Health Benefits Nation

Health Benefits Nation

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

Fast Five Interview

Vijay Yanamadala, MD
Chief Medical Officer

Q: What is the top challenge or obstacle facing health care today?

A: In many ways, healthcare in America today is broken. Patients must navigate through a fragmented, siloed system that emphasizes interventions like surgery over more affordable and often more effective treatment. Preventive care, which should be front and center, is often a side note. The result is stagnant outcomes while the burden of medical costs continues to grow.

Q: What is the most promising development in health care that you have come across, and why?

A: I joined Sword Health because I saw how its virtual technology can deliver physical therapy that’s more convenient and even more effective than traditional, in-clinic treatment. The future of healthcare is definitely digital, but it must also stay human-centric so that patients never feel alone in their healing journey. We must approach every patient with an understanding of their unique goals, challenges and conditions, while using technology to improve health outcomes on a large scale.

Q: What do you feel are the key drivers of health care transformation?

A: To be transformative in healthcare today, you need to offer care that is highly personalized, tightly integrated with the patient’s overall care ecosystem, and driving good outcomes while not being cost prohibitive. This is not always easy to do. The answer is innovative technology combined with human-led expertise and compassion. Working with employers and health plans, we are offering physical therapy that’s tailored for each individual—with zero out-of-pocket costs for members. Every day, we are partnering with more and more companies so that the experience for members is seamless instead of siloed, integrated instead of fragmented.

Q: How has the pandemic changed the way health care organizations think about data and technology?

A: The pandemic changed the way we think about the limitations of location. The rise of remote work means people can live anywhere and still do great work. The same thing is happening in healthcare. Technology now allows us to offer virtual care that is on par or even better than in-person treatment in many cases. To enable this, you need really good data. For us, that means highly accurate real-time biofeedback from every moment, every exercise, and every member. Without it, we don’t believe you can offer truly personalized care.

Q: What does employee well-being mean to you?

A: Wellbeing is really about removing the obstacles that prevent people from living to their fullest potential. At Sword, we’re on a mission to free 2 billion people from pain. We believe relieving physical pain can lead to improvements in so many areas of your wellbeing, including your physical and mental health, mood and appetite, sleep and eating habits, leisure activities, social life and relationships, and financial health. For companies, focusing on sustainable pain relief can drive wellbeing benefits across the entire organization.