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Student develops health care app

Created in 2016, CareValet is used by about 2,000 members. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE.

A current USF student has developed CareValet, a free service that that helps connect consumers with health care providers in logical and simple ways. 

Joseph Hodges, founder of CareValet and soon to be graduate of the USF Muma College of Business, began his company after realizing his passion for consumer transparency.

“There’s a lack of transparency in the marketplace and because of that I thought I’d be able help get some legislature put in place that will require transparency in the industry,” Hodges said. “However, it was futile because there’s too many other political agendas at play and there’s a strong lobbying component that prevents any transparency in health care from coming forward.”

After taking notice of how other industries reached further levels of transparency, Hodges said he decided to take elements from different sources to create his own new business.

“I was looking at other industries and how they’ve been disrupted and I saw that the transportation industry had been disrupted by ride sharing apps which allowed more consumers to reach the results they needed,” Hodges said. “What I decided to do was take the platform that companies like Uber and Amazon had of connecting people who have goods and services with people who want to buy them and look for healthcare services like shopkeepers and consumers who want these goods and services.”

Taking different pieces from multiple industries, Hodges was able to successfully create the first iteration of CareValet.

“Over the last decade, this idea formulated of connecting consumers and providers,” Hodges said. “That’s how the idea of CareValet came about.”

Inspired by platforms such as Amazon and Uber, over 2,000 members currently use its services.

CareValet allows for its users to use mobile tools to find health care providers in their area that best suits their price range. The app allows for the connection of ride sharing programs to take you to any doctor’s appointments you may have.

The service helps to alleviate the guesswork of finding a doctor who matches your preferences while providing transportation service if the user is too unwell to drive themselves.

With CareValet underway, a key goal of the business was consumer transparency and a means of reflecting honesty between the user and the health care provider.

“At this level, (consumers) have the greatest level of transparency to their health care than they’ve ever had before,” Hodges said. “Any time they need a care service, not only can they talk to a doctor directly, they can get an appointment directly. They can get a ride right from their phone, schedule on their calendar right on their app. We took all these tools that you’d normally need to access individually and put them together right at the user’s fingertips so all they have to do is press and they have whatever their need is.”

With Hodges’ business running smoothly, he sees a bright future in the expansion of CareValet. The business’ original intention was to reach as large of an audience as possible, a goal he hopes to keep.

“If I’m going to do anything, it’s because I want to positively affect the lives of a million people,” Hodges said. “I wanted to build a product that exponentially serves and meets the purpose of that population. I’d love to call my app innovative and the Uber of healthcare, but I don’t get the luxury of doing that. It’s only if I get that consumer adoption. I built it on a platform to insure we can meet consumer needs as we identify that we’re doing that or not.”

As the world changes and people’s needs do as well, Hodges is doing his best to keep up. Sharing different ideas from multiple industries allows for a game plan of how to react to growing markets.

“People are synergizing all of these beautiful and incredible things that have been built electronically over the past few decades … and we’re integrating the needs of the consumer into a very simple platform,” said Hodges. “I’d like people to understand that our primary concern is meeting consumer needs.”

As CareValet begins its exponential growth, a more consumer friendly app is about to hit the marketplace to help navigate the functions of the business.

“We have a health insurance platform app,” Hodges said. “In the next 30-60 days we have a consumer app that we’re releasing. You can download the app and use it on your own right from there.”

CareValet continues to be one of the fastest growing industry leaders in the health marketplace. 

“Over the last decade we’ve been talking about consumer transparency in health care and I believe we’ve finally made an excellent service that can meet those needs,” Hodges said.