Bret Larsen of eVisit: “If you only do what you can, you’ll never be more than you are”

The best advice I’ve received is, “if you only do what you can, you’ll never be more than you are.” I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with discomfort by placing myself in unfavorable situations. It helps you confront your vulnerabilities and weaknesses. As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking […]

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The best advice I’ve received is, “if you only do what you can, you’ll never be more than you are.” I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with discomfort by placing myself in unfavorable situations. It helps you confront your vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bret Larsen, CEO and co-founder of eVisit, where he is leading the team in its vision to simplify healthcare delivery to everyone, everywhere. As a pioneering virtual care strategist and visionary influencer, Bret has worked with hundreds of healthcare organizations to improve outcomes, reduce costs, and boost revenue by delivering faster, more accessible virtual care. Teaming up with his co-founder Miles Romney, the two created eVisit, a purpose-built virtual care technology platform that is now deployed at 100-plus hospital and healthcare organizations.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Some call me a bit of a serial entrepreneur and I created my first start-up while in college — Gourmet Orchards, a company I built utilizing Lean Startup Methodologies. This was an ecommerce retailer featuring fresh fruit, nuts and snack products. I built the organization to a team of 11, setting a go-to-market digital strategy that built the business quickly, culminating in a successful sale four years later.

Then I landed in health technology with a company called Stat Health where I leveraged digital marketing platforms to build the Stat Docs brand. I did a stint in edtech at a SaaS firm, CampusLogic, where I served as VP of Marketing repositioning the brand and generated nearly $13 million in qualified leads — all through digital marketing. While at CampusLogic the concept of eVisit was born and in my spare time, I concepted the solution, architected it through wireframing and teamed up Miles to bring it all to life.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

At our core, we are transforming the way providers have delivered patient care since the beginning of time, which has been confined to face-to-face interactions. We are simplifying healthcare delivery so hospitals and health systems can provide care when and where it’s needed and to meet patients, now their “consumer,” where they are — on the move, in their homes and on their mobile devices.

Our telehealth service, delivered through the eVisit Virtual Care platform, is centered around both the provider and the patient. We are strong believers that when you are looking to improve the delivery of healthcare you start with the service provider. We shadowed physicians when we were creating the technology because we wanted it to smoothly integrate within, even optimize, clinical workflows. With an easy and intuitive platform, providers can focus on the patient and provide necessary care seamlessly. Then, we carry that technology over to the patient.

My 70-year-old mother who is surfing Facebook and my seven-year-old son who is frequently playing Fortnite both have different relationships with technology. eVisit must feel comfortable for both of them regardless of their technological exposure and confidence levels. We are simplifying telehealth so all generations can access quality care whenever and wherever they need it.

But really beyond all of that, we are disrupting the disruptors. Telehealth and delivering virtual patient care has been on the move for nearly a decade. The pandemic has simply accelerated all that was going on in telehealth, which is a tremendously positive thing. Back around 2013, what we were seeing was a centralized telehealth approach taking hold with call centers staffed by providers (physicians, PAs, nurse practitioners and other healthcare clinicians) delivering virtual care via telecommunications technology. The eVisit Virtual Care platform was created as a counter movement to this centralized approach and was architected to enable virtual care by local hospitals powering their provider network. Our technology does not compete with a hospital’s provider network, but enables their localized business of serving patients with new options to deliver patient care and increase/enhance patient touchpoints and engagement.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I strongly believe you must make mistakes to achieve your goals and aspirations. Because of this, I don’t allow myself to mull over mistakes. Rather, I learn from them, apply that wisdom and move on. In nearly all mistakes, there is a lesson to be learned, but it’s up to each of us to recognize the growth opportunity.

That said, if I had to go with a funny mistake, it has to be when I was meeting a new employee in the office. As I shook his hand, I called him Jake — even though, unbeknownst to me at the time, he goes by Jacob. This went on for a while, even to the point where I asked him why his email signature said Jacob. At the same time, Jacob was trying to figure out a way to tell me he prefers to go by Jacob. Long story short, always let others introduce themselves and listen closely. Being intentional with your interactions, no matter how small, always leaves an impression on others. As a leader of a young, high-growth organization, this was really an important (and funny) learning because I, along with the leadership team, am working hard to drive an inclusive culture here at eVisit. You’ll create an inclusive culture if others feel they are heard and respected. This is a funny story because Jake/Jacob was employee #3 at eVisit and he is still with us today and he goes by Jake and Jacob.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

One of my biggest mentors is Curt Roberts, who helped lead eVisit’s Seed fundraising round. He had the experience of leading a company as a young CEO and has helped me navigate some of the complexities it can bring — and he taught me how to grow into this ever-expanding role. Another mentor of mine is Gregg Scoresby, CEO and founder of CampusLogic. A CEO is presented with different pressures and experiences, which can be extremely daunting at times. Gregg has always been a great listener and brings a solid perspective, for which I am continuously grateful.

Ultimately, these two mentors showed me that leading a company is not about you. It is about the team and the customer. They have certainly made me a better leader by allowing me to learn from them.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption is overwhelmingly used as a positive adjective. I do believe disruption is intended to be helpful, but we don’t necessarily see its full impact until years later. An example is the creation of social media. It was developed with the intention of connecting human beings together across the globe, but the negative side effects of this disruption is that it has removed certain important elements of human interaction. People are more apt to approach conflict with someone behind the screen instead of in-person. This new communications style can be very damaging.

When it comes to healthcare, we see ourselves as disrupting the disruption. eVisit is enabling the geographically relevant doctor-patient relationship. Something is lost when you have a national network treating patients in a centralized call center in a different location. A patient in New York might be under different pressures and stressors than a patient in rural Wyoming. The localized knowledge and understanding of additional support and resources is crucial to patient care. Our platform focuses on powering localized care. If a mainstream virtual doctor can’t treat a patient and needs to send them to an Urgent Care, localized care expert’s referrals are highly valued and needed. That’s why we set out to create eVisit to enable localized care for hospitals and health systems using their provider networks.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

The best advice I’ve received is, “if you only do what you can, you’ll never be more than you are.” I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with discomfort by placing myself in unfavorable situations. It helps you confront your vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

The key to true, continued innovation is to keep challenging yourself, the team and our product technology. We are constantly asking ourselves what we can do to improve overall patient care so we can identify a patient’s needs before it is too late. Ultimately, we’d like to see a shift from reactive medicine to proactive medicine, meaning utilizing advanced technology to get in front of a potential health issue in a person. We want to enable that vision and deliver virtual care with the right technology and to do that we need to visualize what that looks like five or 20 years down the road.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss once a year. For me, this book is not only about working four hours a week, it is about creating systems and processes to enable us to be more impactful and effective with each working hour in a day. It helps systematize what things can be automated and pulled from your plate in order to keep focusing on the bigger goal. I encourage everyone to read it — there are only so many hours in a day, and you want to make sure you are making the most of them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have a cluster of sticky notes at my desk with quotes that have really resonated with me. A few of my favorites are:

  • Growth only comes through discomfort.
  • Winners suffer longer.
  • Give me a lever long enough and the place to stand and I will move the world.

I believe that everyone has the potential to do something with a large impact. It comes down to thinking big and how much discomfort we are willing to endure.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We want to simplify health care delivery for everyone, everywhere. Quality, competent care should be a human right. We believe the access to healthcare is among the top two the biggest problems in the world. We have the technology and capacity in the world today to deliver quality care to everyone, so why aren’t we doing it?

How can our readers follow you online?

LinkedIn or Twitter.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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