Torque: Shaking up US healthcare


Hi everyone I’m Belce from Torque and were are students from Stanford University partnering with Oracle, this is Michael
and Jarrod and our fourth teammate actually couldn’t make it today because he’s
closing a seed round for his company today which is really cool
CS210 at Stanford is a two quarter long program that partners groups of
students with corporate partners and in our case we were very lucky to be partnered with Oracle I felt like we got so much support from
the Oracle folks, so much guidance and feedback which I really appreciated it’s
really really really cool to be working with people with so much experience
building enterprise software in the real world, and considering that was the field that we were just entering in and needed a lot
of mentor ship in. Our product is trying to address the problem that in the u.s.
there’s very little to no transparency around medical pricing so in most cases
[the] self-insured don’t really know the average market prices for the services
and the drugs that they’re covering for their beneficiaries. Torque is a tool
that analyzes insurance claims for self- insured employers to help them find
insights about where they can cut costs and their current inefficiencies, so at
our platform they can upload their insurance claims once parsed, this dataset is ready to ready to run different analysis scripts that we provide to the
users and these provide different insights about their population and cost
structure. The issue of the lack of transparency in American health care
especially for self-insured employers is a huge issue
so Torque is trying to address that by performing some sort of aggregation
among different self-insured employers so that self-insured employers can
figure out whether or not they’re getting a good deal from their insurance
provider and we found that this sort of transparency is really important to the self-insured employers that we’ve talked to we have run into a lot of issues with like lack
of conformity in terms of different standards for how people maintain their
health information so the most difficult part of this project has definitely been
working with health information which is obviously super sensitive it needs to be
you know kept very securely trying to standardize all those formats into some
internal representation that allows us to run analyses that are you know
insightful and useful to the people that we’re talking to is the biggest
challenges for us and the fact that people don’t know about their prices is
probably one of the main reasons why drug costs in the u.s. are so high I mean a
third of the American population cannot afford their prescription drugs a
self-insured employer the greatest percentage of their spend comes from
specialty drug expenditures and these are where really the largest markups in
from industry middlemen can come in so if people understand what prices other
people are getting for these specialty drugs then the assumption is that
they’ll be able to have better negotiations or the people they’re
working with. In order to actually build out our pipeline we used a lot of
different Oracle services and they turned out to be really really useful
for us because you know there’s just a lot of really diverse different things
that can help us at every step of the way
one of which is actually the Oracle application container cloud service
which allowed us to deploy easily and effectively so we’re using that to host
both the front end and the back end for our app where the data analysis happens
Oracle right compared to you know some free service like Heroku for instance is
a lot more robust and a lot more professional
I mean whenever we were doing some you know market analysis right with our
endpoint, to actually get feedback from real potential clients you know the just
the level of professionalism that was attainable from using you know, an actual Enterprise Solution really didn’t compare to something you
have just for hobby developers something that I really gained from this
experience of working with the Oracle tech stack and all these new cloud
technologies is just really more versatility in my engineering toolbox
and by that I mean that I now I’m able to you know develop a whole new class of
software that really isn’t focused on in academia right especially Stanford you
know you have the startup culture and that usually revolves around you know
small consumer type applications whereas you know a really large share of the
market overall is actually these enterprise solutions that are b2b
software like Torque like what we’re working on and so exposure to the
supporting infrastructure like Oracle provides makes me at least looking
forward a lot more marketable and a lot more versatile in my development skills
and I think that’s really important and certainly an invaluable part of this
experience now there is also a lot of really helpful non technological support
that we got from Oracle folks for instance talking about self-insured
employers we could have a lot of really useful product conversations with people
in Oracle who have faced some of these difficulties that were actually trying
to solve with our product and it’s actually surprisingly difficult to get
access to people who are facing these kinds of difficulties so that was huge
for us in developing our solution.

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