Dr. Bruce Weiss

Coffee Break

Dr. Bruce Weiss
Vice president of healthcare strategies
UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin
10701 W. Research Drive, Milwaukee
www.uhc.com
Industry: Health care
Employees: More than 6,800 in Wisconsin; more than 135,000 in the United States
Family: Married for 31 years to Melinda Steffey. Children Stefanie (21) and William (18).


Weiss

Weiss

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“Leveraging big data. The use of big data is affecting a variety of industries, including health care. For example, UnitedHealthcare has introduced a new customer service model (Advocate4Me) that uses big data to anticipate the health care needs of consumers and makes it easier for them to get the care they need. Accessing and making sense of robust data drives our ability to better anticipate a member’s needs. Our comprehensive view of each member creates alerts through real-time data, which highlights areas for health improvement and service support, and identifies clear opportunities to educate about options for care.”

What’s new at your company?

“Well, what’s new for me is my new role. Previously, I was the market medical director for Wisconsin and Illinois. A few months ago I assumed the position of vice president of healthcare strategies, where I focus on our Virtual Health Plan with the Business Health Care Group in southeast Wisconsin.

“The Virtual Health Plan will identify cost drivers and develop solutions to address cost trend through benefit design, network, product/programs and clinical engagement. The Virtual Health Plan offers an intense focus on the clinical and affordability needs of large customers using the same support models used for large, actuarially equivalent, fully-insured health plans. Individual customer analyses will run concurrently with the Virtual Health Plan analysis and when opportunities are identified they will be tailored to fit individual employer needs. In this role, I am responsible for helping to identify cost drivers on a clinical level and to develop solutions to address those cost drivers for the Business Health Care Group and their 1,000 employers and employer groups of all sizes representing more than 100,000 lives.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“UnitedHealthcare and our parent company, UnitedHealth Group, continue to grow in Wisconsin. In 2015, we added 420 employees in Wisconsin, which was a seven percent increase. Plus, the number of executive level positions in Wisconsin increased by 16 percent in 2015.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“One big challenge will be to drive consumer engagement with the new tools and technologies we’ve developed. While it is important to create innovative health and wellness programs, those efforts are only meaningful if people actually use them. That’s why we are using innovative approaches, such as gamification and human-centered designed principles, to create health programs that are interactive, intuitive and easy to use. By driving the adoption of health-related technologies, we can help improve health outcomes for our members and make care more affordable for everyone.”    

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Telemedicine and connected health devices, including wearable devices. Employers nationwide are expected by 2018 to incorporate into wellness programs more than 13 million wearable and fitness tracking devices, helping to improve employees’ health and productivity and reduce medical costs for employees and the company. By providing employees wearable devices and other technological resources, employers are able to encourage more active and healthier lifestyles and track the actual activity levels of program participants.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Go slow to go fast.

“Spend the time upfront planning and anticipating problems. Rushed roll-outs lead to implementation problems, ill will, program suspensions and redesigns. Spending more time upfront planning and avoiding the temptation to just get started often prevents misadventures and ultimately gets the program up and running sooner than rushing a poorly thought-out project.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I admire the business philosophy of Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller. Bob Chapman and Barry-Wehmiller embrace a different approach to business leadership—an approach that every person/employee matters, just like in a family. They reject the idea that employees are simply resources to be managed. Their approach that ‘everybody matters’ has delivered extraordinary financial results and an engaged workforce.”   

What was the best advice you ever received?

“One of my prior bosses was a former Army officer who completed two combat tours in Vietnam prior to transitioning into health care. When confronted with major decisions, he would always reflect on what was the right and honorable thing to do. I’ve tried to follow his advice…do what is right and honorable.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Several years ago, as part of a United Way campaign at a prior organization, a company-wide contest was held. Employees cast their votes by contributing money to United Way. The executive that raised the most money would have to literally kiss a pig. Thanks to my staff’s great support and probably a few ringers, I raised the most money and ‘won’ the contest. However, the event was cancelled because it was felt to be cruel to the pig.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I like to fly different aircrafts: tail draggers, seaplanes and regular airplanes. I also get to fly several World War II aircraft as a member of the Commemorative Air Force. Flying is a great distraction from my normal activities. It can be technically challenging or relaxing, but it always requires you to give it your full attention.”

