Introducing Rupa: Helping Doctors Get to the Root Cause of Illness

by 
Tara Viswanathan
Introducing Rupa: Helping Doctors Get to the Root Cause of Illness

Right now, half of America is suffering from at least one chronic illness. And sadly, the standard of care in most cases is to simply manage the symptoms: steroids for mysterious skin rashes, immunosuppressants for autoimmune diseases, etc. What’s the result? The average American now takes over 12 prescriptions per year. 😱 Once you’re over 65, that number explodes to 27 prescriptions. On this many medications, how are we supposed to feel healthy, vibrant, or alive?

This is why I and the Rupa team have dedicated our lives to helping every person on the planet get to the root cause of their illness and live life at 100%.

Root cause medicine addresses why you’re feeling sick, rather than simply treating symptoms. 


This mission is personal for me. Both my mom and I have separately experienced debilitating health issues through multiple periods of our lives. (Not to mention many, many friends as well.) These health mysteries took us through rabbit holes of 20+ doctors at a time. We were given every symptom-suppressing prescription on the market -- antihistamines, antibiotics, steroid shots, drops and creams -- but no one had any real answers for why we were sick. If you or a loved one have been through this, you know how emotionally, mentally, and physically draining this journey can be.

Me & my Mom, Usha!

Luckily, we found a doctor who had a different approach -- determining the root cause. Using advanced testing, we finally got answers. For me, it was mold toxicity (turns out, my genetic make up inhibits my ability to detox mold from my body). For my mom, it was microbiome imbalances, thyroid issues, and nutrient deficiencies. In both cases, we addressed these root causes and ultimately got our health back. 🎉 

Root cause medicine is the next evolution of medicine, one where we aim to identify and solve the true cause of illness rather than just band-aiding symptoms with medication. Today, root cause medicine goes by many names: functional medicine, precision medicine, personalized medicine, systems medicine, integrative medicine, and more. Root cause practitioners look at a person’s health holistically and employ advanced diagnostics to understand everything from genetics to diet, stress and cortisol levels to microbiome, and more. 

Rupa is the modern way to access advanced diagnostics.


We built Rupa to modernize this process of ordering specialty labs, so that every doctor can practice root cause medicine. Today we’re excited to announce that we’ve raised $5.8M from First Round Capital, Floodgate, SV Angel, Lachy Groom and other great investors to grow the company and continue to move healthcare in this direction. 

Rupa solves the most difficult part about practicing root cause medicine: labwork. Traditional bloodwork -- the complete blood counts (CBCs) and metabolic panels (CMPs) we’re used to -- are not the full picture. To get to the root cause, practitioners rely on cutting edge tools like advanced DNA tests, microbiome tests, comprehensive hormone panels, heavy metals testing, and nutrient profiles.

Before Rupa, doctors had to sign up separately with 20+ independent lab companies. To order and receive results, they dealt with a nightmare of faxes, phone calls, logins, and snail mail. Doctors were spending 20+ hours a week managing these lab processes, but there was no way around it.  

Rupa offers a single sign-on that gives doctors access to over 2,000 specialty lab tests in one place. We take those 20+ hours wasted on administrative work and turn it into 20 minutes. Any licensed healthcare practitioner in the USA can sign up today and start ordering tests through Rupa in under five minutes. Their patients get a modern experience too, with transparent pricing, SMS orders, and helpful digital instructions.

We’re helping what was once fringe become mainstream.


In January 2020, we released a prototype of Rupa to two doctors in the Bay Area. Within three months, Rupa exploded to clinics in nearly every state across the USA. Our platform now powers diagnostics for solo practices, mid-size clinics, and major hospital groups alike, including UC Irvine and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a part of Sutter Health. We’re extremely proud to see Rupa being used coast-to-coast, and not just in major coastal innovation hubs, bringing this type of medicine to patients across America. 😍 (One of the best days of my career was the day we had our first patient in my tiny hometown of Lubbock, Texas! 🤠) 

Rupa supports patients across the USA 💙

What’s even more exciting (and why we wake up every day fired up to build this company) is the explosion of the root cause movement as a whole. Major medical journals like JAMA are publishing research on the benefits of root cause medicine, and major hospital groups like the Cleveland Clinic, the University of California System, and the Mayo Clinic have added root cause departments. Thousands of new specialty diagnostics have flooded the market with both new tests (DNA, microbiome, hormonal, etc.) and new sampling methodologies (saliva, stool, breath, urine, etc.). Google searches for root cause medicine related terms are breakout searches with a 5000% increase over the last five years. The evidence pointing towards a future with root cause medicine at the helm goes on and on. And yet, this is still the infancy of what will be a foundational shift in the way we practice medicine -- one where data and diagnostics sit at the core. We couldn’t be more stoked to accelerate this movement. 

Rupa wouldn’t be here without the support of all of our incredible investors, advisors, and early believers. 🙏 To our early practitioners who still take the time to personally text message me feedback and words of encouragement -- thank you so much for believing in us! 😍 You are true trailblazers, and we feel so lucky to be a small part of the massive difference you’re making in this world. 

At Rupa, we believe no one should have to spend years navigating 20+ doctors like I did before getting to the root cause of their illness. We wake up every day thrilled to be accelerating this shift. Onward! 🚀 

Love,

Tara
CEO & Co-Founder
Rupa Health

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References

Tara Viswanathan
Website
CEO & Co-Founder, Rupa Health.
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