Cat: Tell me about your background
Casey: If I think about the things that helped define the trajectory of my life and work, a few stand out. First, my dad was in the Air Force and later became a commercial airline pilot. As a child, I was privileged to travel and meet and experience people and cultures from all over the world. Second, my mom was an athlete, physical therapist and later earned her master’s degree in biofeedback – physical health and nutrition were simply a part of my daily life growing up.
In college, I focused on international marketing and studio art and quickly learned to balance my curiosity for business with my need for creative expression.
Early in my career, I began to experience migraines and noticed many people around me also suffered from chronic pain. It seemed to me there was a correlation between how people work and live and how it impacts their overall health and well-being. Looking to explore this further, I received a master’s in whole systems design and hoped it would help me better understand systems and if there was a correlation.
Twenty years later, I’m still on that journey. And fortunate to have built a career around disruptive healthcare technologies that impact people’s health and well-being. I love it! The people I work with are wicked smart, passionate, and committed to helping other people.
Cat: And what led you to Hive Wellness?
Casey: Ty and I worked together at InDemand Interpreting, committed to advancing equitable and culturally sensitive healthcare. We reconnected when he told me about Hive Wellness and his vision to take us out of a paradigm of reactive sick care and into a world of proactive well care, which ignited my curiosity.
We started our journey by asking, who is most incentivized to make a change? The answer: Individuals and self-insured employers. Why? Because they are carrying the most significant cost burden in our broken healthcare system. 67% of all employees in the United State are covered by self-funded health insurance plans, and healthcare costs are outpacing inflation by more than double every year. It simply isn’t sustainable. And within the current paradigm, there’s absolutely no incentive to change.
And, healthcare has come so far in the last 20 years. A lot of the change, I believe, is due to efficiencies from disruptive technologies. Healthcare now can meet people where they are. Not only can we provide care in a hospital environment, but we now have predictive technology that can predict chronic disease risk and often prevent people from ending up in the hospital in the first place.
Cat: Meeting people where they are – that’s a huge trend in healthcare. You’ve worked in telehealth, so you know that delivering care to patients instead of expecting patients to deliver themselves to care is a big change that’s happening. And patients are really driving that change.
Casey: That’s right, and I think that COVID-19 accelerated the trajectory of how people engage with technology – both on the patient and the provider side. The pandemic made people aware of just how fragile life is. And I believe that awareness has led us to be more engaged with our health and the need to leverage technology.
Cat: We’ve had this huge rush in technology adoption in healthcare, but all those solutions already existed, it wasn’t invented to combat COVID conditions specifically. The same is true of predictive AI. It sounds like something from the future, but it’s here right now and it works.
Casey: The thing is, you can’t change a paradigm from within it. The way that predictive AI has been used in the past has been within our existing healthcare paradigm. People are already diagnosed and receiving treatments, and then predictive AI gets involved in supporting more appropriate and targeted care. What’s unique and exciting about Hive Wellness is its predictive engine. It took years to build out this engine, looking at the lives of millions of people over multiple years to identify and predict the trajectory of chronic disease, and underlying risk drivers. When you can predict the risk of chronic disease, you’re no longer looking at a traditional patient journey with symptom treatment and escalation. Instead, you’re looking at prevention in a whole new way.
I think the next question will be how do we engage with individuals armed with this predictive knowledge? And the sciences focused on changing people’s behavior will be the next big trend towards proactive well care.
Cat: Your recent infographic is focused on how the system isn’t incentivized to change. But it also points out the obvious – the system doesn’t work.
Casey: Right. If you look at that infographic, you’ll see that both health systems and insurance companies are not incentivized to change and continue to benefit from the status quo.
However, consumers are catalyzing changes in health care delivery due to their desire to avoid continually escalating costs, more actively engaging in their own care, and increasing demand for a more holistic approach to health and well-being.
In addition, managed care organizations (MCOs) have begun to shift from fee-for-service to value-based care, and have every incentive to support well care above sick care. One of the things that Hive Wellness does is predict chronic disease risk 12-24 months before onset. That’s huge. It helps MCOs look at their populations down to the individual level and offer programs and incentivize care that can help postpone and even prevent the onset of chronic disease.
I am most passionate about helping vulnerable people. Making sure all people have equity in care is paramount. And the system today is not equitable. So anything I can do in my life and work that can level the playing field drives me forward.
Cat: You’re very passionate about what you do. What drives that passion?
Casey: My passion is to make a real difference. One of the biggest drivers for me is that I don’t like to be busy for the sake of being busy. Cecil, the chairman of our board, always says, “Don’t confuse activity with results.” Bingo! I love working hard and seeing the impact my efforts have on my current company and the people we serve.
Cat: What do you find yourself doing outside of healthcare?
Casey: As I stated before, I’m committed to equity and making sure ALL people have the opportunity to live a happy and healthy life. I sit on the Girl Scouts of Western Washington board, and I’m committed to helping girls become empowered women and leaders. Empowering women has always been an essential part of my life. Years ago, I founded a company called Verve Women whose sole purpose was to focus and shine a light on the brilliance of women in my Seattle community. And while that business no longer exists, my commitment to equity has never faltered.