Entrepreneurs hoping to succeed in health care have to consider the needs of many stakeholders. These stakeholders--sometimes called the “five points” of health care--are patients, payers, providers, purchasers, and policymakers. It’s often difficult for entrepreneurs to access these groups and learn from them. That’s where the 5 Points Conference comes in. The conference is hosted by the health care innovation hub, Cambia Grove. The hope is that at the conference, entrepreneurs will gain insights into how the health care system works and how they can better bring innovation to the industry.
Joining us in this episode of HealthChangers are Jessica Hauflaire, Business Operations Manager at Cambia Grove, and Kate Isler, a 5 Points Conference moderator and CEO of Daysaver, an automated scheduling service for business and health care providers.
Leslie Constans: Welcome to the HealthChangers Podcast presented by Cambia Health Solutions where we share real stories of health care transformation from those experiencing it and those helping to make health care more personalized. I'm your host, Leslie. Entrepreneurs hoping to succeed in the health care sphere have to consider the needs of many stakeholders. These stakeholders, sometimes called the “five points of health care”, include patients, payers, providers, purchasers, and policymakers. Often, it's difficult for entrepreneurs to access these groups and learn from them, that's where the Five Points Conference comes in. The conference is being hosted by the health care innovation hub from Cambia Grove in Seattle. The hope is that at the conference, entrepreneurs will gain insights into how the health care system works and how they can better bring innovation to health care.
In this episode of HealthChangers, we're looking a little bit more in-depth at the Five Points Conference. Rachel is speaking with Kate [Isler], a conference participant, entrepreneur and CEO of Daysaver, an automated scheduling service for business and health care providers, and with Jessica [Hauflaire], Business Operations Manager at Cambia Grove.
Rachel Peters: Joining us today via Skype, we have Jessica and Kate. Hi Jessica.
Jessica Hauflaire: Hi Rachel.
RP: And, hi Kate.
Kate Isler: Hi Rachel.
RP: Well, as you both know, we're here to learn more about the Cambia Grove Five Points Conference. But before we jump into that, I'd love to get to know a little bit more about each of you and how you got to where you’re at today. So, let's start with Kate. Kate, I know before joining Daysaver as CEO, you built your career at Microsoft. Why the switch to health care?
KI: You're right. I spent a long time at Microsoft and around technology, and I really saw an opportunity in health care as I was leaving Microsoft and wanted to do something completely different. I saw a huge opportunity to bring technology and ease-of-use into the health care space. I've experienced that across my career and in lots of different industries and this one is just right to bring great technology and really reduce the friction of administration within health care.
RP: I know you've mentioned to me before that sometimes you get mixed reactions when people learned that you came from outside health care. Can you talk a little bit about that? When people maybe are dismissive of that, what do you wish they realize you brought to the table?
KI: Yeah, it is a really interesting thing, because there are lots of reasons to choose health care. I see the need to bring a perspective that is not grown-up and matured within health care to this industry. We're at a tipping point in health care that says: the way things have always been done is not sustainable and it's not efficient to go forward. And so, I try and really change that conversation and say, I would like to be a breath of fresh air in innovation to health care. And look at the discussion of the need for a cultural change is everywhere; I can help that change and I can be an element in the positive perspective to that change.
"…someone who understands how to apply different innovation and different technology to solve problems is the ideal partnership."
RP: Yeah, I think it's important for everyone to be accepting of those outside influences. Sometimes, it can really take a fresh look and point out something maybe other people are missing.
KI: And I think it's got to be a partnership because people with health care backgrounds are so steep and have such a depth of knowledge about the nuances of the industry and all the players. So, when we talk about the five points of different audiences within this industry, they're really diverse and they're really motivated by different things, and their needs are different. And so, to combine that wealth of knowledge with a technologist, someone who understands how to apply different innovation and different technology to solve problems, is the ideal partnership.
