From gamer to digital health magician: Q&A with BetterDoctor CEO Ari Tulla

Ari Tulla

(Kaisa Rautaheimo/Helsinki Times)

10…9…8…7… Let the countdown begin! CEO Summit is less than two weeks away, and we are thrilled to be bringing more than 130 of the top digital health CEOs together for our second annual event. We sat down with Ari Tulla, consumer experience leader and founder of BetterDoctor, who will be leading the panel session Moving Beyond the Noise: Opportunities and Customers for Big Data at CEO Summit.


How has your previous experience in the gaming industry influenced how you think-up and create digital health products?

I’m a gamer by inclination and profession. I got my first computer when I was 8 years old and spent most of my time playing games. Later, I went on building mobile apps and games with Nokia. There, I learned a lot about consumers and the consumer experience and spent a lot of time looking at what consumers wanted and how to market to them. As I was building games and apps, I was always asking myself, how do you create something that makes sense to people? I believe in building great designs, great user experiences and creating products that makes users want to use them. It’s like Arthur C. Clarke once said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  I want to build things and experiences that are almost magical.

Why do consumers need simpler channels for seeking out physician care?

 A few years ago, I was simultaneously looking for a new doctor and for accommodations for a trip to New York. One task, the accommodations, I accomplished in 10 minutes on Airbnb. The other, finding the right doctor, I had not been able to do after a week of trying. I had already met other doctors, looked up referrals, gotten to know people in the area, and sought consultations. Even after all this, I didn’t have the right doctor. I just thought, “How can this be?” I had spent the last 10 years working in technology. I just couldn’t believe that in healthcare—one of the most important areas in people’s lives—there were so few good tech tools to help you.

What was your inspiration for BetterDoctor?

Ten years ago, I faced a health crisis in my family which made me realize the importance of good health. After years of struggle, I finally got so fed up that I had to do something about it. Two years ago I set out with a friend and Nokia colleague Tapio Tolvanen to build the tool I had wished I had when I needed it, a tool to match-make me and my family with the kind of doctor we needed. Healthcare decisions are very hard and important decisions. The whole essence of BetterDoctor is around building tools to make those decisions easier by making them simpler and making information more transparent. I want to be a trustworthy partner for the consumer.


 Ari Tulla is the co-Founder and CEO of BetterDoctor, simplifying the way people find doctors through web and mobile apps. He is an entrepreneur and product leader with more than a decade of experience leading innovation through new consumer products and experiences. Prior to BetterDoctor, Ari worked at Nokia, where he led Nokia Games Publishing and founded Nokia App Studio and Nokia App Wizard.