Regence at the GeekWire Summit: How the pandemic is changing health care

October 30, 2020
Regence BlueShield GeekWire Summit 2020
By Regence

For three years, Regence has sponsored the Health Tech Stage at the GeekWire Summit, helping lead discussion on how the economy of Washington and the Pacific Northwest can continue to change people’s lives through innovation. But at this year’s Summit, the Regence Health Tech Stage took on special urgency because of COVID-19.

“Innovative, effective health care is even more critical for all of us living in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Regence Vice President Brady Cass to the GeekWire Summit attendees. “At Regence, we’ve made it our priority to support our members, employers, business partners and local communities through the public health crisis. And we were honored to help lead the discussion this month on the Health Tech Stage.”

Regence leaders took the virtual stage to explore the meteoric rise of telehealth because of the pandemic, and the importance of provider-payer partnerships to make care simpler and more affordable for our members. Regence and ALLtech Benefits Trust also sent “Health Minute” videos to event attendees with tips on how to stay revitalized and healthy.

On the Regence Health Tech Stage, industry experts delved into the progress made in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine, and what the data tells us about how to best fight the disease. Other Summit speakers included Bill Gates, Expedia CEO Peter Kern, and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert.

Regence Senior Executive Medical Director Drew Oliveira talked about how care delivery has changed this year, and gave attendees tips on how to protect their families’ health during the pandemic. Masks and social distancing will take on more importance as people start to move inside. “Over the summer months, we were outside and we could do things a little bit safer,” Dr. Oliveira said. “Now that we enter the winter months, we need to double down on our thinking (in terms of COVID precautions).”

Dr. Marion Couch, Regence’s Chief Medical Officer, talked to MultiCare CEO Bill Robertson in a session about the innovative partnership between Regence and MultiCare to share data and focus on the quality of care, in order to improve the patient experience.

The pandemic has strained the health care system but also brought about positive change, like an increase in telehealth, Dr. Couch said. Payers and providers will need to work closely together. “When we (as payers) empower health systems and providers to share in savings and make things more efficient and better, we’re always going to get better outcomes.” 

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