Meet Emergence Healthcare Group Founder Jae Chun
Jae Chun, founder and CEO of Emergence Healthcare Group, brings a career full of experience into this new way of combating physician burnout. Shortly after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Jae dove into the insurance and healthcare industries. His passion for healthcare was piqued at the turn of the millennium, pushing him back to school at the University of Minnesota and master's degrees in Business Administration and Healthcare Administration.
Experience and education led him to strategic roles at Kaiser Permanente, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, and Dignity Health. Jae connected with physicians, administrators, and staff at every turn and made it his job to deliver positive work environments and successful outcomes.
While Jae credits a quote from Kobe Bryant in this interview, it’s a quote from Mick Ebeling that best sums up his drive to launch Emergence: “Commit and then figure out how to get it done.”
Q: What made you want to get into the healthcare space?
Experiencing firsthand the brokenness of healthcare as a patient is what fueled my desire to get into this space.
Early in my career, I joined a large health insurance company as a junior analyst in their corporate finance group. I focused on finance and insurance, so healthcare was just another industry to me. Patients were members and nothing more.
Things changed when l I sustained a major injury and went from being a member to a patient. Because I had a series of complicated injuries, I spent a lot of time in physician's offices and at the hospital. Everyone who helped me recover made such a positive and lasting impact on my life.
At the same time, my recovery was difficult, and I grew frustrated with the long waits between and during appointments. When I was finally able to get an appointment, I would have to fill out the same form over and over, and then my doctor rushed through our time together.
When I mentioned this during one of my visits, the specialist invested time to apologize and share similar frustrations about his limited time because of the day-to-day grind of running their practice. He talked about regulatory requirements, lower reimbursement rates, and a couple of other things. I didn’t understand much of what he said then, but I still recall my response verbatim: “There must be a way for people like us on the business side to help you so that you and people like me don’t have to go through this.”
He responded that I have a lot to learn… This was twenty-five years ago, and nothing has changed.
We agreed on one thing: I had a lot to learn. But, my fire was lit! My healthcare journey began with my dual master’s degrees at the University of Minnesota in Healthcare Administration and Business Administration.
Q: How did that get you to Emergence?
Kobe Bryant was asked how he became one of the best in the history of basketball. His response below reflects how I look at my professional journey up to now with Emergence and how we can expect Emergence to evolve and grow.
“Once you know what it is in life that you want to do, then the world basically becomes your library. Everything you view, you can view from that perspective, which makes everything a learning asset for you.”
Once the fire was lit, and I discovered my north star, the University of Minnesota MHA and MBA helped me make the world my library. My professional stops were a means to becoming an expert in the business of healthcare, so physicians didn’t have to be.
Fast forward, and we have physicians leaving private practice at record numbers, with the COVID-19 just accelerating this trend. All of the frustrations that physicians shared with me, such as the disdain of running the business side of a practice, losing time with patients to take care of the paperwork, and the constant regulatory pressures placed on them, are in the DNA of Emergence’s solution. These were just some of the things that took them further away from the reason they became physicians in the first place — to care for people. I knew there had to be a better way, and Emergence is the response.
Q: What makes Emergence different?
Emergence is the only offering of its kind in the healthcare space. Sure, there are patient communications platforms, practice management software, revenue cycle management, and business management support systems. But no one else offers a complete, end-to-end turnkey practice that comes with full independence. We are the first and only company that brings every aspect of managing an independent practice under one umbrella so physicians can get back to being physicians.
Q: What is the most important thing you think Emergence offers physicians?
We offer physicians true choice and their time back, which they can use however they want — whether that’s spending more one-on-one time with patients, growing their practice, or spending more time with their families. All with the expectation that they will not compromise their professional autonomy and income.