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Designing a Modern Healthcare Experience
Episode 632

Matthew Neidich, Director of Product Implementation and Partnerships at Premera Blue Cross

Designing a Modern Healthcare Experience

In this episode, we interview Matthew Neidich, Director of Product Implementation and Partnerships at Premera Blue Cross. Matthew covers Premera’s goal to improve healthcare and leverage technology to solve problems and create convenient and cost-effective solutions. He discusses Premera’s latest product, which provides a hundred percent free on-demand primary care 24/7 365 days anywhere in the country. Matthew shares insights on having a North Start, looking for opportunities to serve customers better, overcoming the mainstream mindset especially for innovators, and more. This has been a fascinating interview, so please tune in.

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Designing a Modern Healthcare Experience

Episode 632

About Matthew Neidich

Matthew is the Director of Product Implementation and Partnership at Premera Blue Cross. He leads new product implementations and partners closely with other health care organizations to bring distinctiveness into Premera’s product offerings. Matt completed his business and Journalism degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. He holds his MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from Portland State University.

 

Designing a Modern Healthcare Experience with Matthew Neidich, Director of Product Implementation and Partnerships at Premera Blue Cross transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Designing a Modern Healthcare Experience with Matthew Neidich, Director of Product Implementation and Partnerships at Premera Blue Cross was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket, Saul Marquez is here and today I have the privilege of hosting Matt Neidich. He conceptualizes designs and builds new experiences and health care. After studying Business Administration and Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill, he moved to the Pacific Northwest to begin his career at Intel Corp. In 2012, Matt saw the large challenges facing the health care ecosystem, and he decided to apply his analytical, creative, and systems thinking skills to help the industry adapt and navigate change as a director of product implementation and provider partnerships at Premera Blue Cross. His goals include leading new product implementations and partnering closely with other health care organizations to bring their distinctiveness into Premera’s product offerings. He holds his MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from Portland State University, and he is blazing some trails in the COVID era. And just with the work that they’re doing at Premera, so, so excited to have you here on the podcast, Matt. Thank you so much for joining us.

Matthew Neidich:
Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. So before we dive into the unique approach that you guys are taking into implementations and partnerships, I love to hear more about you, Matt, and what inspires your work in health care.

Matthew Neidich:
Yeah, you know, I grew up in a house where health care was very front and center to us. We had various chronic conditions. My dad actually has, and I watched them struggle to navigate health care according to his own schedule. I watched the challenges that he had. And I went with him to doctor’s appointments for heart disease, diabetes, various other complications along the years, and just really got to see a lot of what it looked like on a day to day basis. I didn’t realize how challenging it was for everybody and thought it was just our family at the time. But as I got older and started to take control of my own health care experience, once I was out working on my own, I realized that it was broken for a lot of people. In 2009 2010, we started to see a lot of changes start to take shape in the country with ACA being passed and realized the industry wasn’t necessarily well opposed to solving those problems. So I wanted to take the skills that I had and had worked on through my first few years at Intel to really help those organizations figure out what that change could look like and how they could win competitively and create a better experience for their customers. So that really drove me. I was kind of figuring out how I can use the skills that I had developed over my education in my career to have a meaningful impact on a lot of people.

Saul Marquez:
That’s so interesting. And, you know, you go from the tech giant Intel into a very large industry. I mean, three-point six trillion it’s what it is now and it’s huge. And so the need for experience outside of health care is critical, especially around consumer-focused approaches and technology-centered approaches. So talk to us a little bit about the work being done at Premera Blue Cross and specifically how you and your team are adding value to the ecosystem.

Matthew Neidich:
Absolutely. So at Premera, we’ve always had the desire to be a very customer-centric company. And if you look at the history of the company, it’s always served the employer markets very well. It’s worked into places with the individual markets, Medicare Advantage, et cetera. And what the company really tries to do is receive feedback from customers and understand how to apply kind of new thinking to health care. It’s actually a really great and supportive place to be. And one of the things that attracted me to it when I joined a couple of years ago was the ability to really take some outside the sound cliche but outside the box approaches to how we solve for some of these challenges. So rather than getting wrapped up in white papers and various kind of more academic thinking is a place where we get to apply kind of practical experiments and try new things with a lot of flexibility. One of the products that we’re working through right now, that’s a great example of this is actually one of the first virtual care centric health plans that’s been announced definitely in our state and actually from what I can tell one of the first in the country.

