Up & Running with Jeremy Friese, Co-Founder and CEO of Verata Health

Jeremy is a “recovering Mayo Clinic physician executive” turned entrepreneur. Today, he leads a rock star team as CEO at Verata Health, a venture-backed technology company delivering frictionless prior authorization to providers and payers using artificial intelligence. Dr. Friese practices interventional radiology part-time and is medical director at the Center for Diagnostic Imaging.

Before he transitioned to entrepreneurship, Jeremy was an internationally recognized physician and executive at Mayo Clinic. During his Mayo career, he helped lead the imaging service line, the Mayo Clinic Strategic Investment Fund, and Global Business Development.

Jeremy earned his MD at Mayo Clinic and completed surgery and radiology training at both Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. He earned his MBA at Harvard Business School.

What is Verata Health’s elevator pitch?

In today’s healthcare system, patients wait days or weeks for approval from payers to proceed with medical care because of a cost management tool called prior authorization, a manual process in which providers spend $32 billion annually. At Verata, we help both providers and payers by automating “both ends of the fax machine” and use transformative artificial intelligence to deliver what we call a Frictionless Prior Authorization®. It’s a win-win resulting in both happy patients and happy providers.

What led you to found Verata Health?

In my previous life as a busy practicing physician, my patients waited days to get approval from their insurance company for the care I would prescribe. They were frustrated. I was frustrated. And my workflow was excruciatingly manual – consisting of multiple faxes, phone calls, letters, and binders full of insurance rules that needed reviewing before a prior authorization was approved. I thought, if Tesla can create autonomous vehicle, why can’t we automate the painful, manual prior authorization process that keeps patients from getting the appropriate medical care they deserve? My frustration led me to find health and technology experts that were passionate about solving the prior authorization problem that affects tens of millions of Americans every year.

What do you enjoy most about the Medical Alley community?

Minnesota is the ideal place to build a healthcare company. We have unmatched healthcare expertise that includes leading providers, payers, and device companies. As mid-westerners we are ethical and hard-working as well as talented across both leadership and functional roles. All of these factors in a single place, combined with a reasonable cost of living and the bonus of a great place to raise a family – what could be better? A recruiter from CA once shared, “I hate Minnesota!” Taken a back I asked, “Why?” “Because I struggle to get people to move to MN because of the cold. But once they’re there, nobody leaves. You must have something special going on over there.”

How do you balance leading a startup with your everyday life?

Teamwork at home and teamwork at the office. I partner up with great people at home and at work. That’s how the magic happens. My hiring rule at Verata is simple, “Would I want to invite this person to Thanksgiving dinner at my house with my wife and three kids?” I see my team as family. And at home I get support from my kids and smarter half. My wife is simply amazing, period.

What is one thing people get wrong about startup life?

Entrepreneurship is a passion project. Make sure you’re tackling something that you want to eat, sleep and breath. And it may sound cliché’, but “teamwork makes the dream work.” It’s true and the key to entrepreneurial success is surrounding yourself with a wicked-smart, passionate team that complement your skills and what you bring to the table.

What is the best advice you received in your career?

“You can’t be successful until you’ve failed a few times.”

What is the next big milestone for Verata Health?

We’ve been fortunate to work with providers and payers across Minnesota and have secured relationships with several large partners that include some incredible Minnesota-based organizations that share our passion for solving prior authorization. We are now scaling our business and expanding our reach across specialty clinics and hospitals throughout the country to ensure that patients get the care that they deserve.

Up & Running is an interview series with Medical Alley’s early stage leaders on what they see as the future of healthcare and why their company is well-positioned to be part of it. Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leaders in healthcare delivery, payment, technology, and policy, which gives us – and in turn, you – access to diverse perspectives on how healthcare is changing and what lies ahead.

Medical Alley is the global epicenter of health innovation and care; Up & Running, is meant to share insights and spark discussion. If you have a perspective on the future of healthcare, feel free to share it by reaching out to Jamie Oyen at joyen@medicalalley.org

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