RP: That's great. Jessica, I'd love to hear from you just a little bit about your background. What's your experience working with entrepreneurs like Kate?
JH: I started working in non-profits development about a decade ago. I find that I wanted to work with people, I wanted to help people doing fundraising events, and started doing bigger and bigger events and really loved the opportunity to work with people. And then, I wanted to take a turn and do something totally different. I wanted to know what it was like to own my own business without actually taking a risky dive of earning my own business. So, I worked side by side [with] the owners of a small business here in Seattle and they gave me a great learning opportunity. When I saw the opportunity to work with Cambia Grove, working side by side with entrepreneurs and doing project management and operations and business development, I was just on cloud nine. This is really a space where I feel like I'm using all of my experience at its capacity. I get to work with some really inspirational people who are making amazing strides to transform health care.
“They seem to dismiss entrepreneurs and start-ups…we thought we have to do something to get people in the door.”
RP: Would you say seeing people like Kate and seeing how they... she's really kind of had to dive in to learn about the health care industry. Would say that has been part of the inspiration in setting up events like the Five Points Conference?
JH: Absolutely. We talked to entrepreneurs all day long and one of the top comments and observations we hear from them is that they want to talk to health care industry insiders. They just want to ask questions. They want to understand how the workflow works. And they want to understand how the revenues stream cycles. And they want to understand who uses what products and who reports to who. And if you did implement a system or process or new technology: who would actually use it. And who provides the feedback. Just all of those questions that one might ask somebody in any industry. But the problem was that health care insiders were not open to general questions. They seem to dismiss entrepreneurs and start-ups, or be weary of them pitching them or trying to sell them their product without giving them any time to really bring a conversation. So, we've just heard those challenges that entrepreneurs are facing time and time and time again, and we thought we have to do something to get people in the door and address some of these questions.
RP: Yeah. Kate, would you say that you've experienced some of those questions, some of those challenges in getting in the door? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
KI: Absolutely, every day. I think access to people and understanding their roles is so difficult in health care; more than most industries. When I listened to Jessica talk about: how do people use things and who makes decisions about purchasing and who recommend what— there's no straight line in health care. The user doesn't have a straight reporting line, because you have complex health care institutions and you have different payers, then users, then providers, and it is a really complicated network. And when you stand here, I feel like I look up at a mountain and say, "Where do I begin?" And so, access in terms of how they guide people through it and just the discussion that is facilitated by having people, both entrepreneurs and the Cambia people, being in one place regularly to have a dialogue about health care is such an effective exchange of information.
“The goal of the conference is to provide insights into how the health care system was designed to work, and then explain how it actually works.”
RP: So, Jessica, with that, do you want to explain a little more about what the Five Points Conference is? I think we heard Kate talk about these reporting lines that don't really make sense. So, how have you taken a step back, you know, the five points stand for five different verticals of health care. Can you walk us through what that looks like, how you set up this conference?
JH: The goal of the conference is to provide insights into how the health care system was designed to work, and then explain how it actually works. And we didn't want to explain that, we wanted the insiders to explain it. So, we decided that the five verticals of health care are: patients, payers, providers, purchasers and policy-makers. They all play a huge role in the system. And so, each of these events is taking a deep dive into understanding each of those five points individually. And we did start off with a really great overview kick-off event, where we put all five pieces on the panel and let them talk about their relationships with one another.
RP: What was that event like bringing in all five into the same panel. Were there any surprising points?
JH: I think the surprise was that it was no surprise and they are not integrated with one another. The providers have different priorities than the payers and the policymakers have different stakeholders than the purchasers. So, they all have competing priorities, and one piece of revenue is another piece of expense. So, they are sort of adversarial at times. So yeah, I guess, my answer is that it was surprising to see that they are as disintegrated as we thought they were.
RP: Hmm, so yeah, you might have seen that more as a myth, but it's true, they're on different pages. Kate, what was that like for you as a startup? What was that like kind of looking in?