Matthew Neidich:
Basically, the role of my team has been to conceptualize this product, to figure out what it is that the customer really needs and is missing in health care when it comes to how they assess the problems that they face and then how we can use technologies and new ways of accessing health care to solve some of those problems and create an experience that’s more convenient and more cost-effective. And so we work really closely first figuring out what that problem is, defining the problem, documenting it, and really then figuring out what those steps. To solve it, working closely with external partners that deliver care and provide some level of infrastructure. And then also internally to make sure that all of our systems and processes are set up appropriately, to be able to bring that product to life. And so that’s a lot of the work that my team does in that implementation space. This particular product is called Premera Now and essentially a partnership with a virtual care provider to provide one hundred percent free on-demand primary care based on a text interaction with a doctor. Twenty four seven three sixty-five anywhere the member is across the entire country. And so they can start to use a different way of getting information from a clinician to engage and begin their health care journey as they come in.

Matthew Neidich:
And you can imagine for a patient who has the flexibility and the autonomy to be able to take time off of work and go and wait in a doctor’s office. The idea of when you look at average wait times and everything else in a clinic taking the time to get your test results interpreted by a doctor having this test taken and everything else could be half a day or more off from work. That works for those who have that affluence right. It doesn’t work for those who don’t. And those people who don’t are often the ones who need the most help and the most change. So that’s really one of the things that we’re figuring out is how do we create a health care experience that’s convenient, affordable, and really meets the schedule of the people that we’re trying to serve. So they don’t have to build their lives around what they need out of health care and how to access it. But they can actually build their access into kind of the way that they run their life. Talk to a doctor on the weekends night, 2:00 in the morning whenever you need to, right. That’s really what we’re going for.

Saul Marquez:
I think it’s awesome, man. And I mean, number one, the environment that we’re in with COVID has become a large need right. I was driving to drop off my son at school this morning and it’s right by an urgent care center. And there is literally a line like it just looks like a club on the weekend. It was.

Matthew Neidich:
And it doesn’t need to be that way. I mean, that’s the funny thing about it. It’s so funny because you look at how consumers tend to engage in other industries and we all used to drive and wait at the bank right between 9:00 until noon and then one until four-thirty. And then they’d stop letting people in line because the bank closes promptly at five right. And so those sorts of things that were there in other industries like that are not how we engage today. We almost everyone has an app on their phone. They’re checking their bank statements. They’re sending money via Venmo and PayPal. They’re paying differently. They’re thinking about their financial life in a very radically different way than how it was 15 years ago. Yet in health care, we still end up calling and using the phone, in fact and doing all the various things in this way. That doesn’t seem like it’s really changed all that much for the majority of the customer experience. And we have that opportunity to really think about that and say, how do you build something that leverages all of these great best practices and think about what happens in those other industries is parallel to what should happen here?

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, and so, Matt, the Premera Now, is that something that is available today? And is it to individuals? Is it to employers? Can you tell us a little bit more about the access points for that?

Matthew Neidich:
Yeah, absolutely. The product we announced this last May and have worked to file it with our state regulators. We’re working with them to finalize all the various pieces that we need there. But the product will be available for that, the employer market later this year in the two to four timeframe. And so November, December, we’ll start to see a little bit of kind of market activity there. And the major launch of the product is actually probably One One is when we’ll see a lot of that. So in January, just kind of a typical purchasing timeline. The way that we’ve taken the product out for its initial launch is actually to serve of a combination of self-funded accounts of those employers who decide to pay for administrative services and network access but aren’t paying an insurer to take on the risk of that population. They basically pay for their own claims and then also into the into a couple of our fully insured group lines of business for employers from their role will be learning quite a bit and I think have really great aspirations for taking this product and its concepts into additional lines of business over the next several quarters and years.

Saul Marquez:
Well, congratulations. That’s exciting.

Matthew Neidich:
Thank you. It’s definitely really cool.

Matthew Neidich:
And yeah, no, you know, Matthew, and it’s right around the corner. So I mean, I don’t know. What would you say that the epidemic that we’re in drove this innovation faster or would it have happened?

