Jarrett Bauer co-founded Health Recovery Solutions with Rohan Udeshi and Dan Priece. It seeks to reduce hospital readmissions through a platform that helps patients, and family members, monitor their recoveries. What he learned from his grandma and mother made it all possible. --As told to Emily Canal
I'm not known as Jarrett Bauer. I'm known as Jayne Gilbride Bauer's son.
I grew up with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. My test scores were bad and I hated school. My mom knew that had to change. She got me into a special school called Windward in White Plains, New York. She tricked me. She said, "You're going to try this out"--but she'd already paid for it.
We lived in New Jersey, so she would drive me an hour and a half to my grandma's house and I'd live there Monday to Friday. That was how it was, from second grade to eighth grade.
It was a huge burden on my family. It was just like, "This kid has something special, and we have to make sure that he's able to reach his potential." My mom would drive me three hours every week, and we would study vocabulary words, go through math problems, and listen to the Lion King soundtrack.
My mom really helped me. But she helped everyone. She was a tutor and a lawyer. She helped me get into Johns Hopkins. I'd send her our business plan and she'd edit it. She'd say, when I was 8 or 10, that she'd work for me. That really gave me confidence even though I never got the best grades.
I was getting my MBA at Johns Hopkins when my grandma was readmitted to the hospital with heart failure. I looked into the main reasons for readmission and it was noncompliance with medication, diet, and lack of caregiver support. When we started our company, hospitals were making about $10,000 to $15,000 when a patient was readmitted. Then I found this line in the Affordable Care Act that said hospitals would be penalized for readmission. So then everything completely reversed. The best companies solve a problem--and we knew there was a problem.
What we do at Health Recovery Solutions is, after you're done with a hospital stay, a tablet loaded with our software is sent to your house. Your medication program is there. So is your recommended diet. There are videos that teach you what a healthy lifestyle is, and you can track things like your blood pressure, and do a face-to-face with your nurse. We also have mobile apps for family members.
The main reason my grandma went back to the hospital was she didn't take her medication. I thought, "The worst thing in the world is not to have the tools to be successful in life."
When my grandma didn't take her medication, she fell. Then she had a stroke. Once that happened, mentally, she wasn't there. She was no longer my grandma. Working on my company was the way I coped, because I couldn't have that connection with her that I used to have.
The fall happened because no one was watching her. I remember thinking, "I should have been there." She was in the hospital for three days, but then she went to a skilled nursing facility and then into hospice. She passed away in January 2013.
My mother passed away a year later. She had ovarian cancer for the last seven years of her life. She also had a hard time with medication management. When she was in the hospital, it was great, but when she was home, things went awry. I couldn't believe that when you're in the hospital, you get all these services, and then when you go home, there's no one to help you.
It was hard to see. And our system wasn't to the level we have now. If that had happened now, she would have had a better experience at the end of her life.
I have my company only because people looked out for me. My mom helped me get to where we are.
If it weren't for her, we would have nothing.
A Tribute to the Women Who Made Him What He Is
What's the most surprising thing about being an entrepreneur? Watching people you hire become all-stars after starting at the bottom.
Hour my alarm clock is set for: 5 a.m.
Have you ever turned down venture capital? Yes. We view a partnership as being on a bus together. Who is on the bus--and do they have the same ideals as us?
Work-life balance is... A nice fantasy.