Guest: Nehemiah Richardson
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Nehemiah Richardson is General Manager, nabHealth, a leading provider of financial services to the Australian Health Care industry owned by National Australia Bank Ltd.Nehemiah has had a very diverse and successful career in financial services spanning senior roles in mergers and acquisitions advisory, corporate finance, funds management, corporate development and people leadership roles at JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and National Australia Bank. Nehemiah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, NAB Health General Manager Nehemiah Richardson is here with us to talk about the ‘Art of the Possible.’ He shares his insights on the country’s increasing ageing population and how we have a more productive people who are healthier for longer, who can do more things and have great lives. In addition, he also imparts some of his views with regards to the the possibility of exporting health services remotely during times when work capacity is limited. As a financial services provider, Nehemiah recognizes financial services is a critical pillar, health is a critical pillar, education is a critical pillar in achieving a productive economy and taking some of that anxiety and put that into energy can actually help to create the right conversations.
Health Professional Radio
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar. Today I’m joined by Nehemiah Richardson, the General Manager of NAB health and Nehemiah joins me today from Western Australia. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Nehemiah.
Nehemiah Richardson: Yes, thank you very much Wayne. It’s great to be here.
(new line, for recording) Nehemiah, we have previously spoken about your vision of the potential to export Australian health services. I know you have a story. Can you illustrate that for us?
H: And can I tell you can, just me, can I give you one quick story on that one?
H: That I was told the other day, there was a person, I apologize I don’t remember his name but you can certainly Google it. There is a person who was a radiologist who was part of the I-med group.
H: I think he is stays in South Australia. I saw this on the newspaper maybe the last two months. And he provides radiology services to the NHS overnight. Because during our day time we have people available, during their night time or during holidays where you don’t always get a radiologist who wants to work those hours, they have some limitations as I understand it. Hopefully 80-20 of this is correct, okay so for those listening please go on Google it to get the real facts. But what I felt was phenomenal was how he’s created a business or business model that help support emergency room, X-ray readings or what a radiologist would do, providing those services remotely during times when work capacity is limited. Which made me think when you don’t think about Uber or AirBnB or any of these or in this market something called “Airtasker” where you can go online and you can find someone to do odd jobs for you. Well digital technology completely changes what is possible and I loved that story about this really innovative thing from this person in I-med, who’s built his now international business or at least one that services to the UK, right. And it takes it one step further. Imagine if there weren’t enough radiology places in Central Perth or what if I was enterprising enough I could get gather some of the radiologists who are finding trouble of getting places and actually give them really practical experience by providing export expertise in a supervised environment, help train people up etc. etc. So when you start to think about this it creates so much opportunity for us to think laterally and to think opportunistically about how we as a country can deliver things in ways that others aren’t at the moment.
W: Do you have a view Nehemiah about what will drive adoption of the change because the health sector’s notoriously resistant to change in lots of ways. What do you think will drive that to happen?
H: Yes. So I think there are few things. I mean certainly from where we sit as an organization, there’s things that we are actively looking at, enablement tools for instance that can help enable consumers to better understand where their health fund is going, right. So when I gave you that example of 6 GP’s in central Perth and what might it cost me, leveraging some of the information that we have, and when I say we have I mean on a de-identified basis.
W: Okay. But presenting information to people on their digital devices that will give them the sort of context around how much might I have to pay for something I’m about to do, because we have a HICAPs claiming engine, we understand what that might cost. And we understand what the MBS schedule looks like etc. So you can digitize that or turn that into applications that allow consumers to see what they are going to be out of pockets for as an example. So we think about what are enablement tools that we can provide based on our expertise and capability that can help empower people. And just that and driving different consumer behavior, can actually help create the demand that then creates change. The other thing that we do is because we cover the entire continuity of care and we have scale as a business across every modality in health in every region of the country that provides us with real capacity to work with and connect our customers in ways that help to facilitate collaboration and change. And on top of that, we actively build relationships with all of the key industry bodies as well as commonwealth and state government because it allows us, as an enabler, as a financial services provider we’re an enabler to the system. And as an enabler to the system you get a level of… we’re not experts at everything but we actually know enough to be able to have constructive conversations to support the objectives of industry bodies, support the objectives of our customers, support the objectives or the policy objectives that the federal government may have in health, provide some advice. But in particular connect people up in a way that others can’t.
So we know if there is someone over here thinking about this and someone over there is thinking about that, well lets connect the two of them and we might be able to be part of that conversation, and we’ll go and experiment in central Perth on something that might create a framework for fundamentally shifting how we might think about dealing with some chronic disease that is costing the system a lot of money. But most importantly the individual suffering from that chronic disease that don’t have capacity to get that treated properly, we might be able to help them to feel better. And we can pull people to gather to do that. So when I look at it, we have and we are actively doing things to try and connect people around the system, to try to create some more visibility around some of the economics and to try get coalitions of interest to go and test and innovate around things that might provide a framework or repeatable model that you can then extend the system. And then all of a sudden what people thought was not possible, they can see it is possible and once people see that it is possible, what I’ve always seen is if people are quite happy to change because they can now see that it’s possible and that makes sense.
W: It does indeed.
