How Can I Talk To The Dr?

Dr. Jonathan Baktari, MD

We welcome Dr. Jonathan Baktari, MD to Liftoff! He is the CEO at both e7 Health and US Drug Test Centers and the host of Baktari MD. e7 health is a preventative health and wellness company that has been called the “the Uber of preventive medicine” and was named the Best Technology Company in the Healthcare Space in 2019.

Dr. Baktari has always believed that helping others was the ultimate achievement in life. Now, as a business leader, sought-after speaker and podcast host, he’s excited to share his expertise in preventative health, tech entrepreneurship and other topics that can’t be found anywhere elseMegan: All right. Logan. Uh, This is episode fifty-one, and with Dr. Jonathan Baktari.

Correct. Okay, Good. And I will start three, two, one,

Hello! Welcome back lift offers. I would like to welcome Dr. Jonathan Baktari to the show Today he is the Ceo of both E. Seven health and us drug test centers uh E. Seven is a preventative health and wellness company that has been called the Uber of preventative medicine along with the best technology company in the health care space in two thousand and nineteen. So welcome and congratulations. Oh, thank you, Megan. Thank you for having me.

Um, Honestly, I was doing some research for the show, and I was telling um Dr. Bakedari before this um or Jonathan i’ll i’ll use Jonathan, for now on uh that I was very impressed, and I don’t know how he has the time to do all this. Um! And so you folks are probably thinking so. What is this? Um! So Can you give a little bit of your background?

Jonathan Baktari: Sure I was? Um, Of course i’m a physician. I uh trained uh initially in control medicine, pulmonary, critical care. I went to

uh Northwestern University, Ohio State Ucla, and then, when I finish training, I practice clinical medicine and preliminary critical care. Eventually kind of evolved into administrative medicine.

Uh, and then back uh in the two thousands just started uh kind of looking at starting our own um sort of companies having learned what I’ve learned in my past experience and figure out how to do better. I do it right. And a lot of that evolved into really creating technology companies um to address preventative health and nationwide drug testing. And so we evolved and really became technology companies to address those issues over time.

Megan: Well, and so I was reading. So the Us. Drug test centers. So a nationwide network over twenty thousand uh and revolutionizing kind of drug and alcohol testing, and we have a lot of listeners. Um, Who? Whose ears probably perked up because they think okay, like i’m that’s my world. We do have to do drug testing. So So what separates you guys from other folks?

Jonathan Baktari: Well, I think we are a drug testing solution. In other words, uh, if you are looking for your to do drug testing for your company, and you’re in multiple states, you know. You can go hire different companies in each. In each state. You can have labs here, Labs there. What we do is we consolidated pretty much all the major labs into our technology, into our software, So an Hr person could literally uh log on to the our Our custom a dashboard order, You know hundreds of drug tests in different states, different cities simultaneously. Uh the employee will get a donor past show up uh get the drug test, and all the results will come back to that person’s dashboard, the Hr director

uh, or they can assign you know, who gets the results? Who can order the test, And then we become the repository for all that data. So you don’t really need to manage it, and then you get one bill, even though you ordered, you know, drug testing and three thousand locations that month.

You get all the results coming to you as well as you get the bill. So, instead of trying to get a lab court contract, the quest contract other Major Labs, we actually all have them in our in our uh portal. So you’ll have access to pretty much every major uh drug testing uh center in the country, all in one uh technology

Megan: and folks. I will absolutely make sure that uh, Jonathan’s information is in the uh published notes. Uh: because I think a lot of folks are like, Okay, where do? Where do I find this like we did? We needed this yesterday. Um, but you bring up a point. I’m kind of bringing up a point from earlier.

So it seems your level of entrepreneurship. Uh is is very great, right? And but along with that comes different challenges, you know. So what do you think the challenges, and maybe the advantages to of this kind of entrepreneurship within the healthcare industry?

