As chief financial officer for Aetna, a $26 billion company with 20 million members, one of Dan Messina's ('77) tasks was to evaluate Aetna's Internet operation to find better ways of serving members, providers and employers. For example, he looked at how the Internet could be used to help minimize a lot of the bureaucratic hoops that exist within the industry - both in terms of billing and care. Messina is now undertaking the same tasks at Magellan Health Services, the largest provider of behavioral health care in the country with over 70 million members.
Like many large, well-established businesses, both Aetna and Magellan have been fairly new to the e-game. It has been only in the past 18 to 24 months that the Internet has figured prominently in the industry's business strategies and only in the past 12 to 18 months that the industry has aggressively pursued it. The healthcare industry has been slow getting into the game, but thanks to several recent endeavors, it is becoming "e" with a vengeance.
"One goal of the healthcare industry is to use the Internet to improve customer service and deliver better products faster and cheaper," says Messina. He envisions a time when the relationship between healthcare providers and members will be entirely connected through the Internet. In fact, he believes that, "some day the entire concept of an office will be made unnecessary and most of us will work from home."