Ben Wannamaker_HLTH

Ben Wanamaker at HLTH conference: Don’t forget about providing value to the patient

Jul 10 2018
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Too often, digital health tools are created with one party trying to hoard all of the value created, according to Ben Wanamaker, head of consumer technology and services at Aetna during a panel at the inaugural HLTH conference last week in Las Vegas.

The value must be distributed to the entire health ecosystem – especially patients – if they are to be successful, suggested Wanamaker.

“We need to figure out how to share the value [of Digital Health tools] with the technology purveyor, the payer, plan sponsor and deliver enough value to the patient for participating,” he said. “They deserve value.”

Wanamaker appeared on a panel titled “Who Will Rescue Healthcare?” with Lloyd Minor, dean of the Stanford School of medicine. The moderator of the panel was Annie Lamont, managing partner of Oak HC/FT.

Wanamaker also shared his vision for the role that digital health tools could fill in the current health care system.

“There’s a really huge gap we have to close, which is understanding what you want and what you need in health care. That’s where digital health becomes really important for us,” said Wanamaker.

“The points in time that show up in a payers’ dataset are too sporadic, too sparse to really understand what you want. The average American sees a provider approximately three times a year…although you’re spending 17 or 18 percent of your money on healthcare. That’s very imbalanced. That doesn’t work.”

With the recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, moderator Lamont bluntly brought up one of the elephants in the room for digital health. What will health systems and insurers do with all this data?

We “believe users deserve a lot of say in how their data is used and shared and for what purpose,” said Wanamaker. “One of the principles we use to guide our work as we work with technology partners is your data is only used for good.

“A lot of people ask me questions like, ‘Well, Ben. If you use my health care data, wouldn’t you just use it to underwrite?’ The answer is an unequivocal no, because why would you ever share your data in any form or allow me to use the data you already shared if you had fear of me using it against you?”

The panel concluded by trying to imagine where the industry should be in one and five years.

“A one year view is that we need to increase the fidelity of vision in what’s going on in people’s lives,” said Wanamaker. “I think the five year vision would be to re-architect delivery around much more personalized entry points for patients…that are closer to home or in the home.”