You don't have money. You're eventually gone. Once you say, okay, we have enough money. We've got this going. What's your next hurdle? Negatively running away from it or positively trying to hit it. What's the next thought on your mind 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: yeah. Great question. I think that. Let's say, even if we did our fundraise, I think the challenges that would continue just for any other startup as well, would be getting more adoption from a sales perspective, because when you're selling to health plans, I mean, those sales cycles are just brutally long, right?

I mean, you're lucky if you get a contract in 18 months of starting the first conversation. so, I think that will continue to be a hurdle. but that's where if we raise money, we hire some really sharp people who can, talk to the right people that help plans and, and help us get adoption, then that's the win. right Um, so, so that definitely will continue to be a C. I think that hiring the Right? People are always critical for organizations like ours. I mean, it's just a whole different mindset of the type of person you want to bring into a startup versus your standard corporate employee, if you will.

and I'm sure it's the same for, for, pharmacy owners who listening in,

As a small business, you wanna bring in the best of the best. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: You want the best of the best plus, if you got a thousand people and you made a bad hire, you don't have really have to see Joe, just throw him on the other side of the building, but on a positive thing, you want the best on a negative thing. You don't want to deal with some personality

that you didn't pick up in the hiring process.

Now you gotta deal with it,

cuz you're a minimum size 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: That's exactly right. The opportunity cost of a bad hire. is tremendous right. For, For, a startup or a small business, like a pharmacy. So, So, I think that, will continue to be something we'll continue to work on is, how do we attract the, the right people and, and, just, include the right 

people into the organization. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: As you look back from your dream of this, where you wanted to go, what has been the biggest realization I'm always looking at the negative of things, I'm always thinking, I thought it was gonna be easy and it's this and, and the realization might be positive.

It might be that we realize there's more need for us than we ever thought. But what's the biggest change of heart positive or negative that you had from your

thought of this? 

To the [00:10:00] reality of it?

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: So I think there's a couple of aspects to it. One as sort of a professional and a personal journey, being out in the corporate world,coming to the startup world, it's, it's definitely eye opening that, you. know, you're it.

Right. Then, the buck starts and stops with you. And so you're responsible for everything from the coffee machine to to you name it.

and so for example, just the other day, I was diving into a lot of government paperwork, Trying to figure out how we work with the government, right? I mean,things like this, you never have to worry about when you've got an army of people or, you know, an organization all, all set up that way.

I think the other aspect of it honestly, has been the speed of, execution because EV and and, not in terms of, oh, how long it takes to build a and how long it takes to get it to market and things like that. But it again comes down to the adoption. I think the interesting part is that.

You my mind, this should be an obvious thing for everybody out there taking multiple medications.but there's just, it's, it's a process to try and get in front of the right people to, to present your case and then to continue down the process of where you can actually impact.

the people you want to impact.So, so I think those are some of the sort of other realizations along the way. so, that's kind of what I would do.

Mike Koelzer, Host: part of the problem on all this stuff is you're up against human nature. I had a couple DTS blood clots over the years and I'm taking a blood thinner and I'm supposed to take it every 12 hours and you'd be surprised, you know, I'm sitting in the other room watching YouTube or something on the TV and. I'm basically gonna save my life over time by getting up and taking my blood thinner at night. And you'd be surprised by the excuses, my mind comes up with, to not come over in my duffle bag and get out the pill case and take it. It's amazing. The stuff my mind comes up with, like, well, I don't really need that. It's like a 10 foot walk to get it, you know? And here I am with zero physical problems to get up and do this except being lazy. And it makes me think of people that, that physical problems even get into the pharmacy and this and that. And I once heard that,humans have a better rate of filling for their pets better compliance for the pets than

compliance for themself.

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yes. a hundred percent agree. And it's the same thing with, say, would I fill a prescription for myself in a timely manner versus for my son. and, and same goes for a parent or a grandparent, So if I'm the one taking care of a loved one, I would refill a prescription or go get, get off from the sofa, get the medication, give it to them.

as compared to myself. That's definitely the case. Completely agree. 

so a lot of it is behavior modification, right? That's the term being, being used out there is, how do you incentivize, how do you motivate people to get more active? Self-care not just med management, but you know, all aspects of self-care,

Whether it's taking a walk or getting enough sleep or checking your glucose on time, whatever it 


Mike Koelzer, Host: We saw with COVIDthere. Basically financial incentives, and there were like lotteries where you'd win $50,000. If you got your COVID shot and they picked your name or something like that, talking about incentives, where do you come down on,financially incentivizing people, maybe on your program, through the healthcare thing.

