Meet Brad Younggren, Chief Medical Officer at 98point6
Imagine realizing breakthrough solutions with a one of a kind approach to primary healthcare in a way that has never been possible before. The Seattle based firm,
98point6 is embarking on that journey. They are using AI technology paired with distinguished, hand-selected and board-certified physicians from all regions of the country to bring on-demand care, diagnosis and patient engagement to all via our smartphones. It is evident that innovation in accessible care that enhances benefits and creates passionate employees is just a glimpse of what they are creating.
I spoke with Brad Younggren, Chief Medical Officer, so that I might learn a bit more about their journey to transform care with affordable scalable solutions to patients young and old. 98point6 delivers personalized consultation, diagnosis and treatment by using technology and smartphones to patients in 14 states with the goals of reaching 50 states by year’s end.
Sherry Benjamins: Brad, tell me about you?
Brad Younggen: My career into medicine began in the Army as an emergency physician in Iraq. Early on I could see the potential of using digital technology in saving lives. I also had a great experience in using ultrasound to transmit digital information. We saw that phones could be medical devices, which allowed us to scale beyond where technology began in telemedicine. A friend of mine connected me to the impressive leaders at 98point6 where I saw Robbie Cape’s vision for allowing physicians to do their best work in offering quality care for all patients. It was clear that the notion of leadership and investment in the physician side of the business as well as the technology platform had tremendous value and opportunity so I joined the organization in early 2017.
SB: How are patients dealing with technology? What needs to be done to overcome the hurdles to adoption?
BY: Most of us have leveraged the mobile phone in ways that make it essential for daily living. The relationship that we aim to create using mobile technology is already something people understand. Who isn’t making texting the go-to for their communication with others? We are not seeing age as an obstacle in adopting our platform. We do have video capability but it may surprise you that people don’t naturally opt for that.
The smartphone is at the core of how we live. We were pleased to see broad usage across demographics. 30% are ages 25-34 and 28% are 35-44. Over 90% would use the service again and last month 42% of visits were returning users with a new condition or question. It does not appear that the technology is getting in the way at all. The top 5 categories treated range from upper respiratory conditions, dermatology issues, gastrointestinal or digestive and ear, nose and throat issues.
SB: What does personalization mean for your company?
BY: We are meeting our patients where they are comfortable with technology. There is a board-certified doctor on our back-end model which means a personalized diagnosis and virtual high-quality care for each patient. We deliver the whole spectrum of primary care and we are seeing patients really responding to the platform. Some wonder how a text-based service can offer quality care. Much of what is diagnosed today by primary care physician’s in-person can be treated by our physicians via or app. Our in-app resolution rate is consistently over 85% and in March it was 93% and April 96%. If we are unable to meet a specific individual need, we refer patients to an in-person primary care specialist or urgent care.
SB: What attracted you to 98point6?
BY: It was clear from my first meetings with our CEO that quality care and physicians are at the center of this solution. They are carefully selected and physicians participate in in-person strategy retreats and contribute actively to product reviews. They really get to do what they value most here and that is to deliver care and have an impact. We now have more than 100 employees and some of the very best minds in technology, medical and regulatory. We have a Medical Advisory Board of 18 physicians and are recognized leadres in their specialty. They guide us in a powerful way. We attract top talent because our social mission is as compelling as our technical vision.
SB: What are you learning from this experience?
BY: There is a leadership commitment to investing in technology, but more importantly investing in technology as it intersects with medicine. Our core values serve as the foundation for our behaviors and allow us to be focused on selecting new hires that are a long-term fit. These values include a bias for action, building trust, collaborating and committing to our patients and our team members as well as relentless improvement that guides our growth and success. These are not just words on the website, they are seen in the actions of our leaders.
SB: And what have you learned about yourself so far?
BY: I am learning that amazing things can inspire people to do great work. There is a drive and a collaborative culture here focused on solving complex problems and I have seen this energy and tenacity consistently here at 98point6. Through this experience I am also improving my own capacity as a leader.
To be totally transparent here, after I spoke with Brad I had to try this service. They make it really easy for you to log in and ask your health question. The Automated Assistant even had a sense of humor! We already have personalized experiences with other virtual applications and services so this seemed natural in many ways. I did not expect that as the skeptical baby boomer I am. All I can say is, Alexa, watch out! Thank you Brad for introducing this innovation to our community and we will be eager to learn more about this transforming journey for all of us.