Ep 15: On the Cutting Edge

with Aaron Martin

June 24, 2021

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Aaron Martin
EVP, Chief Digital Officer, Providence & Managing General Partner, Providence Ventures

Aaron serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, Providence and Managing General Partner of PV. He is responsible for leading Providence to become more consumer-focused and technology-enabled in a new world of healthcare.

Aaron has more than 20 years of experience in strategy and technology. Prior to joining Providence, he worked at Amazon and led the team that transitioned traditional publishers from a physical books business to Kindle. Prior to that, Martin served in executive and board positions with a number of successful start-ups, one of which he co-founded. He worked in healthcare for most of his early career. At McKinsey & Company’s healthcare practice, he advised senior executives in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry on mergers and acquisitions and post-merger integration.

Aaron holds a Master’s of Business Administration in finance and healthcare management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Personalization is really important outside of healthcare. Within healthcare, it's critical because the entire thing about health care is that personal experience.

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Gary Bisbee  0:06  

Healthcare leadership is hard work, but what if you could learn from the most brilliant and influential minds in healthcare and beyond? What would you ask them? Would you ask about politics, policy, or maybe leadership? On The Gary Bisbee Show, I’ll do just that. You’ll hear from healthcare’s most successful leaders and those experts who they listen to, as together we’ll explore how the healthcare economy is transforming.

 

Aaron Martin left Amazon after nine years to join Providence as Chief Digital Officer and Managing General Partner of Providence Ventures. We’ll find out what attracted Aaron to Providence and what contributions he’s made while there. The benefits of leading Providence’s digital evolution and investing in forward-looking products and services places Aaron at the cutting edge of healthcare transformation. We discuss what makes outstanding leaders and why it’s necessary to hold on to them. Aaron uses words like passion, inspiration, and tenacious. Aaron describes in practical terms why it’s important for top leaders to take ownership of their situation, how they’re intellectually curious, and why they seek coaching. He describes the term used at Amazon, “vocally self-critical,” and why that characteristic is found in great leaders. He reviews what he’s learned about matching leaders with the right opportunity to bring out their enthusiasm, energy, and determination. Aaron describes trends in digitization and investing, he outlines the future of digitization in healthcare, and he describes the continuous online experience that Providence is building. We wrap up with Aaron’s counsel to up-and-coming leaders, and he references investors who are exceptional at developing and cultivating great leaders.

 

Good morning, Aaron, and welcome.

 

Aaron Martin  2:07  

Morning. Thanks so much for having me.

 

Gary Bisbee  2:09  

We’re pleased to have you at the microphone. You and I have chatted live on a number of interviews, but this will be our first one on video, so looking forward to it for sure. We’re all about leadership and learning on this show. I’d like to dive right into some questions about leadership and how you view leadership. One of them is, just looking back on your career, what are the main lessons you’ve learned about leadership?

 

Aaron Martin  2:37  

There are several. One of the things I’ve learned is there are things you can coach and teach and things that are a little bit more that you seek out in individuals. The things that are harder to coach and teach are what I would call “ownership.” Somebody who you have to almost convince to let go of an issue, to stop pushing forward. These folks are not very common and, when you find them, you hold on to them with both hands because they’re incredibly valuable and they’re a lot easier to coach, to take more time off, decompress, those types of things. You’re kind of putting the nickel rods in the reactor versus trying to convince somebody to care about something. That intersection is usually around whether or not they’re doing something that’s close to their ultimate passion. I’ve seen some people have incredibly low levels of ownership in an area they just don’t care about but, when you switch roles, all of a sudden you see them being inspired and things take off and click. The other piece of it too is the old adage of making sure everybody’s sitting in the right area on the bus. I think Jim Collins used that analogy. Ownership is a huge issue. Again, it has to do with some natural tendencies that people have, their upbringing, etc. A lot of it also has to do with matching them to the right opportunity.

 

Gary Bisbee  4:14  

On the ownership point, you’re almost saying—which actually is something I believe, but let’s test this—you’re almost saying we have natural athletes and natural musicians. There are natural leaders that have characteristics that direct them toward ownership and leadership. Is that true? Is that what you’re thinking?

 

Aaron Martin  4:34  

To some extent, but again, it’s also about matching them with something that they get energy out of somebody who’s super motivated. Another danger is I’ve also seen people who are incredibly good at something that they don’t enjoy and they pursue it in their career. That’s where burnout happens. That’s where career missteps happen, where somebody who is really great at a specific area and they’re getting rewarded for it so they naturally continue to pursue that but they’re not getting any energy out of it.

