How OhMD’s co-founder Ethan Bechtel became so interested in fixing healthcare

The CEO and co-founder of OhMD, Ethan Bechtel, is no stranger to healthcare and the life of a regular patient.

Like many kids, Ethan spent his youth playing soccer, skiing, snowboarding, and pushing the limits.  “When I was young, we would snowboard in backyards on snowboards without bindings” said Bechtel. “They had a rope connected to the front of a plastic board and that was it. So one day when I was 11, I fell and broke my left arm below my shoulder. That was the beginning of my patient experience.”

The first doctors to see x-rays of his arm saw something they didn’t expect. It was a tumor, and the doctors had serious concerns that it was bone cancer. Ethan was later diagnosed with an aneurysmal bone cyst in his humerus, which is a benign tumor that weakened the bone but didn’t have many more serious implications. 

It was the 90s. It would be a decade before electronic medical records became the norm. Ethan’s family was often stuck trying to track down his records and images from different specialists. They traveled around the country searching for physicians specializing in this type of pediatric tumor. Between the ages of 11 and 18, he broke his arm 12 different times, had 4 surgeries, and spent the majority of his childhood in a light-blue sling. His family often carried his records in hard copy just in case he broke his arm again.

It’s been 17 years since Ethan last broke his arm, but as a regular patient for so many years, he always wanted to improve the patient experience.

So, after college, both Ethan and his younger brother Nate entered the world of healthcare technology. They decided to create OhMD to improve the patient experience and physician collaboration by making communication as simple as possible.

“Back in the day, the only way to get the information you needed was by fax machine. So while the technology has improved, many of the issues around inefficient communication and lack of access still exist.  OhMD focuses on providing a simple way for patients and clinicians to communicate about any healthcare related information.”