While most organizations are planning how they’ll usher in the new decade, Vera CEO Ryan Schmid is setting his sights on where healthcare, and the member experience, will be at the end of it. His vision for 2030 may surprise you: think less technology, more human connection.

Schmid’s vision harkens back to the days of housecalls, the neighborhood Marcus Welby who defied the status quo and took the time to truly know his patients. Human connection, and spending more time with members, is his utopian forecast. It’s a simpler approach to care.

“The overwhelming majority of us go through life with lots of people around us and in our lives, but very rarely does someone pause to listen empathetically to us, and I think that’s a huge gift that we can offer,” says Schmid.

When members feel as though they are seen and heard, their experience is positive. Empathetic listening and taking the time with members to understand all aspects of their lives leads to better health outcomes. Treating members on a whole person level, rather than on symptoms, is what has been missing in modern healthcare.

“Right now, we’re at a pivotal moment in healthcare. I think that there is real potential momentum and the opportunity, as a society, for us to get it right. And that is to create a system that really pays for value. That we treat health as more than just the absence of disease or infirmity. We’re fighting for the shift in value.”

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It may sound counterintuitive, but his vision also includes spending more money on primary care. More expensive healthcare, that seeks to find the root cause of health concerns, will allow for more efficient care in the long term.

“We can spend all the time we want addressing physical conditions after they’ve occurred, like in an exam room, but that’s not what’s actually causing poor health. It has very much to do with one’s social networks. So, as a clinical and business model, being very aware of that allows us to train our folks differently, to think differently, to operate differently, to really impact community and social networks so that we’re not just putting a bandaid on the problem and we’re actually addressing the root cause.”

Schmid envisions the close of the next decade to be the pinnacle of a healthcare revolution. One in which society has invested in advanced primary care that treats the whole person, that takes into account the social determinants of health.

“Our goal is that every American will have access to a Vera care team … I think we’ve got a fantastic model and I think if we’re successful, you’ll see a tremendous impact on cost and outcomes and that, by our definition, is the health revolution,” says Schmid.

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