After under graduating with honors in Business and having a successful career being promoted as the youngest VP at JP Morgan’s Brazilian office, Renata Velloso decided to pursue a more meaningful path. She went back to college and got her M.D. from Unicamp, Campinas State University. In 2011, she moved with her family to Silicon Valley, where she discovered her passion for medical innovation. In a conversation with BayBrazil, Renata describes how she’s leveraging her education toward healthtech and what is needed to improve health care globally.
BayBrazil: Technology is revolutionizing the health care sector. What are the main products/services that are improving wellness the most?
Renata: There are many technologies that will revolutionize health care like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, body sensors, 3D printing, and nanotechnology, just to mention a few. But I believe that the most important change that needs to take place is in the healthcare practitioner’s mindset. Doctors must embrace technology and also help empower patients. We will never have enough doctors in the world. In fact, the shortage or deficit is growing. So we need to use technology to transfer our knowledge and decision-making capabilities to the most interested party in the health care process: the patients.
BayBrazil: What is the adoption of health care technologies in Brazil and other LatAm countries versus in the US?
Renata: Healthcare is a very conservative industry everywhere which is as it should be since it deals directly with human lives. But health care costs are growing consistently and, at the same time, patient satisfaction is in decline. This characterizes a very clear need to innovate and evolve. Naturally, the US has more resources to invest and Silicon Valley has a particularly innovative mindset, but I believe that Brazil and other LatAm countries can contribute their unique and diverse perspectives and experience. Systematically resource-constrained Latin American physicians are challenged to create frugal innovation on a daily basis in ways that are unique not only to the economic situation of their respective countries, but also their culture, climate and environment. Innovation doesn’t need to be super expensive or high-tech, it just needs to solve a problem. Health care problems will be solved through collaboration and diversity, so everyone can help.
BayBrazil: You founded Bulle de Beaute. Tell us about the topics covered and your strategy to get 10K unique visitors per day.
Renata: Bulle de Beaute started as a blog during my med-school years. As a teenager with severe acne, I always felt there was a huge gap between the marketing claims made by cosmetic products and reality. So, I created this blog to help people better understand the facts and myths about skincare, what is possible and what isn’t. I think the success is due to the fact that I combine scientifically accurate information with straight-forward delivery in easy-to-understand language. My strategy is to always be up-to-date and honest.
BayBrazil: What is the most common skin care mistake people make?
Renata: Most people don’t use sunscreen everyday though we should, even if it’s rainy. Even if it’s rainy and we’re going to stay indoors. Also we tend to lack discipline and consistency. Most skin care products take at least 2 or 3 months to show results but we are impatient, we want to see results overnight and we too quickly and easily abandon our skin care regimen or routine.
BayBrazil: What is Doctors on the Cloud?
Renata: It is a combination of a digital marketing training course and marketing consulting for Brazilian physicians. After 8 years creating medical content online for Bulle de Beaute, I have been able develop a set of best practices regarding how to use the internet to communicate with patients. So, I created this program to share this knowledge with my colleagues. Physicians are afraid to be exposed online or to use social media. They also think that they don’t have time. At Doctors on the Cloud, I teach how doctors can enhance their reputation, help patients and even save time by sharing their knowledge online. If you can educate your patient online, you will be able to spend the office time more efficiently.
BayBrazil: You are a mentor for health startups. Tell us about the most innovative services/applications you’ve seen.
Renata: I love an app named Curely for which I am also working as an Ambassador. It’s very simple and I tend to believe simpler solutions are better. It connects patients with doctors all over the world using our mobile phones. For example, as Brazilians living in the US, our doctors are mostly American. But, sometimes, we want to talk to a Brazilian Doctor that understands our culture better. You can do that using Curely. I also believe that we should focus on prevention. If you can use technology to help people make good lifestyle choices this will truly revolutionize healthcare. A good example of this is an application called Omada. It helps people reduce their risk of serious, chronic heart conditions by delivering behavior change therapies via laptop, tablet, or smartphone. In Brazil, I am a fan of Doutor Consulta. They were able to disrupt the health insurance model and offer an affordable and good quality private health care service. I also learned about the startup Pagsaúde during the last BayBrazil event and I believe they have a very creative and interesting business model.
BayBrazil: What is the correlation between entrepreneurship & healthier lives?
Renata: At an individual level, not much! Entrepreneurs, like doctors, tend to work too hard, eat badly, and not get enough sleep. But, in terms of business, I think entrepreneurs are starting to be less afraid of taking on the healthcare sector. It’s a trillion dollar industry waiting to be disrupted by brave pioneers. If we could bring the digital revolution into healthcare the whole planet could be empowered to lead healthier lives.
BayBrazil: You’re leveraging your medical education toward the use and implementation of health care technologies. Is technology the solution to improve health around the world? And what else is needed?
Renata: The most important thing is not the technology itself, but the mindset change. As physicians we need to be less arrogant and understand that we will never be able to know everything or treat everyone personally. We need to be less paternalistic and condescending and empower our patients to be more accountable for their own health and well-being. We need to be less like professors and more like partners to them. There is also a need to change medical education. If you don’t learn digital literacy during your training, it’s unlike that you’ll use it in your practice. Finally, regulations must also be updated. The rules need to encourage the creation of value in healthcare. Today, in most cases they have do just the opposite.