OurHealth on a mission to save employers $1 billion

I have one of the coolest jobs-in-tech in Indiana. Every week I get to meet with and write about the people, products and companies that are disrupting industries, revolutionizing the way we do things and changing lives.

Recently I sat down with OurHealth leaders Jeff Wells (president & co-founder), Sherry Slick (CIO), and Chad Ashcraft (executive vice president of growth & innovation). Founded in 2009, OurHealth has been quietly going about its mission to fix a very broken healthcare industry by designing a novel solution for employers.

But in order to appreciate the solution, you first need to understand the back story. Employers pay — on average — $14,000 per employee per year to provide healthcare benefits, and that price tag increases about 10 percent every year. It used to be you shopped the payer marketplace and contract swapped every couple of years to get a better rate on benefits. But today it’s not that simple. Human resource leaders tasked with recruiting and retaining top talent have seen an already difficult job become even harder because of ever-increasing costs and competitive total rewards packages that frequently tout free healthy snacks, gym membership reimbursement, onsite fitness centers, massage … the list goes on!

Jeff Wells

Jeff WellsPresident & Co-founder

And despite a lot of activity in the health & wellness space, and a national spend predicted to reach $3.2 trillion this year, you’re still dealing with a population of people that on the macro level aren’t getting healthier. “For the first time in history the youngest generation is predicted to have a shorter lifespan than their parent’s generation. Ultimately, the employers want to provide a competitive total rewards package, but they want to do it in a way that allows them to control their costs and helps their employees lead healthier lives,” Wells said.

Enter OurHealth, which provides employer-sponsored primary care clinics focused on three very specific levers which ultimately help employers achieve that goal — help employees avoid expensive ER visits; better manage their pharmacy spend and help navigate the complex system of referral visits to specialists. All of this is designed around the ultimate goal of increasing the patient’s access to primary care providers and diminishing the occurrence of expensive chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and obesity through a focus on wellness, education and health coaching.

OurHealth got its start in Indianapolis at Interactive Intelligence (now Genesys) when then CEO Don Brown needed a recruiting carrot to lure tech talent to the northwest side. Since then, the model has attracted more than 40 customers, with more signing on each month, including OneAmerica, the City of Indianapolis and IceMiller.

With clinics in five states and more than 300 employees, OurHealth is on a mission to improve patient health and save employers $1 billion over the next eight years.

OurHealth has expanded its market presence also, with clinics in Indianapolis, Charlotte, Nashville, Chicago and Philadelphia. The company currently employs 300 people. In June of this year, the company closed $37 million in financing from White Oak Healthcare Finance LLC that it will invest in sales, marketing and technology to fuel its expansion and create nearly 500 jobs over the next five years.

In addition to delivering annual savings for customers that average 20 percent; in the last year alone, OurHealth patients (the employees of their clients) have lost 33,000 pounds, 76,000 points of bad cholesterol and 2,000 points on A1c levels, which is the leading indicator for diabetes. “Our ability to articulate these savings for our customers is a big differentiator for us,” said Wells.

And as it works to scale, the company is turning to technology and data science to help it achieve that lofty $1B savings goal and better outcomes for patients.

EVP of Growth & Innovation Chad Ashcraft explained that despite all the headlines and significant dollars spent to date, healthcare today is still a lot like banking was in the 1970s.

Chad Ashcraft

Chad AshcraftExecutive Vice President of Growth & Innovation

“Today, you can do 90 percent of your banking through your mobile device; it’s all self-service,” Ashcraft said. “Healthcare won’t follow the exact same trajectory, but we’re thinking deeply about doing things differently. It’s not just about seeing more patients in a day and finding efficiencies; it’s thinking differently about the work and having an engineering or iterative mindset for every process and procedure because we now have the technology and the data necessary to drive change.”

OurHealth also has an incredible real-world laboratory in its clinics where new ideas are tested and feedback is instant, explained Ashcraft.

In order to continue its growth streak, the company spent the first half of the year on the hugely ambitious task of implementing a new back office system to power its data intelligence and create a 360-degree-view of the patient. Launched in July, the new technology is quickly changing the conversation for OurHealth and its customers.

Sherry Slick

Sherry SlickCIO

“Whether it’s HIPAA regulations or just the sheer complexity and scope of it all, healthcare data is terribly siloed and the data sets aren’t easily shared,” said CIO Slick. “Our competitors have taken the approach of rebuilding everything from the ground up — which has honestly never worked well — so we took a different approach by building up this brilliant technology team of 15 employees, including a core group of developers who were able to integrate Salesforce with athenahealth, a best-in-class electronic health record (EHR), our own data warehouse and a proprietary patient portal and tie them all together in a unique way.”

“All of the systems are talking to one another and working together to provide an actionable view of the patient,” said Slick. “Our doctors, nurses and health coaches all have access to the right information at the right time in order to create a better outcome for the patient.”

That technology upgrade has also delivered workflow improvements that are helping OurHealth live up to its promise of improving the patient experience by automating the check in process and giving time back to the doctors and providers so they can use it on what matters most — getting to know their patients. Average wait times in the clinics are less than five minutes and OurHealth doctors spend, on average, 30 minutes with their patients, compared to the 5 – 10 minutes they’d receive at a major hospital system.

OurHealth employees John Botta (Director of Enterprise Data & Architecture), Stan Brown (Integration Architect), Brian Norris (Vice President of Data & Analytics), and Justin Richardson (Solutions Architect) formed a team and won the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Challenge.

And they’re putting all of that capability building to action in other ways too. Late last month, the OurHealth data team won the Indiana Medicaid Data Challenge by uncovering more than $150 million in potential Medicaid savings in the form of avoidable emergency department visits.

“When I first met Jeff (Wells), I remember asking him what his goal was,” Slick said. “He said ‘I want to change the world. I believed him when he said it, and I believe it even more today when I see the impact we’re able to have on our customers and patients.”

OurHealth

CATEGORY: Healthcare Technology, Service Provider Technology CITY: Indianapolis

Provider of on-site and near-site primary care clinics for businesses of all sizes.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joshua Hall is editor of techpoint.org. He writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people & events. @joshua2349