When Tech Meets Health Care: Oscar Health

posted by AHIP

on November 14, 2019

On The Next Big Thing in Health, hosts Laura Evans and AHIP President and CEO Matt Eyles sat down with Sara Wajnberg, Chief Product Officer of Oscar Health, to discuss how new technology puts consumers at the center of their health care journey and what it takes to create a more personalized health care experience.

Listen to the full interview on iTunesSpotifySoundcloud, and Stitcher.

Laura Evans: In what ways will technology transform health insurance and health care?

Sara Wajnberg: I think the key with respect to how technology can influence the health care experience is around a really big and renewed emphasis on the individual and the ease of use of the experience. We really believe that our goal is to create an experience that delivers real value and that people love. One that is convenient, easy to understand, that reduces friction in the system. That’s what really allows you to build trust. What we see is that the whole industry is moving in that direction.

For example, one of the things that matters a lot is predictability in health care. That’s something where technology can provide a lot of value. We spend a lot of time on what we call care routing, where we route people to the location where they can get the care they need. Where technology can help is that we can focus on personalization from an algorithmic standpoint.

We’re thinking, how do we recommend the best doctors based on a specific individual’s circumstances – their history, their preferences and what others like them do? All of these variables really result in people getting matched to the best possible place for the care they need. It also factors in things like “what is lowest cost?” and “what is highest quality?”

Technology can play a huge role if it really starts embracing the individuals and their needs.

Laura Evans: Going forward, where do you think we should be focusing?

Sara Wajnberg: For one, I think convenience could be markedly better than it is today. For example, we need to remove barriers that consumers face today to actually receiving care. That’s a big topic for us. One example of how we’re addressing that on our end is telemedicine, or virtual care.

Today, the vast majority of care has to happen in-person. Someone has to travel there, and often wait long periods of time to receive the care they need. There’s a huge opportunity to make health care more accessible by leveraging technology. For example, we started off originally with telemedicine free 24/7, meaning no barrier to usage. But it was urgent care for the most part – on-demand urgent care. What we’re really trying to do now is expand that umbrella to encompass more basic care needs, including potentially the management of chronic illnesses.

The more we can do to make care more conveniently accessible, the better it is for consumers.

Laura Evans: Matt, what role insurers play in the marriage between new technologies and health care deliver?

Matt Eyles: Insurers play a very important role in terms of marrying technology to care delivery for consumers. There have been enormous investments by health insurance providers into developing new tools and technologies to make sure that consumers have access to the information they need, in a way they can use that’s actionable to make the best health care decisions.

One of the challenges we face with all of these new technologies is consumers aren’t all that aware of them. While they know Amazon and Google, they haven’t made that same translation to health care yet. So, there’s a big educational opportunity for health insurance providers to let consumers know these tools exist, show consumers how to use them, and also how to get a more personalized health care experience.

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