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Looking at Payment Optimization in an Increasingly Digital Healthcare Landscape
Episode 1322nd April 2021 • Across the Table • McGuireWoods - Alyssa Campbell and Kayla McCann Marty
00:00:00 00:17:34

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Paper is so yesterday — and the team at healthcare and financial technology growth company Zelis knows this firsthand. 

Eric Schaefer and Yusuf Qasim, Zelis’ Executive Advisor and President of Payments, respectively, focus on strategy and market direction to adapt in an ever-changing healthcare landscape. The industry’s increasing dependence on tech is what leads these two to believe that moving toward a 100% electronic payment method is the way to go.

“We really focus on the payer, the provider, and then the member of the health plan, trying to impact processes and efficiency in the consumer's journey — them trying to navigate and understand healthcare,” Eric says. “I think you're going to see more of this virtualization of care, where it's applicable.”

Yusuf agrees, adding that as consumers become more educated, they want a better healthcare experience — so there’s no better time than now to build an improved system.

According to Yusuf, the COVID-19 pandemic actually ended up being helpful for Zelis. As a healthcare payment technology company, the way Zelis is set up enabled it “to be a conduit for those businesses that were either heavily reliant on manual processes or had a lot of onsite presence.”

“We just sat really well-positioned to help facilitate that and to leverage our expertise and our scale to avoid any disruption in service,” Yusuf says.

Eric says the best way to head in a more technology-driven direction is to get away from people-oriented manual processes — for example, getting rid of paper-based systems.

Tune into the episode to learn some of the ways companies like Zelis are going digital. This includes not only moving toward entirely electronic payments, but crafting initiatives such as Zelis Assembly, which is a new way to deliver company information to customers and stakeholders who can’t meet in person but are also sick of traditional Zoom calls and virtual conferences.

Featured Experts

Name: Eric Schaefer

What he does: As the Executive Advisor and Board Member at Zelis, Eric uses his nearly 15 years of experience as the CEO of RedCard, the company that merged with Zelis, to help guide business decisions. 

Organization: Zelis 

Words of wisdom: “I think you're going to see more of this virtualization of care, where it's applicable. You're going to see more information, this wealth of information that is just floating out there. You're going to start to see that information get honed a little bit better so that it's more usable for the consumer.” 

Connect: LinkedIn

Name: Yusuf Qasim 

What he does: As the President of Payments at Zelis, Yusuf provides strategy and go-to-market direction to drive Zelis’ market leadership, capabilities, and client services in payments optimization. 

Organization: Zelis 

Words of wisdom: “Thinking about how we approach this as a group, and as an industry and getting the message out there, being able to have a platform that iterates and really delivers bite-size information was just really important to us.” 

Connect: LinkedIn


Acquired Knowledge

Top takeaways from this Across the Table episode

★    There’s always a bright side, even in a pandemic. According to Yusuf, the pandemic has been a good opportunity for Zelis employees to talk about things like accelerated payment and moving away from the manual, which is only holding the company back during this period of impressive emerging technology.

★    It’s time to steer away from people-oriented manual processes. The world, especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, is becoming increasingly digital. Those in the healthcare payments field need to catch up, which is why Eric says Zelis’ goal is to work toward 100% electronic payments.

★    When you can’t connect in person, you must innovate. That’s why Zelis created Zelis Assembly, a new way to deliver company information to customers and stakeholders who the team can’t meet with in person. Yusuf calls it a fun way to share expertise with clients and partners.


Episode Insights

[00:51] Getting acquainted: Eric and Yusuf describe their respective backgrounds in healthcare payments and technology and how they got involved with Zelis.

[02:32] The perfect pairing: Eric discusses why Zelis and RedCard merged in 2019 and why that year was the right time to do it (hint: it’s all about leveraging).

[04:30] Payment pioneers: Yusuf describes Zelis’ unique payment model, which he says was a buildup over time, and why the pandemic was a good growth opportunity.

[06:21] Glass half-full: Yusuf explains why the amount of interest in the mergers, and acquisitions, and capital being injected into the healthcare space is a good sign for the industry.

[07:42] Focusing in: Eric jumps in to explain why Zelis focuses on the payer, the provider, and then the member of the health plan to impact processes and efficiency in the consumer's journey.

[09:34] Post-pandemic perspective: Yusuf discusses the importance of finding a safe way for Zelis to continue to manage and scale its print facility operations during lockdown.

[11:07] The death of people-oriented processes: Eric describes why, lately, the accelerated trend has been to steer away from people-oriented manual processes, whether that's in a clinical setting like virtual care visits, or people getting rid of paper and other manual processes.

[12:22] Getting innovative: Eric explains Zelis Assembly and why it’s the ideal way to deliver information about Zelis’ work to customers and stakeholders in a world that doesn’t allow safe face-to-face communication.

[14:13] Coming to fruition: Yusuf discusses why Zelis Assembly is a way to share the company’s expertise with clients and partners through a medium that combats Zoom fatigue and virtual conference fatigue.

[15:20] The future of Zelis Assembly: Yusuf reflects on the journey to get Zelis Assembly launched and explains its role in awareness.



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