You know, some people will say, it's a great thing, and someone else will say, well, if they're 


excited enough and care enough about their own damn health and screw 'em, we're not gonna incentivize 'em.

do you see that as an 


Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: yeah. So, we will work with health plans or employers on creating that incentive program. Because yeah. I mean, and it could be as simple as, Hey, you get a $0 copay on the next prescription,Or you get an American express gift card at the end of the three months, whatever that incentive is. but you know, you're absolutely right. There's always gonna be a segment of the population that you know, is proactive. So, they're driven, they're organized, they're proactive about their care.and then there's the segment that, it's kind of more laid back and, like you said, maybe he's missing a, a dose or something cuz they're in front of the. and then there's the other population segment where yeah. You can do anything and everything, but you know, it may or may not work right. Just for whatever reason. So, um, I think from our perspective or, or plan or, employer's perspective, it's about doing the right thing and trying at least in, in the hopes that even if you can't engage a hundred percent of the people you're trying to engage, you can at least engage, you know, 80. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: Speaking about motivation, when you think of your worst emotion running the business on days you're challenged, whatever the challenge is. What emotion would you have to fight?


Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: I think there's a couple of a couple of things here, I [00:15:00] think in terms of emotions, I think anxiety or, or let's just call it fear, Coming to play. It's fear of failing and failing could be in multiple ways, Right. Not, not delivering the service that you promised or, not being able to pay your team, whatever it might be.

But, but that's where I think, overcoming that on a daily basis or a monthly basis, or whatever it is, is critical because as one has to be, just infinitely, optimistic all the time. And, and I think it's about being bold and, and courageous as part of this journey.

So, So, that's one aspect. I think the other aspect is, is really being super organized and and, and really ensuring you are laser focused on exactly what needs to be done today or this week because otherwise, you could just spend all week in all kinds of activities for the sake of activit. and because, I mean, there's always just a lot to do.

so, I would say are some of the things that, I've definitely sort of, worked on over time. Obviously stress management is part and parcel of all of it. whether it's meditation or exercise or whatever works for you just, just being more structured again, so that you are including Ty for all of those activities, which at the end of the day will make you better entrepreneur or CEO, to make your company a success while also balancing, family or whatever else you might have. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: You've got a partner, but let's say you had to have a new partner.

 What would be the top skill that you would want in somebody? Would you like someone that had a positive attitude? Would you like someone who's a go-getter and you might fulfill that in your partnership or

Maybe it doesn't need to be what you do.

What would you look for in a partner 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah, that's a, that's a tough one. Cause

cuz really, I need maybe five more partners.

 To bring the skills or the workload 

Yeah, all of it. Because that goes back to our conversation about hiring for, for a small business or a startup, youyou need somebody who's got multiple skills, can bear multiple hats, And interchange them on a daily basis, which is not easy to do. so, I think all of what you said Needs to be a go-getter, obviously a positive demeanor and outlook on life and, you know, the company and things like that. and, and just sharp and driven. Because, with startups, it's about figuring it out and, and getting it done. so, that's really what you need. and, and then you can say, okay, yeah, I need help on the development side or I need help on the technology side or clinical side.

so that's kind of how I'd answer that.

Mike Koelzer, Host: Have you had to rely on your MBA training for any of this? Let's say that we took your MBA degree away. Would you have had enough experience or fortitude or learning on your own to

do what you're doing or do you think that truly


Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: I think it was instrumental in, in helping me get, get where I am. 

Mike: And you went to Kellog for your MBA.

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah.