KI: I smiled at this because I was at the event. And it was things that people tell us, but to have it all right there with five of them with absolute competing priorities, and the most insightful part about it was to be able to have them right together, and you talk about, you ask one question, and they answer it and then the person sitting next them oftentimes had a complete understanding of what the question was, because they don't communicate amongst themselves. And from an entrepreneurs' standpoint that was fascinating and really enlightening, because then we see, okay, where is the place to start and how do I need to understand the language I talk to that particular PN, because it's like talking, it's like five different languages that you're speaking about the same thing.
And so, it was really fascinating, it was so interesting to have that as an introduction to the series, because then you got to handle on, okay, now, let's dive in and look at how they could work together and how as an entrepreneur, what do I need to have happened for them to understand what I'm trying to get out of them or what my product does or what how it fits into their workflow. It was a short event, a few hours but I have to say it sparked so much discussions and so much thought amongst my team even to how to approach them, or which “P” (of the five points) are we supposed to be approaching today. It was super enlightening. I loved it.
RP: So, Jessica, we've had that overview event, there's been an event about the payer, an event about the provider. What else is coming up with the rest of the series?
JH: March first, we're talking to the patients. March 12th, we're talking to the policymakers. And we are wrapping up on March 29th with the purchasers.
“…It prompts even more questions, but I think that it's prompting newer deeper questions than they had before.”
RP: So, what kind of feedback have you heard, Jessica? We just heard from Kate, what her perspective was.
JH: Well, one other thing that's surprising is we hadn't had just entrepreneurs, which is our target audience for this conference. We had about 50% entrepreneurs, but the other 50% are industry insiders, a lot of them from the different verticals that are coming to see the verticals that are speaking. And so, that has been really fun to see who's actually coming through the doors and who actually is curious about these discussions. From the audience, we've gotten, "Whoa, that was unexpected.", "Wow, that was really interesting, really different" I don't think anybody has ever seen a conference like this before, so I think the entrepreneurs have been surprised at what they're hearing. Sometimes, it prompts even more questions, but I think that it's prompting newer deeper questions than they had before. And the feedback from the panelists has been really "Thank you.". I'm surprised at how open and honest they have been in the panels because sometimes they get kind of intimate in the questions that are asked, whether it's your day-to-day, what is your personal pinpoint.
They've been really comfortable answering those questions and they have been really excited, and they want to hear about the other panels, and they're really interested in a summary at the end of the event. So, the feedback has been really good. People are really curious.
RP: Kate, like Jessica, said, the target audience for these events are startups, entrepreneurs, do you feel like this has given you some fresh perspective on how different vertical use startups?
KI: It is, and what they, how they define a startup has been one of the most interesting pieces of discovery that we've made because a startup means lots of things to lots of people. It's catchall term. And so, when you begin to talk to big institutions and policymakers, they have a really different view of startups. And I think oftentimes certainly in health care because of the privacy and intimacy that health care represents, there needs to be a discussion about where particular business fits into the puzzle, and you need to define what we mean by startup, whether that's an early stage company, whether that is a new technology or people that are newly interested in getting into health care. And to have that discussion with these panel members and to understand what their preconceived idea of what a startup is and what an entrepreneur is and where you would fit into their business, to get a better understanding of how to talk to them. It's really been enlightening.
RP: Yeah, any implications with those new perspectives that you see for Daysaver?
KH: Absolutely. We have developed a service that operates within a scheduling workflow, it's the end of the scheduling workflow. And we have some ideas on who would use us and how we would have adoption happen, but having these guys here and talking to institutions versus smaller health care providers versus payers, it gives us a really good view on how we need to talk about the value-add that our service brings in all of those pieces of health care. And that it's really different. And so, we've been able to listen and prioritize and hone our message based on what these people have said. Daysaver is, like I said, at the end of a scheduling workflow, but it's also engaged with the patient. And so, as we get into the next conference, our mission is to actually bring some of the technology into some of the functionality that we experience across the consumer life that we all have in our mobile devices in the health care.
