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David Rambo of Simplex Health: “Share resources”

Share resources. Telehealth video appointments offer tremendous resource-sharing opportunities. Our dietitians will share their screen, send helpful links to articles and recipes while they’re chatting with their patient, and even (virtually) go into their kitchen to help them with cooking, going through their pantry and fridge, and more. One of the consequences of the pandemic is […]

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Share resources. Telehealth video appointments offer tremendous resource-sharing opportunities. Our dietitians will share their screen, send helpful links to articles and recipes while they’re chatting with their patient, and even (virtually) go into their kitchen to help them with cooking, going through their pantry and fridge, and more.


One of the consequences of the pandemic is the dramatic growth of Telehealth and Telemedicine. But how can doctors and providers best care for their patients when they are not physically in front of them? What do doctors wish patients knew in order to make sure they are getting the best results even though they are not actually in the office? How can Telehealth approximate and even improve upon the healthcare that traditional doctors’ visits can provide?

In this interview series, called “Telehealth Best Practices; How To Best Care For Your Patients When They Are Not Physically In Front Of You” we are talking to successful Doctors, Dentists, Psychotherapists, Counselors, and other medical and wellness professionals who share lessons and stories from their experience about the best practices in Telehealth. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewingDavid Rambo, CEO and Founder of Simplex Health.

David founded Simplex Health following his personal experience with type 2 diabetes. He was unsatisfied with conventional medicine’s response to controlling and managing the disease as well as the completely ineffectual standard of care.

David learned about the possibility of disease reversal, a paradigm shift in medicine, from physicians with expertise in the emerging field of functional medicine, which focuses on the root cause of disease. Within 4 months, David was successful in reversing his type 2 diabetes and safely eliminated the need for prescription medication incorporating the same innovative dietary therapies that Simplex patients experience today. He created Simplex Health with the mission of bringing the same life-changing model of care to the conventional insurance model, increasing access to everyone & providing individualized protocols and therapies that positively alter the lives of millions.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I founded Simplex Health following my own personal experience with type 2 diabetes. In 2012, the year my daughter was born, I began struggling with my weight and dipping energy levels. I was immersed in work, eating a healthier version of the standard American diet, and trying to exercise regularly but something just felt off. That’s when I began to see a slew of specialists who prescribed a number of medications — most of which had terrible side effects. Nothing was helping. I was eventually diagnosed with aggressive type 2 diabetes, and promptly put on two more medications. I followed this path for another year and a half — still feeling terrible and still overweight. At this same time, my son had just finished seeing a physician who completely reversed his eczema with food. This same physician informed me that my condition was also reversible with, of all things, food. Not one of the specialists I saw, including the endocrinologist, mentioned this was a possibility. I began doing my own research and learned about this idea of disease reversal, a paradigm shift in medicine, from physicians with expertise in the emerging field of functional medicine, which focuses on the root cause of disease. Within 4 months, I had lost 60 pounds, reversed my type 2 diabetes, and safely eliminated the need for prescription medication. I wanted to share my life changing experience with everyone which is what led me to create Simplex Health.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

It’s not so much a story but more, a lightbulb moment. Before I started Simplex, I was in the wellness and fitness industry — operating fitness centers for corporate clients. After I healed myself, I noticed that the very people I was helping through fitness were missing a crucial piece of the wellness puzzle: nutrition. I saw how conventional dietetics (eat less, exercise more) was failing so many, not to mention coming at a high personal and financial cost. I knew this was my calling. I thought, “This is medical care and should be covered by insurance.” I started calling around and no one was doing what I was envisioning at scale. I located a dietitian who was challenging the conventional wisdom of dietetics herself and it just went from there.

Also, if interesting can be interchanged with a blessing, I remember walking out of the office of one of the most prominent endocrinologists in Philadelphia, after being told I needed to start insulin training. I heard a voice on my way down the stairs, which I can only attribute to divine intervention. It told me to summon the courage to challenge the status quo. Since then, I’ve watched the evolution of diabetes reversal move from the fringe to the mainstream. It reminds me of what a 19th century German philosopher by the name of Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” We’re getting closer and closer to the third stage every day.

