We still refer to Keet as a start-up, even though we were acquired almost a year ago.

I think we continue to identify as a start-up because that’s what if feels like around here. We are lean and mean, we’ve never seen a problem we didn’t go on to (eventually!) solve, we still have an office over a bar on the infamous 6th street in Austin, and we work very, very hard.

Becoming a Keetian

I came to this party late, just after Keet’s acquisition by Clinicient a year ago. I was brought in by our CEO, Kent Rowe, as an interim consultant to help transition the team into the broader organization. Kent’s marching orders were simple; provide some structure and guidance but preserve the creativity and disruptive energy of the organization at all costs. Kent knew there was some magic here, and boy was he right.

My first introduction to the team was around the time of the acquisition. I reached out to everyone via email to schedule a time to walk them individually through some of the changes that would be occurring. Most of their responses went something like this,

“I prefer the afternoon because my brain doesn’t kick in until after lunch.”

“Can we meet over coffee? I prefer to have caffeine on board before we chat.”

“I usually don’t get in the office until after 10 or 11am so any time after that is fine.”

The answers were similar from most members of the team. At first glance it looked like getting some structure around the team might be a challenge.

Interestingly, those initial meetings were all alike. No one and I mean no one, asked about job descriptions or reporting structures. No one was terribly interested in things like health insurance benefits, titles, PTO, or working hours. They asked questions like, “Are you going to make us sit in a lot of useless meetings?” “Are you going to force us to use Microsoft Outlook?” (which to them would have been the horror of all horrors I’ve come to learn). “How is this going to affect OUR CULTURE!?”

When I asked an engineer about his working hours he replied, “It depends on what time I went to sleep the night before.”

What I came to realize was he wasn’t out partying on 6th Street, he was up coding all night to meet a deadline, and his dedication to the team and our mission wasn’t unique. There wasn’t, and still isn’t, the concept of a traditional work week at Keet because we’re passionate about what we do, and we work until the job is done. This team blew the lid of the “uncommitted” millennial work-force archetype, and I was, and still am, humbled and inspired by their dedication.

I should admit at this point that I’m also an individual that has never seen a problem I didn’t want to try and solve, and I’m at my best in the face of a difficult challenge. I think I’m particularly passionate about my work because I’ve always been in healthcare. I have held clinical and administrative positions with provider organizations big and small, administered clinical research programs in collaboration with large health systems and major academic institutions, managed population health initiatives for early adopters of value-based care models and worked in healthcare technology. But most importantly, I have been both a patient and a caregiver, and it is those experiences that have fueled my passion for healthcare reform more than anything I’ve done professionally.

The Magic of Keet

In a recent all-day strategy session, I asked the team to come prepared to share a personal story on how the healthcare system has impacted their own lives. Keet was founded through the collaboration of a frustrated patient (Jon Read) and a disillusioned provider (David Self, DPT), but I wanted to hear the healthcare experiences of the rest of the team, too.

As we went around the table and shared our stories, it was almost overwhelming. We talked about the stress of getting an accurate diagnosis and navigating a complex healthcare system when you have a child with a disability. We talked about trying to get adequate mental health treatment for a family member who desperately needed help, only to tragically lose them to suicide. The fear and anxiety experienced after a traumatic injury, the stress of caring for a parent or grandparent with complex and end of life health needs were also brought up, and the impactful list went on, and on, and on.

Each one of us has been profoundly impacted, and the tears and hugs liberally flowed as we shared our very personal stories. Interestingly, the prevalent theme in our collective experiences was not necessarily over the actual care that was received, or the ridiculous complexity of navigating the system—it wasn’t even the cost of care. It really boiled down to the fact that in our role as patients and caregivers, we frequently felt we were not being heard, and that providers were not afforded the time they needed to interact with their patients. That the humans delivering care were often too busy to really listen to the humans they were trying to care for. That something was deeply and inexorably broken in our healthcare system, and the relationship between providers and patients was where the deepest fault lines existed.

I can talk all day long about how the administrative complexities of our current system have driven providers to the breaking point. How hours of their precious and valuable time are spent meeting regulatory and billing requirements instead of spending it with the patients they are so committed to serving. That providers are demoralized, and patients feel disenfranchised. That the business of medicine is the most powerful force in our economy and that both providers and patients are often left out of the decisions around how care is delivered.

I can tell you that medical care only impacts 10% of a patient’s total health and patient behavior impacts over 40%, and yet, the U.S spends over $3.5 Trillion a year on delivering medical care and invests very little on impacting patient behavior. I can also tell you, with the utmost confidence, that the healthcare industrial complex (payers, health systems, pharmaceutical companies, for-profit organizations, etc…) have no compelling reason to “fix” healthcare, but providers, patients and the employers who pay for the most expensive, and least effective, healthcare in the world certainly do. And that, my friends, is where disruption is going to happen.

Our Mission

I tell you this story to provide a frame of reference for who we are and the problem we’re trying to solve. As a company, we’re passionate about powering meaningful connections between providers and patients, and we believe this shows in our core product—our patient engagement platform. On a daily basis we work to build great software that supports those connections for our clients, but what we’re doing is so much bigger. We want to redefine what patient engagement really means, looks, and feels like and we want to iterate on how to best do that within our ecosystem of providers and patients.

We know that technology isn’t going to fix healthcare.

Our success lies in our ability to harness all this passion and hard work into a singular mission, to Restore humanity in healthcare.

That’s a big mission but I’m betting this start-up minded team at Keet is going to harness some of the magic floating around our office on 6th Street to move the needle.