In this Leadership Insights video interview, Amanda Razani speaks with the CEO of Vivante Health, Bill Snyder, about the role of customer experience in digital health.
Amanda Razani: Hello, I am Amanda Razani, and I’m excited to be here today with Bill Snyder. He’s the CEO of Vivante Health. How are you doing today?
Bill Snyder: I’m doing great, Amanda. Thanks so much for having me. How are you doing?
Amanda Razani: Doing well, thank you. So can you share with our audience a little bit about Vivante Health and what services you provide?
Bill Snyder: Yeah, absolutely. So at Vivante, our mission is to revolutionize digital health gut first. So we work with individuals who suffer from chronic digestive conditions and their related symptoms. So that’s things like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and then a really big population who are suffering in silence that have all types of symptoms like abdominal pain or excess gas and bloating, but don’t have a formal diagnosis yet today. So that’s really the population that we’re looking to serve. And it’s a large population. It’s about one in four people here in the US. It’s a leading cause for emergency room visits. It’s a leading cause for healthcare costs, both on the medical side and the pharmacy side. And then most important to us, it’s extremely disruptive to the individual’s lives who are oftentimes suffering in silence.
Amanda Razani: And that’s a good segue then to our topic, which is the digital customer experience when it comes to health and digital health. So with that, we’ll start with the first question. What is the role of customer patient experience in the success of digital health? And where does Vivante fit in?
Bill Snyder: Yeah, so I think customer experience is paramount in terms of digital health and what it can do to provide individuals improved health and also give them immediate access to care. So when we think about the digestive health market, for example, a lot of this are individuals who are suffering in silence, who don’t have somewhere to turn, and oftentimes they feel isolated, they’re not really sure where to go. And when you think about the experience of us as consumers of the healthcare market, so you and I and everybody else goes out and tries to get support and get care, imagine someone who is becoming symptomatic with some type of digestive condition and they’re not really sure what’s going on. So a lot of us will go to Google, go online, they’ll ask friends, they’ll try and understand what’s happening and what’s causing these symptoms. But oftentimes we’re super busy with other aspects of our lives that we’ll focus on, maybe our children and our work, anything else that’s going on, and we’ll put off getting care for ourselves.
And then sometimes that becomes an emergency. And so we’ll either have to access an emergency room or we’ll try and find the right provider. And that can be difficult as well. And even when we get in to see that provider, sometimes we’ve got to schedule time off work, we’ve got to get to that location, we’ve got to wait to see the provider. And then after we’ve gotten to see that doctor, oftentimes we’re not sure what to do next. And so when you think about digital health and the role that these digital tools can play, I think it’s a great opportunity to provide individuals immediate access to care, immediate information, and a way to look at the longitudinal care that interacts with individuals in their day-to-day. Because it’s not just those points in time where we’re sick or where we need care and support. It’s oftentimes an ongoing need.
And so that patient experience is paramount, and it’s our great opportunity to transform that patient experience from sick care and a negative experience of having to go and receive some type of care in a brick and mortar setting to ongoing lifestyle enhancement. And so I think the way that we think about the tools that we bring to market for us at Vivante, we’re always thinking about the patient experience first. How do we not only provide them incredible care, but how do we delight them? How do we make our solution something that they want to engage with, not something that they have to engage with.
Amanda Razani: So in thinking about that, what are your strategies or your tactics and your goals when it comes to designing this experience for the patients?
Bill Snyder: So for us, something that’s unique about Vivante and the way that we’ve set our mission, our vision and built our organization is a lot of the employees, either they themselves or their loved ones, have suffered from a digestive condition. So I’ve seen my family members impacted and affected by chronic digestive conditions and the impact that it has on physical health, on mental health, on development. And so I think that we take those experiences and focus on how do we build something and build an innovative solution that meets the needs of the members exactly where they are. And so the way that we’ve built our tools and solutions are really to fit with the variety of needs because there is no single need. There’s no one size fits all when you’re talking about digestive health. And so we’ve built our program to be personalized based upon each user’s unique experiences.
And that’s going to vary by the condition they have. It’s going to vary by their symptoms, it’s going to vary by their medical history. It’s also going to vary by what they’re trying to achieve when they work with us, because someone who’s already working with a physician, but for instance, is looking to optimize their care by enhancing their nutrition in between visits, has a very different need than someone who comes to us and says, “Hey, I’m suffering from these symptoms. I haven’t seen a doctor in two years, and I’m not sure where to turn.”
And so we think about that. We think about all the different use cases, and we build our technology and our supporting care team to help provide guidance and help provide care and support regardless of that need. And so I think that that’s really important, recognizing that there’s not a one size fits all. We’re talking about health, which is the most personal thing in the world. And so to be able to personalize that, provide clinically validated expert information and guidance for the individual, and then to make sure that we’re always there, that they’re being supported throughout that journey, because there’s nothing worse than going through some type of healthcare journey and feeling alone. So it’s really personalizing the experience, having really, really strong and well-defined clinical rigor, and then ensuring that we’re supportive throughout that process at any point in time for the member.
