Health Tech: Zach Booker On How ADHD Online’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our…

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Health Tech: Zach Booker On How ADHD Online’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

Attract and empower smart people. Technology has progressed so quickly over the past 5 years that intelligent, risk taking teams can run circles around corporations. That ingenuity and sense of purpose can sustain you through the days it feels like you might not win.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Zach Booker, CEO of ADHD Online.

Zach Booker, CEO of ADHD Online, has been on a mission to transform behavioral health access and efficiency, remove barriers, and align to value-based care principles by leveraging technology and innovation to diagnose and treat ADHD and associated mental health conditions. Zach has been an entrepreneur throughout his life, growing nearly 40 companies, and is proud to talk about the success ADHD Online has seen since its inception, and what he still hopes to accomplish.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

As a young child with ADHD, I went through quite a journey, from experiencing my parent’s divorce when I was one year old to running several companies. Everyone in my family has owned their own businesses. Growing up, it was a blessing for me to see both the employee and employer perspectives. I knew I wanted to be in business for myself. When I was 11 years old, I wanted to have a lemonade stand. After experiencing the success of just one stand, I quickly realized that I wanted to do more, so I worked to organize multiple lemonade stands throughout the neighborhood. I figured out how to scale the lemonade distribution opportunity in my local neighborhood by supplying assets and allowing others to maintain their customer base. I would ride my bike periodically to each stand throughout the day, collecting my percentage and refilling the perishables. It was so much fun, and I couldn’t wait to do more!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I started quite a few companies early in my career, but the most interesting was the barbershop and cosmetology school. At the time I started these endeavors, I was the youngest barber that owned barbershops, salons, a cosmetology school and a barber school all at the same time. While most of the ventures were a success, the barber school was the largest failure, losing $100k in less than a year due to lack of labor to maintain licensure. It was capital intensive on the front end, and I learned that I should have done much more labor research. There were only a small number of barber instructors that could be employed by the school, and the talent to provide staffing simply wasn’t there, so I had to close the school. I then successfully sold the barbershops and cosmetology school, which allowed me the time and financial freedom to create ADHD Online.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When I brought up ADHD Online and said I wanted to start getting into healthcare to my wife, she said “OK, let’s take the leap again.” Knowing that with startups comes no paycheck for quite some time (maybe never) and a ton of late nights, working all weekend, no holidays, and no time off. Standing behind me in my decisions and supporting the risks knowing there may not even be a payoff in the end. She has always been my support.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Don’t talk about it, be about it.”

Talking doesn’t mean anything without action. I had been talking with my wife for a while about wanting to get into healthcare for our next business, also talking with a friend about the problems and issues seen with children getting diagnosed with ADHD and how there needs to be a better way. See a problem and fix the problem. That’s how my brain has always worked, so I said let’s turn this idea into a business. If you never take the risk, you can never reap the reward.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Persistence. Having started multiple companies, I’ve failed multiple times along the way. If I wasn’t persistent I would just fail and give up. Having persistence to keep trying and learning from my failures so I can apply them to something new and create something successful.

Passion. I have a great deal of passion for what I do. That is what makes me keep pushing every day, because I want to help and love what I do. Myself having ADHD and my son, it becomes personal to be able to help other families and people be able to get the help they need and live their best life. This passion has fueled me, from the start of ADHD online through any roadblocks and detours along the way, knowing that I’m helping people like myself and my son.

Leading through example. A great leader is only as good as his team. And his team can only be as good as they are shown to be. When we started ADHD Online I was the CEO, the marketing team, HR, patient support, even the janitor, I’ve had to do it all. I did what needed to be done to be able to show what it takes to create success.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

ADHD Online is the only organization to offer HIPAA-secured ADHD assessments online with diagnosis results from doctorate-level psychologists. Some of our largest competitors have inquired about using our assessment in order to help them keep their doors open. We measure our success in these areas by increasing the number of providers for both medication management and teletherapy in states previously unserved. For me personally, this company represents my personal mission to lift up families and individuals who are struggling with behavioral health.

As we continue to grow, our company will partner with strategic and institutional investors to help launch the growth opportunities, we will create a multilingual assessment which will open up new markets both in the US and internationally, and we want to expand our network of high-impact, mission-oriented professionals that work to create a faster, easier, and less expensive access to mental health care.

How do you think your technology can address this?

