Q&A with Allison Guimard, Founder of Online Healthcare Directory Alijor.com

Alijor.com, the latest online healthcare directory, was founded by Allison Guimard with the goal of creating a worldwide healthcare community where people could find medical providers listing their services and prices, and where providers could promote their services for free.

Allison Guimard

Allison Guimard

Termeh Mazhari: You’re only 25, and you’re the CEO of your own company! How did you do it?
Allison Guimard: I grew up being told always to work for yourself and always to do what you love. Therefore, although I’ve had jobs since I was about 15, I knew that when I graduated college, I would start my own company. I never even considered working for someone else. I don’t follow direction well and don’t like being told what to do, so they wouldn’t want me anyway!
It’s been interesting running a company at my age. I’m the youngest person in my office other than an intern. But rather than fight all the stereotypes of age, I decided to embrace it. I’m honest about my age with everyone. I just tell my employees what I expect, tell them if they don’t meet my expectations, I’ll let them go and then from day one, it’s a very open environment.

TM: What made you start Alijor.com?
AG: I had always had opinions about the American healthcare system and was always frustrated by my personal healthcare experience and also always loved the internet. There’s something about the way the internet changes peoples’ lives that so drastically impacted me. Even further, I love to price shop. I love the way the internet lets you sort through prices and find the best one for you. There’s no hiding what something should cost on the internet and that’s how I came up with Alijor. I decided people should be able to know what healthcare should cost them and the web enables us to do that – so voilà! I worked by myself for about a year and a half in New York City, then moved out to Silicon Valley and just starting hiring…

TM: How do you explain the recent burst in doctor-rating and/or health-related sites?
AG: Americans are not satisfied with the healthcare system from price to quality and therefore, all the sites are coming about. Healthcare cost and quality has been a somewhat taboo topic for a long time, but now people are talking and realizing there is a need for a better system. People can’t afford healthcare today and insurance just doesn’t cover everything so people are seeing a need to start shopping around. And I believe Alijor will meet that need.

TM: What is it about the healthcare industry that interests you so much?
AG: The fact that price is taboo. Why won’t doctors share it? Do they really want patients who can’t afford them? No, they should want patients who want to pay what they cost. Beyond that, there is no definition of quality: is it malpractice suits, is it years of experience, is it the hospital you’re working at… We need to start rating doctors the way we rate other things. People need to be able to read up on their doctors based on other patients comments (not just one but many), and Alijor lets them do that.

TM: You love the internet. What are your favorite web sites?
AG: In no particular order:
1) Google
2) Facebook (a sad, but true obsession)
3) AllRecipes.com. I love to cook and get all my recipes on here. You can change servings and even view health information on the recipe….I’m in love with the site!
4) UrbanOutfitters.com. Yes, I love to shop and this basically covers my entire wardrobe at the moment.
5) Wikipedia. More information than you really ever need to know about someone.
6) Mac.com. I have owned at least 5 Apple computers over the past 3 years…I am in love with these computers and will never go back to PCs!
7) Amazon.com. I love to read, I get all my books here…haven’t set foot in a bookstore in years (unless I’ve had a gift card). Favorite book right now: The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 at 11:02 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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