Jonathan Baktari: Are you talking about in terms of uh, the the technology, the staffing, or is written and established to make a lot of different parties happy, like insurance companies, the government regulations, or whatever.

And so what we did is in in our niche fields is, you know, we’re not really involved in third party payments uh the employers pay us directly, obviously, for drug testing is usually not covered by a third party payments, and even in the preventative health, you know, the bulk of what we do is often not covered by insurance or not covered very well. So we wrote our technology with only the the consumer, the client in mind,

uh which, you know, is a big advantage. Because when you’re writing technology and developing technology, uh and you have to make multiple other people happy, you lose focus of the person, the the actual client, the patient.

And so what we have done is we’ve, you know, basically since we’ve eliminated third parties. We’re just we’re there to make you happy. We’re You’re our customer. You’re our client. You’re a patient. So how do we write software and technology that reduces friction for you?

Look, if Amazon can make it easy to go order, you know, extra batteries for your flashlight in a you know two clicks. Why does a health care, or in this case drug testing also have to be so different.

You know it’s It’s not like Amazon has a secret technology that the health care industry doesn’t know about, but they’re just not able to do it, because they’re trying to make five Amazon’s only trying to make you happy and them happy.

They they’re not worried about these other people. So what we did is we sort of took a you know Page out of that and said, Listen, Let’s just make uh the consumer the client happy. What can we do? You know It’s It’s funny, because, uh, I I joke a lot about that. People say there’s a lot of great healthcare technology, you know, if there’s so much great healthcare technology,

You know. Why do you go to your doctor’s office and they give you a clipboard? Still? Uh, how great is that technology? Someone is handing you a clipboard, and you gotta ask yourself, Okay? Well, i’m sure they don’t need this clipboard. Why am I getting this clipboard, and I think part of that is just They’re there to make a lot of different people happy. They’re not focused on you enough

Megan: well in it. So that makes me laugh because it’s so true. And I think it’s very consistent with different doctors that you go like the dentist, your Gp. And you’re always wondering like, I wonder what they’re right being on that clipboard, and we’re like. Why can’t I go into a computer right away, or some kind of tablet, anyway. But i’m going to pivot a little bit and ask so cause preventative health. And I think that’s one of the areas where folks will always say, do you focus on your preventative health?

And they’ll say, yes, but kind of know that that’s not really the case. Um, not necessarily so. Why do you think people don’t focus on preventative health enough?

Jonathan Baktari: Well, of course you know um A A lot of people just want to focus on their health when when an issue arises, and uh, I think we originally started looking at this preventative health, believe it or not as a issue with uh adult vaccinations that people need this. We were like a the Covid Company before Covid hit.

We were focused on adult vaccinations uh since two thousand and nine, and that We then grew other services around those adult vaccination, so adults could stay healthy. Whether it was a, you know, a routine laboratory testing whether it was getting uh other uh things that they would need to do their job or go to school or start a professional school nursing school. What have you all?

There’s a whole host of uh preventative uh test physical lift test. I test vision to us hearing desk uh that we do um, and all of that is really set up in in a one-stop shop right now. You know most of the clients we get, you know, have to fire five different companies to hire us.

Uh, because you’re your family practitioner is not going to Actually, most of the amplifier issues have stopped caring uh vaccines of any sort for adults.

The pediatricians still do it? Um! And so where do you get the vaccines? Where Where do you go? Get a quick routine blood test? Where do you go and get a quick uh, you know. Test that you need to start medical school nursing school a job at a hospital, or what have you? So we decided to offer all of that in a one stop place.

But then really add technology to it. You know, we we have literally like eight hundred reviews just in one of our clinics on Google, and it’s a four point, nine out of five, and I defied any other health care company or a clinic uh to do that.

And part of that great reviews has to do. I think they’re speaking to the technology where you know when they come in. They’re already pre registered, and if they’re not, we have a you know we have a computer terminal where they can register, and uh and and literally, if we do anything for them before they get into the car and the parking lot.

If the what we’ve done for them is in their patient portal, so we don’t even have a medical records department, because everything we do for them is in their portal.

