ISPP 2015

Career Opportunities in Pharmacy
CVS Health Live: Office Hours


Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of
CVS Health Live Office Hours. I’m Firdaus Bhathena. I’m here with my
buddy, Mike Michel. As we go through this session,
if you have any questions you’d like to get
answered, please leave them in the comments below, and
we’ll get right back to you. So let me start by
telling you who I am. I run the digital
organization, the enterprise digital organization
at CVS Health. Our team came together from
both the Aetna side and the CVS health side when we
were separate companies. And about a year ago, when
the companies came together, we created our enterprise
digital organization. And I am lucky enough to be
the Chief Digital Officer here. I’m working with
a fantastic team to move that digital health
agenda forward for all of the consumers,
customers, patients, members that we serve. Frank, you want to
talk about yourself? Yeah. Hi, my name’s Mike Michel. I run all of the
engineering organizations under Firdaus Bhathena. And coming from just
Aetna, and being acquired by acquired by CVS,
our team has grown quite a bit over the past year. And it’s been fantastic. Lots of new team members,
lots of new interesting issues that we need to solve. So it’s been really cool. This is kind of neat,
the office hours here. It feels like our own little
version of Wayne’s World. I think we just dated ourselves. Who’s basement are we
sitting in right now? Anyway, look, Mike, it’s been
kind of an exciting year. Right? We’ve brought two fairly
large organizations together. What’s been most
exciting for me is that becoming part
of CVS Health, we get to open the
aperture of the consumers we serve from many millions
of Aetna members to many tens of millions of CVS
Health consumers and Aetna members across the
entire spectrum of the health care landscape. I’ve been spending a lot of time
going around to conferences. I was at the Connected
Health Conference in Boston recently, and then at the
Health Conference in Vegas. And recently, we did our
own unconference here. And there’s a real buzz in
the air around digital health. It feels like we’re kind
of in the right place at the right time. And that’s pretty exciting. What’s kind of the
reaction of the teams that are building all the products
and technologies that we’re taking to market? Well, I think
first and foremost, I think what’s really
exciting is people seem to be joining CVS-Aetna
because of a true passion for being able to
improve people’s lives. You know, I’d love to say
that our iOS developers and our Android
developers are coming here just because CVS is the
coolest place to do technology. But the reality is they’re
coming here because they want to make a real difference. And I think most
technologists– not only do they want to have
their software used, but in the case of health care,
look what it’s being used for. It’s being used for
something that’s really good. And I think the
teams are excited. They’re excited by the roadmap. They’re excited by the
things we’re working on. And they’re excited by
what we’ve been rolling out over the past couple of years. So when I travel
around, and I see things in these
conferences I went to, people are talking
about AI in health care. We’re talking about
connected devices. We’re talking about
virtual health. And lots of other technology
areas being brought to bear. And you know, one of the
things that we often say here is that we’re not
thinking that we’re going to invent
every breakthrough in every one of these areas. But we’re going to tie
together these technologies to create meaningful impactful
experiences with people. So that’s, I think, what
you’re talking about. It is. That’s what our consumers care– And don’t forget– I mean,
look, in the end this is all about our consumers. This is all about our customers. And what’s most important
is that we have their trust. So we also, we put
a lot of effort into security,
privacy, compliance because we want to make sure
that our end users are just confident in CVS,
and that they feel like we are a trusted partner. Yes, in terms of
the exciting things that are happening
in the industry– don’t get me wrong, I
mean, a lot of people are coming here because we’re
getting to do some cool things. We are working with AI. We have teams of people working
with artificial intelligence. Think about interoperability. Think about the amount
of data that we have, and that we could
share with others, and others can share with us. I mean, it’s a new
day in technology where the things
you can do with data just go so far beyond what you
could do just a few years back. IoT devices. So for people who don’t
know internet of things, think about your smartwatch. Think about– you
always use the example, think about swiping
your forehead, and having your
temperature, boom, instantly go off to a provider,
or something like that. I mean, that sounds
like fantasy, but these days
it’s actually real. And these are the
types of things that we need to be looking at,
we need to be implementing. And we’re starting
down that road. It’s funny you say
new day in technology because our CEO, Larry
Merlo, has been talking about a new day in health care. And I think the
entire company is kind of galvanized around
this vision of being the most consumer centric health
care company in the world. And that means putting
the consumer at the center of everything we do. And I wanted to elaborate
a little bit with you on this notion of
trust because I think that the common perception
is we’re a bunch of tech geeks. And so we love talking
