By Tanvi Gahlot, ISW Youth Reporter
I interviewed Mr. Sandeep Shah, the CEO and Founder of Skyscape, a telehealth company. Mr. Shah has been a pioneer in mobile access of healthcare information ever since the release of the first mobile devices. He has now developed an app, released last year, called Buzz which helps healthcare workers communicate. He gave great advice for high school students who are interested in technology and telehealth in the modern era.
Tanvi Gahlot: What inspired you to create your company “Skyscape”?
Mr. Sandeep Shah: Well, while my wife was in training to become a physician I saw the struggles she faced. This was taking place right around the time mobile technology was making its first appearance around 1993. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to marry technology that could be carried and the information needed by a physician because they can’t always consult a book right when they may need some of the information. Although, through their extensive education, doctors already learn a lot of the things necessary, information is constantly changing and the field of medicine is constantly modernizing. The idea of such accessible technology would be really helpful. When we started, our mantra for the company was that this platform should not affect the workflow of physicians. The idea was that if you had a question, you should be able to get an answer quickly, almost within 10 seconds; and the information should be valid and up to date.
Tanvi Gahlot: Telehealth has been gaining popularity, especially during COVID; how do you believe Skyscape is contributing to this trend?
Mr. Sandeep Shah: Telehealth is something that many companies have been trying to deploy. However, due to the pandemic everything has been moving quicker because there was a need for healthcare during such a difficult time. Last year we had actually created a new product called “Buzz”, this product is the next step in telehealth evolution. It is used by healthcare providers to get relevant and up to date information instantly. Buzz is an app where healthcare providers can communicate with colleagues, patients, and other healthcare providers. Even before the pandemic we noticed that the healthcare cost in the US is almost 3.5 trillion and approximately a third of it is considered to be a “waste”. This occurs mainly because of lack of communications or fragmented communication. Although technologies are abundant in hospitals and it works for groups in a particular hospital, when different hospitals have to communicate, they run into problems. This is where our product comes in, creating a universal platform for hospitals to communicate, not just internally, but also with other hospitals.
Tanvi Gahlot: If you were hiring a recent college graduate what are some things you would look for?
Mr. Sandeep Shah: So there are two aspects I would look at, one being the person's training and the other being how the person looks outside their application. Although we do look at academics and other things that are filled out in the application, in reality, the person’s personality matters more than a piece of paper. Considering they are straight out of college, we also look at how interested the person is in what we offer and how passionate they are to learn new things. Moreover, we look for what the person has accomplished outside of their academics.
Tanvi Gahlot: What advice would you give to high schoolers who are interested in having a future career in business/healthcare technology, like you?
Mr. Sandeep Shah: I think at the end of the day it boils down to one’s passion for what they do. The primary question one should ask themself is “are you passionate about the subject you are embarking on?” Your journey should not be because of someone else's ideas or suggestions. For example, if you're not into cooking, but someone tells you “Hey, a restaurant is a great business, why don’t you start it?” I think you would fail, not because you are incapable, but because you have no interest in cooking and you are not passionate about it. The thing is, you could acquire a lot of skills along the way, but you should have that inner ambition to learn and move further. The other aspect to this is, you must be a team player. All jobs require contribution and you won’t get very far on your own because at some point or another you're going to need to get someone's opinion or help.
Tanvi Gahlot: What hobbies do you have that allow you to get your mind off work?
Mr. Sandeep Shah: I have lots of hobbies! One of my major hobbies is mountain climbing; I have climbed 20,000 foot mountains in the Himalayas. After coming to the US after a pause I’ve started doing it with my family. The most recent climb was right before the pandemic. When we had gone to the Everest Base Camp, it really got my wife interested. For the past few years we’ve been doing all sorts of hiking and climbing in different parts of the world. That brings me to my other hobby my family and I have, which is traveling; we’ve travelled to over a 100 countries. These trips act almost like a reset, and when we get back we’re really motivated to dive back into our work. My other major hobby is photography. I usually take pictures while on trips. However, sometimes I also take pictures of nature or pictures at a party we might be attending.