Updated: Oct 1
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A Message from CEO, Saar Mahna:
As I reflect on the past quarter, I am extremely grateful. COVID-19 presented significant challenges for all businesses, however, those challenges created significant opportunities for Banjo. During this time, we have been able to make progress towards our goals and continue to gain traction. The pressure of the pandemic helped our team to focus and rise to the occasion. One major reason why I believe we were able to rise through the challenges is our company’s culture – and for this, I am extremely grateful for the Banjo team. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions or comments.
As the market is adjusting to a new landscape during this COVID-19 crisis, the Banjo team has been heads down in improving the current product offerings by adding in impactful tools that enhance the way healthcare professionals interface with PAs.
During this quarter, Banjo is proud to announce the addition of two full-time hires on the team. As the demand for Concerto Suite, Harmony PA, and Virtuoso AI increases, the team will continue to search for exceptionally talented individuals who would like to change healthcare through Artificial Intelligence and efficient technological solutions.
As the pandemic impacts the global economy and transforms the way traditional business is conducted, one highlight of the Banjo team is the collaborative culture. As individuals everywhere have been isolating and quarantining these past few months, the team continues to grow closer together by getting to know each other personally after hours in company virtual happy hours. Demonstrated by the team-oriented environment, Banjo believes that success comes only as a result of a strong culture with people of like-minded determination and drive for change in the industry.
During this time of uncertainty not just for the healthcare marketplace but for individuals across the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a quote by John F. Kennedy still holds strong today:
“When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One respresents danger and the other represents opportunity.” - John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. president
With many corporations struggling to survive during the pandemic in all different industries across the world, the global “crisis” is a time of opportunity for others who are willing to put in the struggles and work to meet the demands of the changing times. COVID-19 has demonstrated the need for efficient solutions that can adapt to the future of healthcare which is telehealth. Being able to complete tasks away from an office with no hiccup in the continuity of care is extremely important not only for patient satisfaction but for time and cost-savings for both providers and payers. Banjo Heath is working to create thoughtful solutions that can be utilized simply and perform exactly the same regardless of work location. By having the pulse on current and future trends, Banjo is poised to roll with and not only survive changes but thrive on those opportunities that are presented in times of turmoil.
Julian Castrence - Junior Software Developer
I was born in Philadelphia then moved to southern Maryland when I was three. I grew up in Waldorf, Maryland, a town about forty minutes from Washington, DC. I’m a gymnast and have been competing since I was eight. I recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Technology Entrepreneurship. Now I’m a software engineer with Banjo Health.
Q: What drove you to join Banjo Health and why did you feel it was a fit for your goals in your career?
A: I joined Banjo Health for several reasons. At start-ups and small companies, you can make a bigger impact which was very appealing to me. I also really wanted to join a company that was working on new technologies and Banjo Health has been a big advocate of AI and blockchain. The last reason was that there was a clear culture fit. When I was still deciding on where to go after graduation, conversations with the Banjo Health team made me feel like I’d be joining a community, not just a place of work. Glad to say that these reasons have held true.
Q: Why are you passionate about Crypto/Blockchain and how do you see it impacting the way Prior Authorizations are handled in the future?
A: I first got into blockchain technology with cryptocurrencies during my Sophomore year in college because I saw them as an investment opportunity. When I started to learn more about cryptocurrencies and how they worked, the thing that really intrigued me was that they were effectively money that wasn’t governed by anyone. I didn’t truly understand the technology until after I had taken a class on cryptography. This class ended up being one of my favorites and it left such a good impression on me that I decided to go deeper into cryptography, then eventually into blockchain. As I learned more about the technology I saw more of the unrealized applications that blockchain has. There are so many different ways that we can use blockchain to solve so many different problems. The coolest part is that it’s just code and math that just simply works, which is really beautiful to me.
