1 December 2022

Advisor Spotlight - Dr. Archana Dubey

Over a series of articles, we will be sharing insights and thoughts from our professional advisors here at Osara Health. With a passion for innovation and empathetic care, these leaders are here to discuss the most pressing challenges that care providers are striving to overcome.

Dr. Archana Dubey is the latest addition to the Osara team, and we are excited to add her expertise and specialized knowledge of modern care best practices to our repertoire.

To kick things off, we caught up with Dr. Archana Dubey MD, a US-based physician who has dedicated her career to offering patient-centric treatment at scale. Dr. Dubey has worked as the MedicalDirector at HP, as a Corporate Physician at Google, and also holds a teaching role at Stanford University. As a dedicated and community-focused primary care physician, she is the perfect person to join Osara’s team of advisors.

During our conversation, Archana shared some great insights into her firsthand experience in the medical field and also shared some candid details of her influential career working with major organizations. She also details her perception of the challenges faced by the health industry, employers, and employees alike and how she believes we can continue to improve the quality of life and care for cancer patients.

The primary pivot

Dr. Dubey practices primary care medicine using a virtual approach. She operates principally in the United States but has influence all over the world. Her key role is to coordinate care that spans normal life and a diagnosis.

Medicine wasn’t always her chosen path, however. Archana was living in India when the Bhopal Disaster struck. This catastrophic event was a cyanide leak in her hometown that caused the deaths of 15,000+ people over the course of the following year. After witnessing this disaster and its aftermath, Archana decided to pivot into medicine with the goal of making a real impact and offering heartfelt, empathetic care to those in need.

I decided that if I want to serve people, it has to be through medicine. It was kind of my calling. Since then, I’ve been really focused on expanding impact.

As she progressed down the traditional medical pathway, Archana recognised that she would be able to make a bigger impact by working with Stanford University in the US, where she taught future physicians about the importance of a patient-centric approach.

Whether it’s a cold or a sore throat, hypertension or cancer, a Primary Care Doctor like myself, is the first person that people see, and I become their quarterback to coordinate their care between them living their normal life, to taking care of cancer.

A true trailblazer in the industry, Archana scaled her approach by working with global, self-insured organizations like Google, HP, and Telstra to influence their well-being programs, benefits, and employee care. These influential organizations have gone on to experience immense success following her work and has enabled her to drive innovation in diabetes prevention programs, digital musculoskeletal services, and initiatives for cancer screening, early detection, and treatment.

In the last two years, Archana has turned her hand to digital health technology, starting with a product focused on cardiovascular care using deep learning. Archana’s extensive experience in holistic care and belief in a patient-centric approach puts her in great stead to join Osara’s panel of advisors. We’re delighted to have her expertise onboard.

Discovering Osara

Immediately after meeting the Osara founder Raghav at a roundtable event in Chicago, Archana discovered how well her own mission aligned with our mission of empowering people and organizations affected by cancer to thrive using expertise, empathy, and utilizing the latest technology.

After learning more about the product and Osara’s vision for the future of cancer care, Archana recognized Osara as an impactful tool and decided to take on a role on the advisory team.

After her 9 years of oncology care experience, Archana recognized the impact a diagnosis can have on an individual’s ability to function as they once did. She noticed the all-consuming nature that cancer can have on the mind and body.

Archana discovered that having an external tool that provides help across the full ‘Cancer Management’ spectrum gives patients the opportunity to live their lives while still meeting the most important milestones in their treatment journey. This makes it much easier for patients suffering from various types of cancer to live a full, dignified life and be more able to accept help and support from their loved ones.

Dr. Dubey also recognises that there is a bigger picture at play. Cancer is now the top driver of employer health care costs according to recent research by the Business Group on Health. Employers are also being impacted by absenteeism, presenteeism and staff retention through rising employee needs and their individual crises. Receiving a cancer diagnosis or becoming a caregiver to someone means that the employee is no longer focused on the job at hand. By providing a solution like Osara, Archana understands that employers are allowing their people to give a fuller version of themselves at work because they have the opportunity to deal with their own situation in a better way.

For organizations, their talent means a lot. Employees, they need a lot of support, whether they’re suffering from cancer or their loved one is suffering from cancer. In such times employees appreciate that their company cares so much about them as their work family.

Archana summarizes that not only do digital health products shrink the financial footprint and disease footprint, but they also help employees be more present for their work and encourage a more passionate and present approach to care.

The three threats employers face

In today’s day and age, utilizing technology can enable a highly efficient approach that makes it easier for care providers to focus on care rather than business and technology. According to Dr. Dubey, the three main threats that employers face include:

  1. Employees want to be productive but cancer consumes them. Cancer is very heavy, and is known to take employees away from their work. If simple cancer management tasks can be taken care of by solutions that are automated and easy to use, employees have more opportunities to be fully present. It’s what they want and helps enable a more meaningful standard of care.”

