Ep 19: Merging Health Policies with Innovations for Better Healthcare | Robert Longyear, Wanderly

Robert Longyear is the vice president of the digital health and innovations at Avenu and Wanderly. He is also the author of Innovating for Wellness. Wanderly is an online marketplace made for healthcare professionals to compare travel healthcare jobs from leading agencies.

In this episode of the HealthTech Hustle, Robert shares details of how they saw the need to start
Wanderly and later built Avenu to better provide healthcare services using technology. Listen in to hear how personal reasons drove Robert to write his book ‘Innovating for Wellness’ to better illustrate the need for technology in delivering healthcare.

“I got very interested in how we can navigate the system, coordinate better, and provide better
overall experiences for patients.”

Who is Robert Longyear and what does he do at Wanderly and Avenu? [0:39]
He wrote his book Innovating for Wellness that explores the intersection between health policy and innovations that occur in the payment side of healthcare. Wanderly is a marketplace for contingent healthcare staffing. Health practitioners use it to transparently look for jobs in invitation facilities across the country. It has improved the stringent market and become a friend to nurses who come to the site looking for an evaluation of pay packages and decide where they want their next assignment to be. Out of Wanderly, they built Avenu, a company that will partner with physicians’ practices and health systems to better reach homes to provide services if they have the connections and the technologies to do that. They wanted to help health workers to cut down the paperwork and manual processes to increase the speed of the market and access to the healthcare workforce.

Would you say that Wanderly is a platform that facilitates the process of job seekers and recruiters connecting? [6:38]
It is a transparent and independent marketplace where they allow job seekers and recruiters to come from both ends with guaranteed information security. They cater to both supply and demand.

What strategy are they using to go out and look for people who are seeking jobs or clinics looking for workers? [7:21]
They work with staffing agencies that have contracts with hospitals and allow them to come to that recruiter side of the platform. They bring their recruiters’ profiles on the platform and for the nurses, they made things as friendly and as transparent as possible. The platform is a good resource for people and they feel secure in it.

How did he put his team together? [9:15]
They have a CEO with a tech background and handles the necessary technical discussions and also have business knowledge. They have a board member who has been in healthcare systems for a long time and provides strategic guidance. They also have a chief nurse advocate who handles marketing and social media presence which is where they connect with millennial nurse users and maintain a following. Robert helps with the health service side of the business and digital health knowledge.

What is included in the digital book he wrote? [13:36]
He started writing the book almost a year ago when thinking about care management and the
information needed to facilitate that while considering moving from volume to value. He came up with the points where technology is being inserted into healthcare. He talked to people with different perspectives on key innovations. He merged healthcare policy with innovations to accomplish these goals. He took the risk of turning his thesis into this innovative book. He used his story of caring for his terminally ill mother to illustrate some areas where health innovations will bring the much-needed change. He explains in detail how personal reasons inspired him to want to merge innovations and healthcare policy to help people live healthily.

What advice would he give to CEOs and founders getting into the health tech space? [27:52]
Healthcare is very complex and you have to build an interdisciplinary team for support. It is not easy agreeing with all these people but it’s more effective that way and required for long-term success.

Robert answers the rapid-fire round of questions. [30:09]

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Connect with Robert Longyear
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RLLongyear
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-l-longyear-iii-a8b284b9/
Innovating for Wellness Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086WT85SF/ref=dp-kindle-