They have a great healthcare program and, and that's what I focused my, you know, MBA on, is healthcare. And really understanding the dynamics of the, of the, you know, stakeholders and, the, the, the money, The flow of money, if you will, in healthcare. Cause at the end of the day, it's a business, It's a business, of healthcare. So, the MBA was wonderful. and it's not just the learnings, from a textbook or, or classroom perspective, it's the relationships, right? it's knowing that I can pick up the phone and get advice from someone who also maybe went to Kellogg, and, and just have that support, Because the entrepreneurial journey is, just like raising kids, it takes a village. So it's, it's about just having access to,group that's gonna be supportive of what you're trying to achieve.

Mike Koelzer, Host: You've been 




five years. Is 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: that right? 

Yeah. This is our fifth year.

Mike Koelzer, Host: your fifth


You said 10 years 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: company years Yeah. So I am working at a company that is owned by health plans, like Humana and Anthem, in the world of claims management. So, the way the money moves, right?

How, how doctors get paid, hospitals get reimbursed and, and things like that. and how insurance companies process claims and, do prior S and, and, so forth. So, that's the world I came from. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: What'd you do for them,

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: you 

know, kind of something similar, working on, the next product idea, if you will, to managing existing, business,different portfolios, let's say.

So, you know, I spent my time partly on the provider side, working with hospitals and, and clinics, and then partly on the health plan side, um, how do we use data? 

Mike: Any of that sales? 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Uh, well, there's, I guess there's always some level of sales, but, but yeah. You know, sales in terms of, more, the strategic aspect of talking to, big, you know, customers

Mike Koelzer, Host: How are we gonna move into


Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah. Yeah. That type thing to, you know, even potential customers. but, but really from a, product and, roadmap perspective, strategy perspective, sometimes even implementation.[00:20:00] 

Mike Koelzer, Host: Did you. Have yourself in the position of a business owner slash CEO at a certain point in your life, and that pull the problem outta you to solve and you're here or,

 Could your life have taken a bunch 

of different avenues? 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah, that's an interesting question. Think I was really fortunate in finding my co-founder,and having the opportunity to realize a dream of being an entrepreneur. Um, you were not planned per se when I was 20 or 30. it just happened to all come together where I felt that I had the right mix of the technology background, the healthcare background to, to try and, know, do something here. and, and hopefully that's part of what, maybe my co-founder thought that yes, maybe we can, we can, do something here together. I think if I was to do this when I was 20, I don't think I would've been able to, back in the day, a couple of my college buddies, And I did try our hand at a website building business, but,life happened.

And so, I think the entrepreneurial bug remained. but yeah, this was not planned.

Mike Koelzer, Host: it wasn't planned, but if there was other versions of you 


all may have ended up in some role like this, it might have been a different field or something. Do you think

That that 

leadership in you was waiting to come out? 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Wow. That is, uh, that's a good question. I would hope so but in all honesty, I think that's exactly right. I think if, if it was not not entrepreneurship, someone like me would continue within a larger organization, with entrepreneurship, Trying to innovate from within and, and trying to have an impact that way.

so, I think doing it as part of a startup is great. But you know, there's several people trying to do it as part of large organizations.

Mike Koelzer, Host: As you're going through your weeks of being at your company, what is the worst 10% of your job? What thing do you wake up in the morning and say, ah, crap, I gotta do this.

 I don't know if there's a worst part per se. I think it's. the, the volume of, of, work where, let's say something simple as an extension on some paperwork right. Needs to happen. and, and the best person before it, because I have all the background and company information, whatever else is needed. but I know I've gotta follow up. on a sales opportunity or I, I have an investor meeting coming up. it's always those conflicting priorities. Like we talked about before, I sit and think to myself, oh man. I wish I didn't have to do this or that, So, I could focus on this.

So, I think that's more of the scenario than a type of task if you will. 

, think that's, that's kind of been an interesting,kind of realization over, over the course of time is, just. Playing multiple roles, if you will, um, you know, is, is taxing Right. By the time I'm done with the day, I've, I've had, let's say financial conversations with technology, to you name it.

and and I'm ready to go play with my kids or, or take a break, get a workout in and, and clear my 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: head. You mentioned, filling out the forms. That is funny because I think. delegating and things like that, but it's a damn form when I gotta fill a form out. It's like a lot of this stuff, nobody else knows, it's just oddities. And then it's like, you can have someone do that, but then you're just sitting 

Mike Koelzer, Host: there waiting for the question to come while they fill it out.

