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Rethinking Member Engagement
Episode 703

Bryce Williams, President, and CEO at HealthMine

Rethinking Member Engagement

In this episode, let’s listen to Bryce Williams, President, and CEO at HealthMine, an engagement and reward solution empowering individuals to take the right actions to improve their health. Bryce discusses how his company is amplifying the digital engagement of members and leveraging data to drive device-less remote patient monitoring. He explains how HealthMine is connecting to the members in a personalized manner to ensure they make the best health decision. He shares stories of how his company has helped addressed issues and close gaps, insights on technology and government projects, and more. We’ve really enjoyed our interview with Bryce and we hope you do, too!

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Rethinking Member Engagement

Episode 703

About Bryce Williams

Bryce is the CEO and President at HealthMine. Before HealthMine, he founded Extend Health, which created the largest private Medicare health insurance exchange in the country. Towers Watson acquired Extend Health in 2012, which then became Towers Watson Exchange Solutions Business Unit. Before founding Extend Health, Bryce served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and business development at eHealth, and prior to that Bryce was Vice President and General Counsel for Advanced Paradigm and a corporate transactions attorney at Jones Day, Revis, and Pogue. He was honored in 2011 as the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California and Business Services. In his free time, Bryce is an avid skier and enjoys skiing with his wife and sons in Park City, Utah.

Rethinking Member Engagement with Bryce Williams, President and CEO at HealthMine: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Rethinking Member Engagement with Bryce Williams, President and CEO at HealthMine: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
Hey everyone, Saul Marquez here. Have you launched your podcast already and discovered what a pain it can be to keep up with editing, production, show notes, transcripts, and operations? What if you could turn over the keys to your podcast busywork while you do the fun stuff like expanding your network and taking the industry stage? Let us edit your first episode for free so you can experience the freedom. Visit smoothpodcasting.com to learn more. That’s smoothpodcasting.com to learn more.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket everyone, Saul Marquez here. Today I have the privilege of having Bryce Williams on the podcast. Bryce joined Health Mind, formerly Sea Change Health Solutions as president and CEO in 2014 as his next step in pursuing passion for health care consumerism. Before HealthMine, Bryce founded Extend Health, which created the largest private Medicare health insurance exchange in the country. Towers Watson acquired Extend Health in 2012, which then became Towers Watson Exchange Solutions Business Unit. Bryce ran this unit from 2012 to 2014. Prior to founding Extend Health, Bryce served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and business development at eHealth, and prior to that Bryce was Vice President and General Counsel for Advanced Paradigm and a corporate transactions attorney at Jones Day, Revis, and Pogue. He was honored in 2011 as the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California and Business Services. In his free time, Bryce is an avid skier and enjoys skiing with his wife and sons in Park City, Utah. And today he is going to be diving into what they’re doing at HealthMine to put the consumer at the center of health. And so, Bryce, such a privilege to have you here today, and excited to chat with you.

Bryce Williams:
Thanks, Saul Great to be here.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. And so before we dive into the work that you and your team are doing at Health Mine for the consumer experience, talk to us about what inspires your work in health care.

Bryce Williams:
I think it’s a couple of things, but I think it all, as you talked about in the opening centers around the consumer, I mean, in health care now 30 years. And I think what’s always shocking to me is we know that we need to go do the right things, but we need nudges. We need help. We need activation. We need engagement. And we certainly need to go from guessing to knowing what’s the next best thing that I could possibly do to advance my health, maintain a condition that I’m dealing with what have you. So I think what inspires me is leveraging technology to connect and create mass personalization to every individual so they can have their own plan of attack, their own checklist as to what they should do next and their own nudges to go actually do those things that we all know that we need to do.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, for sure. And it’s critical. And I think we’re making progress. And it’s companies like yours, Bryce, that really are paving the way to help us all have that that consumer experience that the Amazons of the world are giving us outside of health care. Banking has given it to us. So health care is that missing piece. Talk to us about how you and the company are adding value to the health care ecosystem.

