SeamlessMD Podcast – Episode 30 – Devin Gross: Pioneering Digital Patient Engagement



In this episode of the SeamlessMD Podcast, Dr. Joshua Liu, Co-founder & CEO at SeamlessMD, and marketing colleague, Alan Sardana, chat with Devin Gross, MBA, former CEO at Emmi Solutions and current Head of Portfolio Management at Primus, on “Pioneering Digital Patient Engagement”. See the full show notes below for details.

Mr. Devin Gross, MBA, former CEO at Emmi Solutions and current Head of Portfolio Management at Primus

Dr. Joshua Liu (@joshuapliu), Co-founder & CEO at SeamlessMD

Episode 30 – Show notes:

[0:30] Introducing Mr. Devin Gross, MBA, former CEO at Emmi Solutions & current Head of Portfolio Management at Primus;

[1:36] Why Mr. Gross continues to work in healthcare despite its many bureaucratic challenges, how he started in hospital administration, and how he discovered that patients were the most underutilized resource by hospital administration;

[3:25] How digital patient engagement started back when streaming multimedia content had just started to gain traction, and how Emmi Solutions was originally marketed as a risk management solution;

[5:38] How patient consent & risk management remained prominent Emmi features as the product evolved;

[7:02] Why skeptics of health-tech innovation will always exist and how it’s the innovator’s opportunity to shape the narrative by sharing strong positive feedback from physicians about digital patient engagement;

[11:20] How specific policy changes led to the gradual popularity of digital patient engagement, such as the introduction of readmission penalties and value-based care, as well as some of the pitfalls which slowed innovation such as the 2008 financial crisis and the “meaningful use guidelines”, which served as a checklist as opposed to driving patient engagement forward;

[13:30] Why it is most important to clearly articulate how a product is going to help make money, save money or meet a regulatory requirement in order to maximize interest from constituents with limited resources;

[15:53] Why there is a challenge between helping patients and providing value to the investor/buyer and why it is important to focus on both without losing sight of the investor’s interest;

[18:50] Why Mr. Gross believes direct to consumer health-tech emerged due to misaligned incentives that corrupt the patient-provider relationship and why this relationship is the most important long-term relationship since healthcare is complicated;

[24:05] How balancing providing a higher quality patient experience with slower-moving financial incentives is a challenge and why it is important to articulate both sides of the story (how a product benefits providers today as well as in the future);

[27:48] Why Emmi Solutions was thought of as providing a medically relevant friend-to-friend conversation because of its empowering language and nurturing tone meant to change behavior, and how there is a disconnect between the information physician’s think the patient wants to know and what the patient actually wants to know;

[30:56] Why Mr. Gross believes digital “front-doors” as a patient acquisition strategy is a missed opportunity compared to viewing patients holistically as consumers with brand affinities and lives outside of the acute experience as a patient;

[37:45] How patient education is a subset of patient engagement, where the purpose of patient engagement is to drive a behavior change or action (sign up for an appointment, weigh yourself, self-care, etc.) and education is to empower patients with information to ultimately support engagement;

[39:40] Why the democratization of data available online such as clinician ratings, outcomes, etc. is influencing consumer healthcare choice, and how digital patient engagement can (and will) evolve over time by creating more personalized experiences for patients;

[42:14] Fast Five / Lightning Round Questions:

Q1: What is your favorite book / book gifted the most?

A1: Hippos Go Berserk! By Sandra Boynton, a wonderful children’s book that I read to my kids.

Q2: What is your favorite movie / TV show?

A2: The Watchmen on HBO Max, based off of the comic book series of the same name.

Q3: What is something in healthcare you believe that others may find insane?

A3: The fact that the system makes more money when you’re sick than when you’re well, the fragmented system full of individual contractors that lead to people having a ton of bills,

Q4: Would you rather have super strength, super speed, or be able to read people’s minds?

A4: Absolutely the ability to read minds!

Q5: What is one hobby/activity you’ve gotten into since the pandemic started?

A5: I’ve become a Peloton junkie!

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