Health Benefits Nation

Health Benefits Nation

September 26-28, 2023 | The Royal Sonesta Houston Galleria, Houston TX

Fast Five Interview

1. What is the top challenge or obstacle facing healthcare today?

From Ryan Grant, MD, CEO and Co-founder of Vori Health

One of the top challenges facing healthcare today is the continuous rise of unnecessary surgery.  I’m not anti-surgery—as a neurosurgeon at Yale and Geisinger I was awestruck by modern medicine’s ability to make things better: to heal the sick, reverse paralysis, improve quality of life and help people when they really need it. But I also saw how modern medicine and its applications could actively make things worse, especially in the treatment of back, neck, and joint pain.

Doing inappropriate spine and orthopedic surgery is the norm in the U.S. healthcare system. That is, the standard of care is to practice inappropriately. With over 50 percent of spine surgeries deemed unnecessary (some authors cite 90 percent), U.S. health systems have built business models reliant on facility fees for procedures. Even our most elite health systems that we see ranked in U.S. News are performing a plethora of unnecessary surgeries–we have lost our way.

That’s what drove Mary and I to start Vori: a commitment to make things better for, and do better by, people in pain. A place where they’re listened to, where they get answers, a place to treat their pain more effectively.

To change outcomes, you have to change how these types of pain are treated—and that means changing the questions you ask. Is the care we are providing appropriate, evidence-based, and needed? Is surgery a requirement or an option? How often does a patient know that a care path is an option versus a necessity? What other aspects of a patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and physiology are contributing to their discomfort?

Especially now that elective surgeries are back in full swing, we must assess if surgery is truly the best option moving forward, or if there are less costly forms of care that can move the needle even further on outcomes. Until we redefine value as a patient-centric metric, as opposed to system-centric, we will continue to fail those who need our help, and rapidly chip away at the unstable foundation of healthcare.

2. How are you addressing diversity, equity, and inclusivity in your organization or for your clients?

From Nadian Zak, Chief People Officer of Vori Health

At Vori Health, we believe diversity, equity, and belonging are fundamental to humanizing care. We are committed to creating a working environment in which our team members feel free to be their most authentic and best selves. To build a better care model—one that is more equitable, more culturally-aligned, and of higher quality—we must foster the same principles across our organization. As Vorriors, we aspire to be role models in cultivating an environment where everyone feels safe, respected, and a true sense of belonging.

We work to advance progress for diversity, equity, and belonging at Vori Health by:

  • Gathering data to measure the outcomes of our DE&B investments and their impact on our Vorriors’ experiences
  • Providing regular DE&B education to our team members to equip them with shared tools and knowledge
  • Creating space and community for individuals of various identities through our Vorrior Resource Groups
  • Fostering growth and development through our Vorrior Mentorship Program
  • Inviting outside DE&B speakers to broaden our perspectives
  • Evaluating our processes and product to make them more equitable and inclusive for all types of people
  • Advancing our commitment of our DE&B efforts through the formation of our DE&B Council (comprised of 12 cross functional team members and 3 executives)

3. What do you feel are the key drivers of healthcare transformation?

From Ryan Grant, MD, CEO and Co-founder of Vori Health

Value-based care has tremendous potential to reshape the landscape of healthcare. Since the concept surfaced decades ago, value-based care has vastly improved outcomes and lowered costs through a simple but powerful realignment of the healthcare compass—by redefining value based on what matters to patients. While primary care has been the main recipient of these value-based improvements, specialty care such as orthopedics/spine/musculoskeletal, oncology, GI, and mental health stand to gain as well. The next wave of healthcare innovation will take shape as value-based care makes its way into specialty medicine.

4. How can we bring care closer to consumers/patients/employees?

From Ryan Grant, MD, CEO and Co-founder of Vori Health

The explosion of telehealth has unblocked critical access to specialty care across the country. With digital health solutions, we’ve seen patients overcome traditional barriers to care, including the cost of transportation, time off from work, childcare, and medical expenses. For the specific areas of medicine, such as musculoskeletal/orthopedics and mental health, for which studies show telehealth can not only stand alone but is even more effective than in-person care, we need to continue pushing for progress—from advancements in telehealth technology to legislation that encourages and incentives its use.

5. What motivates you to keep doing the work that you do?

From Mary O’Connor, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of Vori Health

In my many years practicing as a Mayo Clinic trained orthopedic surgeon and as Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, I learned a simple but powerful lesson: For medical care to be successful, the needs of the patient must come first.

My experience with different medical centers taught me that traditional care provision struggled with this lesson — not for lack of good intention, but rather by misunderstanding the needs of the patient.

We built Vori to redress this and place the patient at the heart of the care team. Truly personalizing care for back, knee and joint pain means getting to know the person – and finding out every possible factor that could be causing and contributing to their condition and discomfort. Creating the multi-disciplinary team approach necessary for this approach is very challenging in our traditional healthcare system: so, in Vori, we created our own.

I have never been more encouraged and excited to be in health care. There has to be a better way of treating people, and while we don’t pretend to have all the answers, building Vori feels as if we are on the right track – due to the incredibly positive results our patients are achieving! And we will keep working to do even better, guided by the collective wisdom of our patients, team members, and partners.