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The Innovator: Desh Mohan, MD

Updated: Feb 6

Desh Mohan is a practicing hospitalist and the Chief Medical Officer at Koda Health, a digital health company that leverages technology to make proactive medical care planning accessible to all. Dr. Mohan received his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his M.D from UT Southwestern Medical School, completed his Internal Medicine residency at Baylor Medical College, and was a Digital Health Biodesign Fellow at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute.

Dr. Mohan is particularly passionate about improving and positively impacting patient care through innovation. He was first introduced to innovation and design as an undergraduate at MIT. Through MIT’s Development Lab and Public Service Center, he worked with communities in Tanzania and India to improve healthcare infrastructure development with technology. Later as a medical student, Dr. Mohan co-founded the Innovating Healthcare Solutions elective to teach the basics of sustainable development and innovation to medical school students.

As a medical student, he also spent a summer as an intern at McKinsey & Company to learn how physicians can use their training to have a larger impact on healthcare. These early experiences were instrumental in his desire to return to entrepreneurship after his clinical training. After internal medicine residency, he worked as a locum tenens hospitalist which gave him the opportunity to understand how healthcare was delivered in multiple systems around the country. Dr. Mohan was selected as a Digital Health Biodesign Fellow at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute. During this one-year supported entrepreneurship program, Dr. Mohan and his team co-founded Koda Health to improve patient access to advance care planning. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Koda Health.

Dr. Mohan currently resides in Richmond, VA along with his wife and 1-year old miniature Australian Shepherd puppy. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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Desh Mohan’s Prescription for Success:

Number 1: Take the blinders off. As physicians we’ve always had this stay on the track mentality. A lot of the time you get from veering off of this track to explore.

Number 2: Write things down. I think for physicians who are at the early stages of trying to figure out how to bring additional satisfaction to their practice, there are a lot of thoughts that come in about different options and possibilities and it can be very confusing to the point where it’s easier to stay on the track that you are on. Taking small steps can really help. And the thing that really helped me the most was to get those thoughts onto paper. It helps make streams and ideas more concrete so you can actually take some actionable steps towards them.

Number 3: Don’t lose sight of the big picture. I think it’s helpful to think back to those personal statements we wrote for medical school, and think about what inspired us to go into medicine in the first place. For most of us it was so we could really help people.

Connect with Desh:

Notable quotes from Desh’s interview:

That ability to have that kind of impact was really exciting to me, and I could see the difference I was making, and it was just so tangible, and that got me in medicine and down that track.
While I really enjoyed it, and I still really love practicing, I always want practicing to be part of my career. I think that one thing that really stood out to me was I felt like I didn’t have as much of an impact as I would like to. And I realized during my clinical years that even though I could see the impact I was making on my patient’s lives, and enjoyed working at the bedside working with patients, I realized a portion of what drove me was being able to have a broad positive impact on healthcare that is difficult to have just on a individual one-on-one patient care.
It really excited me to be able to start something that wasn’t there before. That kind of impact where you are able to create something out of nothing, and it provide value was exciting to me, and I think those where some of the initial seeds of, I realize now, of me wanting to go into entrepreneurship.
What we realized was a lot of doctors and care providers were simply uncomfortable engaging in these conversations, and honestly didn’t have the time to do so.
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