about the technology. But far more often
than that, we end up talking about things
that are deeply human. Like how do you trust someone
with your precious personal health data? What builds that
trust over time? So do you have any
insights about that? Like, how that works? Look, Firdaus, you’ll
remember this example. We once heard this from
a colleague of ours, buy what accelerates you and
build what differentiates you. Well, we were looking
at buying something– not a company, per
se, but we were looking to use a vendor
to gather information. And our own developers
came to us with a concern. And they were
concerned about, hey, what’s this vendor going
to do with this data? Can we trust this vendor? And it really made us
look even closer at it. Now this was a vendor
that had already been vetted by the right people
in the company and everything. But trust is very,
very important. And our people are not
just the innovators. They’re not just the people
who are executing the code. They’re customers. And so they care about what
happens with this data. And so I’m not saying that we
need to keep everything secret. But we need to be very
careful about what we’re doing with this data, and
who we let have access to it. So one of the interesting
trends I’m seeing out there as I travel around is that
being consumer centric means putting the consumer in
control of their health data. And I agree with you. I remember the incident
you’re talking about. And I think people will
be willing over time to share their data, as long as
they know that they’re always in control of it– that they control
the privacy of it. They have the ability to
consent with whom and for what it gets shared. And ultimately make
those decisions based on the value they
derive from someone who uses their data to
develop insights of some kind. And I know you have a
lot of passion here. Because like me, Firdaus
and I, for those of you who don’t know, we go
back several years. So our families are
fairly close as well. And I know I’m not leaking any
serious information here when I say that we’ve
both had issues where we’ve had to deal with family
members who’ve had some issues. And we’ve needed to have
that data at our fingertips. And currently, we don’t
have the means to do that. But what prevents
us from doing that? I mean, I know you’re
passionate about this. I know you’re constantly bugging
our product people to say, here’s a problem I’m
having right now. How do we solve this today? And ultimately, they
bug me about that. And it’s the right
kind of bugging to do because these are
real life use cases. I don’t know how comfortable
you are about sharing some of that stuff. But I know I’ve had
some issues with my son, just trying to get access
to some of his records because he’s too old now. So having the notion of trust
and having impact at scale sort of takes on a
whole new meaning when you are part of a company. What do we have, over
300,000 employees? In so many different areas. It’s almost like many
companies in one. But what’s exciting
is we’re all– we just did our town hall. We did our digital town
hall where we talked again about this vision of being the
most consumer centric health company in the world. And then we talked about a lot
of the very interesting areas that our teams are working on. And for those of you who are
not part of our town halls, one of the things
we like to do is to showcase the work that’s
being done by the teams that are in the particular location
that we’re hosting the town hall in. And some of the things
that we talked about are improvements to the
whole medication management and delivery process. We talked about
improvements in helping people manage their health care
benefits and their finances. And then we’re working
on some really cool stuff in the chronic disease space–
things like chronic kidney disease, CKD, for example. Kidney care, yeah. Can you talk a little
bit about the process we follow to work on that? Because I think that was
kind of a very exciting way to do things. If by the process, you mean
the actual software development lifecycle. I don’t know how engaged
our audience will be, but it is important
to be able to do these things the right way. I look at product development as
really a stool with three legs. You need to have a solid product
team going out, and doing the research, doing
the groundwork. What is it we need to
build chronic care? Kidney chronic
care, for example. We need to have a really
strong architectural team. And I feel like digital
has that in spades. And then we need to have the
execution team, my teams– the teams that are going
to take all of these ideas. And they’re actually going
to build some product with it, something that
can go out and hopefully make lives better. And we happen to use something,
we happen to use a project, I’m sorry, an SDLC called Agile. Not any sort of made up Agile,
but actual Agile, real Agile. And we do it under
something called scaled Agile frameworks safe. And for us, this has
been working pretty well. Every company I’ve
ever been with, we’ve all used our
own implementation of some version of Agile, at
least in the past 10 years. But the goal is to put
out the highest quality product we can
for our consumers, something they’re
actually going to use, something that they can
actually gain value out of. And in the case of
CVS, something that can actually make
their lives better. I know one of the
exciting things that we always talk
about is having this notion of balanced teams. So when we talk
about product, we’re also including in that people
who do design and UX research– as you said, figuring out what