So it I think it’s that sort of technology where you focus on the patient or the client? Uh, rather than other things that’s been so amazing for us.

Megan: Well, and you brought up the pandemic uh, and I was. I was reading through some of your info, and it said, You know the pandemic is ending, but it’s not over uh, and so, and I think folks, you know, i’ll speak for myself, I think. Okay, like we’ve made it through a certain piece of it.

Uh. But now, even in especially folks with kids. I have a teenager, and you know It’s a head cold. But then automatically like how to take a Covid test. You know what I mean. You gotta kind of do this. So what what are your thoughts as we are coming out of the pandemic? But it’s it’s clearly not over. I would say,

Jonathan Baktari: Yeah, I I think it’s really evolved from from a pandemic to uh something pandemic, which means It’s just going to be,

You know, part of our lives moving forward. Uh, the good news is, you know, a lot of people who are at risk for serious complications hopefully are vaccinated, or they’ve gotten the ill illness and have natural immunity. So I think the problem with the the pandemic with the Covid nineteen pandemic was a certain subset of the population was a very high risk for lot of bad things happening to them to the extent that those people have been covered

Now, uh, with either natural immunity or the series of vaccines. Um! That really addresses the big bad part of pandemic pandemic. But now moving forward it it. Yeah, it will be a seasonal.

What um seasonal uh infection. It’s so funny because um before this pandemic uh even one-third of all what we call, you know colds. We’re really due to a Coronavirus, which is what the Sars kobe two viruses as part of that family.

So if you came to my office in two thousand and eighteen, and said, Hey, Dr, we’ve got, you know, Sniffles, and this and this Do you think it’s the flu? Well, I would probably say, if you don’t have any fevers or muscle lakes, you know you probably just have a Coronavirus, which is, I would actually say that you know, that was in two thousand.

So it the Coronavirus is nothing new, this version of it, just really, for the subset of patients who are elderly or multiple risk. Factors really did a number on, and as long as they’re protected, but that for the majority of us it will join the list of other coronaviruses that cause that sort of upper respiratory. You know the varied symptoms that you get with a a routine cold. It is going to mimic that, and I think we should be ready for that. And then I think the yearly shot will also be part of the offerings to try to minimize. Minimize that.

Megan: And do you think you know, I’ve had multiple conversations about this, that what do you think about the mental health impact that the pandemic had?

Jonathan Baktari: Uh, because that’s not. I mean, some people talk about it. But sometimes I think we kind of sides way. But of course it did. But I I can see that there would be longer term lasting effects. Don’t you think? Yeah. Well, what? First of all, let’s compartmentalize that, for in school kids number one, you know, that has had a dramatic um impact.

I remember watching what uh one of my teenagers while he was on zoom during the pandemic, you know, scream at the ha jokingly scream at the teacher who was. Who uh was saying, Hey, listen! Zoom Lives matter? Because uh, he felt like, you know, the teacher couldn’t give him the attention he deserved.

Megan: It’s very. I have a like, I said a teenager, too, and I’ve been started high school, you know, during the pandemic, and I thought, you know, I think we went to a back to school night, probably a you know, a month or two ago I was like. This is literally our first back to school night at this school.

Jonathan Baktari: you know that we were able to do in person.

Megan: Uh, and I do want just because of screen time in general, like they’re literally on screen for the entire day, you know, on top of whatever they’re doing for entertainment value. But so that’s yeah. So in terms of mental health, I I think it was a strain on a lot of the of the school kids, and of course, adults, too, I mean,

Jonathan Baktari: uh, the the lack of uh socializing, especially in the elderly, who, you know, I had to stay home and couldn’t for a lot of the elderly just getting to the grocery store was part of their meeting people and getting out, and you take all that away. Uh, so it’s going to have a super impact, I would imagine

Megan: so. And i’m gonna now do another pivot kind of move over back to the business aspect and going back to entrepreneurship. But how did you build this on your own so like. How did you build this organization yourself?

