Insurtech, the Red Queen’s Race, and Stepping Through the Looking Glass

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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By: Brand Newland, PharmD, MBA, CEO and Co-Founder of Goldfinch Health

Of the many adventures of Alice in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” I always find myself coming back to one with a smile. Perhaps you remember the story of the Red Queen’s race in which Alice finds herself constantly running yet remaining in the same place.

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

Kind of reminds you of the modern-day world in which we live, doesn’t it? I’m sure all of us at times feel the seemingly barrage of professional challenges and world events. Even innovation designed to improve some part of our daily lives or industry can be overwhelming in its pace and volume.

We founded Goldfinch Health in 2018 to solve a problem for plan members and their companies — surgery is too expensive. Wasted medical costs, unnecessary time away from life and work, and dangerous opioid painkiller exposure headline the costs. We found a breakthrough for Goldfinch when BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) selected our company as part of the inaugural 2020 Accelerator cohort.

Here’s what we’ve learned about stepping off the proverbial treadmill, breaking through the noise, and converting customers into raving fans. While this certainly applies to our field of surgery quality, we believe it likely applies much more broadly as well.

1. Make It Tangible.

Our Goldfinch program features nurse navigators connecting with patients by phone and secure text messaging pre- and post-surgery to provide education, advocacy, and support. Our entire approach finds its basis in over 20 years of clinical research in what are known as Enhanced Recovery protocols.

For the patient experience, we are long on evidence and results, but admittedly, a bit short on something you can literally and figuratively get your arms around.

And then, this fall, we added the Prepared for Surgery Tool Kit to our program, a box of specially-curated items for optimal surgery experiences sent directly to the member’s home in the days before their procedure. Exit survey rating and patient testimonials have markedly improved, as have program outcomes.

2. Make It Quantifiable.

We measure program success in terms of saved days in recovery. In other words, how much sooner can we help you, as a member heading into a major surgery, get back to your life and back to work as compared to a person just like you who gets the typical approach to surgery? We even place an ROI guarantee on program results.

Yet, the most important step we’ve taken in reporting program results occurred when we engaged the Validation Institute as a third-party reviewer of our data. The Validation Institute analysts pored over our database and ultimately found the Goldfinch program saves 32 days in recovery/return to work time and produces $7.70 vs. $1 return on investment.

3. Make It Memorable.

Our goal at Goldfinch is to wow the members we support with information and an expert, empathetic consultation at a time after surgery when both expertise and empathy can be sorely needed. By design, this requires meeting the member in a way he/she wants to be met, during a vulnerable and anxiety-inducing time. We do this every day at Goldfinch Health.

This recent testimonial from a Goldfinch-supported member demonstrates the “Make it memorable” mantra.

While “make it tangible/make it quantifiable/make it memorable” certainly applies to our business, I bet it might apply to yours as well.

Best wishes to stepping out of the Red Queen’s Race and through the looking glass!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022