it is we’re going to build. How do we achieve that all
important product market fit? So you know from
the CKD side, I just want to share with
people, our design people, our UX research people who
are very, very motivated to impact that scale, they
meet with real kidney patients every single week. And I’m really proud of that. I’m sorry I missed that, I
missed saying that because you are absolutely right. Our UX, our
designers, the ability to put the look,
the feel, the flow– if you don’t have that
right, your product is just not going to be right. People won’t want to use it. It’ll be too hard to use. And that’s one of
the reasons why we made a decision a long time
ago with our mobile offerings, for example, to use
native mobile offerings. Somebody who is using an iOS
device or an Android device, they get used to
the way it works. And they want to make sure
that they have that same flow. They know where everything is. And so I credit our
UX team for coming up with sort of that mandate. And I think we’ve done
a very good job there. I sat in on one of their user
centered design workshops, they call it. And what really struck me is
far beyond the technology side of what they were working on,
or what the actual product functionality was. They kept using this word that
I thought was really important, and that’s the word empathy. They were actually speaking
to real kidney patients. And by the way,
some of these people really need a lot of help. It’s tremendously
motivating to be able to make a real difference
in the lives of some of people who really need that help. And developing
empathy for the user, and putting yourself
in their shoes was really an eye opening
experience for me. The other thing that
we often talk about is this thing called
next best actions, where we’re taking the AI and the
ML that exists within our very talented data science
teams, and then combining that with digital engagement
to really have an impact, and not let that
data science just stay in the world
of science projects. And having people actually
act on small actions is far more effective
than telling people to sign up for 12 week
programs to do something. So is there anything
you’ve learned from that? Well, there is. And I think we’ve got
a long way to go there. We’ve done some great work. And if you think back just a few
years ago, it was all manual. It was somebody literally
doing all the research and writing up what are
the next best actions. But now that we have artificial
intelligence plugged in here, we’re getting some
machine learning behind some of these actions. And that’s a tremendous
leap forward. And like everything else– I mean, look, we
all experience this. We do it we do a Google
search or something like that. And it pops up with not only
what you were searching for, but why are all these ads
showing up that suddenly know what it is I’m looking to buy? And what it is I want
to do for a sport? Or something like that. It’s artificial intelligence. And so take that, apply
it to the health world, and you’ve got something
really strong there. Let’s take the science that
exist around next best actions, and let’s apply some
artificial intelligence. I look forward to a day
where before you even start a conversation
with a doctor, or maybe even a telepresence,
where maybe the system, maybe my phone is asking
me about my symptoms. And it’s bringing me down
a path where by the time I get on a phone
call with my doctor, my doctor already has
the whole history. Kind of has, hey, Mike, it looks
like you have strep throat. That’s what I’m
looking forward to. So yeah, the
technology is there. Right now, it’s just
a question of us being able to sort
of pick and choose what it is we feel are the most
important pieces to work on. No, it is very true. I mean, I’ve seen all
kinds of technologies out there that exist
to be able to do that. It’s bringing it together in an
experience that really matters that a lot of us are working
on right now, both within CVS Health and outside as well. So switching gears
a bit we talk, we had this thing called an
unconference here recently. And you know it’s not the
first time I’d heard the term. But I do remember when I heard
about this the first time, I was like, what the
heck is an unconference? Do you want to
tell our listeners a little bit about that? So we did– yeah. And I would be remiss
if I didn’t say, if you have any questions
or comments, by all means, please feel free to post them. Firdaus and I will check
them out later, hopefully be able to get back to
you in a timely fashion. We did. We hosted an unconference. And basically the invite
went out to anyone locally. They could join. We provided food and beverage. And you kind of had
a keynote speech. But basically, we’re not
trying to sell our goods. We’re not trying– it’s
not a hiring thing. It really is a place where
people can share ideas. It’s a place where people can
go off into different rooms, have different
topics to talk about. And it’s something I hope
we do more of in the future. You were the one who gave
the keynote address there. And I’m not sure
you’re aware of this, but I actually had to leave
early that day, so I wasn’t there for the whole thing. Don’t tell the audience that. I want them to think I was
there for the whole time. But how did the keynote go? I mean, I heard the response
was really overwhelming. I was floored by how
many people showed up. I mean, I thought
we’d be lucky if we got 30, 40 people from the
neighboring companies showing up. We did give more than pizza. It was a pretty good spread. It was a good spread. The food always gets
people to show up. But the question is then
