Q&A with David Michel, CEO, Catapult Health

By April 8, 2015CEO Spotlight

David has extensive experience in the corporate wellness arena, most notably as the co-founder, President and CEO of WinningHabits, a company that devised customized, technology-based health and wellness programs for corporations and government agencies across the country. After successfully arranging the sale of WinningHabits, he became President and CEO of InnerChange, a nationally recognized residential treatment facility operator that specializes in the care of teen girls with emotional trauma. His passion for education and personal development (as well as his passion for helping children) also inspired his co-creation of the animated television show Jay Jay the Jet Plane, which is enjoyed by children and parents across the globe.  

Learn more about Catapult’s offerings in the new sales video at Catapulthealth.com.

You have a history of starting purpose-driven companies.  How does this focus, in turn, shape the culture of Catapult?

I’ve always believed that success in business, and in life, is largely due to alignment.  When we’re all rowing in the same direction toward the same goal, our speed to market and operational efficiencies are maximized.  Of course, the keys to making this work are 1) knowing where you are going, and 2) making sure everyone else does, too. Our mission at Catapult is to empower individuals to improve their health.  Each of our team members has our mission committed to memory and we all feel great about being part of something so important and worthwhile.

Our mission is at the core of our culture – when our clinic teams are setting up our equipment at 4 and 5am every morning in dozens of locations, they feel a part of something much larger, much more important than a single event on a single day.   This is a powerful motivator that feeds our culture.

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered since starting Catapult?

Delivering onsite preventive care effectively and efficiently in dozens of different locations/cities/states on a single day is extremely complex.  The logistics of getting the right people, equipment and supplies to the right locations and the right times each and every day is only possible through sophisticated automation.  It took us over a year to crack the code on scalability, but we eventually did.  It’s now common for Catapult to deploy over 20 teams and perform 500-1000 personalized preventive checkups on a single day.

I think of our process as “mass personalization.”  Even though our patients are on a bit of an assembly line, it never feels that way and they often say is the most personalized healthcare experience they’ve ever had.  They appreciate the fact that we’re on time, insightful and extremely efficient – something they don’t often experience when they interact with other healthcare providers.

What role do you see worksite checkups playing in treating patients with chronic diseases? We all know that getting patients with chronic diseases into treatment early is much less expensive than finding them late in the game.  That’s why Catapult’s focus on identifying serious health risks, especially among those who are unaware of their health risks, is so important.  On average, only 20% of insured Americans take the time to get an annual preventive checkup.  With Catapult, most employers are able to dramatically increase this percentage by offering Catapult’s preventive checkups at the worksite.  The more who participate, the more likely you are to find bubbling chronic conditions prior to the train coming off the track.

For those patients who have been previously diagnosed with a chronic condition, Catapult is a key touchstone that insures medication compliance and measures treatment efficacy.  Since Catapult securely transmits relevant patient data to each patient’s PCP within hours of each completed checkup, physicians are empowered with data that in turn helps them optimize each patient’s treatment plan.  And if a patient with a chronic condition doesn’t have a PCP, Catapult helps them find an in-network provider, on-the-spot.

How is Catapult helping companies keep their employees healthy? 

The old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” is as true with health as it is with business. Catapult empowers individuals and organizations to manage their health status by providing accurate measurements for key health metrics.

The “natural” progression of health risks occurs over time among populations who are physically inactive, practice poor nutrition habits, and who in general are not proactive in taking care of themselves. The good news is that even small actions practiced consistently over time can produce significant health improvements. Each Catapult Health preventive checkup is designed to create awareness about specific health needs and stimulate action to make improvements. Employees who appear to be healthy can validate the results of their efforts and receive early warning signs if health risks begin to develop. At-risk employees are given clear direction about steps needed to improve their health and avoid the consequences of chronic disease. Those who have already progressed into a state of chronic illness are connected with the most appropriate next point of care so they can minimize the negative impact of their disease.

The management team has worked together in some capacity over the years.  Was this purely by design or was it more opportunistic in nature? 

Great people often lead to other great people, and Catapult is proof of this holding true.   I’ve worked with several of our senior leaders in other healthcare settings, and they have in turn worked with many of our front-line employees in the past. Most of our key positions have been filled with executives we know.  They have, in turn, cherry-picked the very best people with whom they share history.  That’s how most of our 50 top positions have been filled.  We also have Director of Talent Acquisition and two full time recruiters, but even they rely heavily on referrals from our top performers.