Bryce Williams:
You know, it’s interesting and obviously, it’s been an incredibly hard year for everyone. 2020 now and really 21. But a silver lining of that is that it has massively accelerated the use and adopting of technology for people to interact with their health care provider for telehealth to interact with ordering their medications now, finally, through mail order, instead of having to go to the pharmacy and just connecting with their health plan, their provider, what have you about what should I do next? What if I get COVID, which how should I follow up? So what our business is doing and we’re in the business of is creating that personalized plan of attack for every individual and then in setting and rewarding them to go do those things. And we’re all coin-operated to a certain extent. And we primarily focus today on the Medicare Advantage and Medicaid spaces. So the government plans it in those spaces. How plants today are having a really challenging time, just reaching their members, just trying to get connected to them to go do things. And so I think an area there, we’re adding value to the health care ecosystem right now, as simple as it sounds, is we dramatically amplify the digital engagement from a plan to the member, but we do it in a clinical sense.

Bryce Williams:
So not just engagement for fun’s sake, but what is my current health condition? What should I do next and what do I do about it and what’s in it for me? So we’re also the incentive reward vendor. And as you may know, so Medicare and Medicaid health plans are allowed to give gift cards. And it turns out when you give gift cards to seniors, most likely in the twenty-five dollar value range, they love those. They do it. And so today shocks people that are at our biggest Blue Cross Blue Shield plan client. We have two-thirds of all seniors who are not only using our mobile application but are also receiving digital rewards and living it. So we really see ourselves advancing in the health care ecosystem that digitally connects to the member is becoming more important and then maybe we’ll talk a little bit about it later. The government is actually now over and sending plans to be digitally connected to their members in Medicare Advantage especially. So they have to go.

Saul Marquez:
Well, I think it’s really interesting. You talk about the twenty-five-dollar gift card. Those things are could be meaningful for people and how you drive this type of change, this two-way information exchange that’s so critical beyond that, that acute care visit, that continuity that we’re lacking. It sounds like you guys are targeting the in-between time that’s so critical to managing health, to managing chronic conditions. So talk to us about how what you do is different or better than what’s out there.

Bryce Williams:
I think when you when you have built a technology ecosystem and platform, as we have, that allows, in our case, plan a payor to connect directly to their member. You recognize that the average senior in America actually touches the health care system in the US two hundred and thirty-two times on average per year. And wouldn’t it be great to know that you were able to help guide that journey, guide them to the best value, and then get their feedback, which they desperately want to give? In addition to receiving money, seniors also love giving opinions. And so we collect those for our health plan customers and we turn that into very valuable data about how happy is this member, how likely they stay with your plan or they feel like they’re getting a good value. Did they have a successful doctor visit? Did it go well? And so I think in the way that we think about it is that if you’re interconnected to the member, you can work with one hundred percent of the members, one hundred percent of the time on one hundred percent of their conditions, and activate strategies to try to get them better and to be just positioning them into becoming their best selves. And today, the folks that we compete with using traditional means. They use phone calls. Less than two percent of phone calls are being answered by seniors. They don’t want to talk on the phone. They love SMS, they love text, they love email. They love nudges connected to a reward. And then they like help, but they don’t like these IVR-type phone calls. They’re just pouring. They don’t know who’s calling or why. So I feel like one area that we’re better at is just a much more hyper-personalized experience that helps connect to the member across those two hundred and thirty touches per year. And it’s almost as if our company is what I would call device less remote patient monitoring. It’s just connecting to the sentiment, connecting to what they need to do next. And that’s the space that we’re really excited about.

Saul Marquez:
Device-less remote patient monitoring. And as you know, Bryce, remote patient monitoring is hot right now, especially with COVID and everything that we’re dealing with. I think it’s intriguing that you’ve kind of gone here with this topic because you don’t necessarily need vital signs information to know how people are doing. Do you want to expand on that a little bit more?

Bryce Williams:
You know, it’s interesting. So, I mean, obviously devices have their place, and especially if someone has a chronic condition, you can see why companies like Levchenko and others have done a great job in helping people manage diabetic care remotely using devices. But there are other aspects to that. How do you feel today? How are you doing against the management of your diabetes drug? Just in general? Compliance today from one of the biggest health plans in America, our company, Health Mine, manages an entire diabetes compliance program that’s very different from the strips in the meters. It’s really about what do you need to do next? Are you doing those things? Are we getting you the best deal in terms of your metformin or helping you manage Type two diabetes? So in the ecosystem, there’s just a lot of different layers to it and we feel like we’re at the layer. We are connecting, managing, and reading the pulse basically of the member constantly to make sure they’re always put in the best position to make the best decision and manage your condition.

