Personal reflections on the Connect Healthcare and Doctor.com merger
As you may have heard, Connect Healthcare and Doctor.com have officially joined forces to become one company. The combined power, innovation, and energy of Doctor.com Enterprise is something I’m excited to be a part of and to help grow.
This is a journey I’ve been personally invested in now for over 20 years, so it felt like a good moment to reflect on what the merger means to me, our clients, and the healthcare technology industry as a whole.
Where we’ve been
In our 25-year legacy, Connect Healthcare went from an innovative print shop producing physician directories before Quark and InDesign existed to a SaaS company providing award-winning Find-a-Doctor tools, provider transparency, and reputation management solutions. We thrived in the dot.com boom, survived the bust, and ultimately prevailed by continually evolving and seeking new ways to improve how patients find, access, and engage with providers. Ours is a story of a team sticking together, being flexible, and growing to meet the challenges a start-up faces.
My part in all this started as a kid at Georgia Tech studying industrial engineering who decided the logical next step from engineering school was to join a small start-up in a sales role. Keep in mind this was 1997, before the dot.com bubble, burst, and re-emergence. I was joining a start-up before it was cool. Heck, I didn’t even know to call it a “start-up.”
What I didn’t know at the time – and truthfully there was a lot I didn’t know – was how it would change my life forever.
What I’ve learned
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the smartest, most dedicated and genuine people I’ve ever known, both as coworkers and clients. It’s truly amazing to see what kind of innovation happens on the inside of the healthcare organizations that serve our country. And my coworkers, many of whom have been here for 10+ years, have been a continual source of inspiration and growth for me throughout all my roles with the company.
Being in a start-up always creates unique memories. From our then-CEO getting into yoga and doing headstands at his desk to the company futon being placed on a metal shelf in the closet for power naps. (This was before research showed it to be a productivity boost. We were just sleepy…) My teammates could regale you with stories of me breaking office chairs, doors, and, well, we’ll just stop there. Lots of shared memories to say the least.
In my career here, I’ve been heavily engaged in all aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, content creation, product strategy/development, client success, and, yes, even finance. Like I said, our story is one of adapting and growing together. Our clients have undergone a massive change in how they connect to their communities and we continue to this day with them on that ride. Through all this change and shared history, we learned how to genuinely partner with our clients, providing not just tools but becoming an extension of their team.
And as a team, we’re inspired by something we see every day in the clients we work alongside — an intense desire to help. You can call it customer service, client success, patient/client experience, patient care, or whatever the next en vogue term ends up being. But we’ve built every part of our team culture around the idea that we’re here to make a real difference. Too often we’ve seen companies built for the short term, looking to grow fast and exit easy. That’s just not who we are. We want to build something our grandchildren can be proud of.
So when we started working alongside the folks at Doctor.com, it didn’t take long for both our teams to feel that connection. As Andrei Zimiles says, it’s pretty obvious we’re cut from the same cloth. Our teams share a common passion to serve our clients because we know what’s at stake. Being able to manage and understand the patient’s consumer experience and how it relates to the overall quality of care they receive is not just a good thing to do; it’s crucial as we move to a more risk-based, community health model.
Prior to the merger, the Doctor.com and Connect Healthcare teams worked together for over two years, landing and working with common clients and integrating our services more and more. At some point, it just became obvious we were already becoming one team and it only made sense to start the process of merging. Honestly, it was a pretty simple process. Intense, no doubt. But simple.
Unlike many mergers, because ours is a result of a long relationship working together both on the operations as well as the technology side of serving common clients, the integration of our teams has been easy, painless, and…fun. Not the kind of thing you normally hear from people who are going through the throes of a merger. From product alignment to culture and even matching of strengths and weaknesses, every step has reinforced that this was the right thing to do.
One new team
The broader team we get to now work with is amazing. Seeing Louis Towles and David Murray work their engineering ninja skills together. Having Jorge Sierra partner with Mike Haffey and Cynthia Newton in helping our clients develop the right strategies. Collaborating with Jarrod Jodoin and Marie Sligh on product. Watching Micah Seehorn, Mara Kaufman, and Kim Stagg develop new and better ways to ensure our clients are successful with us. Chad Giles, Caryne Say, Erin Kang, and our whole marketing/creative team produce almost magical user experiences and content. All these people and more are doing incredibly impressive things.
This path I began over two decades ago has absolutely changed my life for the better. Now I’m on that path with many more people and together we’ve started a revolution in what healthcare organizations should expect from partners. More value. More passion. More execution. And that’s something I think is worth doing.