George Barakat, Co-Founder and CEO, Jack Nathan Health
“Customer is King”— this is what almost every business leader claims to believe. But only a few visionary leaders understand that being customer-centric means more than just offering a great service. It is about putting the customer at the heart of the business operations, culture, and strategy and fostering a positive customer experience at every stage of the customer journey. Driven by such a customer-focused ideology, an industry veteran who is changing the face of healthcare is George Barakat.
George’s entrepreneurial journey began at an early age when he started a small retail operation along with his high school buddies. Though they did it for fun, they were able to make a profit out of it. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, George learned valuable lessons about retail, products, distribution, and customer service which further shaped his journey towards prominence.
“My success is based on a foundation of excelling at maximizing business growth, creating effective operational strategies, and delivering unparalleled customer service while working with business leaders to facilitate change and acceptance of new approaches. I’ve applied these strategies to redefining the face of healthcare, both nationally and internationally,” affirms George.
The Beginning of Jack Nathan Health
Though George didn’t commence his career in the healthcare sector, he always wanted to create a better experience for patients by alleviating the hassle of accessing healthcare. Often, patients have to go through a tedious process of waiting for appointments and the subsequent referral appointments to have access to physicians and separate trips to treatments like physiotherapy and eye care, and subscription fulfillment.
But George truly believed that there had to be a better way to provide access to healthcare, with more information, better choices for the consumers of healthcare and their families. So, he learned more about the healthcare business by taking a deep dive into learning how the government manages access to healthcare information, how physicians operate, and how patients were consuming services, medicine, diagnostics, and referrals to specialists. He was curious to know who owns the patient record file. And, when he found out that patients can request their file and transfer it to another physician or specialist if needed, it became his passion and vision to develop a patient-centered experience by putting patient’s information in their own hands and allowing them to manage their healthcare journey.
“There is a gray tsunami on the horizon that will put a strain on our healthcare if we cannot find efficiencies, modernize access and make it accessible for individuals to own their healthcare destiny. By 2035 there will be 11.5 million people over the age of 65 in Canada. This will create a myriad of strain on our system and overrun already over capacity at hospitals unless we can provide a way for people to age gracefully, holistically, with the support of their family and bring healthcare management into their hands and allow their family access to their profile and support them,” said George.
Driven by the core desire to revolutionize healthcare through the power of community-driven, patient-focused experiences and consistent, quality healthcare for all, George co-founded Jack Nathan Health (JNH) with President and co-founder Mike Marchelletta in 2006.
Creating a Patient-Centric Experience
JNH is revolutionizing healthcare with a retail model that provides easy access and a patient-first experience across multiple sites. It is bringing the healthcare clinic to the patient by bringing physicians to a convenient setting, co-locating services for the doctors, and offering as many services as possible under one roof. Through strategic partnerships with some of the brightest physicians across Canada, the company designs, builds and sets-up barrier-free medical and dental clinics for physicians in high-density centers both nationally and internationally.
The values at JNH are centered on the quality of patient care. Its mission is to provide everyone access to the finest quality retail medical centers, with both in-clinic physicians and digital telemedicine, so everyone can ‘Live Your Best Life’. It offers an exceptional level of patient care, made possible through patient-centric physicians, a variety of medical services, technology, and programs, designed to put patients first. The clinics provide a wide range of services, including telemedicine and virtual consultations that encompass the Circle of HealthcareTM including:
- Primary physician and family care
- Cardiac care and prevention
- Orthopedic and sports medicine
- Physiotherapy and chiropractic services
- Corporate and executive health services
- Medispa and more
“When we started Jack Nathan Health, no one could foresee COVID and how it has pushed up the urgency to provide distanced safe consultations, the use of telemedicine, and the delivery of services and medicine would need to change to keep critical care beds free,” added George.
Overcoming Challenges along the Way
Every successful business leader goes through trying times. But how they respond to these obstacles is what sets them apart. For George, the biggest challenge was managing the growth of the company and now it has shareholder interests to manage. However, with the help of its investors, the company is able to build out technology that will put it in a highly competitive position and further enhance its offering. Jack Nathan Health has developed the clinic model co-located in Walmart, which serves more than 1 million customers each day across Canada. It started with 2 Medical Clinics and the adoption of the model proved successful. Currently the count has risen to 76 locations in Canada and expanding to 50 locations in Mexico. Both markets are expanding quite rapidly in the near future, Our model approach is built around providing the best healthcare for patients and communities both In-Clinic and Digitally. As one of its customers shares, she saw her eye doctor, her physician, walked over to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription and picked up groceries on the way out, all under 30 minutes. Moving this model Internationally and creating that trusted Jack Nathan Health name is how we revolutionize healthcare.
Key Attributes to Entrepreneurial Success
The ardent business leader aspires to make the planet a better place where his family and generations to come will have access to consistent, high-quality healthcare universally. This guiding principle drives the entrepreneur to revolutionize access in the context of providing healthcare for all. Under the indomitable leadership of George, today, JNH is building state-of-the-art facilities and high-caliber practitioners and consistently focusing on a proactive, holistic approach to health and wellness.
“My success stems from looking for opportunities where I can drive efficiencies, leverage my acumen, and how to negotiate from a position of equity, fairness, and the convictions of my beliefs. I am fearless about approaching industry leaders about how to elevate value to customers, with better products and how to provide better services,” states George.
Continues Bringing Greater Efficiencies to Healthcare
Drawing key lessons from his entrepreneurial journey, George advises budding entrepreneurs to always seek counsel from other experts, but to stay true to their course, draw the path and prepare to circumvent the land mines. “What I have discovered in my journey is that once I validate the premise and the promise of my business and know in my heart that I’m on the right path, I don’t let anyone tear that away. My mentality has never changed and it has served me well,” asserts George.
Advancing into the future, the entrepreneur aims to bridge the existing and new relationships between physicians, healthcare professionals, pharmacies, and patients by creating a digital space of collaboration through JNH. It plans to bring even greater efficiencies to clinic management by leveraging technology so that consumers can travel with their health records and literally tap into the information they need to maintain a healthy life.