And I love the fact that it’s? You know it almost like Amazon, like you said like customer first, so it’s patient first. Um, but I can’t imagine you have this idea. And then all the said like, You know what were some steps that you took. I guess there may be some lessons learned because you did it by yourself.

Jonathan Baktari: Yeah, really, We started off with back in two thousand and nine, with just um nothing. And then just an idea. Um, I think I think the one advantage we had is, you know I had already seen healthcare from a lot of different aspects. I was, you know, doing clinical medicine. I was teaching uh in the medical school as clinical faculty. I was uh involved in uh the insurance side of it. As an administrator. I was involved as a hospital administrator, so got to see every side of it, and that helped uh formulate my thoughts of you know there’s got to be a better way, I think, having that satellite view of what was wrong, or what could be better, Let’s say, let’s be char charitable.

Uh uh helped uh kind of slowly draw the roadmap and the real epiphany for us was, you know, we realized, the to overcome some of the obstacles we had. We needed, to, you know, use technology. And first we started using third party, third-party technology, and then and then, you know, I think, at a certain point. Well, you know, there’s this third-party technology is not really a great fit and there’s nothing off the rack that we can get. Why, don’t we look at developing something for this little problem? And then we did that and said, Oh, wow, she golly, that solve a lot of problems. Uh, why, Don’t, we keep doing that? And I think the evolution to turned into a technology company uh was because of that initial success of trying to uh trying to use third parties getting frustrated, and then trying to create your own. And if you really think about it, for all of us who use third-party software in our lives. Yeah, a lot of times. It’s great, whatever.

But you said Chicago for Mike’s particular business. That’s not really optimal, you know. Uh, even, you know, even if you use you know a certain CRM: you’re like, okay, that’s good. But here for what I do, Let’s say you know for that You’re in the staffing business, you know It’d be nice to have our own Crm, which focuses on what we do, or you know, What have you? So even uh how you manage the organization? It’d be nice to have a technology that address that the way we have it set up. And I think it was that real realization that you have to develop technology that suits you.

Now, if there’s a staffing software out there for that’s made for staffing companies, and it works. That’s fine. But the more niche your business is the less likely. Third-party

Megan: softwares are going to help you. I’d agree we’ve been in a similar situation where it’s like. I think we’re just gonna have to build this. Yeah, but it could to the best service for our clients and for our associates to give them the best experience for both sides. And you know, for a long time we could not find anything. It you know, that would fit that bill the square peg round hole where it’s like, you know.

One system might have three out of the fifty things that we needed, you know another. But then you, you know, you, Daisy, chain different systems together where you’re like any common person, or even the smartest ph. He can’t figure out this process like Now we have so many together, which I think you take a look and say we like I’ve reached the opposite of my goal. This is not, is doing a disservice to all groups now. Uh, but it’s a lot of hard work, I will say, and it’s it’s a lot of tenacity that needs to be had uh to kind of make sure it is as it evolves and and finances. I mean,

Jonathan Baktari: you have to be willing to take a certain portion of your bottom line and throw it at it. And the technology is interesting because it’s it’s not a commitment that stops. So it’s not like, Okay, we’re done now. So you have to just kind of say, all right. A certain percentage of all our revenue is gonna go back into this. Uh, and you know what’s gon

na be the Roi for that in the long run. Are you actually going to, you know, be able to recoup it, and more hopefully, uh, and that’s really, you know, the path people need to think about.

Megan: And I think so. And there’s, you know, always different groups or people involved where you will have your finance team saying one thing appropriately so, but I always think there’s a small part of leap of faith involved.

You know the the question, at least, from what we’ve learned is by the time this would be developed. Is it already going to be antiquated like. Are we going to have, you know, potentially miss something else? Um. And I think we’re We’re in a good place now. But we spent a lot of years building.