Smart contracts are self-governed pieces of code that have proven to be very useful for replicating real-world contracts in a digital setting. I can see smart contracts being used to automate the Prior Authorization process, making it exponentially faster and unbiased. Another use case of blockchain in Prior Authorization and healthcare in general is the ability to give the patient control over their own data. Blockchain could be implemented with zero-knowledge proof protocol to allow patients access to the medical goods and services they need without having to reveal their entire medical history.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Everything but avocados are my favorite food. I’m Filipino, so most of my favorite dishes are as well. If I had to choose, one of my most favorite dishes is sinigang, a Filipino stew with a sour soup base usually served with ribs, rice, and all sorts of vegetables. A food that I can always enjoy eating no matter the time or day is a nice hot bowl of ramen.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) Engineer
No current open positions
If you would like to learn more about current and future positions at Banjo, please visit the careers section at BanjoHealth.com.
Are you Ready for the Surge?
The COVID-19 coronavirus situation has temporarily caused many changes in the medical world. As the stay at home orders went into place, most non-urgent medical visits and procedures were canceled or postponed. Eventually, some of the non-urgent visits were converted to telemedicine visits. In response to the pandemic, many health insurance plans relaxed drug Prior Authorization (PA) restrictions as well as extended PAs that were expiring within the next several months. In addition, with providers only seeing the majority of the patients through telemedicine they were unlikely to start many new therapies that require PA due to the necessity of a full and thorough examination of the patients as well as additional laboratory testing. This has led to a temporary decline in prior authorizations. However, as we continue efforts to flatten the curve amidst recent spikes in new cases and return our way back to pre-pandemic times over the next few months there will be an increase in the PA requests for drugs, non-urgent, and elective procedures as the non-urgent medical visits are rescheduled.
The AMA has published guides for physicians for reopening medical practices to ensure the safety of medical employees and patients, minimize the spread of the virus, and avoid a second surge in COVID-19 infections. Adhering to the guidelines will require medical office resources to be reallocated. Office staff who were previously responsible for obtaining prior authorizations for drugs and procedures may have additional responsibilities related to safe office practices due to COVID-19 which limits the time available to spend on PAs.
To read more about the current and future PA outlook after COVID-19, please read more here.
Who is Banjo Health and what do we do?
Banjo Health is a complementary partner in the healthcare technology marketplace by enhancing existing practices through Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Banjo Health mission is to create a clear path to focus on optimal patient care for our healthcare partners by providing innovative, effective, and efficient technological solutions to overcome barriers in streamlining traditional workflow. Banjo Health was launched in May 2019 in an effort to drive efficiency for Prior Authorization (PA) management through artificial intelligence (AI). The current rules-based decision tools have helped payers and providers expedite PA management in recent years, but the team at Banjo felt there was a greater opportunity to push towards instantaneous and accurate PA determinations through AI. Banjo Health currently has an existing suite of products designed to enhance the current way PAs are handled today both in the pharmacy and medical spaces:
Harmony is a comprehensive PA Management platform, for both medical and pharmacy prior authorizations (PA) designed by clinicians for clinicians. Harmony addresses the needs of providers who submit PA requests as well as payers who review requests. Harmony’s user interface is intelligible requiring minimal training for end-users, it allows users to arrive at a PA decision in just a few steps and creates a full clinical data pathway continuum from the prescriber to the payer, by integrating provider and hospital Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems with the Health Plan and/or PBM’s Formulary, claims, and PA criteria and PA systems.
Virtuoso AI is a microservice that can integrate into existing PA Management platforms and EHR systems. Virtuoso provides a comprehensive and cohesive PA process from submission to decision, resulting in numerous efficiencies for both payers and providers, without disrupting existing incumbent platforms. For Health Plans and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM): Virtuoso addresses the greatest challenges faced by Health Plans and PBMs surrounding PAs: narrow Turn-Around-Times and review of complex PA criteria.
Concerto Suite is a complete PA intake and submission tool that can be integrated into any PA Management platform or EHR system on the market today. Concerto is built to eliminate the frustrations resulting from current PA submission methods including fax, phone, and electronic PAs. Concerto saves critical resources of time and money by creating a one-stop-shop where all PAs submitted are transformed into a searchable format regardless of submission type. Concerto was designed by clinicians who have years of experience with PA systems across the healthcare landscape to alleviate problems that are faced industry-wide.