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

I have quite a few that I live by:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

In terms of how this is relevant to my life, I knew we were taking on some industry giants when we founded Simplex — Big Food and Big Pharma. Finding like-minded thinkers, mavericks if you will, was the most important thing I did when starting out and it’s something I continue to do today.

God doesn’t call the equipped. God equips the called. — Rick Yancey

As a man of faith, this has been especially important to me along this journey. When I started Simplex, I didn’t have years of healthcare experience under my belt. It felt very overwhelming at times, but I leaned on God’s guidance and timing and He surrounded me with some of the best medical experts in the field.

Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone. — Shannon L. Alder

This is true for everyone who works with me, and for our patients. We are in the business of helping people get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We ask our patients to do extraordinary things. That’s the only way we’re going to help them grow and create the opportunity for change. This is how we touch lives.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am blessed to have several people who have helped me along the way.

First, my mother, who taught me discipline, entrepreneurship, and contrarian thinking. When I was young, often too young to even understand, she would take me to Tony Robbins seminars and trainings and just being in that environment set the stage for what I would do later in life.

Second, my wife, Lisa. She is the most balanced (behind the scenes) business partner I could have. Some of our best ideas have originated from brainstorming sessions with her. She’s an expert at pressing things when I want to let something go.

Third, Avi Gurwitz, our Chief Medical Officer, MD, and most importantly, my best friend. He helped make the transition from corporate wellness into the medical space — allowing me to get Simplex up and running in a much shorter time frame than if I tried to do it alone. After just three years, Avi’s connections helped Simplex secure its first round of investment.

Dr. Robert Lustig, our Physician Advisor. His work in the functional medicine and insulin resistance space has lent a tremendous amount of credibility to what we do, and really paved the way for us to show that our therapies are clinically proven. I relied heavily on his work to help make the life change I made for myself, and he inspires me each and every day.

And of course, I wouldn’t be here without my incredible staff of crusaders. Their passion, drive, and dedication to our mission and our patients inspires me each and every day.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them, of course, is how doctors treat their patients. Many doctors have started treating their patients remotely. Telehealth can of course be very different than working with a patient that is in front of you. This provides great opportunity because it allows more people access to medical professionals, but it can also create unique challenges. To begin, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main benefits of having a patient in front of you?

When you have the patient in front you, distractions are eliminated and the patient can focus on their health for that moment. The clinical team can also pick up on non-verbal cues to better assess and treat the patient.

On the flip side, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main challenges that arise when a patient is not in the same space as the doctor?

Engagement can be tricky when you’re not in the same space. Phone appointments are difficult because the clinician has no way to gauge whether a patient is truly paying attention or doing one of the many things we all do when multitasking: cleaning up the house, driving, paying bills, etc. There’s no guarantee you’re reaching (and helping) your patient when you can’t see them.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience, what can one do to address or redress each of those challenges? What are your “5 Things You Need to Know to Best Care for Your Patients When They Are Not Physically in Front of You? (Please share a story or example for each.)

When the pandemic hit, I was really concerned about engagement. We were offering in-person visits (as well as telehealth), but I was worried that moving everything online would disrupt the patient-dietitian experience. I was not prepared for how telehealth would skyrocket our business and actually dramatically increase engagement. Here are my 5 Things:

Show your face. We’ve found drastically higher levels of engagement when we conduct video visits versus phone. Seeing a patient’s face, and vice versa, adds a level of accountability that you just can’t achieve with a phone call.

Follow up. This is especially important for us since we’re asking people to make sizable changes to their nutrition and habits. If a person feels like they’re in it alone, they’re far less likely to stick with their new plan. That’s why we have multiple touchpoints with our patients — from email reminders to text message prompts, phone calls from health coaches to see how things are going, and more. We want our patients to know they are not alone on their journey towards better health.

