During his 15-year career in healthcare, Will Porteous, Maven’s new chief growth officer, has worked across the health ecosystem at organizations including BCG, Evolent Health, and, most recently, as a senior leader at Bright Health. In his new role at Maven, he will oversee partnerships with payers and providers, seeking to deliver on his career-long ambition of improving care quality while driving down costs. 

In this Q&A, Will shares his perspective on where women’s and family health sits within the healthcare landscape and the post-pandemic future of digital health.

What attracted you to Maven at this point in your career?

I’ve spent my career focused on how we can deliver higher quality care at lower cost broadly across populations. However, during my time at Bright Health, I came to realize that more could be done with greater focus on key drivers of healthcare spend — and women’s and family health is at the top of that list. Joining Maven I get to support that focus, and the timing is right.  At this stage in the company’s growth, we’re expanding our partnerships with payers and providers and investing deeply in our care management, which aligns perfectly to demonstrating meaningful outcomes and improving quality and cost in a big way.

More personally, my husband and I welcomed our son Walter a year ago, working with a surrogate. Even with the support of family and friends, there were many times where I just felt lost. Now Walter is here, but it’s not like the journey is over. We still need that support from healthcare, and I now know firsthand how much that can be made better for every family with a partner like Maven in that journey. 

How does Maven’s solution fit into the strategies payers and providers are exploring in order to improve quality and lower costs?

We are building Maven to serve as the on-ramp to the healthcare system. For many of our members, this is the first time they’re interacting with healthcare in a serious way and likely their first hospitalization. In other words, this is a high-leverage moment in the lifespan where the member is naturally leaning on healthcare, and getting them engaged more broadly in managing their health during this time can pay enormous dividends. For our payer and provider partners, this early engagement creates a stickiness to their own ecosystems over the longer term, enabling them to achieve their objectives of improving population health and lowering costs.

How is Maven thinking about value-based arrangements?

My experience is that the best approaches to risk-sharing are also the simplest. Getting there requires clearly designed episodes and transparent metrics with aligned incentives for all involved parties. Family-building offers that. You have an obvious initial trigger, in pregnancy or fertility, and then well-defined and broadly accepted measures of quality like NICU admissions, avoidable C-sections, and rates of breastfeeding. The challenge is that many care management programs lack the necessary engagement with the patient, either because they’re still operating in an analog fashion or the member simply doesn’t see usefulness in the solution. Maven was purpose-built and stress-tested as a direct-to-consumer product first and that shows in our member engagement and satisfaction. Unlike most care management programs, we don’t have to reach out to the member — they proactively engage us. This positions us to be a true partner to organizations seeking to advance their own goals of improved quality and lower costs.

Looking ahead, it’s clear that digitization is accelerating across healthcare, but we’re also seeing increased fragmentation. How do these two trends evolve from here?

The pandemic accelerated the maturation of telehealth into something more meaningful. Before it was seen as just another entrypoint that actually drove up utilization with little improvement on outcomes. As it became the most viable way to access needed services throughout the pandemic, platforms were forced to become more comprehensive with the purpose of avoiding unnecessary utilization at brick and mortar facilities. You could schedule visits when you wanted, keep track of your progress, and learn about your health — all self-directed, all from the comfort and privacy of your home — and have a tech-enabled care team supporting you at every step.

Now the proliferation of condition-based solutions is throwing another wrinkle into the mix. The long-term impulse across the industry is towards one seamless experience — end-to-end coverage, offering holistic care — that simplifies the experience of accessing care, providing care, and paying for care. This is one of the things that drew me to Maven. We are building a digital one-stop-shop for patients from preconception through parenting and beyond, while ensuring integration with the member’s in-person provider team. This is a multi-year journey, but I’m excited by our progress to date and by the number and diversity of Maven employer, payer, and provider customers who recognize that this is the right long-term approach.

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