The Silicon Review
Every child deserves love, support, and encouragement to prepare them for a better future. For kids with special needs, such a positive approach can be very beneficial to give them confidence, improve self-worth, and determination to move forward during tough times. While we look for solutions to help special needs children, we must understand that we are looking for ways to make sure that they can help themselves. As a parent or caregiver, it is not one’s duty to cure their disability but rather provide emotional and social tools to navigate through the challenges they face. In the digital age we live in, there are various technological solutions available for both caregivers and individuals with special needs to cultivate stronger resilience for the future.
Globally, there are various companies working diligently to develop new treatment solutions for children with special needs, but Rethink First stands out from the rest. Rethink offers one industry leading clinical support, best-practice tools, and research-based content through technology to every market segment, reaching more individuals with special needs than any other company out there. Rethink’s platform supports curriculum planning, professional development, parent training, and tracking of progress. Through video and online tools, Rethink brings to life best-practice teaching, treatment, and intervention strategies that help educators, parents, and clinicians personalize instruction for every child. Today, the Rethink program is currently being used by employers, the US Department of Defense, Managed Care, Medicaid, federal, state, and social service agencies, public school districts, and families nation- and worldwide. Rethink was founded in 2007 and is based in New York, NY.
In conversation with Daniel Etra, CEO of Rethink First
Q. What are the emerging trends in the healthcare technology industry today? How is Rethink adapting and incorporating those trends to serve customers better?
One of the emerging trends in healthcare technology today is Big Data and the use of AI to give medical professionals valuable insight into how best to treat their patients. Today, there is no way to accurately predict the outcomes of interventions among individuals with developmental disabilities. Rethink is helping address this issue by gathering the largest data set of outcomes associated with this population, a data set that one day will be used to develop the right treatment protocols and facilitate the predictability of outcomes.
Q. Kindly provide a brief insight on the challenges Rethink is trying to address? How are you doing it?
With a significant shortage of trained professionals (there are only approximately 30,000 Board Certified Behavioral Therapists globally) available to meet the needs of a growing population with a developmental disability (approximately 450 million individuals birth-21 globally), Rethink set out to create a scalable solution that would make clinical best practice treatment tools and supports available to the individual and their caregiver(s) no matter where they are located. Providing research-based teaching strategies grounded in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the award-winning Rethink program includes a comprehensive online individualized treatment program with over 1,500 video-based demonstrations - developed by internationally-recognized experts in the field - to train caregivers, parents, professional and paraprofessional staff how to manage problem behaviors as well as teach an individual with a developmental disability critical skills. Automated data-based reports track progress in real-time, facilitate coordination across care team members, and allow for robust data analytics on outcomes. In addition, Program Specialists can also utilize Rethink as a form of job-embedded professional development and to augment coaching caregivers and other support staff. Rethink also offers a range of technology-enabled remote service options, ranging from short-term web-based consultations with Rethink’s Board-certified behavioral therapists to ongoing program development initiatives supported by an in-house team of clinicians. In addition, Rethink’s practice management offering allows for tracking service authorizations and cost of treatment as it relates to clinical outcomes. Rethink serves individuals at all levels of development and ages ranging from the point of diagnosis through early adulthood.
Q. What is Rethink Behavioral Health? What are the features and benefits your clients gain out of this?
Rethink offers the industry-leading practice management platform for behavioral health providers specializing in individuals with autism and related disorders. Used by hundreds of providers serving tens of thousands of children nationwide, the software helps improve treatment outcomes by simplifying/automating workflows, improving staff training, and ensuring standardization and clinical fidelity of care delivery.
Q. What does innovation mean at Rethink? Kindly walk us through your innovation lab.
Innovation to us means first and foremost recognizing the problem in the market that we are seeking to address and truly understanding the needs of the customer before developing unique and scalable solutions to address those needs. In our case, the problem we are solving is the exploding population with a developmental disability and a severe shortage of trained clinicians available to serve them. In addition, the Rethink platform, while robust and best-practice, is both web-based and incredibly easy to use, driving scale and rapid adoption.
Q. Please provide us with a case study with one of your clients elaborating on how they have benefited from your solutions.
One of the most critical needs in employee benefits is supporting employees caring for a child with a developmental disability such as autism or ADHD. Costco Wholesale decided to be proactive and offer unique supports such as the Rethink program to these employees, who make up nearly 20% of the workforce. As Donna Sexton, the Director of Employee Benefits at Costco noted: “I can’t think of any benefits we’ve ever added to our suite that got so much attention and so many letters to our president, thanking him for bringing Rethink on, and what a difference it was going to make in their lives.”
Q. What is the roadmap ahead? What other additions or sophistications you would envision or currently working on to strengthen your solution set in the coming days?
We are in the process of expanding our core product offering beyond treatment tools and supports for dependents with a developmental disability and their caregivers to adults with a developmental disability, including supporting those individuals with a Neurodiverse condition in the workplace. In addition, the recent Covid-19 situation has created additional strains on the mental health and wellbeing of employees. This adds significant additional challenges to individuals with a developmental disability as well as their caregivers, making our programs even more important to employers. We also recently acquired Whil, a mental health and resiliency platform for all employees.
Q. Is there anything else we have missed to cover or something you would like us to specifically highlight in the article?
Despite what many may think, building a successful company does not happen overnight. There is the expression “the 10-year overnight success.” This is particularly true for entrepreneurs, and successful ones need to be willing to pivot their business strategy to respond to changing market conditions as well as to have the patience to play the long game and be willing and able to move the ball down the field a little bit each and every day.