If you’ve ever had a loved one in the hospital, then you know the overwhelming gratitude you feel toward the doctors and nurses that cared for them. And you may have also experienced the frustration of finding the right way to thank them. Amanda Krantz — a Bay Area startup veteran and new Bend resident — has devised a solution in DohJe, a gratitude platform that provides an easy way to say thanks to health care providers. We recently talked with Krantz about how DohJe (pronounced Doe-Jay) is actually a retention tool, her personal experience that inspired it and … that one time she was a drummer in a touring band. 

Startup: DohJe
Founded: 2013
Founders: Amanda Krantz, Dawn Cheairs, and Francis Li
Located: Bend

Amanda Krantz
Amanda Krantz, CEO of DohJe

Was DohJe prompted by a personal experience?  Yes, I had a nurse who helped me deliver my first son and I wanted to thank her and could never figure out how. Then three years later, I had another amazing nurse with my second child. I was determined to thank her. I ended up going up to the hospital to find her and had a fascinating conversation. I met with one of my former startup co-workers, Francis Li, later that same day to sketch out the first idea for DohJe.  

You call DohJe a gratitude platform. Can you explain? The word literally means “thank you” in Cantonese. DohJe provides an easy way for patients and their families to thank health care professionals and for health care professionals to thank each other. Often after they leave the hospital, patients and their families really do want to express their gratitude. This lets them do that from any phone or computer.

You also note that it’s a retention tool. How so? Currently the morale of nurses is really low, about a third of new nurses leave after their first year. There’s been a ton of research that gratitude is one of the best ways to improve happiness and reduce burnout.  In addition to increasing the amount of gratitude shared, we also track recognition and provide real-time analytics to help supervisors recognize employees who are making a big impact.  We’re reinventing the way hospitals retain top talent and improving the quality of care for everyone.

How does DohJe work?  As a patient, you can find the facility you were at and then find the person you want to thank. We make it easy; we even take photos in case you don’t remember the names of your caregivers. You can send a message of gratitude through the system and receive confirmation that the caregiver got it.  If you want to thank someone at a facility that does not yet partner with DohJe, you can still share your gratitude and we track down the right people to deliver the gratitude for you. For example, we recently had a woman whose mom was in the ICU over a year ago. She sent a note to the staff to let them know her mom had recovered and to tell them how much she appreciated everything they had done for her mom and their family. 

Do healthcare privacy laws pose any challenges for DohJe? When we first introduced it, people definitely cited HIPAA a lot. It took awhile to pin down exactly what was the concern. The issue is that health care providers can’t respond to messages with information that is private to patients. So we added pre-written responses that providers can use. So far, everyone understands that and as long as they communicate in general terms, it’s OK.

Is DohJe already being used and what kind of results are you seeing?  Yes. DohJe is being used in a variety of places from birth centers to community hospitals to assisted living facilities and nursing schools.  Each have reported an increase in morale and they see DohJe as an opportunity to help fight caregiver burnout, reduce absenteeism and improve retention. They also have reported improvements in patient satisfaction. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital adopted DohJe in their labor and delivery department with 140 staff and saw a 10 times increase in patients and peers saying thank you.  We rolled it out to our first full hospital in Colorado late last year as part of new study being conducted by researchers from Harvard Business School. We recently started talking to a phenomenal facility here in Bend who we hope to launch with soon.

What’s in store for DohJe this year?  We raised a seed round last summer with lead investor, Aspiration Growth, a VC firm that focuses on companies changing the world. After building out our core product and testing it with customers, we are now focused on growth. Our plan is to launch in 20 more hospitals including at least two major health systems, as well as community hospitals and outpatient clinics. We will soon be kicking off DohJe with our first assisted living facility and home care staff, targeting to expand to at least 10 similar types of facilities by the end of the year.  We intend to change the world with gratitude.

In addition to startups, you were a Captain in the Air Force and a drummer in a touring band. I actually just want to know everything. It’s a long story, but I was in a band while I was at Harvard Business School called Corporate Whore.  We played around all the local Boston Venues like House of Blues, Middle East, and TT the Bears. We even recorded an album at Ardent Studios in Memphis. We changed our name to Paperboy Jack after realizing we had a branding problem and after we had to replace our lead singer who couldn’t leave his corporate job at McKinsey.  In 2005, we hit the road for a 10-month national tour playing 125 shows in 22 states… it was like running a startup out of the back of a van.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley