More than 400 million people around the world lack access to basic health care because they live in rural underserved communities with no doctor nearby. This leads to people delaying care, traveling long distances to reach a physician and spending large amounts of time and money to get the care they need.
Intelehealth, a nonprofit in the Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, is developing low bandwidth telemedicine technologies to improve access to primary health care for these underserved populations.
Its co-founder and CEO Neha Goel, a Ph.D. candidate in Health Informatics at The Johns Hopkins University, is an experienced entrepreneur in the health care sector. She founded Global Protect Dental in 2011 to introduce cutting edge dental technologies to dentists in India, and led the company as CEO until 2015.
In between her studies and entrepreneurship, Goel took time to answer our questions about Intelehealth, her Baltimore support system and her favorite places in the city. Take a look!
In a few words, what does your company do?
Improve access to comprehensive primary healthcare through telemedicine.
(Editor’s note: Check out the video below to learn more about Intelehealth.)
What are your goals, and how will you get there?
Our goal for the coming year is to improve access to health for a quarter million people by partnering with grassroots-level health organizations and setting up telemedicine programs.
Why have you chosen Baltimore as your startup’s home?
Because of the incubation support we have received at Johns Hopkins as students. Also the proximity to the global health policy makers, funders and health organizations that are based in Washington, D.C. make it a great place to grow a nonprofit focused on global health.
What opportunities make it a good place for growing a business?
It’s heartening to see the startup ecosystem growing in Baltimore. The access to some of the leading health systems in the world make it a unique place to have a health-tech startup. When you add translational programs like the Maryland Innovation Initiative, TEDCO’s Propel Baltimore Fund and accelerator programs, it makes for a nidus for innovative businesses.
In terms of startups and innovation, what’s one thing that separates Baltimore from other tech hotbeds?
I would say it’s unique in that so much innovation is happening at different universities like Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Investment in these universities is fostering strong on-campus startup ecosystem.
If you could give your past self one piece of advice for creating a startup, what would it be?
Fail fast. An entrepreneur lives in a world of failure. Get comfortable with it, learn quickly and learn when to let go of a bad idea.
What book are you currently reading?
To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy.
What innovator do you look up to? Why?
I think the most impactful innovations of our time cannot be attributed to just one person – innovation is a team sport. For example, an innovation team I look up to is that of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Jony Ive. For an idea to be successful, it really needs a team of very smart people who have bought into a common vision and who work well together. At Intelehealth we’re all about team-based innovation.
It’s after a long day of work, and you don’t feel like cooking. What is your go-to Baltimore restaurant?
Oh my gosh, there are far too many! Food is a religion. Golden West Cafe, The Helmand, Thai Arroy, Ban Thai, One World Cafe, Saigon Today and, for dessert, Marie Louise Bistro.
What’s your favorite nonwork-related thing to do in Baltimore?
Do Yoga and meditate. There are a lot of great meetups and places in Baltimore. I lead a meditation meetup every Saturday in Canton and have met the most incredible people!