Revolutionizing Medical Transportation
The Origin Story of Kinetik
Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
Most people think of medical transportation as emergency transportation provided by ambulances. However, there’s an entire industry dedicated to serving people who need to be driven to the hospital or their doctor for non-emergency procedures like dialysis treatments or blood transfusions. The problem is that this industry is extremely fragmented, with tens of thousands of local transportation companies providing hundreds of millions of rides a year and dealing with multiple insurance companies individually.
Coordinating all those rides, and making sure transportation companies are paid on time, is a huge job – one that begs for a centralized solution. Kinetik, founded by Sufian Chowdhury, has built the nation’s largest healthcare transportation infrastructure that digitally connects health plans, transportation brokers, and transportation providers. This is Kinetik’s origin story.
Pivoting From One Idea to the Next
Sufian says Kinetik’s name came from another company he was building to make GPS signals more accurate. That idea didn’t work out, but he soon realized the market opportunity in the medical transportation space. The name seemed to fit his new idea, so he kept it.
Sufian started Kinetik in the back office of a medical transportation company in Brooklyn. The owner of that company showed him the complicated spreadsheet where he tried to coordinate rides with more than 100 drivers and bill multiple insurance providers for his services. All of those insurance companies had different billing requirements, and the whole thing was a “disaster,” Sufian says.
“And so, for the next 12 months … I sat in the back offices of local transfer companies throughout Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, [and] I found out they all have the same problem. And [over] the first 12 months, we built the first revenue cycle management platform for transportation companies. So, it had nothing to do with the actual [transportation] delivery component. We built a payment platform that allowed them to get paid on time.” The upshot was that instead of waiting for weeks or months to get paid, medical transportation companies could be paid through Kinetik in 21 days and easily track all of their payments.
A Changing Vision
Today, in addition to providing billing services to medical transportation companies, Kinetik allows patients to book rides on its platform. The mission has become a personal one for Sufian.
“The mission and vision of our company became a lot clearer a couple of years into it,” he says. “When I started this business, it was really just to build a product, not to invest a ton of time or money into it … [Then] as we dove deeper into it, [we realized] the true nature of pain points faced by all the different stakeholders. [T]here are aspects of it that became very personal, and then you make it your mission … [I]t wasn't a mission that I initially started off with. It was a mission that [we] just gravitated towards because [we] were able to relate to the people that [we] were serving. “
Sufian says the next step for Kinetik is to provide patients with more control over their medical transportation. Right now, if someone is on Medicaid, they have to request a ride 72 hours in advance. “That's the status quo that we're challenging. In a world where everything… takes you five minutes, two minutes to get your Uber, Lyft ride, Uber Eats comes in 20 minutes, a healthcare ride is taking you 72 hours of advanced booking. That's in a way unjust [and] unethical.”
Solving this problem is Kinetik’s next big challenge. “I want to be able to make you get that request in, get that ride within 20 to 30 minutes, maybe a couple of hours, and go to your doctor's appointment and not have to book it 72 hours in advance through five different phone calls,” he says.
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