Yeah, Yeah. So. And but we mentioned kind of what you know, characteristics or skills, i’ll say for kind of to be, you know, with an entrepreneur spirit. You know. What are. What do you think Are some of the most important skills that are needed to kind of keep going,

Jonathan Baktari: you know, and continue to be that entrepreneur you’re never really done. And you know, I think when you’re working for someone else, there is a sense of okay. I got that project done? Okay, I’ll do my next thing. And you know, when when you’re trying to do it on your own, you’re never done the problems in terms of okay.

We, you know we’ve dealt with, you know. We can coast for a few weeks or a month. I I think we are where we need to be that never seems to come in, that you almost have to be prepared for that. I don’t think they tell you that what you’re signing up for is, you know you’re on all the time, even though you may not be working all the time.

Uh you’re on all the time, and that’s a different perspective than when you are doing entrepreneurship. If you’re even if you have a career with inside a company depending on your level of involvement, you know you, that all on is not necessarily always they, or have to be there.

So I think anyone thinking about it. I think that’s the first thing they got to realize. It’s you can never really turn it off. Yeah, you can go on vacation. You can do this or that. But you’re still on.

Megan: No, it it’s a great point, and I think your focus has to always be on too, right where I think folks think sometimes we’re like. Well, i’m at work. So I mean i’m I’m working like i’m doing things that work where I mean at least from what I’ve seen, and speaking to different entrepreneurs, and you have definitely have It is where it’s just yeah, you you keep grinding, and whether it’s good, bad, or ugly, like you’re gonna get through it. And then there’s going to be the next iteration of whatever you’re working on.

Uh. But I think that mindset uh is few and far between, Actually, you know. And I think what what you’re saying is, you know, always being on and always being able to be focused, really does set you a part

uh, because especially with the you know, I would say, as we kind of get further into kind of different careers and positions, and you know kind of how the labor market is right now. Um, We have learned updated kind of demographics of, you know, on demand work per se, which is supplemental, you know, or what folks are choosing to do, and being definitely more cheesy

uh cause they can right now, which is kind of new to me that’s not innately kind of what? How I think of work. We’re like here at work. You know what I mean, like if it doesn’t matter if it’s Saturday Sunday, if it’s not like. There are things that you need to focus on to make sure that not just because you’re delivering because you want to. There’s some type of drive, you know that’s in there.

But and here’s my last question. This is when I ask everybody this question: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received,

Jonathan Baktari: you know, for me. Um, I had a mentor who told me a long time ago. Uh, and I I think it kind of ties into, you know. Always being on

uh is to make sure you take enough time that you’re off and get some clarity. Um, because he told me, and I didn’t actually believe it at the time. Your best ideas come to you when you can get away and clear your head uh things that are sitting right in front of you, literally in front of your nose. That epiphany of Hey, have we ever thought about, you know, doing this and doing that?

Uh. So I think I think, making sure the flip side of what I said is, you’re always on to really, you know, kind of purposefully make sure you take time off uh just one, just to you know. Enjoy and to uh, to let your let things simmer and sink in of where you are and what you’ve been doing

uh, and whether you’re sitting on a beach somewhere uh, you know, taking in the sunset, or you’re hiking uh, you know, in the Grand Canyon, or whatever uh you’d be surprised after even after you recharge your batteries. You know things come to you even when you come back. You like it gives you fresh perspective. So he told me, you know. Always make sure that if you’re going to be always on to just at least take that time to reflect.

Megan: Ah, I couldn’t agree more so true. And I think if I talk to my twenties, even thirties, kind of year old self, I would have said, Follow that advice more, you know, and be intentional about it, you know versus to to exactly what you’re saying. But thank you so much for being on the show

Jonathan Baktari: lift offers. I will have all the notes, I promise, because I know that there’s gonna be a lot of folks that might have questions uh which what I can relay back, but also where you can find Jonathan’s information. Um, especially about E-seven and the drug testing centers. And hopefully in the future we can have you back on as a guest. We’d love to come back. Thank you so much for having me all right, Thank you.

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