Saul Marquez:
And, you know, it’s great. As you reflect on how you guys tackle this challenge of engagement, what would you say is an example of how you’re improving outcomes?

Bryce Williams:
So for another of our Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, they had an issue in that they wanted to get from three and a half stars to four stars as a plan. When you get to four stars, you get an additional bonus from the government that you can then actually, in fact, the government makes you redeploy it into your benefits package, more free hearing coverage, more additional supplemental benefits, more transportation vouchers to get to your doctors. They are allowed to essentially enrich their plan. So for that plan they spent between our fees and then a reward budget that we mapped out for them how to use what we call smart rewards, we were able to create 8.3 times ROI where they got a seven million dollar additional bonus back from the government. They could put back into their valuable benefits for their members to just create a better member experience. So that’s sort of the financial outcome. And then on the human outcome side, we’ve learned is when you introduce a digital technology to help manage a senior and Medicare Advantage. You double the number of gaps you care close, two X, that is an enormous outcome at a time when people have really struggled over the last 14 months to go see the doctor get a procedure done. There’s been a lot of procedures that have been kicked down the road at any time that you can help nudge people to go close gaps in care. We think technology in the future is going to be the whole game, but our big outcome. So it really is around our ability to double the number of gaps and to close the number.

Saul Marquez:
Now, Bryce, you’ve called it out. And in this environment, the covid environment, I’m sure it’s been more difficult Right. a lot of people are putting off care and they’re afraid to go in. And so talk to us about how the system you have has helped with these challenges.

Bryce Williams:
You know, it’s interesting. So there are things that you’d like to go do and there are things that you really have to go do. And so we’re we’ve become expert at working with our customers to essentially what we do is we stack the value of the total gaps in care that our system seizes open. So we bring in massive amounts of claims, data from a data lab, data in real-time from all of our customers. And so we’re then able to look at this person has 12 gaps even in COVID. We need to get them in. So we are an advanced early warning system as one of our Ballou’s customers, the chief medical officer calls us because we’re able to test a stacking or a delaying of the number of gaps that need to be closed. We prioritize that through our system. And as our plan operations folks and our customers log in, they can see it and at a click of a mouse, they can send that email. Hey, we see that you now have six or seven different delayed activities that we need to accomplish. Let’s go ahead and get you in. This is going to be very critical, very important. So during this time of covid, one of the key applications of our system is the ability to detect this stacking or growing or building of pressure, so to speak, of things that people know that they need to go have done. But they put it off and then it nudges the actual plan to outreach to them and says, hey, we really need to get you in. Let’s help.

Saul Marquez:
That’s fantastic. And so the opportunity we have is a big one to serve these populations. What excites you most about how you guys are tackling it and maybe even overall, contextually, what excites you most today?

Bryce Williams:
Well, I think it’s the recognition that at large and small plans, even mid-sized plans you name have that you have people coming in at nine o’clock in the morning every week. They want to help the members get that. They want to connect, but they’re using legacy technology, spreadsheets, Excel databases. They’re just not using the way that members want to be connected to now. And so what excites us is that we really are in the first inning of this patient activation, member activation telehealth probably now has been advanced very rapidly to its third or fourth inning. But in terms of being able to create a hyper-personalized plan for every single member, connect to every single member and get them to do the next best action, that’s incredibly exciting. And now with our data systems, with interoperability with Blue Button 2.0, we’re fortunate to be on the Carrier Alliance, which actually sets the rules for the Blue Button 2.0 initiative you’re now with the members be able to pull in even more data and help someone start off the plan year with a plan. And I think of all of the things that we do for our customers. One of the most exciting things that we do is aggregate massive amounts of information, but we boil it down into as of January one, this new member has the following things going on. And let’s go turn on a plan of attack early in the year to get these issues addressed, these gaps closed, this condition managed. So I think what we’re most excited about is that at a time when we’ve been out here talking about the importance of remote patient engagement, now you have this forcing function that’s happened with unfortunately with COVID-19 that is really accelerated this. And it’s incredibly exciting to finally see that our technology is going to help people much, much faster.