Dr. Bruce Weiss
Vice president of healthcare strategies
UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin
10701 W. Research Drive, Milwaukee
www.uhc.com
Industry: Health care
Employees: More than 6,800 in Wisconsin; more than 135,000 in the United States
Family: Married for 31 years to Melinda Steffey. Children Stefanie (21) and William (18).


Weiss

Weiss

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“Leveraging big data. The use of big data is affecting a variety of industries, including health care. For example, UnitedHealthcare has introduced a new customer service model (Advocate4Me) that uses big data to anticipate the health care needs of consumers and makes it easier for them to get the care they need. Accessing and making sense of robust data drives our ability to better anticipate a member’s needs. Our comprehensive view of each member creates alerts through real-time data, which highlights areas for health improvement and service support, and identifies clear opportunities to educate about options for care.”

What’s new at your company?

“Well, what’s new for me is my new role. Previously, I was the market medical director for Wisconsin and Illinois. A few months ago I assumed the position of vice president of healthcare strategies, where I focus on our Virtual Health Plan with the Business Health Care Group in southeast Wisconsin.

“The Virtual Health Plan will identify cost drivers and develop solutions to address cost trend through benefit design, network, product/programs and clinical engagement. The Virtual Health Plan offers an intense focus on the clinical and affordability needs of large customers using the same support models used for large, actuarially equivalent, fully-insured health plans. Individual customer analyses will run concurrently with the Virtual Health Plan analysis and when opportunities are identified they will be tailored to fit individual employer needs. In this role, I am responsible for helping to identify cost drivers on a clinical level and to develop solutions to address those cost drivers for the Business Health Care Group and their 1,000 employers and employer groups of all sizes representing more than 100,000 lives.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“UnitedHealthcare and our parent company, UnitedHealth Group, continue to grow in Wisconsin. In 2015, we added 420 employees in Wisconsin, which was a seven percent increase. Plus, the number of executive level positions in Wisconsin increased by 16 percent in 2015.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“One big challenge will be to drive consumer engagement with the new tools and technologies we’ve developed. While it is important to create innovative health and wellness programs, those efforts are only meaningful if people actually use them. That’s why we are using innovative approaches, such as gamification and human-centered designed principles, to create health programs that are interactive, intuitive and easy to use. By driving the adoption of health-related technologies, we can help improve health outcomes for our members and make care more affordable for everyone.”    

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Telemedicine and connected health devices, including wearable devices. Employers nationwide are expected by 2018 to incorporate into wellness programs more than 13 million wearable and fitness tracking devices, helping to improve employees’ health and productivity and reduce medical costs for employees and the company. By providing employees wearable devices and other technological resources, employers are able to encourage more active and healthier lifestyles and track the actual activity levels of program participants.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Go slow to go fast.

“Spend the time upfront planning and anticipating problems. Rushed roll-outs lead to implementation problems, ill will, program suspensions and redesigns. Spending more time upfront planning and avoiding the temptation to just get started often prevents misadventures and ultimately gets the program up and running sooner than rushing a poorly thought-out project.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I admire the business philosophy of Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller. Bob Chapman and Barry-Wehmiller embrace a different approach to business leadership—an approach that every person/employee matters, just like in a family. They reject the idea that employees are simply resources to be managed. Their approach that ‘everybody matters’ has delivered extraordinary financial results and an engaged workforce.”   

What was the best advice you ever received?

“One of my prior bosses was a former Army officer who completed two combat tours in Vietnam prior to transitioning into health care. When confronted with major decisions, he would always reflect on what was the right and honorable thing to do. I’ve tried to follow his advice…do what is right and honorable.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Several years ago, as part of a United Way campaign at a prior organization, a company-wide contest was held. Employees cast their votes by contributing money to United Way. The executive that raised the most money would have to literally kiss a pig. Thanks to my staff’s great support and probably a few ringers, I raised the most money and ‘won’ the contest. However, the event was cancelled because it was felt to be cruel to the pig.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I like to fly different aircrafts: tail draggers, seaplanes and regular airplanes. I also get to fly several World War II aircraft as a member of the Commemorative Air Force. Flying is a great distraction from my normal activities. It can be technically challenging or relaxing, but it always requires you to give it your full attention.”

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