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A Message from CEO, Saar Mahna:
What a crazy year… around this time of year, every year, we hear or read this type of statement. Hopefully, in the future, when we read this statement it will be for a better kind of crazy. When we launched Banjo Health last year, we had planned for the types of pains that are typical for an early-stage company… a global pandemic did not make it on our initial risk mitigation plan – but certainly will going forward. Thankfully, we were able to navigate our way through these rough waters and make it into 2021. This is entirely due to our team, clients, and investors rallying around Banjo Health.
We have grown tremendously this year – particularly in this last quarter. The shift to OKRs created a noticeable change in the maturity level of our organization. We added some great members to our team who have helped us expand in a meaningful way. Looking ahead, I feel a strong sense of confidence that our team at Banjo will make even bigger waves into the next year through our existing partnerships and new ones. I am really excited to see what this team will do in 2021. What are you excited about for next year? Let me know.
What is happening at Banjo Health in Q4?
With the year coming to an end, it is a time of reflection as well as planning here at Banjo Health. Reflecting on our achievements and progress in the first full calendar year of business in a marketplace shrouded with uncertainty amidst the unprecedented pandemic of Covid-19. Planning for 2021 to ensure all of the hard work and progress continues as the team buckles down to meet the high demand for AI-powered Prior Authorization support.
We achieved some significant milestones in this final stretch of 2020:
Strategic plans to support our growing scale were finalized allowing Banjo Health to continue to deliver a high-quality solution that meets and exceeds current and future client demands.
Integration with a large ePA vendor was finalized allowing current and future clients to yield the benefits of a full electronic Prior Authorization solution. By allowing ePA to auto-approve requests plus Virtuoso AI for PAs that require manual review, Banjo has become a full-fledged solution that speeds up any and all PA types.
Ongoing communications with a handful of channel partners demonstrates the value of AI in the healthcare industry from payers and providers to all third-party entities that are impacted by Prior Authorization.
In an article written by CEO of PatientMatters, David Shelton, it is said that “Automation is clearly the answer to providers’ prior authorization woes, but it is not a one-size-fits-all cure. Small to mid-sized hospitals, for example, don’t necessarily need all the functionality and extra bells and whistles that might be configured for complex health systems.” Banjo Health's planning in Q4 builds upon this principle by creating a variety of use cases and solutions that fit all sizes and budgets while providing real enhancements to the current Prior Authorization workflow and infrastructure. With this mindset, Banjo Health is aiming to solve the littlest to the most involved issues in Prior Authorization which is highlighted by the following quote:
“There's no shortage of remarkable ideas, what's missing is the will to execute them.” - Seth Godin, writer and businessman
When each employee joins the Banjo Health team, it is because of the shared belief to ultimately create a solution that impacts and improves the patient experience today. Solving and creating new solutions that others thought were impossible or too difficult to tackle. This is what truly makes up the heart of Banjo Health. Helping the smallest or largest of companies to streamline and enhance Prior Authorization with cutting-edge AI that previously was never attempted.
Dr. BonnieJean Butler - Sr. Director, Implementations & Operations
I was raised in a beautiful oceanfront city in Massachusetts and I love the ocean, boating, and travel. I have been working in fast-paced software development environments for ummmm, never mind how many years, with a focus on operational excellence and project management in new product development. My work passion is to create innovative solutions and bring order to chaos. With a Ph.D. in International Business and MSA in Innovation and High Technology from Boston University, I have a quest for learning. One of my first children’s’ books was called “Tell My Why”, Volumes 1, 2, and 3. I think it was because of my mom’s frustration for all the questions I asked. Some things may never change.
Q: What inspired you to join Banjo Health and why did you feel it was a fit for your current and future goals?
BonnieJean: I joined Banjo Health after talking with Farzana. Farzana and I worked together in the past and her professionalism, work ethic, and staff management impressed me. I love the innovation and excitement start-ups bring, and her enthusiasm about Banjo Health convinced me to have a conversation with Saar. Saar’s approach to corporate culture was second to none, and his wisdom, experience, and kindness were a unique mix for any environment, but especially a startup.
