I moderated the panel/audience discussion at the Seattle Health Innovation Forum this week that explored the convergence of healthcare, wellness, and population health management. It became clear that while the health industry may not be ready for the savvy consumer, health services consumers – and many providers- are increasingly ready for a better experience.
The panel included C-suite executives from 5 companies on the front lines of the dramatic changes that are occurring in health insurance, corporate wellness programs, and care delivery systems. This included senior leaders from two of the regions largest health plans and three innovative new companies targeting health and wellness needs.
One of the themes that emerged from this discussion was that disruption of the current health marketplace is being driven by retail consumer dynamics. Individuals with higher deductible health plans are no longer shielded from all costs of care, and are increasingly armed with information about their health choices. People expect to be able to make an appointment to see their doctor as easily as they book a hotel room. Retail organizations like Walmart are introducing the convenience of drop-in clinics to their customers. The increasing reliance people have on their smart phones provides a new way for brands to interact with their customers, and many established healthcare institutions have been very slow to respond.
Ryan Schmid, CEO of Vera Whole Health described the quantifiable savings for companies who embrace a unified approach to health and wellness that includes on-site clinics and health coaching services. Randy Wise, VP of Marketing for Group Health Cooperative alluded to more than 6 decades of innovation that Group Health has made in uniting coverage and care delivery and in using electronic health technology with patients. Herbert Ong, President of Healthentic presented an approach for aggregating data from providers and payers in order to measure the effectiveness of employer health benefit programs. Jo Masterson, co-founder of 2Morrow, explained the importance of mobile solutions, now that consumers increasingly depend on smartphones on so many areas of their lives. Dave Young, VP of Wellness and Consumerism of Premera Blue Cross described the impending “wave of consumerism” that the health industry as a whole is not ready for, and how his company is already implementing a strategy that incorporates deep customer segmentation as part of a population health strategy.
The audience consisted of about 70 people representing numerous health startup’s, medical professionals from Seattle area health institutions, and universities. Several physicians commented about the difficulty they and their medical colleagues face as the industry shifts service delivery and payment models. This event also included structured networking sessions that allowed participants to meet each other along themes that included finding financing for innovation, big data for precision medicine, sensor technology, healthcare reform, and the potentially disruptive role of allied health professions. The next Seattle Health Innovation Forum will be on October 2, 2013.