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5 minutes with: Dave Chase, author and healthcare advocate

Intelligent companies deserve intelligent health benefits. Dave Chase—author, entrepreneur, and healthcare advocate to discusses.


At Collective Health, we know creating the healthcare experience we all deserve is not the job of one company. That’s why we spend a lot of time working with, and listening to, some of the most innovative companies and people working in our industry.

This month, we sat down with Dave Chase—author, entrepreneur, and healthcare advocate, whose insight on the healthcare industry can be found regularly in Forbes. He has also spent time as a VC, a startup founder, and a consultant, but his focus throughout these various projects has been a need to see “healthcare realize its full potential.”

Is there a specific problem in healthcare that you’re trying to solve?

Yes. Every time I have done root cause analysis of some dysfunctional aspect of healthcare (whether it was medical harm or being stuck in 1980s/90s technology mindsets) it came back to the fact that we, as consumers, purchase healthcare very unwisely.

“…there is no greater immediate threat to America than our status quo healthcare system.”

How are you moving the industry forward?

In confronting the healthcare purchasing crisis, I developed the Health Rosetta, an open source blueprint for how to purchase health and wellness services wisely, as well as a set of guiding principles on how the industry should respond in the new health ecosystem. Everything I’m doing revolves around the Health Rosetta, including my “day job” as a seed stage VC with the Healthfundr Quad Aim Fund. Our team is currently working on a documentary film that serves as a wake up call around these healthcare challenges. Other projects include a new proposed industry taxonomy, and a LEED-like certification for high value health and wellness benefits and services.

What keeps you motivated?

The more I study healthcare, the more I realize that there is no greater immediate threat to America than our status quo healthcare system.

Why do you think employers play an important role in healthcare?

As a group, employers pick up the largest chunk of the healthcare tab and have the most flexibility to make changes. But the sad reality is that most employers simply use cost shifts to control their spending. Employers are spending thousands more per employee than they need to, resulting in unnecessary overspending on healthcare.

Paradoxically, the best way to slash healthcare costs is to improve benefits. The great thing is that there are employers spending 20-55 percent less per capita on health benefits with benefits packages that are better than what 99 percent of the workforce receives. A great example is Rosen Hotels—they have not only saved their company a boatload of money but they have made a tremendous difference in their community.

What’s the biggest challenge in health benefits right now?

The biggest challenge in health benefits right now is inertia. CEOs and CFOs need to look at healthcare for what it is—the second biggest cost item after wages—and target upcoming economic development with a move to value as IBM has done.

Word on the Street: What did you want to be when you grew up and how does that inform what you do today?

I wanted to be a professional athlete—most likely a baseball player. I actually became a collegiate 800 meter runner, which is not a common switch. The ability to reinvent myself and to be very goal-oriented and competitive continues to be the way I live my life.

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