Daniel A. Etra: Empowering Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

Inspiring business leaders

Inspiring business leaders

Rethink is a global health technology company providing cloud-based treatment tools to effectively and affordably address the significant treatment challenges of the large and growing population worldwide with a developmental disability. With a significant dearth of trained professionals in the market, the Company aims to deliver clinical best practice treatment in a scalable way, leveraging technology to train and support caregivers of individuals with a developmental disability and provide effective treatment. This impacts all entities revolving around this population’s care, including the home and the healthcare system. 

Rethink conducted extensive research on the effectiveness of video modeling for training in fields such as medicine and the military. It then combined this method of instruction with the proven and medically-recommended Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) treatment methodology. The resulting product is a fully integrated online training and support system for individuals with developmental disability and their caregivers worldwide.   


Leveraging Big Data to Treat Patients Better 

Daniel A. Etra, Co-founder, and CEO of Rethink, believes that one of the emerging trends in healthcare technology today is Big Data and when combined with AI, it can give medical professionals valuable insight into how to best treat patients. Today, there is no way to accurately predict the outcomes of interventions for individuals with developmental disabilities. Rethink helps address this issue by gathering the largest data set of results associated with this population, a data set that will be used one day to develop the right treatment protocols and facilitate the predictability of outcomes. 


Creating Scalable Solutions with ABA 

With a significant dearth of trained professionals (only 30,000 available globally) to meet the needs of a growing population with a developmental disability of approximately 450 million individuals, Rethink set out to create a scalable solution that would make clinical best practice treatment tools and provide support to the individual and their caregiver(s) no matter where they are located.  

Rethink’s award-winning program provides research-based teaching strategies grounded in the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). It includes a comprehensive online individualized treatment program with over 1,500 video-based demonstrations. This program has been developed by internationally recognized experts in the field to train caregivers, parents, professional and paraprofessional staff on how to manage problem behaviors as well as teach critical skills to an individual with a developmental disability. 

Automated data-based reports track progress in real-time, facilitate coordination across care team members, and allow for robust data analytics on outcomes.  In addition, program specialists can also utilize Rethink as a form of job-embedded professional development and augment coaching caregivers and other support staff. The Company also offers a range of technology-enabled remote service options, ranging from short-term web-based consultations with Rethink’s board-certified behavioral therapists to on-going program development initiatives supported by an in-house team of clinicians. Rethink’s practice management offerings allow tracking service authorizations and treatment costs related to clinical outcomes. 

Rethink serves individuals at all levels of development and ages, ranging from the point of diagnosis through early adulthood. 


Automating Workflow for Better Result 

Rethink offers the industry-leading practice management platform for behavioral health providers specializing in individuals with autism and related disorders. Used by hundreds of providers and serving tens of thousands of children nationwide, the software helps improve treatment outcomes by simplifying/automating workflows, improving staff training, and ensuring standardization and clinical fidelity of care delivery. 


Improving Workplace Productivity  

Rethink also offers the industry-leading training and support platform designed to train employees caring for dependents with a developmental disability. Its clients range from corporations with under 1000 employees to over 500,000 employees, and across its book of business covers over 7 million lives.  Research demonstrates that caring for a dependent with a developmental disability results in over twice the rates of anxiety and depression as well as costs thousands of dollars annually in lost productivity. Indeed, over half of caregivers work fewer hours or leave the workforce to accommodate their child’s needs.  

Mr. Etra notes that the Rethink program helps support these employees, directly impacting their workplace productivity, and helps employers create a wellness culture for their entire workforce. 


Providing Education to Students  

The Company offers an industry-leading special needs management platform for public school districts. The Rethink program is used by hundreds of school districts in all 50 states, serving all students with a special need and those requiring behavior support, from large urban systems like New York Citydown to small rural districts. 

This program allows school systems to fully meet Federal IDEA requirements and various state-based legislative mandates to provide an adequate education to students with a special need. The program also helps districts train staff and accurately measure the progress of a student with a disability, a population not subject to mainstream standardized testing. District clients have reported superior student outcomes and significant cost savings in mitigating the need for out of district placements than can run up to US$100,000 per year, per student for private programs, adds Mr. Etra. 


Driving Continuous Innovation  

Mr. Etra notes that Rethink is unique in the marketplace as it offers a scalable and fully integrated solution to address the needs of individuals with a developmental disability and their caregivers. Its employees share a deep passion for having a social impact to drive continuous innovation in its products. 


Caring for Disabled Children 

Mr. Etra adds that one of the most critical needs in employee benefits is supporting employees caring for children with a developmental disability such as autism or ADHD. Costco Wholesale decided to be proactive and offer Rethink program as a support to these employees, who make up nearly 20% of the workforce. As Donna Sexton, the Director of Employee Benefits at Costco, noted, “I can’t think of any benefits we’ve ever added to our suite that got so much attention and so many letters to our president, thanking him for bringing Rethink on, and what a difference it was going to make in their lives.” 


Expanding Core Product Offering 

Rethink is in the process of expanding its core product offering beyond dependents with a developmental disability and their caregivers to also support adults with a developmental disability, including those with a neurodiverse condition in the workplace. 


Achieving the Long-Term Goal with Patience 

Despite what many may think, “building a successful company does not happen overnight,” opines Mr. Etra. There is the expression “the 10-year overnight success,” which is particularly true for entrepreneurs. Successful people must be willing to pivot their business strategy to respond to changing market conditions, as well as to have the patience to play the long game as well as be willing and able to move the ball down the field a little bit each day.

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