Matthew Neidich:
Yeah, it definitely got driven faster because of that. When we first started talking about it, we took it out to a couple of different employers and started interviewing people on this. Goes back more than a year ago, over the last couple of years, we’ve done a lot of research and in reality a lot of people kind of laughed at us back in the day. They said there’s no way that people are going to want to talk to a doctor over text. They’re not going to want an insurance product that requires them to do it or that encourages them to do it. People really just like to have 90 something percent of doctors in their network and have the choice. And we really looked at that and said, is that really true? And then March came around and Washington was one of the first states hit with coronavirus cases, And instantly we got hit hard. We got hit early, and we instantly saw companies coming to us and saying, tell me what you’re working on. So we had that validation. It’s like, well, we’re working on this thing. And it’s interesting because you look at last year, we had about 11 percent of US consumers using telehealth last year at some point in the year. But now when we’ve actually surveyed members, we’ve seen that. Seventy-six percent are now interested in telehealth moving forward. And personally, like at our company, I’ve seen that in just the time between February and March, we saw four hundred percent growth in the adoption of telehealth among our members. So huge amounts of growth, huge amounts of kind of receptivity. And when you look at the feedback on the back end after those interactions, it turns out that people actually get what they need out of it a lot of the time. And so that gave us a lot of confidence in being able to come in and say, I think we’re solving this the right way. But yes, the coronavirus outbreak and everything here has definitely accelerated how fast we think this is going to grow.

Saul Marquez:
Well, and kudos to you guys for really being on the ball. And then the time just was so ripe for this. And I’m so happy that you guys were building it. Now, it’s going to be available soon as you think about what makes what you guys do differently and makes you guys unique, what would you say that is?

Matthew Neidich:
I think what makes us unique is I’ve worked at a lot of big companies over the last several years and I’ve not seen a place that really draws back to its values as part of its decision-making in the way that Premera does. We really talk about kind of acting with urgency and kind of attacking the opportunity to serve our customers better. And when a challenge like coronavirus hit, what we could have very easily seen was that the company just shut down and say, we’re not going to do much or anything like that. The culture could have completely collapsed. And instead, what we did is we saw it as an opportunity and an imperative to really serve our customers better and to figure out what it is that we could bring to the market quickly to make their lives easier and their assets of health care easier. And I think that idea of the kind of having principles that you can drawback to in times of uncertainty and then having the good discipline and practice to do it really does create a culture that allows for organizations to take some risks and to kind of challenge the conventional wisdom of the industry and push things forward. And so I’m really fortunate to work in a place that’s as supportive as Premera is in these types of innovation.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I think that’s so key. And we could get so busy, you know, and as business leaders, business builders, organizational leaders, it’s important that we take the time to think about our organizational values. I mean, you could probably think about the values that drive you as an individual, but have you thought about that and written it down to drive your company or organization? Just hearing from Matt, you know, he’s a leader at Premera and those core values have driven him and motivated him, something for all of us to think about. And man, I really appreciate you mentioning that, because it’s it could sometimes get overlooked.

Matthew Neidich:
It definitely can. It’s amazing because you can make decisions based on numbers and balanced scorecards and everything else. And all the structure in the world won’t overcome a culture that’s broken right. You have to be able to have a North Star that you measure toward and something that really guides your organization. And if you do, generally speaking, I think you end up with good results because you’re constantly saying, am I doing the thing that’s important for the goals that we have and really prioritizing that work? And it’s funny because when things are going well, you might not look at it as often. Right. But when things kind of start to be uncertain and you’re really just challenged around it, around a situation, having that kind of rulebook to come back and say it’s simple. This is how I think about these things. Right. And then having others that are thinking that way with you allows for you to have a different type of success and a different level of support. That is just inspiring.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I totally agree. I totally agree. And it’s critical. And, you know, the COVID environment, as you said, could have been that which pushed the organization to not follow through. And then it just becomes those words on that onboarding paper or on the wall of the company, and it’s certainly not the case with Premera and the work that you guys do. If you think about some of the biggest challenges or maybe a big setback you’ve experienced, what is it and what did you learn from it?

