Elevance Health’s Anil Bhatt on Human-Driven Design + the New Era of “TechQuity”


For those who have resisted the breakneck pace of transformation in recent years, the emergence of the CIO as a leading player in scaling empathic experiences should come as no surprise. As the trend of using data to move from transactional to service-oriented relationships ensues, a human-led design approach is essential. For these reasons, I wanted to speak to someone who defines the modern role of the CIO in helping to shape go-to-market (GTM) strategy in ways that take customer experience to new heights through deeper levels. empathy and personalization.

I recently met Anil Bhatt, SVP and Global Chief Information Officer of Elevance Health, formerly Anthem, Inc. Previously, he was at the intersection of technology, innovation and commerce at leading brands such as HSN and Proctor & Gamble. Here is a recap of our conversation:

Billie Howard: Congratulations on making the first Forbes CIO Next list! Tell me about the changing face of the CIO and how that connects to the future of customer experience or, in your case, member experience?

Anil Bhat: As I continuously assess my role as a technology leader, what I see clearly is the need to ensure that our Global Information Office (GCIO) has a workforce of engaging and robust technology engineering that understands both the business elements of technology and how technology makes a difference in helping Elevance Health improve the health and well-being of the people we serve.

I lead with an approach that I call “TechQuity”: where technology and equity meet, where equity of access to care and digital access contribute to strengthening health, well-being and the community. Our goal should be to bring both health care and quality products to our members. At Elevance Health, we are becoming a digital platform for health, and the GCIO organization plays an important role in this.

We leverage our vast amount of data and analytics – data-driven insights for providers, consumers and other partners – to increase access to higher quality health services that help consumers lead a healthier life. Today, our technology also enables consumers to access platforms such as Sydney Health that provide them with an enhanced healthcare experience and put more healthcare at their fingertips.

At the same time, I always encourage my team to keep an eye on the evolution of technology: what will the technology landscape look like in two years, in five years, or in seven years? The pandemic has been a very concrete reminder that we need to be prepared for anything, and in our tech-driven world, it’s even more essential that Elevance Health’s technology is as resilient and scalable as possible. My responsibility is to always anticipate in order to be able to guide and support my team as best as possible.

Howard: We talked a lot about how human-centered design is essential for the future of the brand. Please let me know your thoughts on best practices for leveraging operational and engagement data to make this aspiration a reality.

Bhat: The voice of our customers is paramount and is at the center of everything we do. Our approach is not just technical, but uses a human-centered and empathetic approach to defining clients’ health journeys. Engaging consumers in design sessions is essential for us to design products and create feedback loops that allow us to be empathetic to their needs. We surveyed hundreds of people and demographic cohorts, taking the time to understand our members’ behaviors to personalize their digital health experience.

This empathy and personalization are all built into a defender’s interaction. We take advantage of the

large amounts of data – data-driven insights for providers, consumers, and other partners – to increase access to better quality health services that help improve consumer health and well-being. We also constantly iterate how we collect this customer information, and we test everything before we bring it to market. The reason we moved to a multi-cloud approach is so we were able to AB test across different markets and demographics to see what resonates and what doesn’t.

Howard: You recently launched an evolved brand image, which was haloed internally to reinforce your culture and externally to improve your brand experience. Tell me about the campaign, your role and any interesting results.

Bhat: Our new name – Elevance Health – underscores the company‘s commitment to improving overall health and advancing health beyond healthcare. Improving health means more than just treating what ails us. We need to address health as a whole and the physical, behavioral and social drivers that affect it. Powered by cutting-edge capabilities and a digital health platform, Elevance Health companies will serve people across the care journey, connecting them to the care, support and resources they need to lead a life. healthy.

Our operating model is well structured to support the change in our brand strategy. The underlying technology enables the experience. Going forward, he will focus more on ensuring the brand delivers on its promises, including merging technology with mission which is centered on our core belief. During this rebrand, I asked myself and my team two questions: 1) How do we consider our ecosystem and use what our partners give us to deliver on our commitments? 2) How can we be an experience-driven organization, using technologies like AI and automation to give our customers what they need, digitize their experience, and reduce human error?

We’re building a solid, lean enterprise architecture, using multi-cloud to help us with elasticity. Our goal is to stabilize our technology and digital platforms to ensure we are moving in the right direction. Currently, we are focused on developing a digital platform, which allows us to integrate with our partners as well as leverage data-driven insights to deliver solutions when, where and how our stakeholders need them.

Howard: The CIO and the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) have worked together for years, but you shared what has changed is that the CIO now not only contributes through the technology infrastructure to support the customer journey, but also plays a essential role in the development of the GTM strategy. . What are the key learnings that you can share that others can benefit from?

Bhat: The relationship and collaboration have evolved over the past few years with our new CMO. We really put health plan members at the center of what we do. After Bill Beck arrived, we had conversations about improving marketing in technology – using technologies like Adobe, CDP, etc. Our CMO owns and focuses on real experience improvement. We have a very high degree of engagement between managers and GCIO and marketing teams to ensure that we are improving the healthcare experience, which makes it easier for consumers to improve their health.

We are committed to a very high level of technical support, as well as product support, and we continue to grow this partnership. In the past, there were two different silos from an introspective support standpoint. Now we meet twice a week to talk about the experience, improving consumer efforts, what markets are working/not working, what can we do from a customer perspective.

This collaboration is also seen at all levels of the GCIO and CMO organizations, such as in bringing products to market. GCIO teams and marketing teams regularly work together to plan and implement go-to-market strategies for items such as new Sydney Health features, to ensure these products are successfully launched and marketed.


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