Amanda Razani: Well, I’m sure that makes quite a difference to the customers. So there’s a lot of new technologies coming on the market, especially we’re hearing a lot more about AI this year. So where does artificial intelligence fit into the picture when it comes to the digital health experience?
Bill Snyder: Yeah, I think artificial intelligence can play a very important role in the digital health experience for us at Vivante. We do talk about, some people look at it as artificial intelligence. Some people talk about augmented intelligence. And so the way that we think about these use cases is really about what can we do with technology that gives our care team superpowers? And so as an example, we are leveraging technology for things like pattern recognition.
So when we see a whole lot of data from disparate data sources, how can we get smart about recognizing these patterns, feeding that information to our care team so that they can make educated decisions that are based on data, but it’s still them making the final decision as opposed to some type of backend chatbot or anything like that. So I think there’s tremendous opportunity with AI and machine learning, but I do think that it’s really important to be cognizant of the fact that you still need the human interaction. You still need the clinical folks making the ultimate decision when it comes to providing care for members. And so that’s how we’ve thought about it at Vivante, and it served us really well because it’s allowed us to serve members across the country. It’s allowed us to scale rapidly, but it’s allowed us to make sure that it’s our clinicians that are making the final decision in terms of any care that’s delivered to our members.
Amanda Razani: So in this industry, are you hearing about any key trends? What’s trending right now and what’s ahead as far as looking toward the future?
Bill Snyder: Yeah, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I think that there is a trend in recognition of the importance of digestive health. So I think that we’ve certainly seen that. We’ve seen our message resonating with the market and with members because this is a massive population with significantly unmet needs. And I do see that truly as a trend where more and more people are talking about it, recognizing it. I think that you mentioned there’s certainly a lot of discussion around AI and machine learning. And I do think that there’s really unique use cases for that technology. And I think that that can help us do things more quickly, more effectively, more efficiently in terms of some of the ways that we’re leveraging that technology to empower our care teams. And then I think the other two trends when I think about digital health and healthcare is the movement towards really payment for value.
And so getting off that old fee for service model and actually paying for results. And I think that we’re seeing that it’s been a long movement, it’s been a long journey, but what’s really exciting for me is we’re starting to see more of the plans and providers really look at value-based care. And I think for digital health solutions like Vivante, important to understand that ecosystem and to think about how can we positively impact care, improve clinical outcomes, and be part of that discussion. And that’s something that we’ve done is integrated into health plans and really looked at being paid for performance for proof to say, “Hey, we know that we can get people feeling better.” We’ve got incredible patient reported outcomes. We’re showing a reduced cost and medical spend for our members. And so we know that we can have an outsized impact there. So I think that that is a really strong trend that continues.
And then the last one is really about interoperability. So how do we share information with those different providers and make sure that there’s care coordination? I think that’s always been a bit of a struggle within the healthcare ecosystem. And thankfully the healthcare ecosystem is maturing and getting better at that.
And I think with digital health solutions, it’s really important, especially as we look at all this data that we’re able to collect that we’re thinking about how we integrate with these other providers so that we are all getting a whole picture of each member. Because as all of us know, there’s nothing more frustrating than going in and filling out forms and giving a bunch of information only to do it all again three weeks later for another provider. And so the ability for us to exchange that information and have that holistic view of a patient, I think can be really, really powerful. So that’s exciting to see that that’s still part of the discussion. And I think for any digital health solutions, they should be thinking about that they should be thinking about how do we work within that ecosystem and not be a siloed solution.
Amanda Razani: Absolutely. I think that efficiency and the simplicity both for the customer and for the provider will make a huge difference. So in terms of digital health solutions, what’s the key takeaway you’d like business leaders in this industry to walk away with today?
Bill Snyder: So I think one of the things we’ve talked about the interest in AI, we’ve talked about interoperability, we’ve talked about the importance of really personalizing the experience for the member, and all of that is around data. And so I think one of the things that I always like to call out is to take data security very seriously. At Vivante, we’ve gone forward with getting SOC 2 certification or high trust certification because we take our patient data very, very seriously. And I think that in order to gain the trust of individuals, you need to do that. And it’s going to be more and more important as we think about the opportunities with digital health because there’s so much there. But we really also need to be protective of patient’s data.
So I think that that’s something that is certainly integrated into all the conversations that we’re having around how do we continue to grow and scale digital health as a whole. But I think that that’s something really important is I’m always looking at these organizations that are growing and trying to get into the digital health space. And when I talk to other CEOs and founders, I always remind them that you need to have data security as a big focus as you grow your organization.
Amanda Razani: Absolutely. As with most industries, especially in the health industry, it all seems to come down to the data. Thank you so much for coming on our show today and sharing your insights.
Bill Snyder: Thank you so much for having me, Amanda. I really enjoyed it.