Cedar - 3 Key Takeaways From Cedar Talks Healthcare Industry Expert Panel (and What We Can Learn From Our Starbucks Addiction)

3 Key Takeaways From Cedar Talks Healthcare Industry Expert Panel (and What We Can Learn From Our Starbucks Addiction)

The Cedar team is still buzzing from the packed house and engaging discussions at last month’s Cedar Talks in New York, where we focused on how healthcare organizations could deliver a truly personalized, consumer-centric patient experience. Zachary Tracer of “Business Insider” moderated the discussion alongside C-level execs from health systems, payers and health tech innovators. Here’s what we learned:

1. (Shocker!) Healthcare has a lot of catching up to do.

Gone are the days where a physician’s credentials and reputation are the primary gauge of business success. Today, in order to satisfy and keep patients, health organizations must shift their focus to the consumer and their needs (beyond just the point of service) ‒ much like Starbucks, Amazon and the airline industry have done. “Most of us don’t go for our daily Starbucks because it’s the best coffee we’ve ever had; we go because we know we are going to get a consistent experience every time, where they make it extremely easy to order and purchase what we want, from wherever we want,” said Florian Otto, CEO and co-founder of Cedar.

2. Bridging the experience gap starts with better data aggregation.

Amazon aggregates mass amounts of data about every customer so they can run analytics to determine the most tailored shopping experience. We appreciate having our card already on file; we sometimes even discover new things we like thanks to Amazon’s algorithms. The gap between the highly personalized and convenient Amazon experience and healthcare is largely due to antiquated systems that don’t talk to one another, according to Rachel Winokur, chief business officer at insurance startup Bright Health. “Part of [the gap] is because of our fragmented delivery system, part of it is the fragmented underlying technology infrastructure, and part of it is that the analytics just aren’t there yet. Once we can do that, there’s a lot we can do on top of that.” For example, Alan Murray, president and CEO of Empire BlueCross BlueShield at Anthem, invited us to imagine a universal patient health record, where your entire care team has real-time visibility into a patient’s health journey for more coordinated, seamless care.

Nat Turner, CEO and co-founder of Flatiron Health, noted that health systems need to be more open to partnering with startups around data access. “Medicare and some organizations, such as ONC (the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT) are working on ways to force this interoperability. It starts with the health systems and payers coming up with programs to partner with startups. There are examples out there, but it’s a long way from where we need to be.”

3. It’s time to play together: Payer-provider collaboration is key to ensuring successful data exchange.

All panelists agreed that payers and providers have one job: to keep people well. What both sides need to continue to work on is breaking down historically-rooted trust barriers in order to truly open up data exchange. “At the end of the day, it’s a financial trust issue; we (insurers) are trying to shave dollars off, hospitals are trying to increase revenue, and we need to overcome that as well,” said Murray.

The good news: It appears that we are headed in the right direction. More and more health organizations are making the consumer experience a key priority, investing in digital teams and partnering with tech innovators to address challenges like price transparency, interoperability, and making our healthcare bills as easy to pay as our double-foam caramel macchiatos.


From left to right: Zachary Tracer, Healthcare Editor, Business Insider; Florian Otto, CEO and Co-founder, Cedar; Nat Turner, CEO and Co-founder, Flatiron Health; Michelle Stansbury, VP, Innovation & IT Corporate Business Systems, Houston Methodist; Alan Murray, President and CEO of Empire BlueCross BlueShield at Anthem; Rachel Winokur, Chief Business Officer, Bright Health; Sonny Goyal, Partner, Echo Health Ventures; David Kerwar, Chief Product Officer and Head of Consumer Digital Innovations, Mount Sinai Health System

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