 

Gary Bisbee  5:13  

I used to see that in investment banking a lot when I was there. The people would be really good at it, economically quite rewarding, but they really didn’t want to do it.

 

Aaron Martin  5:24  

Yeah, and I always say there’s this matrix of what you get energy out of and what you’re good at. That’s the sweet spot. What you get energy out of but you’re not very good at, that’s a hobby. I’m a musician. I’m kind of mediocre. I love it and I get energy out of it, but I wouldn’t want to make a career out of it. One time when my boss, Rod Hartman, heard me play, he said, “Don’t quit your day job.”

 

Gary Bisbee  5:50  

Passion is important. Do you find that natural leaders are those where you have a match between their passion and their vocation? Do they tend to be learners? Do they tend to learn more and learn faster than others?

 

Aaron Martin  6:09  

I think they do. They respond really well to coaching. They are intellectually curious. Again, they have to be in an area they care about and they have to have a passion. It’s hard to be intellectually curious about something you don’t care about. It’s hard to respond well to coaching if you’re doing something you’re just mildly interested in, if at all. Step one is to assume they have the natural proclivity and your job as a leader is to make sure there’s a good match with what they’re doing. Sometimes that matches. Within your organization, you have to make sure you find that. I’m getting to the point in my career where, when I look back, I’m starting to realize it’s not going to be about the cool businesses or projects I was involved in. It’s about building the careers that I’ve mentored and coach people through. I spent nine years at Amazon and the proudest day was not one of our launches, was not some sort of meeting with Bezos or something like that. I was in a meeting with my boss. We just reorganized and moved over to Kindle and, for the first time ever, he brought his directs together and everybody was introducing themselves to the group. I want to say 10 people were there and seven of the 10 were people I either hired or managed and led at one point. My boss basically stopped the discussion. He’s like, “Aaron, you’ve hired the vast majority of my leadership team,” and that just made me super proud. In his own way, he was complimenting me. That was the proudest moment of my career at Amazon.

 

Gary Bisbee  7:51  

What’s a characteristic you look for when you hire somebody? Obviously, it relates to the particular job they’re going to do, but are there certain characteristics you’re looking for regardless of what they’re going to do?

 

Aaron Martin  8:07  

I look for energy, grit, determination, and what at Amazon we would call a “vocally self-critical.” Energy is clear, so is somebody passionate? It doesn’t have to be somebody bouncing off the walls. You can just tell that somebody is energetic in what they’re trying to do, they’ve got energy around. It can be very subtle, laid back, but you can tell they’re really passionate about something. If the people are dismissive and “too cool for school.” I’m not into cynicism and I’m not into cynics, so I want somebody who’s a true believer in what they’re doing. Why bother otherwise? That’s it. I can say this about myself, personally. I have, in some cases in my career, had an irrational level of perseverance. Like, probably not a good idea to continue down the path I was in. It was a learning situation. I can think of several different situations where I should have lifted my head up and taken a look around and said, “Does what I’m up to really make sense?” If well directed, that is an incredible feature (not a bug) for most people. The other thing is “vocally self-critical.” Can somebody learn by understanding what their mistakes are and take feedback? It’s one of those things where Amazon was a very formative experience for me as a leader. One of the things they taught us was (1) you either took the feedback personally and didn’t get very far within the organization, or (2) you understood it wasn’t personal and they’re trying to improve you. It’s every single opportunity to improve. I was there for nine years and I remember figuring that out in year two or year three. You kind of get over this bridge of like, “Wow, I’m actually going to improve at a geometric rate if I listen to this feedback and I process it and I incorporate it.” It’s exhausting sometimes. There are days you want to go to work and you just don’t want to be told how you can do something better or different. It is continuous. Being able to process feedback and improve yourself is another form of growth.

 

Gary Bisbee  10:29  

Thinking about your capacity for leadership, maybe going all the way back to your parents, do you think you picked up any characteristics of leadership from your parents?

