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5 Questions with One Medical CMO Scott Kabat

Bringing the tenets of hospitality into healthcare is not a new concept—but few brands actually deliver on it. Most people think of going to the doctor as a major hassle: hard to get appointments; unfriendly and uncomfortable environments with long waits; rushed visits where questions go unanswered.

One Medical Group is changing all that. The brand offers tech-based, patient-centric care with simple but revolutionary benefits. For a small yearly membership fee, patients can access doctors for same-day appointments, visit welcoming offices and even communicate directly with their doctor afterwards by email.

One Medical’s innovation and commitment to reimagining healthcare led to it being included in the just-announced first class of Interbrand Breakthrough Brands.

Scott Kabat, chief marketing officer of One Medical Group, spoke with InterbrandHealth marketing director Nicole Diamant about plans for One Medical’s growth and becoming a leader within the healthcare space. Prior to One Medical, Kabat served as CMO at Prezi, the fast-growing, cloud-based presentation software company, and he co-founded and sold Knowmia, a Y Combinator-backed education software company. Kabat also led the brand marketing team that launched and grew the award-winning Flip Video line of video camcorders, which grew to No. 1 market share, culminating in its acquisition by Cisco, where he went on to lead the global marketing team for the consumer networking business.

Nicole Diamant: One Medical was just named a Breakthrough Brand by Interbrand for disrupting the healthcare industry. What needed disrupting and how has that impacted the heart of the brand?

Scott Kabat: One Medical is transforming the healthcare industry by fundamentally upgrading and improving the primary care experience. Too few people have access to a primary care physician they can trust—someone to be their advocate and first point of contact in an often challenging and complex healthcare system. So we founded One Medical to change that.

As our founder and CEO Tom Lee was finishing residency, it became clear to him that the current primary care practice model had some challenges. He practiced in a variety of different environments—including small rural family practices, community health centers and academic medical centers—and saw an opportunity to fix some of these underlying problems within the healthcare system. That was his catalyst to start One Medical.

We often talk about challenging the notion that delivering high-quality, accessible healthcare is either unachievable or prohibitively expensive. We do this by taking a people-centered approach to design, investing in the smart application of technology, and giving our primary care providers the time and tools to make the right decisions.

We’re raising the bar on what people expect from their healthcare provider and fundamentally humanizing the primary care experience. We understand that healthcare is a category in which consumers invest a great deal of time and emotional energy. So we are working at building a brand that reflects the high degree of empathy our team puts into the patient experience.

ND: Aside the brand challenges any company faces, there must be a lot of infrastructure challenges for you—insurance plans, doctors, employer benefits packages. What have you found to be the biggest hurdles and how do you continue to grow while strategically managing them?

SK: The primary challenge is making sure we’re able to consistently provide an amazing experience for each and every patient. We do this by building exceptional teams that bring a shared “hospitality” mindset to healthcare and supporting them with the resources and time they need to deliver outstanding care. We also work closely with the best specialists, hospitals and institutions in order to rethink how to give patients a better healthcare experience. Overall, we want to help make the current system more effective without adding complexity—and we’ve stayed committed to that focus.

ND: City dwellers tend to be familiar with One Medical and the services you offer. Does One Medical have a role to play in more rural locations?

SK: In general, most organizations that are focused on this problem are locally based, such as urgent care centers and large delivery systems. While we’re primarily based in major cities right now, we have expanded already into the surrounding suburban markets and have a growing membership base outside of urban centers. Our virtual care services are important to this process, enabling us to deliver efficient and effective care to people no matter where they are.

ND: Tell me a little more about you recent acquisition of the nutrition app Rise. What are your goals with incorporating it into your platform?

SK: One Medical is building and investing in technologies that help us deliver on the promise of affordable healthcare for all. Health coaching is an important area of investment for us, since preventative care can make such a big difference in people’s health. That was the impetus behind the acquisition of Rise.

One Medical and Rise have always shared the vision of making high-quality care more accessible and affordable for people, so incorporating Rise’s technology into the One Medical platform was a natural fit.

The Rise team has done a great job helping people make sustainable lifestyle changes through their innovative coaching platform. We’re now integrating this technology into One Medical’s broader 24/7 digital health offering, which also includes online and mobile tools that let people book appointments, renew prescriptions, connect with our medical team and get treatment for basic health issues on the go.

ND: There are so many different point-of-care options for consumers, from in-store hospital satellites to walk-in clinics. How do you differentiate and grow considering the expansion of this landscape?

SK: We take a uniquely patient-centered approach to primary care, combining a high-touch in-office experience with innovative technology-enabled access. We hire people who focus on service, and we enable them to spend more time with patients, so they can thoughtfully care for each one of them.

Additionally, through telemedicine offerings such as our mobile app and 24/7 phone/email availability, we enable patients to access care the way they need it. Our virtual care services are fully integrated with patients’ medical records, so we’re able to make informed decisions and deliver the highest quality care inside and outside the office. The integration of telemedicine into the primary care experience allows us to operate efficiently and helps patients save time and money.

We’re continuing to develop and implement new digital health offerings to augment our virtual care services. We believe that telemedicine, in addition to our high quality in-office experience, will allow us to continue raising the bar on people’s expectations—making care more effective while still keeping it personal.

This interview original appeared on brandchannel.


Director of Marketing, InterbrandHealth