And so, to marry those two and my message to the providers and the payers to say, this is what the patient says about it with some credibility and some real examples helps me tremendously and its huge implications to be able to say, "Here are examples of what we've got in this environment through this conference, through this feedback.” It's a great thing for me.
RP: That's wonderful to hear. I'm sure Jessica's loving to hear that as well. I think a common theme we hear a lot of times is how complicated health care is. Obviously, it was kind of the emphasis of the Five Points Conference is, wow, who could possibly understand this? I guess with that, though, would you encourage people to still have hope?
KI: Oh yes, actually health care is an enormous problem to solve, right? And as I said, there are many aspects of it. I think that there is a lot of room for innovation here and that’s exciting. It doesn't deter me that it's complex. And I absolutely encourage people to do it, because I think we're really at a tipping point in this industry. The economics can't support the status quo anymore. Even in the few years that I've been involved in health care, I've heard a big shift to people now talking about the need for cultural change versus why can't there be a cultural change. So, you know, the first step to improvement is to recognize there's a big problem. And I think that’s happening. And I think that as more technology and more convenience are fixed into every aspect of people's lives, we can't forget that the people we're talking about in health care are consumers and they live real lives and they all have mobile devices and they want convenience.
And so, giving the opportunity to move that into such a big part of all of our lives in health care is exciting, and it's daunting but it's challenging and fun. So, I encourage everyone, the more entrepreneurs get involved, the higher the pressure and the higher the likelihood that we are going to really push for waves of change.
RP: Jessica, how about you?
JH: Everything Kate said, yes. So, the mission of Cambia Grove is to bridge the gap between the entrepreneur and the traditional health care system in order to transform the health care system and drive change. We believe that it will take the problem-solving, creative, and fresh minds of entrepreneurs in the startup community in collaboration with health care professionals that have a lot of experience to really drive that lasting change. So, that's why we think it's so important to have a conference like Five Points that reduces the barrier to entry and provides the insight that beginning, folks starting in the health care industry need to start to understand the complexity of the problem and to inspire them.
“Have hope, don't be discouraged. There's plenty to do, plenty of room for entrepreneurs.”
RP: I think that's a great message to end on. Have hope, don't be discouraged. There's plenty to do, plenty of room for entrepreneurs. So, Jessica, if you could just leave us with what's next for the Five Points Conference. I know Kate, you will be the moderator of the patient panels, is that right?
KI: Yes. That is March 1st, and as I said, I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to talk to the inpatients with potentially providers in the audience. So, we get to hear how they want to have technology in their health care experience.
JH: And Kate always has such great questions for us, so I'm really looking forward to hearing the questions that she has for our panelists.
RP: It sounds like it will be a really good panel. Jessica, you've mentioned, too, there are other ways people can engage on the website, or in future series you have planned. Can you share a little bit about that?
JH: Absolutely. We were really excited to commission a graphic recording artist named Hannah to literally map out the system for us. And so, at the end of the series, we will be posting scans and digital versions of the map on our website. It's turning out really fun, really cool and really insightful. Also, on our website, there will be recordings of each individual events. So, I invite you all to check it out. We also intend for this to be an annual event. So, this is our first year doing the Five Points Conference and we're still right in the middle of the shock and awe of these really lively and engaging discussions. And we look forward to next year's as well, with new questions, new strategies to really get to what entrepreneurs wants to know.
RP: Jessica, Kate, thank you so much for joining me today via Skype. This is really good conversation. And I'm excited to see what's next for the Five Points Conference.
JH: Thanks, Rachel.
KI: Rachel, it was wonderful to be here and I love these discussions with you guys.
LC: That wraps up this episode of Health Changers. You can find more information on all of our episodes at cambiahealth.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @cambia. Please subscribe to HealthChangers on iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review. Thanks for listening.