 

Aaron Martin  10:41  

Absolutely. From my dad, ethics. The number one thing, even before the other areas, is “are you always going to do the right thing?” He grew up in business in the 70s where, despite all the problems we’ve had recently, from at least his telling of it, corporate America was a lot less ethical. There was a lot more “loosey-goosey” stuff going on. He left corporate America to go into academics because of that. He couldn’t stomach the lack of ethical clarity, so he really reinforced that with me every single day growing up. Also, I grew up in an economist household, so I was the dorky kid in the economics classes who would get the jokes and laugh out loud and everybody else would stare at me like, “What’s wrong with him?” I had a very odd upbringing, but one thing it also taught me was— you always hear the expression “there’s no free lunch.” This was reinforced at Amazon because Bezos came out of a hedge fund, so it was reinforced in me to build self-reinforcing loops that can sustain themselves. Don’t depend solely on people’s efforts and good intentions. Try to create mechanisms for things to perpetuate themselves in business models, etc, etc. I grew up learning about that. Then on my mom’s side, empathy and compassion. My mom was a computer scientist. She was the one who was like—it was the Ying and the Yang—she was the one who really taught me how to be empathetic.

 

Gary Bisbee  12:30  

50 or 60% of our listeners on this show are up-and-comers, they’re 40 years old or less. What advice would you have for an up-and-comer, perhaps somebody who works for you or somebody who might be listening about leadership?

 

Aaron Martin  12:48  

The key thing I would tell them is how my career cries the experiences I have had, but I would probably do it in a different sequence. I did a lot of work during my undergraduate in consulting. Then I went to business school and did some more consulting at McKinsey. That was a great finishing school where I learned problem-solving. Then I started my first business with my co-founder in banking and financial services offer, and then I started a second one. Then I went to Amazon and I got to see what technology at scale really looked like. If I had to do it over again, I would probably reverse some of that order. If your ultimate ambition is to start your own company, do the sequence of (1) learn, (2) problem solve, (3) C scale, then (3) start a business. If you’re on the path of wanting to be a CEO of your own company or founding your own company, get some formal training in the basics. One way is an MBA. It’s not the only way you could do it. The reason I picked Wharton business school was because they were going to teach me a set of specific, learnable skills that are classroom-based (i.e. finance, accounting, and those types of things), the business acumen, so check that off. Then McKenzie taught me structured problem-solving. Then I wish I had gone to Amazon next where I could learn the leadership principles, scaling, and see what works and what doesn’t with consumers. The great thing about working at Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. is you can see what works and what doesn’t in accelerated time. Amazon has 300 million customers going through its platform and you can accelerate the rate of how fast a startup grows. It’s like listening to a podcast on two apps. You can get through it faster, you can get to the end faster, and you can still consume the information. When you’re starting a business, a lot of the work is the basic block and tackling of putting the infrastructure in place, trying to generate demand, getting customers to use the platform, so there are a lot of signal and noise issues. Knowing a lot of that upfront matters. Go to a place like an Amazon or a big organization like Providence which is great around teaching servant leadership ideas. Go somewhere where you can learn leadership. Work for a great startup leader. The leadership and management pieces are really helpful before you go and raise money and start a business. I’m all about preparation and getting ready for that because I cringe all the time about some decisions I made in my first startup. Had I done it in a different sequence, I would have been like, “Oh, that’s like a no brainer. Don’t do that.” The other thing is to read. The answers are out there, so like cheat. Go copy off of somebody else’s test. A great book is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. He tells you everything you’re going to go screw up ahead of time, but at least he’s giving you the warning. Like, here are the leadership missteps you’re going to make as a startup CEO. That’s all about becoming a founder or CEO. There are probably other lessons if you want different career paths down the road but, if you’re looking to found your own business, that would be my advice.

 

Gary Bisbee  16:34  

I love your point about sequencing and thinking about specific leadership experiences and stacking them up in order. We don’t always have that luxury but it sure is helpful if we can think in those terms. That’s very useful advice.

 

Aaron Martin  16:53  

Timing matters more than anything. Bezos will tell you he’s clearly a genius. That man, the right person at the right place at the right time, recognized the opportunity. It’s the same thing with Zuckerberg or whoever. Had they been two years later or two years earlier, it’s debatable whether or not they would have been as successful. Sometimes the opportunity or the idea is timed right. If that’s the case, ignore everything I just said. The timing matters more than anything.

 

Gary Bisbee  17:29  

That’s really, really good advice. Let’s turn to Providence now. You have two titles: Chief Digital Officer and Managing General Partner of Providence Ventures, but you wear three hats if you include marketing. What drew you from Amazon to Providence to begin with?

