Workplace Wellness with Thomas J. Grote


What innovations and/or products have you launched recently or are preparing?

In 2019, we will continue to make progress in providing a more simplified healthcare delivery process that makes it easier for members to access the care they need at an affordable cost. We will be launching a new virtual healthcare offering this year, allowing members to get the care they need — such as a consultation with their primary care provider, lab orders and prescriptions — all from the convenience of their mobile phones. Our goal is to find ways to make healthcare more convenient and less expensive, and this virtual care solution will certainly accomplish both of those. We are also collaborating with IBM-Watson Health technology to create a 360-degree view of each member, ultimately providing doctors with the information needed to provide high-quality care without wasting valuable time.

To provide a sense of what is happening in the industry, please share the challenges you are addressing to enable superior healthcare services for your clients.

As a local company with an executive team based in Arizona, we are out in the marketplace meeting with brokers, prospects and customers, listening to their pain points and brainstorming ways to overcome them. This helps us remain nimble in designing programs and creating innovative ways to solve real-time problems that we see in the industry. I believe that in order to see a true improvement in the industry, the healthcare model as we know it must change. It must focus on value instead of volume; that is, providing individuals with high-quality, personalized care rather than just the traditional fee-for-service model. The migration toward value-based contracting has begun, where providers are incented and rewarded for quality and outcomes. Another important project we are spearheading this year is improving the preauthorization process. We recognize it as one of the greatest pain points in today’s healthcare delivery model for both members and doctors, and our goal is to help streamline the process for all.

In what way(s) are you focused on helping business?

What Banner|Aetna offers is a healthcare solution, where members are part of the answer and we are working to better the health of the overall community.We have brought a health insurance carrier and a healthcare delivery system together as a joint venture to look at cost containment, improving the member experience, and committing to continuous innovation.The joint venture between Banner Health and Aetna equips medical professionals with the data and technology needed to provide members with quality, personalized care every step of the way.

For example, although our multidisciplinary care team does not provide direct care services, it helps connect members with the care they need. Physicians, nurses, specialists, social workers, pharmacists and dieticians support members with certain ongoing medical needs, and are even available outside of traditional health facilities. Our performance network in Phoenix and Tucson gives members access to thousands of primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals, urgent care centers, Banner health centers, and walk-in clinics — which can generate savings of 7—14 percent compared to Aetna broad network alternatives.

About Banner/Aetna

Banner/Aetna is a healthcare company focusing on bettering member outcomes at a lower cost, all while improving the overall member experience for employers and consumers in Arizona. The collaboration combines Banner Health’s high quality, local providers and delivery systems with Aetna’s health-plan experience, care management and health-information technology.

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