Provider engagement is a key theme at this year’s RISE West, a hybrid event that will take place live in Colorado Springs and via livestream August 30-Sept. 2. In this article we talk to Jeslie Jacob of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, one of the panelists at the session on payer experiences in provider engagement.

The need for collaboration among payers and providers is crucial as the industry moves toward value-based care, said Jeslie Jacob, divisional vice president, provider performance, provider analytics, reporting and connectivity, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

“I believe that part of the reason why health care is the way it is today is because traditionally the payer world and the provider world have not effectively collaborated,” said Jacob, who will sit on the RISE West panel, Payer Experiences in Provider Engagement–What Works and What Doesn’t, a session offered to both in-person and virtual attendees on Wednesday, Sept. 1. 

The panel discussion is one of several sessions that RISE West 2021 will devote to provider engagement. The topic will be addressed during a half-day in-person preconference workshop on Tuesday, Aug. 31 as well as the provider engagement track on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

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“As the industry continues to move toward value-based care, which I firmly believe is how we are going to be able to transform to an outcome-based system, I think most groups realize the importance of collaboration in reducing cost and improving quality,” he said.

Collaboration means listening to one another, finding common ground, and working toward meeting somewhere in the middle, according to Jacob. That requires going to the basics–that is, understanding what both groups mean when they refer to a “provider,” said Jacob, who worked on the provider side of the business for years before joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois two and a half years ago.

RISE West 2021 - August 30-September 2 - Live in Colorado Springs and Streaming Online

The first step to effectively engage with one another, he said, is for both groups to understand each stakeholder, the complexities of an organization, and the different parts that make up an organization. “You have to have an understanding of who is the provider organization that you are dealing with and how do you engage effectively with the financial arm of the company vs. the contracting arm of the company vs the value-base care administration aspect of the company vs your frontline clinical workers. We need to have an understanding of how these groups are different, what roles they play, how they consume information, and let that inform how we engage them.”

Jacob and the other panelists will share strategies that have worked for them—and what hasn’t—during the conference session. But Jacob said one tactic he is sure doesn’t work is a “one-size-fits-all approach.”

“Provider organizations are all different. You’ve got large integrated health systems that have high complexity and we also have small, independent provider groups. That right there is something we need to be cognizant of. Within each provider entity, there are different stakeholders that we need to communicate with differently,” he said, adding that it’s important not to ignore those nuances.

Payers also must find the right cadence of meetings, online tools, other engagement forums to meet providers “at the right place, for the right level of detail, for the right group of stakeholders.”

Finally, he said, it’s important that payer organizations work to streamline how they present themselves to providers. For example, the payer community often presents itself as either the commercial arm, Medicaid arm, or contracting arm of the business. His own organization is working on that approach as it attempts to streamline how it engages providers. “The industry still has a long way to go there, but it’s exciting to be part of the journey.”

RISE West 2021 will take place live in Colorado Springs and virtually via livestream August 30-September 2. To learn more, here are the links to the full agenda, list of speakers, and registration information.