Originally published on Business Insider

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A few years ago, while working with some 30 healthcare startups as a director at Kaiser Permanente's venture-capital fund, Shruti Kothari found that policy could make or break a company's ability to bring innovative technology to as many patients as possible.

"You can get the right companies funded and get the right products, but at the end of the day, healthcare is one of the most fragmented places. If there's not the right industry alignment or the right supporting policies to scale, you're not going to scale your technology," Kothari said.

So Kothari left for a role at Blue Shield of California, where she's helping the insurer transform the healthcare system by advocating for and collaborating to drive change in areas such as payment innovation, data sharing, and health equity as the head of industry initiatives.

Kothari's team has worked to get legislation passed in California to enable the exchange of healthcare data between organizations and patients.

It has also partnered with the Purchaser Business Group on Health and other organizations to get five California health insurers to agree to a common strategy around transforming how they pay for primary care, she said. If it works, the initiative could lead to better primary care and health outcomes for patients and lower costs for their employers and insurers.

"It requires a lot of trust building, it can move slow, but when you get wins, it's foundational and affects millions of lives," Kothari said of bringing industry players together.

Outside of her day job, Kothari started Women of Community, an organization focused on increasing the representation of women of color in healthcare leadership roles. 

She also cofounded Crown Society, a startup that equips family caregivers with information and personal-care products they need to take care of their aging seniors. It's currently raising seed capital.

— Shelby Livingston