H: And one thing that’s interesting when you work at a big company, right, central decisions at a company can be implemented at the furthest part of the company. So think about NAB, our board or our executive leadership can make a decision that means people have to change what they do. And it’s our people in our branches or frontline sales people, or relationship people who probably are most impacted by those changes, right. But we as an organization because we have infrastructure, we can support our people through change. The health industry is a big industry that has to go through change with a lot of individual operators who don’t have the capacity to manage change like we do as a company. So we see ourselves as playing a role in helping support our customers to change, showing what is possible, trying to connect them with people who might help them with their businesses as well as providing advice and data that might help them run their businesses better. And the reason why we actually spend time talking to industry bodies and commonwealth and state and private health insurers and all of our customers is to try to be a facilitator of that change. No, we’re not going be the only ones who can do it and we can’t do it alone clearly. But we are in a position, I think a unique position to be able to create some of the catalyst. So we don’t keep talking about the same thing in health for the next 30 years, we’re actually actively doing things to show what’s possible and then expand and execute as opposed to talk. Does that make sense?
W: It does. I’ve been in discussion with Nehemiah Richardson, the General Manager of NAB Health who’s been giving what is to me a revolutionary perspective on the possibility of change in the health industry. Now I should say NAB Health is a banking service if you haven’t heard the first part of our interview, dedicated to the health vertical. And Nehemiah is a professional in that, has a perspective on the future of the health paradigm and the health industry that is unique and engaging. And I have to say Nehemiah thank you for sharing that with me, it’s been as I say eye opening. What’s the biggest misconception that drives you nut and keeps you awake in this industry?
H: (laugh) Look I’m not sure I can define it as a misconception but let’s call it a bugbear, okay?
H: And there’s going to be two things. One a big bugbear and one is the things that really keep me awake at night. There are two different things. The bugbear is when people tell me things are not possible.
H: Okay, “you can’t do that”, “not possible”. You know “policy doesn’t allow you to do that”, or “doctors don’t do this” or we are, it drives me nuts because you sort of you can always see the art of the possible. And so it drives me nuts because you don’t want the resistance to change but I do understand that if you can’t see what’s possible, of course you’re going say that, right. It’s human nature. So then I think well what is it that we can do so that we can show the art of the possible, so that we can get rid of the resistance. So the bug bear is people saying nothing is possible, when anything is possible. So then that goes to what can we do to make it possible?
And then the thing that keeps me awake at night, what keeps me awake at night is that we don’t change, that we are here in 10 years’ time talking about the same thing. Because one thing I’ve learned in being in this industry is that the conversations that are actually being had, around “the need for change or sustainability,” the rising cause of the aging population, the diminishing work force etc. etc. etc., are the same things that have been talked about for who knows how long, 20 years, 30 years. And what keeps me awake at night and my children are born here, I’m an American who is married to an Australian and I live in Melbourne and I will be here for the rest of my life. And the things that keeps me awake at night is that my children are going to be in an environment where nothing has changed, where their access to affordable healthcare which is a pillar of, one of the pillars of a productive society. Once again, whilst that’s might keep me awake at night, it’s not something that I’m going to sit here as an individual about working at a large organization who’s at a capacity to actually affect change and be part of leading change and supporting change. As a financial services company what’s great is financial services are pillar of productive economy, you need intermediation, you need to be able to raise funds, you need to be able to take a risk on funds in order to help support businesses to grow etc. etc. etc. So financial services is a critical pillar, health is a critical pillar, education is a critical pillar – take some of that anxiety and I can put that into energy that can actually help to create the right conversations. And I’ve got 300 people who love the health industry, who are passionate about supporting our customers, and passionate about this industry. And the great outcomes at supporting health actually creates because it keeps all of us healthy, if we support our customer to do so, well we can actually change this things and I don’t know what’s that’s going to look like. But we want to be part of supporting and enabling in a more efficiency in the system, better health outcomes for people. And better long term sustainable policy decisions that create an environment for this industry to be very productive, and become not something that is a cost tsunami, but something people what to spend even more money in because of the value it can generate for our economy, right. Because we have a more productive people who are healthier for longer, who can do more things and have great lives. That’s what I think is whilst it keeps me awake at night, what keeps me going is a fact that all of that is possible and the contribution that can be made both as a person but also, as an institution.
W: Nehemiah Richardson General manager with NAB Health. The art of the possible is something that obviously occupies a lot of your time and it’s a pleasure to discuss with you. And it’s a pleasure to discuss with you what you see happening in the health vertical. Your passion is clear and evident. And I’m sure will have lots and lots of listeners very eager to get in touch and engage with NAB Health. How is the best way they do that? Is it a website?
H: Yes, you can go the nab.com.au website and just search “health”. And our landing page will come up, our “Health View” and our “Health Insights” will come up and contact details for the key leaders and business including myself are there. So you’ll see our email addresses, as well as our phone numbers depending on what geographic location you’re in. And were more than happy to take your call and to do we can to support to support people across the health care industry.
W: Well today we might have managed to spread a little bit of the word about NAB Health. And I certainly can see many of our listeners having an acute interest in your vision for the world. Thank you for your time today. If you’ve just joined us on Health Professional Radio then you’ve just missed a very fascinating conversation with Nehemiah Richardson, General Manager of NAB Health. But the good news is we have a transcript on our website. You can also hear the original audio on YouTube and on SoundCloud. This is Wayne Bucklar for Health Professional Radio.