Putting the Consumer at the Center


Innovative technologies aim to upend the status quo by giving consumers more control over their care journey.

Oliver Wyman Health

Since kicking off seven weeks ago, the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit 2021 has highlighted areas where the status quo in healthcare is being upended.

Oliver Wyman Partner Ashley Smith talked about the need for stakeholders to capture opportunities in motion. She homed in on a handful of areas where change is happening at an accelerated rate—care in the home, behavioral health, the electronic medical record, pharmaceutical populational health, and prevention—and the importance of developing strategies and solutions that can be scaled across markets.

During Digging Deeper sessions over the past few weeks, stakeholders from across the industry delved into a range of topics, including fostering a more nuanced understanding of value, acknowledging that it will have different meanings for different stakeholders. And they talked about strategies for aligning financial incentives with efforts to expand digital health, recognizing that here, too, different segments of the industry have different goals. Look for more coverage of these topics in the 2021 Innovation Journal, launching later this year.

And at the Innovation in Action Showcase, five tech-driven companies shared their insights on how the industry can create a more consumer-centric model and bridge the gap between virtual and in-person care:

  • Included Health (formerly Grand Rounds Health and Doctor on Demand): The platform offers members a continuum of service, from primary care to specialty care, including access to behavioral health specialists. One thing that sets the company apart, said President Robin Glass, is that it employs its clinicians. That enables the company to train clinicians to be more adept at providing care on a virtual platform, it can better monitor quality metrics, and build longer-lasting relationships with patients. The results so far have been positive, including a 24% reduction in unnecessary medical visits among members, she said.
  • Lark Health: For Julia Hu, making healthcare easier to access and more compassionate was personal. As someone living with a chronic disease since childhood, she saw the need for a platform that would allow patients to get necessary care in real time. She partnered with health experts and coaches from Stanford University, Harvard University, and artificial intelligence technologists to develop Lark Health, which uses conversational artificial intelligence to help coach patients in their care. Lark currently works across four programs: diabetes care, diabetes prevention, hypertension care, and prevention. It has provided nearly 2 million people with personalized care through a text message-like interface that integrates remote patient monitoring tools. If necessary, the system can help the patient escalate emergent situations to a partners’ desired resources, Hu said.
  • HealthSparq + Kyruus: Having completed the acquisition of HealthSparq earlier this year, the company is aiming to offer consumers a more seamless way to connect with providers and understand their insurance coverage. The idea is to offer an experience similar to booking a hotel room or making a dinner reservation, explained Graham Gardner, MD, Co-founder and CEO of Kyruus, and Mark Menton, General Manager of HealthSparq. The combination of the two companies generates more access to payer and provider databases, which in turn allows consumers to get real-time information on their coverage and costs, as well as to immediately schedule appointments. While price transparency is working for such procedures as colonoscopies and mammograms, Menton acknowledged that getting accurate data on more complex procedures will take time, as well as require greater connectivity between payers and providers.
  • Yes Health: Healthcare’s evolution can’t be an “either/or” proposition; it needs to be an “and” world—one where clicks and bricks work together, said Alex Petrov, Founder and CEO of Yes Health. The platform connects consumers with clinical guidelines and health coaching to manage their chronic conditions. As an example, members can snap a photo of their lunch, upload it to the app and get real-time feedback on how to make it healthier. Or they can share information from a wearable device about their recent run or bike ride and get a reminder to do resistance training. Giving consumers positive and instant feedback, he said, helps drive engagement.
  • DayTwo: The company is focused on developing a personalized approach to addressing metabolic diseases, including diabetes, prediabetes, and obesity. It is doing so with an approach that Andrew Federici, Vice President of Marketing, described as “precision nutrition.” The system loads patient data, including gut microbiome, into a machine learning tool which creates a predictive model for how someone will react to certain foods. People respond differently to the same food, he noted. A piece of fruit may cause a spike in sugar levels for some people, but not for everyone. The tool can help break away from a one-size-fits-all approach to managing these conditions, Federici said. Members work with dieticians to create nutrition plans that keep their glucose levels in the healthy range.

Besides putting the consumer at the center, a commonality across all these companies and technologies is the recognition that they can’t do it alone. The speakers agreed that it is important to be able to integrate with a person’s existing care team, especially their primary care physician. While they aim to disrupt the status quo, they were cognizant of the problems that would result from further fragmentation.

The Health Innovation Summit wraps up with the Closing Capstone on Tuesday, November 16. We are looking forward to hearing from such industry leaders as Intermountain Healthcare President and CEO Marc Harrison, MD, and Annie Lamont, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Oak HC/FT, about how to sustain transformation over the long haul.