An Interview with Matt McCambridge, Co-Founder & CEO of Eden Health

Matt McCambridge is the Co-Founder and CEO of Eden Health, a New York City based healthcare organization that provides high quality, technology enabled primary care services to employees on behalf of their employers. Backed by Greycroft, the company is in the process of expanding their footprint nationally.

Tim: Start off by telling us a little bit about how Eden came to be; what inspired you and Scott to found the company in the first place?

Matt: So many things in healthcare come back to a personal story that people working in it have felt in their own lives. A lot of the system is broken, and everybody’s been to the doctor, and confronted it in one way or another. So, for me when I was a kid, I had a really transformative experience with my sister who got very sick around the age of 14 and would end up in the ER over a dozen times. She had really complicated issues. She has all of these stories of waking up and doctors on staff saying “Oh she’s on drugs” or “Oh she’s pregnant” – and none of those things were actually happening for her. We then went on this nearly four-year process where she visited over 70 specialists. We would show up to a specialist, do all the same tests, all the same imaging procedures and then they wouldn’t even help you find the next person to go to. Over the course of 4 years and over 70 people, we saw the problems of the healthcare system day in and day out. We got lucky when a primary care provider coordinated her care and got the right prescription in the hands of my sister. She never went to the ER in the same way again. So we had this all too common healthcare experience where we confronted the realities of the healthcare system up close. That inspired us to build a primary care company, because primary care is the most fundamental building block of good and cost-effective healthcare. Along the way to building that primary care company, we found out that insurance was a huge impediment to people being able to get the kind of care that they need. So we combined those two and added mental health and that’s really the suite of offerings that we present to employers to create an entirely new environment for their employees when accessing care.

Tim: Sadly, a familiar story. So how exactly does Eden work?

Matt: We combine virtual care, insurance navigation, in-person primary care and mental healthcare. On the virtual care side, you get a dedicated, collaborative care team. Whenever you reach out as a member, you get exactly the same set of providers in person and virtually. This enables our members to build meaningful relationships with our providers, and streamline care for more effective delivery for complex cases like my sister’s. Even if you have a straight-forward dermatology issue, you still want to make sure your health concern is followed up on and resolved quickly. Our continuous, 24/7/365 virtual care is the way patients should be able to access their healthcare.

Insurance navigation is essential to providing excellent healthcare. For example, if you get a big bill in the mail, you can take a photo of it through the Eden Health app, and our team can act on your behalf to help resolve and often reduce your bill. On top of this, we have a network of primary care offices where our members can see Eden Health providers in person. Members can see our primary care providers same day and for extended appointments that cover their entire physical and emotional health. This type of comprehensive experience from one solution is unique for an employer to offer, compared to what they’re able to do exclusively through their insurance plan or by piecing together several different, unconnected solutions.

Tim: What made you guys decide to focus on mid market employers as your target customer base?

Matt: Employers are the transformative healthcare buyers in the U.S. right now. They are the buyers of healthcare for 160 million people. They are aligned on wanting to provide excellent quality healthcare at a fair price, and they are able to move quickly, and independently from much of the rest of the healthcare system. They have allowed us to do something like provide 70 percent of all our care virtually, coordinate all of your specialty care, and follow up over the course of days, weeks, months and years like Eden Health is able to do.

Most employers have not been able to get cutting edge solutions, which have been typically reserved for the fortune 1000. The mid market is just as interested in offering a fully integrated healthcare delivery system for their employees, which makes it a great opportunity for a company like ours. Of course, we work with much smaller and much larger companies as well, but there’s just a huge need in this market segment.

Tim: One of the more compelling components of your recent fundraising is the investment from and partnership with Convene. How do you see that partnership accelerating your scale nationally?

Matt: If you’re an employer today, you have a distributed workforce, and that’s what our virtual care system is built to support. We are building Eden to offer care in every single state. We are in multiple states across the country already and will be in all fifty by the end of the year.

Providing better care and offering companies the ability to work directly with primary care providers in any location and at any size was the idea for partnering with Convene. We currently have clinics in New York and by the end of 2019 we’ll be building locations with Convene in Chicago and DC. We will then be going to cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others. Employers are now going to have access to a distributed network of physical primary care clinics that they can tap into anywhere they are.

Tim: This is a good segue into the next question. What have you seen to be the biggest challenge in marrying technology with a more traditional brick and mortar healthcare services organization?