Matthew Neidich:
Yeah, you know, as we got started in this work, there were a lot of different directions we could go. We didn’t know. Ultimately when we started out, we said, who are the people who have the most compelling problem in health care? And how do we solve for them? While solving for them is something that there’s a lot of different ways you can solve a problem. And I think some of the first pieces of this work is just really having the courage to choose a direction and start and start moving. So once you know the problem and you understand being able to converge around it, to find it, and then move forward is the first big challenge in taking that first step. From there, I think some of the challenges that we ran into are actually the same types of challenges I think a lot of people in health care run into. There’s a lot of very good intentions within the industry, but a lot of times you see that decisions get made based on structure and protocol. And I think that that makes sense because we work in an industry where lives are on the line.

Matthew Neidich:
But that structure and protocol often look back towards the history of what’s happened in the past to make decisions about what should happen in the future. And that slows down your ability to innovate and think about a new way of being and a new way of interacting and creating that because there’s no data to support it. So really navigating and saying how big of a how big of risks are we willing to take? How might we think about sizing the decisions that we need to make according to those risks? And then how do we drive alignment across the people inside our company and the partners that we have outside to be able to make that that reality a little bit more clear for them or that that future reality more clear for them? That work is I think one of the big challenges. It’s really helping people overcome the mindset of using history as the guide book and anything that’s particularly catastrophic. But it definitely takes some time and some thought to navigate appropriately.

Saul Marquez:
That’s key. And yeah, you’re right, when you’re innovating, there isn’t data to prove it. So you’ve got to choose a direction and start moving, folks. Great advice on that. It’s just you just have to have confidence that what you’re going to do is going to work. And so with that, you guys have made those moves. Product coming soon here. What are you most excited about today, Matt?

Matthew Neidich:
I’m really excited, honestly, about seeing our new concepts in action. We’ve seen some tests, some initial feedback from the kind of controlled types of experiments that we’ve done. But I’m really excited to see what it does once it’s, quote-unquote in the wild, when it when people are buying the product, using it. And we’re going to see a lot of things that are different from what we expect, I’m sure, and really being able to take that initial data to inform where we go in the future and create this first data set that that will be used. Is the future guidebook creating that precedent that we now have done something and that we have a baseline to improve from? And I think that it’s really amazing to be able to do that because first and foremost, that idea of being able to give people access to something that’s so foundational and important, which is a relationship with a doctor that they can rely on without barriers to entry, giving that as something that’s available into the market is something that I think is valuable to real people. And then being able to use the information about what that looks like and where people use it well will help us figure out how to grow it. And I think that’s a really exciting thing that’s coming for us in the next few months here. So it’s exciting.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, it really is. It really is. And so if you’re curious about Premera, want to learn more. It’s Premera dot com PREMERA. You can also go to outcomes rocket health type in Premea or type in Matt. And you’ll be able to find our interview here with Mr. Matt Neidich. Well, we’re here at the end, Matt, so I’d love if you could just share closing thoughts with us, and then the best place listeners could reach out to you to learn more or anybody on your team, whatever you recommend.

Matthew Neidich:
Yeah, absolutely. I really want to encourage everyone to really think about what health care looks like and how it could be improved for those people, you know, who struggle, whether it’s they can’t find time to see a doctor. They can’t afford the doctor. They don’t have the knowledge to navigate all of the different decisions. Think about those people and really think about how we might change as an industry and as a sector to make their lives easier and make health care fit into it. Try to lower those barriers and make it accessible because it really matters. And if we want to do the right thing for people, that’s what it’s going to take. If you want to reach out to me, I’m available. Probably LinkedIn is probably the best place to find the. Where I’m most active, so you just search for me on there and shoot me a message, I’d love to continue any conversations with people who are looking to improve health care as well.

Saul Marquez:
I love it, Matt. And folks, hope you enjoyed our interview with Matt today in the show notes. We’ll make sure to put a link to Matt’s LinkedIn profile so you could just click through and connect with him, as well as learn more about the work that he and his team are up to. So, Matt, just again, want to say thanks for sharing your insights and inspiration, and certainly looking forward to staying in touch.

Matthew Neidich:
And Sail thank you for having me. It’s been great chatting with you.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, Outcomes Rocket listeners Saul Marquez here. I get what a phenomenal asset a 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 smooth podcasting dot com to learn more. That’s smooth podcasting dot com to learn more.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • Go back to your company values as part of the decision-making
  • Innovators should overcome the mindset of using history as the guidebook.
  • Choose a direction and start moving.

 

Resource:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/mneidich/
https://www.premera.com/