The Intersection of Growth and Innovation

By Ken Burdick

This past month, I had the opportunity to speak at the 2018 Health Evolution Summit, a gathering of some of the nation’s top healthcare leaders. The discussion focused on innovation in the healthcare industry.

WellCare set forth three key priorities: improving the healthcare experience for members and providers; meeting our members where they are in their healthcare journey; and remaining focused on government programs. WellCare is in a unique position to provide integrated, holistic managed care because we work to address all aspects of our members’ needs including physical, behavioral, pharmacy and social health.

Looking ahead, we must balance these priorities and our investments against the need for ongoing innovation. For example, WellCare recently developed two artificial intelligence platforms – one for clinicians and one for patients – which use advanced technology to analyze everything from a member’s symptoms to suggesting treatment plans and interventions. While WellCare is early into this process, an initial version of our patient system, Care Plan, which deployed in Florida, Georgia and New York, is available now with all regions having the technology by year-end.

So how can the industry evolve to better meet the needs of our members, partners and providers?

First, we should not overlook the challenges. We have a fragmented U.S. healthcare system based on the industry’s current model. We cannot continue to incent healthcare providers for volume of services rather than quality of care. We must also identify and address the social determinants that serve as obstacles to our members’ ability to get and stay healthy.

Second, we must share best practices, build trust, align incentives and keep our approach simple while still creating value.

And, lastly, we need to remain focused on the pace of growth – something that I’m proud we are doing well at WellCare.

Thank you to our more than 9,000 associates who stay focused on providing the best possible experience for all of our stakeholders every day.

Brighten, eyes, teeth

Kenneth A. Burdick is the CEO of WellCare Health Plans.

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