 

Aaron Martin  17:52  

A couple of things. The day I was approached by a headhunter guy I knew in an executive search for McKinsey, he pinged me about some job at some other big tech company. I said, “I think I’m working for one of the best big tech companies, why would I move and leave?” Then one day he calls me up and says, “I have this really weird, out-of-left-field opportunity. I’m going to say two words to you, don’t hang up: nonprofit healthcare. Are you still there?” I was like, “What?” I don’t even think he knew I had a healthcare background before my startups in technology. He said, “You have to meet these two guys, Rod Hochman and Mike Butler. They are disruptive, game-changing thought leaders in health care. They’re health system executives. They’re thinking disruptively.” All the words coming out of his mouth generally didn’t fit in the same sentence for me based on what I knew previously about healthcare. Just out of curiosity, I wanted to meet them, so I met them and it was all true. What was amazing was Rod and Mike were thinking about digital seven years ago, before it was even close to a thing and when the entire industry was focused on the ACA rollout and Medicaid expansion. I remember having a discussion with Rod about the disruption that’s going to be coming and he said, “If we don’t do it and we don’t initiate it, somebody else will and we’re going to be sitting in a backseat where we have no control over the steering wheel.” He’s absolutely right, so we’re fortunate we got started seven years ago and got a head start if you will.

 

Gary Bisbee  19:38  

How did you define the Chief Digital Officer role?

 

Aaron Martin  19:42  

That evolved. When I first got there, I was in charge of strategy and innovation, and honestly, it was like a placeholder title. I didn’t know what it meant and most other people had no earthly idea what it meant. I started looking outside of healthcare for industries that were easily 10, 15 years ahead of us. A lot of them were hiring Chief Digital Officers. The problem they were trying to solve by hiring that role was— I’m in an industry that has consumer engagement, is dealing with consumers in a largely offline world. How do I transition those relationships online to digital? They would hire these Chief Digital Officers. A lot of them had the exact same background I did, coming from Google or Amazon or places like that in to say retail or financial services. I just copied and pasted what that role is into my world. In my role, our health system has a largely offline, episodic relationship with consumers because we deliver care when people are sick and most people, fortunately, are very healthy. We see patients two and a half times a year on average, so how do you change a very episodic, non-engaged relationship that’s offline, move it online, and make it continuously engaged about people’s health between episodes of care versus just seeing them two and a half times a year? The reason why that last part is so important and is so critical is because, if you don’t have that continuous engagement with your consumers, you’re open to disruption. You are Woolworths. You’re Blockbuster. You are *name the incumbent that didn’t succeed.* It’s because they had a bad relationship that was not continuous with their consumer. If you look at what Amazon’s done, they built Prime. Prime is an engagement platform. That’s how they’re solving that problem. They had infrequent purchases and were figuring out how they could stay relevant in people’s lives on a day-to-day basis.

 

Gary Bisbee  21:55  

Applying that to healthcare is a capitation model, I suppose, where somebody is associated with a particular provider and there’s a set of names and experiences that can be continuous. Does that make sense to you?

 

Aaron Martin  22:12  

What I’m talking about helps under the financial model that we’re talking about, but it’s not sufficient. If you just have patience or responsibility for covered lives and you’re not engaging them continuously, you’re still in the same boat. At Providence, we calculated that we’re a $26 billion organization. We calculated that for every 1% reduction in churn, which is a measurement of the lack of engagement, how much our customers turnover within our ecosystem. For every 1% reduction in that, we get a $100 million benefits to the bottom line. That’s a massive economic lever. A lot of healthcare folks will tell me, “Well, Aaron, the reason for that, a lot of that churn is people switching coverage. They go from employer to employer, etc, etc. In a lot of cases, the payer will change networks, etc, etc.” My pushback to them is, “Look, if Providence creates this continuous relationship with someone that’s so good, it will be very hard for a payer to take us out of the network.” Even under a contractual switch, it’d be very tough for them to say to their employees, “I know you have this long term established relationship with Providence where you use them daily, but we’re going to take them out of the network.” That’s going to be a tough spot for them, so it creates stickiness for consumers who are out shopping and under contractual negotiations. It’s valuable in that context, also.

 

Gary Bisbee  23:50  

When did you pick up marketing? How does that relate to the continuous online experience you’re after?

