December 16, 2019
Today is my fifth anniversary as Quartet’s first employee and there is so much to celebrate and upon which to reflect. In late 2014, I had the good fortune to be introduced to Arun Gupta, our Founder and first CEO. I was immediately struck by his vision rooted in foundational goodness of serving those with mental health or substance use conditions – an often ignored and marginalized, but immense, sector of our society. Furthermore, I was impressed with the mindful, deliberate business plan to innovate how mental health and substance use care is delivered into a more collaborative, scalable, and financially aligned approach with all stakeholders (insurance companies, doctors, staff, and patients).
You see, my knowledge of mental health is personal. I experienced a depression in med school during a time of high stress (board exams) and then unexpected physical illness (the onset of my autoimmune arthritis). I was lucky, however, as I had amazing support from student health services, my friends, and my family, who were all committed to helping me heal both physically and mentally. I got better. Many do not. As a practicing physician, I struggled to find mental health resources for my patients and witnessed as their unmitigated mental health and substance use conditions resulted in neglected diabetes, hypertension, HIV, and the list goes on and on. Joining Quartet when there was no funding, no guaranteed pay, and when it was literally just a bunch of ideas on Google Documents and Slides was a no-brainer for me. I knew all too well the immense need and opportunity to improve this space and that it was just a matter of time before we would have more people join our cause, from investors, insurance companies, hospital systems, and all the talented Quartetians both past and present.
Quartet is a special place as almost every single individual is / has been touched or has / had a loved one affected by a mental health or substance use condition. For some, the experience was long ago like mine, and for others, more recent, with the pain all too near. Collectively, however, we have convened, moved by our personal understanding and insight about mental health and substance use conditions to simply commit to doing something to improve the system. The road has not been easy, however. Too often the vision seems impossible when encountering healthcare bureaucracy, lack of mental health resources, or key decision makers who don’t quite see it the way you do. Equally important, all too often, the feeling of “lack of progress” can quickly translate to impatience, frustration, and at its worst, perceived futility. For me, throughout the years I have come to realize that I have tackled nothing harder than to innovate and improve U.S. mental health and substance use care to the scale to which we aspire. I have equally come to appreciate and know that I am so fortunate to work with such special, incredibly committed individuals dearly focused on such a meaningful cause.
Looking back, we have indeed come very, very far in such a short time, with the team now 250+ strong, live operations across seven major U.S. markets, and so many individuals entrusted to Quartet to date for mental health and substance use support. The milestones are real and meaningful – and today we celebrate. But to paraphrase the words of Robert Frost: “Quartet has promises to keep, And miles to go before we sleep, And miles to go before we sleep.”
Happy Birthday, Quartet!
The mission of Quartet, to improve the lives of those with mental health conditions through technology and services, is the reason I joined as part of the founding team. Five years later, our mission remains at the forefront for why I love working at Quartet. In the spirit of our five-year celebration, here are five mission moments at Quartet that have changed my life:
Quartet’s 5-year anniversary is a confirmation of all that we hoped this company would be. I am so proud of us who have laid the groundwork and foundation for what we have grown to be today. As part of Clinical Ops, or what we now refer to as the Care Navigation Team, we would be so excited to see referrals trickle in throughout the day. Now we have thousands of referrals flooding in a month, yet our dedication and commitment has never wavered.
It is humbling to see a room of 250+ mission-driven people continue to build on this dream and make it a reality.
Mission-driven. Impactful service for those in need. Dedicated and caring team members. Opportunity to learn, collaborate, and innovate. When I think of Quartet and the place that it has become over the past five years, these things are top of mind.
I began my journey at Quartet in February 2016, nearly 4 years ago. When I joined, we were approximately 30 people, operating out of one market and supporting our first patients on their care journey. Since then, we’ve grown to over 250 people, operating out of seven markets and helping tens of thousands of patients. With all of that growth, I am in awe that the patients continue to receive a high-touch, personalized experience through our incredible Care Navigation team. In such a stigmatized field, it is important that patients feel supported. Quartet puts that first and it means a lot to me.
On our five-year anniversary, I not only reflect back on what the team has built and accomplished, but also think ahead about the impact we will make on patients’ lives in the next five years. I am humbled to be part of this important mission as we work to support patients on their journey to a happier and healthier life.
When I accepted my offer to join Quartet four years ago, we had 30 team members across the company, were in our first pilot market, and had one team of 3 people supporting primary care physicians, mental health providers, and patients. These 3 team members worked late into the night to research mental health providers and then called patients in the morning to help them get to the right care. In many ways Quartet is a completely different company today. For example, our Patient Care Navigation and Provider Services teams have over 100 team members on them. Instead of manually matching patients to providers on a spreadsheet, we have a Smartmatch tool – built by our engineers and data scientists – that produces a recommended list of mental health providers for each patient based on their specific needs.
And yet, we are very much the same company I first joined. We have scaled without losing our focus on improving the lives of the patients we serve. I feel honored to work alongside our services and technical teams that all work with the same passion and dedication of those first three team members to get patients the mental health care they need. The real difference between today and the day I joined Quartet, is that we can now help more people faster and more effectively.
The night before I officially started at Quartet, I remember tossing and turning all night. I had the same combination of nerves and excitement that I could only relate to the day before the school year started when I was in kindergarten. And what I didn’t realize at the time was that the company I stepped into that next day wasn’t just a new job, it was a group of people all striving towards the same mission. Quartet’s mission to serve people with mental health conditions transcended an onboarding presentation or a company banner that hung in the snack room of a regular company; it was built into the DNA of how people interacted with each other and how Quartet focused its efforts. The mental health ecosystem was, and still is, complicated, massive, and impacts everyone we know, but we had an opportunity to work with the best customers, investors, and providers to help people struggling with mental health conditions, in whichever way we could. I will never forget in my second week, when we received our first patient referral, there was an infectious energy that permeated across the company which led to a truly special all-hands-on-deck situation with everyone from the engineers to the CEO watching the patient’s journey, servicing it, or offering to help get that patient into care.
Now, four years and tens of thousands of patients later, I can honestly say that I still get that giddy excitement from coming into the Quartet office. While the company is much larger in terms of employee size and focus, the mission itself still remains as daunting, and core to our company culture, as ever. Getting people with mental health conditions the care they need is hard. There are so many barriers for us to tackle when it comes to getting people to care, and I couldn’t be more confident in the 250 Quartetians I get to work with side-by-side who are dedicated to solving this problem. The energy that coursed through the company when getting that first patient referral is something I’m proud to say I still see everyday.
I found Quartet because I have a background in clinical social work but was looking for a way to make a more wide-reaching impact on people with mental health conditions. Since that time it’s been exciting to see the company grow, not only in the number of customers but also in the size of our team and the number of patients we’ve reached. When I started there were 50 people and now with 250+ we can barely fit in the office. This group of amazing people passionately work with patients and providers to support the patients we’ve reached.
Quartet has given me opportunities to grow my career over my years here. I was originally part of a five-person team in operations and have worn numerous different hats before coming to my role as a product manager on our patient application figuring out how to best digitally engage patients.
Quartet is focused on putting the patient first and it makes me proud to work at a company that is so mission driven. I’m looking forward to continuing to enhance the patient experience because it’s core to our mission and brings value to our patients.
At Quartet, we know that mental health care isn’t one size fits all.
COVID-19 added a layer of complexity for mental healthcare workers, who may be experiencing their own stressors and anxieties related to the crisis.
For some, following the stay-at-home orders for one pandemic may render them vulnerable to another: domestic violence.