Q: How does Banjo differ from previous companies you have worked for?
BonnieJean: For us, it is not ping pong, foosball, and happy hour. It is about guiding each other be better people and better professionals. “Harold and the Purple Crayon”, my favorite children’s book, is about a child who uses his purple crayon to draw environments that are fun, then the crayon slips, and he accidentally draws a situation that can be problematic. He goes on to draw the good solution with his purple crayon. Start-ups can be like that. There is always so much to do! We make mistakes, then quickly learn, grow, and innovate. We find and solve challenges, helping each other along the way.
It is busy and not always easy, but we help each other be kinder, work more collaboratively, support each other, and reach for the stars using our four corporate pillars of Discipline, Courage, Service, and Spirit. It is an exciting environment if the leadership is right, and founder Saar Mahna, CEO, and James Rollins, CTO, set awesome examples of high-integrity leadership.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of Banjo?
BonnieJean: Outside of Banjo Health, I am a child advocate, passionate about helping the neediest of needy children. On a business trip to India 20+ years ago, I learned what poor was. I thought I knew poor, but this broke my heart on an entirely different level. I became involved with Habitat for Humanity and had the good pleasure to meet former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Roslyn, a true highlight. I met Dr. Patch Adams along the way to discuss his mission trips to 3rd world countries. I was inspired to co-found Orphan Baby, a nonprofit to teach infant care to orphanages in Belarus to ensure increased health and adoptability for the children. That inspired me to help more in the US, so I created a Radiant Baby in Massachusetts to provide essentials to new moms who are in shelters, homeless, or newly out of homeless.
It is interesting how we are moved in various directions. I watched the film “Machine Gun Preacher”, a true story about Sam Childers, who received the Mother Theresa Award for Social Justice. I reached out to Sam and was fortunate to help within his incredible efforts to save children during the on-going civil war in S. Sudan. Most recently I am working with My Life, My Choice, a recovery program for sex-trafficked kids in Massachusetts, and a training program for law enforcement and community workers to recognize and assist these kids. It is shocking how much pain there can be in the world for children, yet I continue to be humbled and blessed to help.
If you would like to learn more about current and future positions at Banjo, please visit the careers section at BanjoHealth.com.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) conducted a survey starting in 2019 with over 200 hospitals and health systems respondents to help identify and understand how Utilization Management practices of commercial health plans impact patients and providers. In AHA’s recently published white paper, it was discovered that failure to obtain a prior authorization was one of the most common reasons for a claim denial from a commercial health plan which is helping to contribute to the significant increase in claim denials that has occurred in recent years. Approximately, 89% of the respondents in the survey have experienced increases in claim denials over the past 3 years with half of the respondents labeling the increases as “significant.” Another alarming statistic was that the health plan claim denial rates were inconsistent between privately administered Medicare and Medicaid plans versus commercial products.
Here at Banjo Health, there is a dedicated focus to alleviate the current hiccups in the PA process from beginning to end which will help solve many of the current issues faced in administering PA policies and procedures today:
PA Intake Standardization: With incoming PAs coming in via a variety of methods including fax, web form, electronic PA, call center, etc., Banjo Health intakes each PA through its Concerto Suite tool which ingests PAs regardless of type and creates a standardized view for reviewers to assess and finalize their determination.
Prior Authorization Status Alerts: Due to high PA volume, it is critical to provide timely notifications and alerts to both reviewers and providers on PA status'. Banjo Health has a system of built-in alerts to ensure PA requests are turned around in a timely manner to benefit patient care and to process the sharing of information in order to make PA decisions.
Accuracy and Consistency: To promote accurate and consistent PA determinations to be made, Banjo tracks AI and individual approval/denial rates for specific PA criteria to ensure criteria are being applied fairly across the board. If any discrepancies exist between the AI and/or reviewers, modifications will be made to customize the algorithm or train reviewers on making correct assessments that ultimately benefit patient well-being. If you would like to learn more about Banjo’s thoughts on the PA landscape, please contact us at contact@BanjoHealth.com or visit Banjohealth.com to Get In Touch.