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By: Sadaf Hossain, Senior Healthcare Value Advisor, SAP Americas


Last week, two speakers (one CEO and one academic) at my former business school, Duke University – Fuqua School of Business, validated my career decision to be a part of “The Healthcare Renaissance” Period, a time where Healthcare & Technology industries blur their lines and start to intersect, and a time where Healthcare in the United States is redefined and transformed to thrive in 2020 and beyond.


One speaker was Joseph Swedish, CEO of Wellpoint and former Fuqua Alum, who spoke as part of Fuqua’s Distinguished Speaker Series (by the way, SAP’s Co-CEO Bill McDermott was a part of this series in 2013) and recently made quite the interesting career move. He took the CEO helm at Wellpoint in 2013 after serving the majority of his career as CEO of several hospitals and hospital systems. He decided to embrace the healthcare payer industry due to his strong belief that this is where consumer centricity will truly be achieved within U.S. healthcare. 


The other speaker was Ronnie Chatterji, Associate Professor of Strategy at Fuqua, as part of the school’s Faculty Conversations Series. Chatterji has taken a unique approach in his career as well. He is an academic, but is concurrently spending his job working directly with and advising healthcare technology startups. Based on his success with this dual-pronged approach (academic + corporate), he has found that technology is proving to be effective in healthcare by fully enabling clinicians with the right technologies, as opposed to attempting to replace doctors and nurses.


From background & perspective alone, you can understand why I got excited hearing them both. Furthermore, as part of their speeches last week, there were three points in particular that supported the assertion of Technology Enabling the “Healthcare Renaissance” (as coined by Joseph Swedish):


  1. The Bet on Analytics – Swedish pointed out that Wellpoint and the healthcare industry as a whole is making significant bets on the uncertain reality and monumental healthcare transformation. Just to survive in the new reality, Wellpoint and other payers and providers alike are investing significantly in disruptive and game changing technologies. Swedish believes strongly that Big Data and Predictive Analytics will make healthcare organizations make “better bets” and is aligning his talent strategy to support the Big Data revolution.
  2. Customer Centricity – Swedish’s recent career move from a hospital CEO to a payer CEO reveals the true nugget. He describes his decision to join the payer industry due to his own bet that the payers will truly achieve customer centricity in healthcare. As healthcare customers become more empowered, it is critical that payers develop the infrastructure to facilitate this rising demand from the patient population who already share the same clinical and financial endeavor to enable a life-long healthy individual.
  3. Technologies to Enable Clinicians – Chatterji’s research is starting to reveal that the right technologies that enable clinicians are truly capturing value in healthcare, as opposed to technologies looking to replace clinicians. He specifically references WellDoc’s BlueStar app, which is an FDA-approved mobile app, as being enthusiastically embraced by clinicians due to the fact that it survived clinical trials and has proven that the app itself can help Type II Diabetes patients actually lower blood sugar levels. This is a promising success story and important lesson for healthcare technology companies


To summarize, an evolutionary transition is starting to occur in the U.S. Healthcare Industry. Both a CEO and an Academic can agree that Big Data, Analytics, and Technology will help define this new “Healthcare Renaissance”. As an alum of Duke University – Fuqua School of Business and an employee of SAP, its validation that my investments in both are already paying off.


For more insight from the two speakers, I encourage you to watch both videos in the near future on Fuqua’s Youtube Channel. For an overview of SAP’s healthcare solutions, please visit SAP Healthcare.

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