Kelly Bliss Wants People to Think About Virtual Care in a Big Way

In 2017, Teladoc Health, the first and largest virtual care company in the US, acquired global expert opinion benefits provider Best Doctors. Kelly Bliss, who had served as chief of staff at Best Doctors, was tasked with helping to integrate the two companies.

“Bringing these teams together, it became clear that this wasn’t just about shaping the future of Teladoc Health,” Bliss says. “We were going to shift the whole paradigm for how patients access care.”

Bliss, who served as chief client officer from 2017 to 2020, helped usher in record growth and retention in client services through a focus on delivering a best-in-class experience for clients.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread implications on healthcare worldwide. At the peak of the crisis in 2020, Bliss became president of US group health, tasked with overseeing that function’s business, strategy, client, and commercial operations while driving partnerships and growth in key markets. It was a pivotal time for the business, as visit volumes soared. Later that year, Teladoc Health acquired Livongo, and Bliss helped integrate and build upon Livongo’s set of chronic care management point solutions.

Today, most of the company’s sales are multi-product, inclusive of chronic condition management and 1 in 4 Americans have access to at least one Teladoc Health product through their employer or health plan. The company’s integrated offering has expanded to include mental health support services, virtual primary care, chronic disease management, weight management, and more. In her role, Bliss aims to inspire her colleagues to “think big” about how healthcare can be used  moving forward.

“There are so many opportunities for us to extract waste, improve the quality of care, and drive greater access through virtual care,” Bliss says. “I spend a lot of my time making sure people don’t think too small. I want to make sure people continue to think about ways virtual medicine and health can improve their lives.”

As far as new virtual use cases go, Bliss sees the rise in anti-obesity medications, including GLP-1s, as an area of opportunity. Earlier this year, Teladoc announced expansions to its weight management program.

“More than 40 percent of American adults are living with obesity. Without intervention and support, this condition can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health challenges—and significant costs for employers,” Bliss says. “This is a disease area where virtual care can really make an impact, supporting an individualized, longitudinal approach to care.”

As a leader in a fast-moving industry, Bliss takes pride in being confident and comfortable with change. A part of that has involved surrounding herself with a high-performing team filled with people passionate about their work.

“There’s not always a perfect answer and you’re not always going to have all the data you want to make decisions in a fast-paced environment,” Bliss says. “But a great team will enable you to move quickly. The people you surround yourself with matter more than anything else—they become who you are.”

While moving fast and being decisive are important leadership traits, there are certain issues that deserve a slower decision-making pace. Don’t move too quickly when hiring or promoting, Bliss advises.

“Take your time on building a strong team. Roles that are most impactful can have a significant positive or negative impact on a team and the business. You just can’t rush those decisions,” she says. “Take time and be deliberate about the roles you put people in. If it doesn’t work out, move quickly to make a change.”

The post Kelly Bliss Wants People to Think About Virtual Care in a Big Way appeared first on American Healthcare Leader.

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