Matt: This has not been a super difficult thing for us to do. Based on the history of how insurance payments developed, we’ve gotten to thinking that virtual care is somehow different healthcare than getting in-person care. We want to dismantle the idea that there is telemedicine and in-person medicine – it’s all medicine no matter where it is provided. In fact, virtual care is often better than in-person care. If you’re sick, you’re going to be sick for hours, days, weeks, months or years. You’re not sick for just the ten minutes that you’re sitting in a physical encounter with someone. I think the fact that we send people who have the flu through the subways of our cities or make them drive to their doctors office and then get other people sick along the way is a crazy notion.

From a virtual perspective, we’ve been able to take 70 percent of our clinical interactions, do them virtually, and then focus on making the physical care about longer appointments, spent with more complex chronic and sometimes comorbid patients. This has made our physical clinics more successful and easier to manage by providing so much virtual care. It has also helped to create the incredible healthcare experiences that our members love.

Tim: Along those lines, you have talked a lot about creating a “delightful” experience for your patients. How have you reengineered the patient experience to achieve some of those goals?

Matt: There are two ways that stand out. The first is the level of access. We have an average of seven-minute response times from our care teams, who are available 24/7. This enables them to be with somebody throughout their entire care episode. In some cases this translates to staying with our patients virtually during the trip to and out of the emergency room. Knowing when they are seriously sick, being able to follow up at any time, and having access to so much of the healthcare system through the same offering is a new experience for our members when they start using Eden Health.

The second is our integrated model of care and insurance navigation. You, as a patient, no longer have to think “Which person do I go to for an issue with my knee vs. an issue with my hip vs. the fact that I also have a fever?” which is often confusing to navigate yourself. Instead, you can start at one place always and use Eden Health to manage all of your health and financial aspects associated with your care. I think that integration and accessibility are the main ways in which patients are getting a totally different experience with us compared to elsewhere.

Tim: You guys now have successfully raised capital, you’ve won enterprise customers and you have hired great people. So at this point, what keeps you up at night?

Matt: Making sure we’re continuing to hire great people is the main thing that I stay up thinking about. From a patient relationship perspective, you build on top of interactions with great providers. You have to make sure that they are truly excellent every step along the way. From a company building standpoint, making sure that you have people who are mission-oriented, excited about what we’re doing and interested in navigating the difficulties of healthcare is the ultimate goal. Getting those people in place allows us to continue to scale the organization. That’s really the main thing that I think about.

Tim: What kind of culture are you building at Eden and how do you see that tying back into the mission that you’re on?

Matt: Our mission is to provide health and well being to people everywhere. In order to do that, we are building a company in a pretty fundamentally different way, with the combination of the virtual and personal care along with insurance navigation. We have to make sure that every idea that we advance in the company is interrogated, criticized and ultimately implemented in a team-based environment that makes sure that we’re sourcing the best ideas and bringing them to fruition. We of course have ‘patients first’ as our primary value. In order to achieve that, I really look at our value of “speak up, and act with conviction,” meaning you need to surface your thoughts around the idea that we are advancing and be capable of communicating it, and everyone on the team needs to be capable of receiving that feedback. When we make a decision as a team, we move forward and effectively execute that decision in order to either provide better care for patients or to provide care to more patients.

Tim: So, as you reflect a little bit, as you guys enter the next stage of your growth, what’s the one thing you know now, that you wish you knew at the beginning?

Matt: I just wish that I had found Aequitas Partners day one. (laughs)

Tim: (laughs) Be careful Matt, that’s on the record.

Matt: (laughs) I stand by it.

When we first started the company, we came with this idea of ‘let’s just provide primary care’, even just in person, very standard, traditional primary care that was going to be high quality and sold to the employer. But, what we realized along the way, as we really began to listen to employers as much as we could, was that just the provision of medical services does not get you far enough to really change the way the healthcare system delivers care. You have to fundamentally focus on the way people receive care, so adding technology seemed logical. You have to focus on the way people interact with their benefits, including insurance navigation. You have to think about those other huge impediments to appropriate care on the mental health side, which is why we’ve added mental health providers. So, I can’t boil it down to just one thing I wish I knew, but we’ve learned a ton from our employers along the way just by listening to them and building things that they wanted and that our patients wanted.

I have seen so many successful companies while I was investing at Insight Venture Partners and saw all of the issues that they had getting started. I came in eyes wide open, and more importantly ears wide open, in terms of what we needed to know. So we tried to approach it as humbly as we knew how because there is so much to learn in healthcare and the more you learn about it, the more there is to know.

Tim: No more questions, but is there anything else you would want to leave for anybody who might be reading?

Matt: Work with Aequitas. You guys have been great, I really appreciate it.

Tim: It’s our pleasure, and thanks for doing this.