  • Access — break the slow down of assessment/diagnosis using the same clinical standards
  • Diversify — move into other conditions that are related
  • Improve our Branching Logic and monitoring
  • Tie into physical and remote patient monitoring
  • Telehealth fits ADHD ongoing treatment perfectly
  • Integrating with health systems and understanding the need to scale
  • Moving into a modern data mart allows us to move into other languages, countries and services much faster and with much greater efficiency

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Personally, I experienced struggles with ADHD as a child. As my son started growing and entering into school, I was aware that he too was struggling with ADHD. I wanted to get a formal assessment done, but had a lot of frustration getting him an appointment in a timely manner. Every office I called had a six to eight month waiting list, which meant he would have to struggle with his ADHD for the remainder of the school year. I realized then that something needed to change, but was unsure what I could do. Then I met my co-founder and now CMO, Dr. Randy Duthler. During a golf game, we started talking about how he and his son also had ADHD and were experiencing exactly what me and my son were going through. From my business experience perspective and Dr. Duthler’s medical experience perspective, we started brainstorming about what we could do together if we combined our efforts.

We started with a basic business plan and a little bit of money out of our own pockets. Within a few months, we were hiring our first employee. Within the next year, we hired 10 employees. And now, two years later, we are at 42 full-time employees plus contracted physicians and psychologists in every state.

What started as a passion project grew quite rapidly into a maturing business. We have been able to help thousands of patients realize their full potential through a proper diagnosis and treatment with either medication or therapy. We have worked very hard to maintain the highest standards of care to make sure all of our patients receive exactly what they need for whatever condition they are struggling with.

How do you think this might change the world?

ADHD Online sees long-term growth through three main channels: 1) expanding sales from B2C into B2B, 2) diagnosing and managing other comorbidities such as PTSD, Anxiety and Depression, and 3) expanding into international markets and other strategic partnership opportunities. We’re uniquely positioned with our team and our offering to partner with traditional healthcare systems across their systems. Our technology allows patients to easily integrate their services by providing a portable diagnosis report. We are able to revolutionize the speed to which a patient is diagnosed, and the convenience of treatment on their own timeline.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

We must defend all of the learnings from practicing modern medicine. We’re seeing how innovation shortcuts might not fit all markets. When a company tries to bypass criteria and clinical reviews that have been established and tested for decades, their patients are the ones who pay the highest price.

We believe that it’s up to companies like ours to set the bar for ourselves and others to be higher, not lower. We challenge ourselves to look deep into the mirror and ask, “is this the treatment I want for myself and my family?”

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

  1. Purpose driven mission. For me, ADHD is personal. Because I know it, I know what I’m up against and I know what my patients are up against. I know what my providers are treating. Because I knew it could help others, how could I not pursue it with everything I’ve got?
  2. Attract and empower smart people. Technology has progressed so quickly over the past 5 years that intelligent, risk taking teams can run circles around corporations. That ingenuity and sense of purpose can sustain you through the days it feels like you might not win.
  3. To make an impact, listen. If you get to the stage where the idea catches the market and the business grows, it’s vital that you listen to staff and your customers to continue growing. You might be getting it 80% right and there’s room to grow. Showing that you’re listening, adapting and growing with them builds trust and relationships. Relationships build change.
  4. Manage Expectations. With technology companies, it’s too easy to describe something amazing that you’d like to do, you might plan to do, or you wish you could do. If you’re realistic about where you are with your tech and you’re showing skill with tip 3 above, your impact can begin to outsize your own efforts. That’s an amazing feeling.
  5. Do you have an Exit? You might be building a non-profit technology offering or you might be ready for something else. Exits aren’t always IPO’s or exit events, they can also be moments where an organization and an individual can set a new and beneficial relationship. Maybe you can join the Board because you’re ready to build another technology around another mission. Maybe you want to do more and grow 10x. I think it’s important to go into any purpose driven organization by playing out the scenarios that could happen.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

One of the greatest successes or achievements in life is creating your mark, or your impact and seeing others benefit from what you have done. If you can find something you are passionate about, something that will help others, it’s a reward not like much else. In return you feel good and have a sense of accomplishment and drive to continue helping others, which has a trickle down effect making those that received the benefit want to also help and so on… Think of the difference in our society if everyone had this mindset and could find a passion or way to make an impact.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

The person I would like to have a private meal with is Elon Musk. As entrepreneurs, we thrive to communicate and associate with likeminded people who can challenge us. Elon has publicly embraced his Asbergers similar to how I embraced my ADHD — it is our superpower. I think it would make for an interesting opportunity to collaborate on how to help people like ourselves.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Website —

Twitter —

LinkedIn —

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

Health Tech: Zach Booker On How ADHD Online’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.