how long did they stay? That is the question. We were standing room only. We had, I would
say, I can’t even– I don’t even know
what the number was. And what was really
fun was this was a– technology to improve
health was the kind of focus because that’s what
we’re all about. And when we went off into
our separate breakout rooms, people came up with
their own topics. You write them down on Post-its. You put them on the wall. And then the group in
that room decided what they were going to talk about. And then people who
cared about that topic just automatically
congregated there, and then switched from room to
room after a few minutes. That was a fantastic experience. I think what it showed me
was that the purpose really matters. At CVS Health, we talked
a lot about our purpose, and working with a purpose. And I’m thrilled to
say that it’s not just within our company. I think when it comes to
fixing health in this country for every single
one of our citizens, we believe that we
need a lot of help. Everyone needs to
be brought to bear to sort of make that happen. So before we wrap up,
you’ve been at this a while. You’re an old grizzled
engineering guy. Tell me, what are
some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned that you
can share with our audience? And that would help
somebody who is younger on the path to doing this. Happy to do that. By the way, this
old grizzled look is for a fundraiser, Movember. Movember. Yeah. And I realized, my
god, I am going gray. Wow. We are getting older. It makes you look
very distinguished. I’m sure it does. So Firdaus, as you know, I’ve
been doing this for 30 years now. And I’ve been in
management for 20 years. And over that time, I’ve really
specialized in building teams. And there are a few things
I’ve learned along the way. And I think the
most important is– and I know you believe
this because you have this management style too. And that is, we are
servant leaders. We are not here to
just tell everyone who works for us what to do. We’re very much a
bottoms up organization. I want to be able to
move the impediments that get in the way of the teams,
the things that prevent them from being able to
get their job done. So that’s probably the
biggest thing I’ve learned. But you know, there’s a
lot of smaller things too, and that is hiring, for example. I’m not looking to
hire people like me. I am unique. I am like a snowflake. No, the reality is, I’m looking
to hire people smarter than me. And I’m not kidding
when I say that. I want people who, in different
areas of our organization, I want them to be
better than I am. Why wouldn’t I? Because their success
equals our success. And lastly, and you
started off the conference with this, Firdaus,
and that is trust. The people I have who
work for me, I trust them. I have to trust that they’re
going to do a great job. I have to trust them
when they tell me it’s going to take us
this long to do something. Of course, I’m free to ask
questions– like, well, have you thought of this? Or what if we did this? But I have to trust them. It’s all about trust. You take away
trust, and then you have an environment
set up for failure. So those are the biggest
lessons I’ve learned. But I’d like to flip
that question to you because I’ve never gotten
to ask you this question. Oh, boy. You know, to me,
the way I describe sort of my ideal
work environment is with three statements. I would like to wake up
in the morning every day, and work on something that’s
meaningful and impactful with people I trust
and believe in, and a reasonable
chance of success. And by that, I mean we’re set up
to succeed as best as we can– with no guarantees, of course. So I mean that
summarizes it for me. That’s what I’ve
learned in my life. I think the– when I was a lot
younger, a very long time ago, I cared much more about the
actual progression in career that I was making. I think over time, that’s
gotten supplanted by– what is it I’m
actually working on? What’s the mission? What’s the purpose? There’s a great video
out there that’s been out there for many years. I send this to everybody. We work with autonomy,
mastery, and purpose. But being able to focus
on a purpose that’s actually meaningful
and impactful. Certainly, working with people
you trust and believe in, like I trust and
believe in you, Mike. And be set up to succeed. And with all of their resources,
both physical and digital, by the way that
CVS Health has, we believe we are
set up to succeed. And it’s all about having
the right people motivated to do the right things at the
right time from here on out. Any closing remarks you have? Yeah. This term gets used
to often, and I’m going to use it once again. Health care is right
to be disrupted by digital and technology. If you look at other industries
over the past several dozen years, they’ve gone through it. They’ve gone through their
sort of digital Renaissance. And look at banking,
for example. Who would have
thought 10 years ago you could deposit a
check with a smart phone? And here we are in
health care, probably one of the most important
areas of your life. And we get to be part of it. And we get to be part
of that transformation. That’s pretty damn exciting. And on that very high note,
I think we’ll wrap for now. And really appreciate you all
taking the time to watch this. Again, questions in the
comments, we’ll get back to you on. And hope this was fun
and interesting for you as it was for us to be
sitting here and talking about what we work on. Yeah. Only positive comments, please. Thank you, everyone. Bye. Bye.

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