Kismet Health is a startup that seeks to improve access to pediatric care. In response to emailed questions, Kismet Health Co-founders CEO Dr. Cierra Gromoff and COO Christie Sander talked about why they started the business.
Why did you start your company?
Dr. Cierra Gromoff: I’m a Native Alaskan and grew up on a small island in the Aleutian Chain called St. Paul Island. In order to get medical care, my community relied on two primary ways of accessing care: speaking to doctors over the phone, or getting a medical air evacuation (medi-vac) to either Anchorage or Seattle, Washington. For generations, my entire family has felt the pain from lacking access to care.
Fast forward some years, I found myself living in the metropolitan San Francisco Bay Area as a newly graduated child psychologist providing care within the county’s medical system. I began to see similar access issues facing my patients that I remembered facing myself.
In 2018, I realized that the answer had to lie within technology to enable quality access and equitable outcomes. I began to deeply understand and experience that problems with existing solutions went beyond security and quality – historically, telehealth platforms have primarily been designed for business meetings, adult engagement, and rely heavily on verbal communication. Kids are not tiny adults. They have their own hospitals, specialty providers, and medical instruments, so why wouldn’t kids also need technology that is created specifically for them?
While telehealth helped me to ensure 70% less no-shows, my ability to see more patients was affected by having to do longer sessions to account for tech issues, setting up, and getting the kids to engage. I began writing down what an ideal telehealth platform would look like. With this realization, I began my journey to develop the technology that has become Kismet today. I connected with Silicon Valley veteran Christie Sander, my co-founder, and we worked together to hire an amazing team who understands the unique needs and challenges faced by providers and professionals who work with children, and how that translates into a tech product.
What need are you seeking to address in healthcare?
Gromoff and Sander: Despite today’s solutions, families face fragmented systems with long waitlists; while providers face burnout and system friction. Additionally, existing virtual care platforms have been designed for adults and workplaces, while kids require a custom solution tailored to their unique needs. Kismet is solving these challenges through our proprietary technology backed by four key pillars: access, engagement, collaboration, and equity. Through speaking children’s language of play and building the first pediatric large language model — Kismet’s proprietary experience is able to drive equitable outcomes through interactive digital interventions, diagnostics, and assessments to create the world’s most effective collaborative care technology for providers, families, and children alike.
What does your product do? How does it work?
Gromoff and Sander: Kismet Health is the first pediatric collaborative care technology designed for providers, by providers. It boosts patient engagement, streamlines workflows, and improves clinical outcomes for children ages 0-18. Historically, there has never been a care solution created specifically for the pediatric population. Most virtual care platforms have primarily been designed for adult communication and business meetings. At a time where healthcare accessibility and quality of care is more critical than ever, Kismet Health is transforming the way pediatric care is delivered.
With Kismet’s proprietary technology and engaging digital playroom, clinicians can focus on what they do best – providing quality care to families everywhere, while enabling a cost-efficient and high standard of care. Kismet is easy to use and with a few clicks, one can access the HIPAA-compliant and browser-based platform from anywhere.
Is this your first healthcare startup? What’s your background in healthcare?
Gromoff and Sander: While this is our first healthcare startup, we are no strangers to both healthcare and the startup space.
Gromoff: I have more than 10 years of experience as a Clinical Child Psychologist.
Sander: I have 15 years of experience in high tech including startup environments.
Gromoff: I have dedicated my career to building high-quality telehealth programs long before the pandemic. With 10+ years of experience ranging from hospitals, schools, community mental health, and both public and private sectors, I am deeply familiar with the challenges and limitations of existing telehealth solutions.
Growing up as an Alaskan Native, access wasn’t an option for me and my family. I experienced similar barriers while working with families in Oakland, California, where some parents could not afford the gas to drive to my office. The lack of access to care is what fuels my passion for solving it. It’s also why I specialize in early childhood mental health given early intervention creates the best opportunity for positive outcomes.
Sander: I have built, led, and scaled consumer products and diverse organizations across both startups and large corporations. During my time at Apple, Nest, and Google, I led a variety of teams ranging from Supply Chain to Strategy & Operations to HR. I bring a wealth of business experience, and I thrive when solving complex problems at the intersection of strategy, operations, and people.
I sustained a life-altering accident in 2021, renewing my clarity and purpose in life. As the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants whose career essentially “grew up” in Silicon Valley, I am passionate about breaking the continuous cycles of cultural, generational, and societal expectations.
Together, we founded Kismet Health in late 2022 with a shared passion for creating multi-generational change. Between our respective clinical and high-tech backgrounds, we have a unique perspective on how human-centered technology can unlock quality access for all.
What is your company’s business model?
Currently, Kismet is available to private / group practices, clinics, and digital health companies, expanding to hospitals, health systems, and government entities in 2024.
Who is your customer?
Pediatric providers across all specialties and disciplines.
How do you generate revenue?
We offer a subscription service, and one of the most affordable options on the market.
Do you have clinical validation for your product?
We are in collaboration with numerous healthcare providers and facilities that will produce a 2024 case study. We have performed a pilot study that showcases early clinical results in 2023.