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MATTER Member Profile: Dane Guarino of Markit Medical

Posted May 10 by Ornella Hernández
MATTER Journalism Resident
Medill School of Journalism, Class of 2016

Dane Guarino Markit Medical – MATTERIt was fall 2014 orientation day at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Dane Guarino sat next to his fellow first-year, Lance Larsen, and struck up a conversation. They had both recently left the investment banking world and come to Booth for the same reason: to build a health tech company. Lance would soon become Dane’s co-founder of Markit Medical, an online marketplace where patients can shop for healthcare services based on price, insurance coverage, and physician quality. Two years later, they’re about to launch their latest pilot.

Sites like Kayak or Expedia are industry standard to buy flights, because travelers value different aspects of travel such as cost, convenience, or timing. Guarino believes you can apply the same principles to medical procedures: say you need an MRI or a colonoscopy. Your PCP could refer you, but can he or she factor in price and insurance data?

Even if that were possible, patients question the confidentiality of their healthcare when it’s provided by their employer. For example, “Home Depot employees can see all of their healthcare options at work,” explains Guarino. “But none of the employees actually use the portal because they don’t feel comfortable. Our goal is to bring that data to the doctor’s office where the patient is most comfortable making healthcare decisions.”

Guarino and Larsen joined MATTER in summer 2015 after being named semifinalists in the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge at Booth. Here, they have developed technology to begin automating what was a manual and slow price estimating process. Rather than calling multiple provider facilities to receive quotes, Markit Medical will “build relationships with the specialist facilities so that we can automate the price collection process and show the patient all of their options much more quickly,” says Guarino.

Guarino keeps himself motivated, hydrated, and caffeinated while studying, attending lectures, cold calling, and visiting physicians and clinics. He’s never without a lemon water bottle, an espresso bottle, and a notebook – he credits his coffee addiction to his former life in I-banking. “This notebook probably has the last four month’s worth of interactions with mentors, investors, and potential business partners,” he says.

Guarino considers himself a self-starter who isn’t afraid of breaking the status quo. While in finance, he came up with new ways to model financial statements and helped design a CRM system that tracks clients more effectively. In healthtech, designing better ways to do things is his full time job. “Why isn’t pricing and insurance info at the doctor’s office so you know your options when being referred?” he asked himself. “Let’s see if we can become a part of the physician work flow.”

Markit Medical is currently developing a tablet application that automatically displays results in a PCP’s office. Patients can peruse quality level, location, convenience, and price to make a choice just as if they were “buying socks on Amazon.” The stakes, however, are a little higher for Guarino and Markit Medical. To connect with Dane Guarino, visit his LinkedIn.