Weekly Profile Wednesday: Jessica Ma '15

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018
by Peter Chen '19

This week, we are spotlighting Jessica Ma ’15, co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Remedy Health, a prescriptive chronic care analytics platform employing artificial intelligence to help value-based health systems determine who should get what care, when, how, and by whom to maximize patient health outcomes per dollar spent. Remedy’s first product, Remedy Sentinel, helps value-based providers identify hidden chronic, co-morbid conditions and intervene by proactively engaging high-risk patients prior to onset.

What ignited the spark in you to start this venture/become an entrepreneur?

Never start a company just to start a company. During my Designer Fund Fellowship, I was hacking on Remedy every waking moment outside of work hours with my best friends. After we raised our seed round from Khosla Ventures and Greylock Partners, I went all in on this passion. For me, there’s no greater thrill than bringing a product from idea to deployment, owning the full stack from design to engineering through to launch, creating the future of healthcare with my closest friends.

What are some challenges you faced while building your company?

From a technology standpoint, if given accurate and granular data, it seems trivial to build AI models that can diagnose with greater accuracy than doctors can. The greatest challenge we faced was in that EMR (Electronic Medical Record) data is not only unstandardized and poorly collected, but also not granular enough to capture the complexities of a patient’s medical state/diagnosis. As a result, AI trained on current health data fails to deliver the insights needed to change a patient’s trajectory. Moreover, many physicians are greatly weary of new technologies. Not only does new tech introduce changes into their workflow, but because AI models perform in an opaque black box, it is difficult to trust in a platform that doesn’t explain reasoning especially in such a high-stakes business. The main challenge we faced was deeply understanding the mindset of our users and developing a platform that caters to them, instead of building cool tech and shoving it down a health-system’s throat. That never pans out well for good user experience design.

As a result, we developed our technology stack with machine learning models to be the first of its kind, an AI that learns from both data and human physician feedback. Additionally, the key competitive advantage we’ve built with this model is that our AI is interpretable. We can explain why our AI makes each decision, and pass that actionable insight to a care manager or physician.

What's next for your startup?

We’re currently working with our first partners to deploy the Remedy ecosystem in their health systems to 1) detect at-risk patients, 2) engage them with questionnaires algorithmically generated from millions of health records and physician specialists, and 3) drive timely intervention to route patients into optimal care pathways so as to fairly reimburse the health system for the risk it bears.

Can you comment on the role Princeton University played in your entrepreneurial endeavors?

In senior year, I was set to be a trader on Wall Street, and would have been blinded into that path were it not for the Silicon Valley TigerTrek and Professor Chris Kuenne. They challenged me to do something unheard of: scrap all offers and graduate without a clue where I’d be next. Those next months were the most cathartic and reflective period of my life and catalyzed me onto a path that genuinely aligns with my principles, skills, and passions. The Remedy Team is also incredibly grateful to be supported by the Princeton Alumni Entrepreneurship Fund (AEF) and the Princeton alumni network.

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

1) Don’t do anything because it’s the trendy thing to do. If you start a company because you’re looking to live the Silicon Valley success dream, you’re going to be miserable. Question everything, especially assumptions you’ve integrated into your life without reservation.

2) Write down your core life principles and values. Have a process to iterate on them when necessary. It’s easy to get swayed if you aren’t confident in why you’re running towards the direction you’re going. Know exactly why you make the decisions you make and ensure that the reasoning is true to your principles.

3) Find ways to push your comfort zone. We live on autopilot until we hit moments of uncertainty, but we evolve as a result. Optimize your personal growth by challenging yourself physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally -- do something that terrifies you a little every single day. Train yourself to seek out discomfort.

4) Live each day to the greatest degree of educational intensity. Every person, every incident, every moment can positively influence you if you pay attention and incorporate learnings into your life.

5) Seek out your competitive advantage. Think of yourself as a product in an unsympathetic market. What skills make you unique, or what skills can you hone that will make you invaluable?

If you’re involved with a health system that may be interested in Remedy, please connect with Jessica at jessica@remedymedical.com