Saturday, October 8, 2016

GuideWell CEO Dr. René Lerer Talks About Innovation in Population Health

source: GuideWell Insights Lounge - YouTube Channel
The GuideWell Insight Lounge was at the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit two weeks ago. Kate Warnock of GuideWell interviewed about two dozen executives and other thought leaders in the healthcare space; one of them was Dr. René Lerer, GuideWell's president.

Kate posed questions about population health, the social needs of the senior population and the recent Greater Than Cancer Immersion Event. Here's a transcript of that interview.

Kate: Hi everyone and welcome back to the GuideWell Insights Lounge. We're here at the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit. My name is Kate Warnock and I have with us right now GuideWell’s president, Dr. René Lerer. René…Welcome.

Dr. René: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Kate: We're happy to have you here with us every day. Let's start with your first question. You're going to be talking on the summit you're going to be on a panel talking about ‘Beyond The Checklist’ and how do you really improve population health. René, what are some of the things that we really do need to address the population health so that we began to transform that experience?

Dr. René: So population health, first off, is what it says: it’s understanding your population. One of the things we'll talk about tomorrow is how we identify the population that we're dealing with. Who are those patients? What are their needs? What kind of experiences have they had in the past? Not just medical experience, not just clinical experiences but experiences in dealing with the challenges of life. We want to know who they are. This is primarily in the discussion related to Medicare; so they're seniors.

What have their experiences been? What's their health history then? Know who they are and then identify who we can focus on and then put together programs that really meet their needs: clinically, socially, and psychologically. All aspects of it, in a different methodology, supporting their primary care doctors, supporting the specialist, supporting the community of healthcare; surrounding them in a way that we really get to know who they're, what they need and when we can have the greatest impact.

You know, it really just seemed to be a manifestation of one of the themes here; the biggest theme for the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit which is the Consumer Imperative and how it’s transforming healthcare. So clearly you’re a step ahead already in addressing that consumer in such a holistic way.

Kate: René, I just came across an article, our next question, from a New York Times article that said that loneliness in the senior population is a greater indicator of early morbidity than obesity.

What is it that GuideWell is doing with its partner Wyman Healthcare that is addressing the social needs of this population?

Dr. René: So the lack of social interaction in this population is an incredible challenge for these folks. They're totally isolated. So not only are their medical problems a challenge because of their age or because of medical history that they've had; they’re on their own. They're often living alone, they’re by themselves. They don't feel that they are being cared for; that someone cares about them.

So one of our goals, again, is to understand holistically who these patients are. What are their needs? How do we bring all their needs to them so that we can improve their livelihood? Not just from a clinical perspective because the reality is it's not about managing their healthcare. It's about giving them a supportive environment so that they can have some enjoyment in life which goes well beyond writing prescriptions. We’re seeing clinicians. It really has to do with their lifestyle getting out, appropriate nutrition, appropriate even drinking, opening up a refrigerator seeing some food in there. And constant interaction with people.

So that we now have dashboards with companies were working with that we follow. We know what they're (members) doing. We know if they're leaving their house. We know who they're interacting with. We will be able to tell: are they on the phone or they truly isolated; so we can target them.

Kate: You and I, in previous conversations with you René, I know that you've talked about this: it's very high-tech but also very high touch. So you're really enabling technology to come into the home in a very non-invasive way. Again to make sure that that there are doing those behaviors that you want to see and making sure that if they're not, that you're able to intercept, maybe, some negative situation.

Dr. René: So you think of technology as an introduction to interaction. Technology gives us the opportunity to interact with the member and pick the members that need it. The technology is great from a clinical perspective but the social interaction is really what the member wants.

Kate: Right. One final question for you: René, so just last month we had a really exciting event at the GuideWell UST Global Innovation Center. And that was the Greater Than Cancer Immersion Event. A two day event and you were a member and inside of the audience. We got to interview you there.

I was hoping you could, maybe, connect for us, you know, here we are at the Summit; what would the audience here want to know about this immersion experience so that we can have this, the folks that are here at the Summit, maybe kind of join where we are with this Immersion Event; which is a six-month journey. Why don’t you tell us a little?

Dr. René: So the immersion event was it was a first of its class, first of its kind of program where we really not just had lectures about patients with cancer - this was about cancer - but saw cancer from the perspective of everyone involved. From the family member, to the patient themselves, to the doctors, to the community leaders, to groups that were just being support groups. It was really an opportunity for people to contribute and add; it was not an environment where people just lecture. So as we now move into the next environment, if you think about what's happening here with consumer engagement, consumer engagement is the ultimate for the cancer patients.

Again, if anyone feels isolated, feels alone in their journey, often it's a cancer patient. If we can take what we're learning here to further the immersion event over the next few months so that we can truly understand the experience of all the caregivers and all the patients, what we learned at the immersion event was it was almost more difficult for the caregivers as they experience the pain of their patients. If we can identify ways to communicate, interact and engage members and all of those involved in the management of cancer patients, we’ll move a long way. So hopefully, what we learn here over the next few days, we can adopt, bring some of the skill sets, bring some of the people, and emerge them into this immersion event.

Kate: Perfect! Well that's an open invitation for anyone who hears this interview. Please find out more about this event at

Dr. René Lerer, thank you so much for joining under here at the GuideWell Insights Lounge. My name is Kate Warnock. Thank you so much for watching!

Dr. René: Thank you

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