Woman Entrepreneur - Banu Ozden (Smart Medical Consumer)
When Banu Ozden, PhD, couldn't get a straight answer out of her health-insurance company regarding the cost of treatment options after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she got mad.
And as she went through the treatment process, she grew increasingly overwhelmed by the fact that the myriad of bills that were sent her way were filled with unintelligible codes and statements that didn't accurately reflect what she owed. She couldn't figure out what to pay--let alone if she was overpaying. When she finally sat down to sort through the mess, she discovered that she had overpaid by about $4,000.
So Ozden decided to get even by building a service that would help others by automating medical billing, tracking medical expenses, and detecting errors, so they could concentrate on getting well. She had already left her job at Bell Labs, where she had worked as director of research of computing systems, and had been frustrated that many of the inventions that she and her colleagues had worked on simply didn't make it to market.
Creating a useful new business with an enormous market seemed like the right thing to do. Ozden, who has multiple patents under her belt, took a leave from the faculty of the University of Southern California and started just such a service, Web-based SmartMedicalConsumer. Its beta version launched in January, 2007.