Saul Marquez:
And you know what? It is exciting and the opportunities big to really make a big difference. And you’ve done it before, Bryce. You’ve done it before with Extend Health. And now you’re on this new mission to do it again. And so it’s exciting to know that somebody with your history of success and really understanding of how to do it effectively, you’re leading the way here. So I appreciate you coming on to share these things with us. What would you leave us with as far as something we should be thinking about? And then what’s the best place for folks to get in touch with you to really help and collaborate?

Bryce Williams:
Yeah, no, I’ll take the latter one first. So we have a website, HealthMine.com, with a lot of information, customer case studies, and what have you that show how we have made an impact. I’m at bwilliams@healthmine.com. Anybody that wants to reach out, happy to do so. I think the thing that’s really interesting in our space now is and this is extremely new information, but seems Center for Medicare Services, which is part of Health and Human Services, is figuring out the getting more people into the managed care ecosystem as they’ve been trying to do with Medicare Advantage. And that’s why it’s been growing, as you know. So over 10 percent per year.

Bryce Williams:
You’re now roughly twenty five million Americans on Medicare Advantage, but there’s another 40 million that aren’t. So just a few weeks and months ago, they created this program called the Direct Contracting Entity, DCE. And this will go right at I think you serve with your podcast on the provider side for the first time now, providers have the ability to essentially be a miniature version of a Medicare Advantage plan, and they’re allowed to give incentive rewards to their folks to come in to get screenings done because a lot of them now and the government’s going to continue to pay them on a value-based type contract. And so I think what’s exciting is that at the same time that we’re trying to advance technology, you have like-minded people inside CMS saying, you know what, we want everybody managed. We don’t want Bryce’s mom just making her own decisions and based Medicare and self-referring herself around with no data, with no coordination, what have you. And so they just created this new program that came out of my command center for Medicare Innovation. It’s incredibly exciting, but it addresses the other 40 million Americans. There are fifty-one pilot DCE entities that participate in pilot. The results look fantastic. And so you now have this incredible lift happening in our space that not only can health plans and payers be involved in the Medicare Advantage side, but even now very large and even medium-sized integrated physician practices can start to look and feel like a Medicare Advantage plan and take advantage of these new benefits and this new program that the government has just now created. So it’s literally in its infancy.

Saul Marquez:
How would you guys play a role in that then, if there’s if there are providers taking advantage of this opportunity to make a difference?

Bryce Williams:
So almost every provider has its own ecosystem for managing their members, whether it’s being on EPIK or Cerner or some of the other things where you can go, where the patients can go check their information. But where is the package that helps the plan? And remember, essentially the three legs of the stool, coordinate their care and take action and take action against the value based ecosystem and contracts now that CMS has created. And I think that’s the opportunity where we can come in and essentially be in a box for very large integrated practices, medium sized integrative practices, those affiliated with hospital systems to basically go direct and do this. So it’s something where we pointed our technology at and we’re very early in those discussions with a lot of integrated systems and practices that would like to get involved in this. But we see it as a link to the other 40 million Americans that haven’t yet come into Medicare Advantage. So but it’s really early and that’s incredibly exciting for my team, our investors. And we just raised a very large round 30 days ago. And so it’s an incredibly exciting time to go invest and go make that happen.

Saul Marquez:
Well, that’s that is exciting and certainly, something that all of us should be looking into as far as how to help this big gap of people not currently in the Medicare Advantage program. And Bryce, I mean, just thank you. And this has been a very insightful discussion and really looking forward to seeing what you guys do in the next year here.

Bryce Williams:
Thank you. Appreciate it, Saul

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, thanks for jumping on.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, Outcomes Rocket’s listeners, Saul Marquez here. I get what a phenomenal asset to podcast could be for your business and also how frustrating it is to navigate editing and production, monetization, and achieving the ROI you’re looking for. Technical busywork shouldn’t stop you from getting your genius into the world, though. You should be able to build your brand easily with the professional podcast that gets attention. A patched-up podcast could ruin your business. Let us do the technical busy work behind the scenes while you share your genius on the mic and take the industry stage. Visit smoothpodcasting.com to learn more. That’s smoothpodcasting.com to learn more.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • It is a great experience to know that you can help guide members to get the best journey in healthcare.
  • We think technology in the future is going to be the whole game, but our big outcome is around our ability to double the number of gaps and to close the number.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to make sure that everyone’s health is managed.

 

Resources:

Website: HealthMine.com

Email: bwilliams@healthmine.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryce-williams-1690621a/