 

Aaron Martin  23:59  

I’ll tell you about the two improvement loops. I learned at Amazon and growing up that you have to create these self-reinforcing cycles. On the digital side and marketing, those two things relate: it’s going to be difficult for you to create a process for a great customer experience without owning the demand generation part of it. You see this very typically outside of healthcare to where either Chief Digital Officer reports to the Chief Marketing Officer or vice versa. You see that all the time outside of healthcare. The way it works for us is we’re investing in a brand, which basically makes sure people have general name recognition about Providence. Then there are the in and outbound platforms for attracting customers to our platform. Inbound is a set of platforms like SEO, SEM, and local. If you’re expressing an intent on the Internet (like a Google search) and you’re saying you’re looking for care or you have a condition or you’re looking for a physician, we want to be the first thing you find, the first option you find in that search. Then we want to push you through a seamless digital transaction so we can get you into our ecosystem, then we get you into an engagement platform. That’s how the marketing and digital have to work together. On the ProVenture side, those two things work together as an innovation cycle where we go out and look for needle-moving opportunities for digital where digital will really help with the customer experience or improve clinical outcomes or improve operations. We stack rank those, work with our clinical and operations colleagues to determine which ones we’re going to go after, then we walk it through a process. Step one is, in our current technology portfolio, do we already own a solution to the problem? If so, stop there, implement that because we don’t want to spend money on something new if we already have something in the portfolio. If we don’t have something, then we give it to ProVentures and they go out and they look for what we call “best of breed.” They’ll look for companies that absolutely crushed that problem. It relates to the investing side because we know this is a big issue or a big problem. We know by definition that that total addressable market is massive. If it’s a big problem for us, it’s a big problem for our colleagues, so we know they’re probably going to sell a lot of that service or technology or whatever it may be across the industry. If we don’t have it and we can’t find it, then we also have 110 product and engineering folks that will go build it. Out of the 23 portfolio companies we have in our $300 million Providence Venture fund, three of them are companies we invented, so we incubated within our organization. We’ll actually create a brand new company where we see innovation whitespace, where we don’t see a good solution in the market, and will spin them out. That’s how the marketing side relates to digital and how Providence Ventures relates to digital. It’s two reinforcing loops that improve the efficiency of the platform.

 

Gary Bisbee  27:23  

Just as an aside how many unicorns are connected to Providence Ventures?

 

Aaron Martin  27:29  

We have 23 active portfolio companies in our portfolio, four are currently unicorns. We’re hoping for a fifth here pretty soon, one is literally on the edge. Then we have a lot of hope for a couple more. Again, it’s how the platform works. Clinicians and the operators are where the gold is for us. They know where the problems are and we work with them to define what those problems are and how digital may help. That is where the gold is. That’s where the value is because—if there’s an opportunity to improve operations or clinical outcomes or customer experience and it’s a big one, it’s in the top 10 of what we’re working on—by definition, it’s a big total addressable market. Then it becomes a challenge of selecting the right management team.

 

Gary Bisbee  28:19  

We’ve had the term personalization enter into our healthcare lives in the last several years. Thinking about that, how do you address that thought of personalization with what you’re doing on the innovation front, with what you’re doing on a digital front, and continuous online marketing, and so on?

 

Aaron Martin  28:41  

Personalization is really important outside of healthcare. Within healthcare, it’s critical because the entire thing about healthcare is that personal experience. We have been deploying a lot of resources against this. We’re just now completing a big project. I always joke with my team that it’s the biggest project we don’t want anybody to know about because if we did, that means it broke. It’s called “Single Sign-On.” It’s the ability for a patient to sign on with one login credential in any digital property we have today. That’s fairly commonplace outside of healthcare. Within healthcare, it’s very rare. Typically, within healthcare, we ask patients to create new credentials for every offering, relog in all the time. It’s the online version of how dysfunctional the offline health system can be, so we’re getting rid of that to where you can have a single identity across all of our different platforms. Once a patient has that single identity and they’re logged in, we can provide personalized experiences for them. We can say, “based on your clinical condition,” “based on the content you’ve searched,” “based on requests you’ve made with us,” we can serve up additional content to be helpful in improving your health. Then that improves what is commonly referred to as population health at scale. The typical approach in population health is you’re not getting very personalized messages. For instance, if I’m pre-diabetic, I’m going to get the same message as the younger female, pre-diabetic and the older male, pre-diabetic. That makes no sense. We have different life experiences and I might need something slightly different to make it effective for me, so personalization really, really matters in healthcare and it’s a very developed set of technologies from my prior experience at Amazon. They were masters at personalization, but it comes from other technology. Google is incredible about it. Obviously, Apple is as well. Every digital experience you have today is personalized, at some level.

 

Gary Bisbee  30:57  

Putting your Providence Ventures hat on for a moment, let’s say you’re looking for a CEO to lead one of your companies. If you could ask a candidate one question to assess how well they would perform as CEO, what would that be?

