Zak Holdsworth, Co-founder and CEO of Hint Health delivers an emotional and visionary keynote at Hint Summit 2022. Zak takes you on a journey to 'A Light in the Darkness' (watch full keynote here), discussing the challenges facing society including the broken system of healthcare, how it got there and how we can be the light to change the dynamics of healthcare in the U.S. With $1 trillion getting wasted every year on healthcare and total healthcare spending amounting to almost 20% of GDP, the US is not getting the value of healthcare compared to other OECD countries. 


“When it’s darkest, you see the stars.” - Emerson / King

“I believe that the way to change things is to be positive and try to figure out what is it that we can do; what are the changes that we can make now that can transform things in the medium to long-term.” - Zak Holdsworth

While there has been a wealth of innovation in healthcare, it has not solved the problem of exorbitantly high healthcare costs with health insurance premiums for families going up 47% in the last decade. The insurance fee-for-service model is what has been driving this trend that simply cannot be sustained.


“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - Buckminster Fuller

Our vision at Hint is to redesign the healthcare system to enable easy access to high quality affordable care.


The journey continues with Zak sharing his personal story of growing up in New Zealand on a farm, living a simple lifestyle with his family and animals and having memories of a family doctor that was seemingly available anytime, would take a call after hours, and on rare occasions when we were in the hospital come visit us there. 


When Zak first came to the U.S. his experience of healthcare was 180 degrees from what he had become accustomed to growing up. He faced, as many patients and doctors in the U.S. know all too well, complex systems and barriers to getting access to quality healthcare. Coming across direct primary care, Zak found something that closely resembled what he knew - having a family doctor that could always be called upon back in New Zealand. He witnessed providers building relationships with their patients and alignment that was absent in the insurance fee-for-service model. Direct primary care was very much at a small scale but at that moment, that is when Zak and his co-founder, Graham Melcher made the decision to build a company, Hint Health to support this movement.


With direct primary care at the center of a new healthcare ecosystem driving direct care service touchpoints, it will transform healthcare in this country. Zak explains why this is possible, inspiring an audience full of direct primary care providers and clinicians.

Primary care doctors control the referral pathways, and you are more powerful than you think you are, you have more power in the system than you think you have. And that’s the reason the big health systems are always trying to buy up all the primary care doctors because that’s the control point, that’s the place where all the true influence happens [primary care] in healthcare. - Zak Holdsworth


The central theme of this keynote truly emerges when Zak reads Daniel Schmactenberger’s Reflections on A Light in the Darkness. Quoting Daniel who describes Hint as helping to bring back “the sacred relationship between doctor and patient that is centered on healing” instead of having an intermediary market driven broker (insurance) that deters or at least weighs heavily on how patients seek healthcare because of access and costs, Zak gets emotional pouring his heart on how much this vision means to him and the company (Hint Health) he, his co-founder and teams have built. 




Hint’s Growth

From December 2013 to June 2022, Zak demonstrates visually the growth of Hint and its support of the growth of DPC practices across the country. He shares highlights of the 2022 DPC Trends report such as the growth of affiliated DPC clinics compared to unaffiliated ones. This was the motivation behind Hint launching Hint Connect to accelerate adoption and growth of direct primary care. Beth Holmes, Head of Network Development, Hint Health and Dr. David Cameron, Chief Medical Officer, Hint Connect join Zak to share the story and progress of Hint Connect


Hint Health’s lead investors in the recent $45 Million investment, Banneker Partners and Frist Cressey Ventures are mission-aligned. Zak remarks, “they’re investing to enable us to continue accelerating our vision and the way I tend to think about it is in order to transform the healthcare system, we need to figure out how to get DPC into the hands of hundreds of millions of people.”


Alexa Schulte, Head of Product and Graham Mulcher, Co-founder and CTO of Hint Health join Zak to discuss HintOS. “Over the last 6 months, we’ve really been focused on saving people time, particularly as we’ve developed our rules engine that manages  all of the benefits and perks that are included in your membership.” - Alexa Schulte


“Zak and I started Hint almost 9 years ago and at the time the technology we chose was state of the art, technology moves pretty quickly and components are not [state of the art] anymore so one of the big investments we’ve been making over the last year and a half is actually rebuilding the entire front-end from the ground up.” - Graham Melcher


The engineering team at Hint has migrated 80% of the HintOS app from AngularJS to Elm. HintOS gets live updates several times a day and there are interesting database functionalities that will be coming soon.


Watch Zak’s full keynote and hear from key members of the Hint team.