In the most recent edition of our popular Happy Hour networking series, the Digital Health Institute for Transformation (DHIT) team traveled to downtown Raleigh at Raleigh Founded, a shared workspace designed to empower, foster, and cultivate companies that produce long-term job growth and positive social impact. The programming was sponsored by Bluedoor, a full-service growth and innovation agency for healthcare and life sciences companies. And the evening’s attendees were a large contingent of digital health clinicians, executives, technologists, and scholars all convening around another burgeoning digital health discussion. Our featured programming was a fireside chat hosted by Michael Levy, DHIT CEO and Co-founder. He was joined by our esteemed DHIT board member Rob LaHayne. Rob has extensive experience implementing digital health services for employers and deep knowledge around scaling businesses, employee engagement, benefits, and HR tech. The conversation centered around the current transformative forces pressuring employers and payers, as well as the challenges and opportunities to embrace digital health solutions.

Rob began by highlighting the drastic need for innovation within the employee healthcare space to drive down rising costs.

“Over the last 5-10 years, employers have invested a massive amount in digital health and since then, the market has been ripe with prospective solutions trying to find market share. Employers themselves have struggled to wade through the crowded marketplace to not only find the best solution but also the one employees will actually engage with. As a result, employers have had a dual focus on solution integrity. First, there has been a distinct focus on experience – improving the member/end-user experience of interacting with the healthcare system as they tend to be frustrated and overwhelmed. And second, they want to be shown ‘the money,’ and real-world evidence of how solutions will drive down costs both for the employer and the end-user, improve access to care, and ultimately drive better health outcomes.”

Rob remarked that “One specific challenge in the employee health space is employers relying on insurance brokers to help them understand benefits packages, where brokers act effectively as gatekeepers. The problem lies in a mutual ‘dis’-understanding of all of the solutions in the market. To improve the process there needs to be better knowledge of the solutions available as well as a process to distinguish how solutions can not only drive consumer health but drive down costs. Many solutions effectively improve health outcomes but a solution that can deliver on both value propositions would ultimately be the silver bullet in the employer healthcare space.”

Rob closed in support of the future of employer health through digital health transformation and data analysis. “Legacy systems are not sustainable and have contributed to rising costs so there is a need for a new tide and a better understanding of not only what is available, but what solves the challenge of decreasing costs and improving health outcomes. If you couple that with better collaboration between brokers and employers, you may just have a recipe for change.”

We are incredibly grateful to Rob for the captivating conversation and his ongoing support for DHIT and our initiatives. Also, many thanks to our engaged audience for their participation and support – your energy is always infectious and drives our purpose and passion.

FYI, registration is open for our next Happy Hour event on April 19th at Innovate Carolina’s recently launched ‘The Junction’ on historic Franklin Street in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill. We hope to see you there!

For more information about DHIT’s mission, events, and partnership opportunities, subscribe to our email list.

Talk soon!