 

Aaron Martin  31:14  

My colleagues at Venrock, Bob Kocher and Bryan Roberts talk about this all the time. We’re invested in a couple of their portfolio companies and they’re probably the best investors in healthcare. One of the things they do really well finding incredibly smart, capable CEOs to go after very big opportunities. One of the things they screen for in that is “truth-seeking.” That seems like an obvious thing but, when you’re in a startup and you’re really struggling and you’re trying to make something happen, there are all kinds of self-delusion at work because you’re under a ton of stress, you’re always about to run out of money, you’re always trying to convince investors and customers to come along for the ride and that thing. It takes a special talent to just say, “Is this really what’s true? Are the facts pointing in the right direction to point me toward this opportunity? Is this ultimately going to work? Is there ultimately a gravitational pull in this direction?” It’s one thing to fail quickly and not burn a ton of money. That is pardonable all the time. It’s a lot harder to fail and burn a ton of money because you keep telling yourself and investors a story that’s just not true. In some cases, to their defense, the data is ambivalent. In a lot of cases, however, it’s clear, it’s just that you don’t want to wake up and smell the coffee. You figure you’re going to figure it out along the way and find the real opportunity. That truth seeking is absolutely critical for CEOs. If you look at our portfolio, that is a commonality across all of our CEOs. In every conversation, they’re very fact-based and they’re trying to focus on the truth about the gravitational pull that is going to ultimately end up in healthcare moving in this direction or that direction. The other thing, too, is it might be timing. Something may be true in four or five years, or six or seven years. If you start now, you may be too early. That’s where the timing really matters, so it has to be true and it has to happen in a timeframe in which you can do something about it. It can’t be true from a couple of years ago and it can’t be true in 10 years. You also have to select the timing, which is really difficult as well.

 

Gary Bisbee  34:05  

That’s a tough one. You talked about sequencing earlier, now we’re talking about timing and truthfulness, both in terms of the discipline of your thinking as well as positioning. Those are three great thoughts. This has been an absolutely terrific interview, Aaron, which was expected certainly. Let’s wrap up with one little bit longer-term question. If you thought about the decade we’re in now, over the next 10 years, what do you think the number one issue is going to be? If we were to do this interview at the end of this decade, we look back, what do you think the number one health issue that we’re going to address will be?

 

Aaron Martin  34:46  

I think it’s going to be the same thing we’ve been dealing with over the past 10 years, but it’s going to get worse just because of the demographics and the way society is trending, which is chronic diseases and mental and behavioral health. I think those things are massive challenges that are going to get worse before they get better. We’re throwing a lot of technology at them, so that makes me hopeful, but I think the size and the scale of the problem is incredible. I think there are technology things that can tilt the curve, probably plus or minus 10% or 20%, but a lot of this has to do with a bigger societal set of issues. Fundamentally, we’re on a path as a society, especially in America, that is unsustainable for the individual. You’re seeing it in the way it expresses itself around a whole series of addictions. Self-medication, like how you can self-medicate by telling yourself untrue conspiracy theories that’ll make you feel empowered. You can self-medicate by eating too much. You can self-medicate by drug abuse and alcohol abuse. You can not self-medicate and be driven to despair and anxiety and depression and oh, by the way, there are other self medications that have the added extra benefit of depression, anxiety, so you don’t get away from it. There is a bigger fundamental problem we as a society have to reconcile against which is— and COVID pointed a lot of these frailties out and sped them up and accentuated them. Like, you already have a bad trend and you put everybody into a pressure cooker to see how worse it can get. We as a society need to take a step back and reflect on what’s been going on because I think the stuff we’re dealing with as a health system is all symptomatic. I don’t think they’re causal. I think they’re symptomatic of a larger set of issues around people not being connected to each other in a genuine way, spirituality, those types of things that could end up breaking our society if we don’t do something about it.

 

Gary Bisbee  37:12  

I agree with that, Aaron. In the world we live in, chronic disease is all going to relate to affordability, which may end up being that impetus that you’re talking about with COVID over the long haul of affordability. This has been a great interview. Actually, we ended on a down note. That wasn’t by design, but we love the work you’re doing. You’re just terrific. You’re a great inspiration to many of us and we’re delighted that you made that move to healthcare from Amazon some years ago.

 

Aaron Martin  37:47  

It’s been my pleasure. Thank you so much for asking me to do this. This is a wonderful conversation. Thank you, Gary.

 

Gary Bisbee  37:54  

New episodes will debut every Thursday. Join me in conversations to gain advice and wisdom from CEOs, presidents, and healthcare experts. Health care leadership is hard work, but it becomes more manageable as we learn from the remarkable lives and careers of our guests. I’ll see you there.

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