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: right. right. Yeah. And, and that's, that's the art of management and delegation. It's figuring out, okay, what are the tasks or functions that you can actually delegate? assuming you find the right people for it versus yeah. Things that you just have to say. Nope. It's easier if I just sit and.

Mike Koelzer, Host: You mentioned tasks. I imagine you've got

a way to organize those. And what is that? 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: I have had the wonderful fortune of having this lady by the name of Caroline ALA join our team as my chief of staff. So, that's, that's, been phenomenal in terms of improving organization productivity and, and, things like that.but you know, aside from, from that, I think it's about really just, organizing yourself using tons of the tools available now.

whether it's something simple Excel or your outlook or whatever you like to use to some of the newer tools out there with, I think Monday and, and others. so, I think really that's, that's the name of the game, is just being super organized and prioritizing.

Mike Koelzer, Host: You mentioned, Two years ago. They changed their name to They were DaPulse 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Got. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: And the program was about the same and, and they made the change over to and I thought it was a bad choice.

I can see what they're trying to do, but. Here's the problem. And for our [00:25:00] listeners, basically is a, it's like a calendar slash do list sort of, and, you can move things around graphically and stuff like that. It's team focused on a mission and so on. And the problem with it is you're naming a company, something that's used in the conversations about it quite often, because the thing is called Monday, and it's kind of like, I don't know if you came across that it's kind of like Abbott and Costello, like who's on first, cuz you're like, we're gonna do it on Monday, but I thought we were doing it Tuesday.

No we're doing it Tuesday, but put it on Monday for this and that, it was kind of a bad name. And the thing is, it's like there's other stuff that has common names, but. When you have like an apple computer, you're not talking about apples typically when you're talking about the computer, but with Monday, it was 


you're talking about it 

all the 


 Varoon, if you were not in 

healthcare, but you had your degrees and someone said you had to be an entrepreneur now, but we're not gonna let you continue in healthcare anymore, or in, you know, in medical stuff, like your current program, what would you be an entrepreneur in?

If it wasn't healthy right now? 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: that's an interesting one, I would say that it would have to be something to, do with the environment and, and climate where, where, you know, I'd love to help figure out how do we decrease greenhouse gasses kind of deterioration of the planet, if you will. I think that would be interesting. Um, it would definitely be technology related, whatever I did, entrepreneurship in, taught about real estate in terms of, you know, helping with people buying a house or selling a house and things like that.

So, so yeah, those are a couple of quick ideas that come to mind.

Mike Koelzer, Host: The same question about not being able to do health? what if you couldn't do computers and someone said you have to get a degree, but you cannot do computers. Then 


field would 

you be in

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Psychology. 

Mike Koelzer, Host: psychology? 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yep. I always thought understanding how the human mind works is so interesting. And, and I, I took a couple of psychology courses just as electives and, and just loved them. and I enjoyed writing. So, kind of went hand in hand when it was time to write a term paper.

Mike Koelzer, Host: Talking about your program and the value that pharmacists can bring. 

There's a lot of different fields out there. When you look at your program, you know, you talk about health, you talk about insurance, what other stakeholders or players are in your world. You came up with increasing patient care. 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: yeah. Great question. So, I think, one of the most crucial stakeholders, if you will, are the prescribers or are the doctors. People who are writing the scripts that we are helping patients tick accurately.I think there's a lot of value that, you know, what we are trying to do with pharmacists, goes back to the doctors.

You think about a cardiologist who only has a certain amount of time with each patient during the consultation. Wouldn't it be amazing if they had an up to date medication list on the patient, or if they had other information about, potential side effects that the particular type of medication has on the patient or any symptoms that the patient has had over the course of the three months since they last saw them.

And then after that consult,if the pharmacist can, can reiterate or perform the medication education needed, you know, on behalf of the, the doctor's office, cuz I mean, unfortunately they're always short staffed and and so they don't have the time to spend with the patients, but if you can do this using.

The pharmacist led the service. Now that's just a lot of value that goes back to helping improve the outcomes for for those 


Mike Koelzer, Host: Where does this information all come from right now, for example, in a pharmacy, we don't really get a lot of information on the actual disease state of the person. And there's some drugs that can be used for a couple different things. And you're never quite sure what it's for is this for depression or is it for sleep?