  2. Experiences both at work and at home are important. Osara helps improve the ability to experience a negative life experience with as much comfort and dignity as possible. Not only that, but Osara helps improve clinical outcomes by helping them feel more confident about the treatment. If a patient is mentally doing well they’ll eat and sleep better, which plays a big part in the experience they have as well as their health outcomes.”

  3. Both the patient and the employer bear the financial responsibility of cancer. When cancer strikes, it often places a large financial burden on the individual affected and their family. For a diagnosed employee or caregiver, there might be heightened childcare costs and increasing costs associated with treatment. Since the employer has lost a valuable team member, there are costs to rehire and also a possible loss of earnings. Having a tool that allows people to better manage their situation may help all parties to reduce their finances.”

Influencing your own health outcomes Archana cites two key behaviors that play a massive role in influencing more positive treatment outcomes:

  1. The willingness to live

  2. A positive attitude

She tells us that usually if a person has high blood pressure, they know the exact things they need to do to bring it down. There is an obvious cause and effect at work here, but when it comes to cancer, people feel helpless.

This helpless feeling often leads to a worse mental state which itself leads to a person “resigning to their condition”, directly correlating to poorer health outcomes. Archana notes that Osara takes away that helpless feeling and makes individuals feel supported by providing them with actionable insights and the ability to cast off negativity and be present for life. If a person can turn their negative thought patterns into a positive ‘what can I do’ mentality, they are much more likely to experience better health outcomes. This approach has been coined ‘Participatory Health’ and is the foundation Osara is built on.

The pressure on providers and payers

Being well-versed across a wide range of industries means that Dr. Dubey understands all too well the nature of modern patient care and the myriad of clinicians that work to guide patients through their medical journey. She describes the situation and stakeholders across atypical cancer diagnosis. A patient is treated by:

  • Dr. or GP (in the US; PCP -primary care physician)
  • Surgeon
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • The accompanying nursing team
  • Outpatient team
  • Physiotherapist and other allied health professionals

Each stakeholder has the intention to provide assistance, but Archana describes that the fragmented care model means it’s hard to have a cohesive approach to supporting the patient.

Adding to that, each of these stakeholders only has the capacity to manage their specific areas of expertise. They don’t have complementary support from well-being experts on hand to assist at the end of treatment and they don’t have the time to be able to offer the wealth of information needed to get the best possible outcome.

Oncologists don’t have coaches, dieticians, health coaches, or physical therapists who can strengthen this individual to better recover on the other side of cancer.

The crux of the issue is that within the 10-minute appointment available to the patient there isn’t the opportunity for the clinician to offer all the tips and best practices they deserve to receive. If they do try to, then both parties become overwhelmed - the patient has too much information to digest and the clinician is primed for “physician burn out”.

‍This means that health plans and insurers need to pay for the full extent of care that’s required. As cancer cases are steadily rising, this will result in a higher cost of care because a full service isn’t being offered at any stage of the cycle.

What Osara offers is the opportunity for clinicians to lean on a tool that addresses the lifestyle changes necessary to make a person stronger - it acts as a partner in the entire cancer journey and allows for health plans to be more cost-efficient and gives physicians the opportunity to focus on their area of expertise, knowing the patient has access to the help they need.

Lessons for the future

With such an impressive career behind her and such a transformational view of the medical industry, we asked Archana what the most definitive lessons she has learned in her time:

  1. “When you’ve learned to do something effectively, expand the impact. This applies to any industry and whatever job you’re at. If it’s working, bring it to scale to ensure it’s available to the masses.”

  2. “Understand the business side of medicine. If you haven’t worked out the commercial or economic factors of being a healthcare provider or of the patient experience then you’ve only got half of the story. Addressing the financial and physical wellbeing of a patient is the only way to provide a truly holistic treatment.”

  3. “Don’t look at a human as a body part or diagnosis. Look at them as a whole person. Everybody is striving for that essence of vitality and to live their life to their fullest potential, with or without the diagnosis. If we can build products that are allowing people to reach their full potential, whether they are disabled, whether they have cancer or anything else - then we are all heading in the right direction.”

We’re delighted to have Dr. Archana Dubey MD join the Osara advisory team. Her experience in the US will be unparalleled as Osara takes on new challenges in wider markets.

About Osara Health

Osara Health is transforming the way we provide cancer care by empowering people and organizations affected by cancer to thrive using expertise, empathy and technology. Participants gain access to digital tools, dedicated health coaching and evidence-based educational resources, assisting them to feel supported, informed and in control of health outcomes and their wellbeing.