We talked to Saar Mahna of Banjo Health about the opportunity for Artificial Intelligence in Prior Authorization to help patients get appropriate care in a timely and cost-effective way, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Saar Mahna: Both my immediate and extended Banjo Health family are blessed to be healthy and are grateful to be working in the healthcare industry during these unprecedented times. As we all experienced together, this past year was unpredictable, and we are doing our best to move forward as individuals and as a young startup company. Having the support of my amazing family and such a wonderful team of co-workers has made such a significant difference in helping to get through these trying times.
I look forward to what the future has to hold.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Banjo Health.
Saar Mahna: I grew up in a family of doctors thinking I would become a surgeon, so I was certainly deeply passionate about patient care from a young age. I was really inspired by my dad’s work with injured workers and pain management.
Additionally, his focus on creating paradigm shifts through his work on reforming portions of Ohio law and drive to improve health at a societal level have really helped me to think about solutions at scale. I have had the opportunity to work in various fields ranging from industrial, manufacturing, and investment banking, which has helped me to sharpen my professional skills as a professional. As fate would have it, I fell back into the healthcare industry when I joined my first startup in 2015. The rediscovered passion for healthcare drove me to start Banjo Health when I saw the gap and opportunity for Artificial Intelligence in Prior Authorization to help patients get appropriate care in a timely and cost-effective way.
How does Banjo Health innovate?
Saar Mahna: We have a very collaborative process where we focus on solving problems that people actually face each day in healthcare. We tend to involve our current and prospective customers throughout the development and sales processes to ensure we have a solution that meets and exceeds their expectations. We continually research the up-and-coming technological developments to create bleeding-edge solutions.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Saar Mahna: The sales process has become more challenging due to the pandemic, and it has become more difficult to raise funds from investors. However, the Banjo Health team is persistent and consistent, which allowed us to weather the storm and continue to make progress to where we stand today.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Saar Mahna: We certainly had to make some tough decisions surrounding our human resources need as a young startup, but the team really rallied around some solutions with individuals making key, and thankfully temporary, sacrifices to keep the business moving. We have a fantastic team that I am extremely thankful for that has bought into embraces the Banjo Health mission here at Banjo Health, ultimately making us stronger, which strengthened us during these challenging times.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Saar Mahna: Even before the pandemic began, we were built on the foundation of a distributed company. In that way, we were prepared for this remote world. Microsoft Teams has been an immensely powerful tool in our day-to-day business to keep everyone updated and together.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Saar Mahna: We received a small EIDL grant and a partial PPP Round 1 Loan. Due to the way the programs were structured, we were unable to take full advantage of the programs to keep us afloat.
Your final thoughts?
Saar Mahna: We are excited about the future of Banjo Health and what we can do to improve the cost and quality of care in the United States and abroad.
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