And you're not quite sure you could ask the person, but then it opens up a can of worms. Like, what do you mean I'm depressed kind of thing. You know, I just can't get to sleep at night. Are there ways to collect this information?

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah, absolutely. So you know, as of now the best source of data is healthcare claims. So getting claims from the person's insurance company, know where they have claims on the medical side as well as prescription side. So I know when, when did Mike go to a hospital or see a doctor, what prescriptions has Mike been picking up from, from the pharmacy?

Right. So, that's the best source. the other of course, are, the doctor's EMR system, electronic medical [00:30:00] record system or the hospital's you know, so ideal scenario is getting the claims along with the data from, from the EMR system, so that you have the right mix of, like you said, the clinical context, along with the, the 


Mike Koelzer, Host: Does that become a lot easier if you've sold to a healthcare system versus working with the patient? There's not like a national database to tap into, right? Once you get with a patient, then you're kind of getting, a

handshake, a, a computer handshake agreement with their


Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah, that's exactly right. So, I work with a health plan that can provide us the data on, on the patient and, and that way, even our first interaction with the patient or the member is not about, okay, let's enter all your information, we've got their information already preloaded. We're just verifying some of those aspects and then continuing to deliver patient care. and, same thing with, let's say a hospital where we are able to pull information from a hospital system,it's about going through that interview process of, okay, let's take a look at, you know, everything you're taking and what your experience has been.

So, that's where the data comes into. but I think to your point, that's where some of the, a lot of the, tech companies are trying to do, whether it's apple, it's Google and, they, they all wanna provide that sort of, personal and maybe, be that registry nationally 

Mike Koelzer, Host: Do you see blockchain doing anything as far as

your stuff is concerned? As far as records, that kind of 


Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah. So, the application from a healthcare perspective from blockchain has been, patient identification and record management, really,just given the security of its ledger based so, we have not implemented blockchain as of now. we're focused more on AI if, if, you will, and machine learning as compared to blockchain.

but, yeah, it's definitely got its own applications for sure.

Mike Koelzer, Host: The blockchain's interesting with health records and things like that. Because whenever they're talking about privacy. They'll talk about Facebook, privacy, and blockchain, all you use for this. I'm like, I don't give a crap if somebody wants to know more about me and they wanna then sell me this or do me that it's like, bring it on.

I want more of this, but I can see if I was an employee somewhere. And 

When I get layers of people then I might not be so happy for someone to know about the last disease I had or my mental status, or even weight gain or something like that. It's like, those things can have ramifications if you're, if you're employed somewhere or you got a lot of pressure down from the top.

 I can see where 

that a, a future, I suppose. 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Absolutely. And, and, and I think that's where HIPAA and, and a lot of the cyber security regulation that's out there is so crucial because to your point, I mean, it's about protecting privacy, making sure everyone's data is stored securely transmitted securely which also going back to one of your previous questions of sort of a, a startup in healthcare,becomes an additional aspect of getting a startup off the ground because in healthcare, just like in finance, you've got a lot of regulatory things to, work.

Mike Koelzer, Host: When finally illuminate gets as big as you could imagine, it was going to be. Are you comfortable being a CEO of that? Or are you saying I kind of like this startup

thing and goodbye. I'm gonna go this year. 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: Yeah, that's a, that's a good question. I've given that some thought I've not come up with a definitive answer yet. because a lot will go into that decision process, depending on what stage of life and family And, and career and things like that.I would love to be involved with illuminate as, as long as I can.

And, you know, even if it's not as CEO, um, you know, I'm, I'm the first one to say, Hey, Mike's the better guy for the job or, or whoever else than, than me. Right? Because it's about, success of illuminate health 

Mike Koelzer, Host: Well, Roone, it was great having you on the program. Anybody that is trying to get pharmacists into the system to help us improve the

system is a,

friend of pharmacy. So thanks what you're doing and keep it 

Varun Goyal, MCS, MBA: I appreciate it, Mike. Yeah. I'm personally passionate about what pharmacists do and, given my experience, just helping prevent others from going through the same thing. but really enjoy the 

conversation. Thank you so much 

for having me on the