EP336: The Barbarians at the Gate—Who Are They and How Do They Cause Trouble for the Healthcare Industry Status Quo? With Brandon Weber
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EP336: The Barbarians at the Gate—Who Are They and How Do They Cause Trouble for the Healthcare Industry Status Quo? With Brandon Weber

I was listening to a panel discussion and heard Brandon Weber use the phrase the “barbarians at the gate” of the healthcare industry. I think I reached out to invite him to come on the podcast before the end of the segment. But at risk of spoiler alerts, let me sum up what I think is so interesting about Brandon’s insights, which he talks about on the show.

First of all, it isn’t an “oh, heavens, some companies out there are trying to disrupt the status quo,” like this is some sort of news flash that hasn’t been tossed out with police lights and sirens however many times already over however many years.

Brandon gets into the sheer magnitude of what’s going on, right now, from a capital investment standpoint but also from a human capital standpoint. How many crazy smart proven disrupter-type people have come along with that capital?

Brandon also touches on something I’ve been thinking about lately: coalition building, for lack of a better word for it. If we have status quo behemoths with market caps of a third of a trillion dollars out there, some start-up who is super happy to have scored a however-many-million-dollar seed round is not a threat in and of themselves. But if many of these littles are aligned and working together in win-win ways that ultimately take market share from the big dogs, now things get interesting.

So, while much attention is focused on point solutions that disrupt some aspect of care delivery, we might want to take another look at the less visible entities that are putting platforms underneath: the companies that are building out services that offer economies of scale, that create “pipes” helping patients connect with appropriate solutions that make this emerging market just work better. It’s these platform companies, combined with a general willingness to collaborate, that make ganging up a sort of natural strategy to build a really flourishing ecosystem. And it’s that whole ecosystem that I would consider the most likely disrupter within an industry very much designed for the big to get bigger.

Anecdotally, I see both of these ecosystem-building factors happening (ie, the platforms and then also a really unprecedented level of collaborative, all-boats-rise kind of thinking). There are communities like the one that Brian Klepper runs for benefits professionals or Health Tech Nerds or outofpocket.health. But based on what I see in these groups and elsewhere, the sharing and helpfulness is really encouraging and heartwarming if you’re not an incumbent, I guess. 

My guest in this podcast, as mentioned, is Brandon Weber, who is the CEO and founder of Nava. This is one of those foundational-type upstarts. Brandon’s company Nava is a benefits brokerage but one that’s built on a platform that crochets together everything it takes to support a best-practice employer health plan. For example, point solutions have to be easy to buy and fold in, while on the back end, all of those point solutions and others need access to the right data so that appropriate employees can be engaged and make the most of the benefits offered. If you think about it, it’s easy to see how having a really strong foundation here amplifies the value that can be delivered and accelerates change management.

Coming up also, stay tuned because I’m interviewing Kristin Begley about optimal digital front doors, which is sort of an extension of the conversation that you’ll hear in this episode.

You can learn more at nava.io or by visiting their LinkedIn page.

Brandon Weber is the cofounder and CEO at Nava, a modern benefits brokerage on a mission to provide high-quality, affordable access to healthcare to all Americans. By melding cutting-edge tech solutions with deep industry expertise, Nava aims to fix healthcare, one benefits plan at a time.

Prior to Nava, Brandon cofounded VTS, a tech-driven leasing and asset management platform that transformed the commercial real estate marketplace. Trusted by over 45,000 brokers and asset managers around the globe, it’s now used in over 50% of all office buildings in the United States and is consistently ranked one of New York’s best places to work.

Outside of work, he enjoys retreating into nature and is passionate about backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and trail running.

04:13 What does it mean to have “barbarians at the gate” of healthcare?
05:32 What is the overly complex gate to healthcare?
07:28 “No one can make the argument that we’ve seen this before.”
08:37 Are the “barbarians” in healthcare going to expand the system that already exists?
09:25 What is the number one pain point in healthcare?
13:25 “Typically, the innovation doesn’t come from the incumbents.”
17:16 “We were actually just blown away by the amount of innovation that is already happening … [in] care delivery.”
17:58 “The future is actually here; it’s just not evenly distributed.”
18:08 Why is there a need for a distribution layer in healthcare?
20:57 “Everyone is vying to be that one app in the pocket that acts as the aggregator, the hub, the steering point.”
26:32 “If you build it, they will come … that is absolutely not true in [healthcare].”
29:46 “The benefits broker is likely the most underappreciated stakeholder in the healthcare industry.”

You can learn more at nava.io or by visiting their LinkedIn page.

@BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

What does it mean to have “barbarians at the gate” of healthcare? @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

What is the overly complex gate to healthcare? @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

“No one can make the argument that we’ve seen this before.” @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

Are the “barbarians” in healthcare going to expand the system that already exists? @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

“Typically, the innovation doesn’t come from the incumbents.” @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

What is the number one pain point in healthcare? @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

“We were actually just blown away by the amount of innovation that is already happening … [in] care delivery.” @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

“The future is actually here; it’s just not evenly distributed.” @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

Why is there a need for a distribution layer in healthcare? @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

“Everyone is vying to be that one app in the pocket that acts as the aggregator, the hub, the steering point.” @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

“If you build it, they will come … that is absolutely not true in [healthcare].” @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

“The benefits broker is likely the most underappreciated stakeholder in the healthcare industry.” @BrandonGWeber, CEO and founder of @NavaBenefits, discusses the gatekeepers of #healthcare on our #podcast. #healthcarepodcast #digitalhealth #healthinnovation

Recent past interviews:

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Stacey Richter (INBW30), Brian Klepper (AEE16), Brian Klepper (EP335), Sunita Desai, Care Plans vs Real World (EP333), Dr Tony DiGioia, Al Lewis, John Marchica, Joe Connolly, Marshall Allen, Andrew Eye, Naomi Fried, Dr Rishi Wadhera, Dr Mai Pham, Nicole Bradberry and Kelly Conroy, Lee Lewis, Dr Arshad Rahim, Dr Monica Lypson, Dr Rich Klasco, Dr David Carmouche (AEE15), Christian Milaster, Dr Grace Terrell, Troy Larsgard, Josh LaRosa, Dr David Carmouche (EP316), Bob Matthews, Dr Douglas Eby (AEE14), Dr Sheldon Weiss

 

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