Share resources. Telehealth video appointments offer tremendous resource-sharing opportunities. Our dietitians will share their screen, send helpful links to articles and recipes while they’re chatting with their patient, and even (virtually) go into their kitchen to help them with cooking, going through their pantry and fridge, and more.

Ask questions. Make sure you’re keeping a finger on the pulse of how things are going with each patient. It may seem small but a quick, “How are things going?” text can make a world of difference to a patient who might be struggling or thinking about giving up.

Be flexible. Because what we do centers so much on food and dietary changes, we’re really flexible about where and how we meet with patients. We’ve even gone on grocery shopping trips (through video chats) to help them decipher ingredients and choose the healthiest food for their nutrition plan. And one important note about this. Many assume that healthy equals expensive and that’s just not so. We have shopping lists for every type of store — from Whole Foods to The Dollar Store, Walmart, Aldi, and more. We also work with those receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) and The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Can you share a few ways that Telehealth can create opportunities or benefits that traditional in-office visits cannot provide? Can you please share a story or give an example?

As a startup that’s working with a number of large health systems, if we were solely in person, we simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand and capacity. Telehealth has made it possible for us to reach patients far outside of our service areas. As I mentioned before, we can come RIGHT into your kitchen and roll up our sleeves with you or meet you at the most comfortable place you can be, where all the changes you need to make will take place. A lot of people enjoy what they learn at their first appointment but then get bogged down with, “What’s next? What do I do tomorrow?” This is where they need the most help, and our ability to meet people where they are changes the entire experience.

Let’s zoom in a bit. Many tools have been developed to help facilitate Telehealth. In your personal experiences which tools have been most effective in helping to replicate the benefits of being together in the same space?

Any technology that facilitates remote patient monitoring (like in-app glucose logs and bluetooth-enabled scales) enhances telehealth’s efficacy. By giving providers access to their patients’ clinical data, we’re earning both patients’ and providers’ trust, while giving physicians the intel they need to further diagnose, monitor, and treat.

If you could design the perfect Telehealth feature or system to help your patients, what would it be?

Any technology that allows the provider to focus solely on the patient (versus paperwork) would be a gamechanger. Regardless of whether an appointment is in-person or via telehealth, clinicians are bogged down by onerous amounts of post-appointment admin. Eliminating this would make a huge difference in the patient-clinician experience.

Are there things that you wish patients knew in order to make sure they are getting the best results even though they are not actually in the office?

Avoid multitasking at all costs and use video whenever possible. Believe it or not, your ability to be fully present can make a huge difference in the outcomes you experience. The provider relies on non-verbal cues during each meeting since they indicate whether you have complete understanding of next steps, are uncomfortable with or confused by anything, on board or on the fence. Carve out an hour of time to focus on you, and you’ll experience big returns. You. Are. Worth it.

The technology is rapidly evolving and new tools like VR, AR, and Mixed Reality are being developed to help bring people together in a shared virtual space. Is there any technology coming down the pipeline that excites you?

Access is something that is on the minds of almost every CEO in our industry. Everything I see being built supports enhanced access — lowering barriers for people who need help. This is all very positive. Technology should put downward pressure on pricing. As long as providers can evolve to enhance outcomes, rapidly evolving technology is good for everyone.

Is there a part of this future vision that concerns you? Can you explain?

With technology’s evolving role in healthcare, it’s important to ensure that the personal touch is still there. That’s what elicits trust and ultimately results. For our patients, accountability is non-negotiable. They need to know that someone cares, knows their story, and gets what they’re going through. That connection must be woven into every technology solution for there to be any sort of meaningful interaction.

Ok wonderful. We are nearly done. Here is our last “meaty” question. 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. 🙂

Find time to invest in relationships — especially your relationship with YOU. Just because being sick is common doesn’t mean it’s normal. If you’re not happy and healthy, don’t accept that as your fate. It’s within your power to live a vibrant life, and it’s more within reach than you think.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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