Orchestrating Complex Care Needs from Awell Health with Thomas Vande Casteele

In this episode of Friends of Project Healthcare…

Thomas Vande Casteele, co-founder and CEO of Awell Health, joins host Eric Thrailkill to discuss the importance of continuous improvement and rapid iteration in healthcare processes. Addressing shortcomings in healthcare system operations with advanced technology, Awell enables healthcare organizations to create, iterate, and implement care flows efficiently. 

Thomas also emphasizes the importance of forming systems built for market change that focus on value-based care, and how all steps of the patient process must be accounted for as systems evolve.

Beginning his career in e-commerce, Thomas was shocked by the deficiencies in the systems set up for patient care, leading him to apply his e-commerce expertise to improve healthcare processes. Awell is designed to bring the agility of e-commerce optimization to healthcare operations.

“While I was reading up about value-based healthcare and realizing that this is a big tidal wave that is going to come over healthcare in the decades to come,” Thomas explains. He realized then the timing was right for a new tool like the one that’s been in use in e-commerce. “That was the founding spark of Awell.”

Since COVID transformed the scope of the provider market by expanding healthcare services to be available online and hybrid for patients, Thomas explains, “there’s actually much bigger competition for patients, but there’s also much bigger competition for clinicians because clinicians can now all of a sudden start working in many different places.”

Thomas explains that payers, “have realized that if they can incentivize that the provider takes on risk, then the payer actually gets more bang for their healthcare buck. This is why value-based care is the only real model for healthcare because it will ultimately, for every taxpayer, deliver the most bang for their healthcare buck. That creates a competitive space that was not there 10 years ago or 20 years ago.”

CareOps is compared to DevOps, used by Amazon and Google, in software development, as Awell uses CareOps to streamline care processes and drive efficiency in healthcare organizations. 

“CareOps is to care flows, what DevOps is to software development. It is really the philosophy around what culture, what processes do you need to run an effective CareOps practice?”

Awell’s platform integrates with various healthcare systems and tools, allowing for seamless data exchange and collaboration between different stakeholders. Providing a no-code builder that empowers non-engineers to create and manage care flows effectively, the goal is to create a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration.

Advocating for starting small with healthcare organizations, Awell identifies specific problems, and rapidly iterates to demonstrate value, ensuring quick implementation and tangible results in a short period.

“We’re very big fans of starting small. Within those one, two, three days, we get actually tangible value. It’s not a production-ready flow, but very often there’s already the signs of, you know, integration and you can see how that flow already integrates and orchestrates stuff for multiple stakeholders.”

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