HXD 2019 has ended
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Rebecca Fraynt

SEIU 775 Benefits Group
Manager, Health Improvement Programs
Rebecca Fraynt, Ph.D. is the Manager for Health Improvement Programs at SEIU 775 Benefits Group. SEIU 775 Benefits Group is a Taft-Hartley trust that administers retirement, training, and health benefits to approximately 50,000 home care workers in Washington state. Approximately 18,000 home care workers are enrolled in our self-insured health plan. Dr. Fraynt’s primary role is to design and scale health programs and benefits that improve the overall health and well-being of home care workers. Prior to her work at Benefits Group, Dr. Fraynt was a psychology subject matter expert who helped develop mobile apps and websites to assist service members and their families with behavioral health conditions. She has also provided direct patient care as a psychologist and is foundationally trained in dialectical behavior therapy. Dr. Fraynt received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Q: What area of the health, design, and innovation space are you most passionate about?
For me where I am most passionate is how we can apply healthcare innovations to underserved communities. We have an opportunity to make healthcare cheaper and more accessible to people who wouldn’t have been able to get that higher quality care. Technology has the potential to make services more physically accessible to people, more affordable, and more tailored to their cultural needs.

Q: What method, technology, tool, trend, or advancement gets you fired up the most?
The ability to talk to providers remotely now and have remote appointments is potentially a game changer. There is a huge rural population that can’t travel and there are even those not in the rural population that cannot travel for a doctor’s appointment. The challenge with the remote appointment’s technology is getting people to use these technologies. They are underutilized because of awareness, an incorrect assumption that it is lower quality. People are unaware that it is covered by insurance and there is a learning curve for how to use the technology as well.

Q: Why do you do the work you do? What do you enjoy most? What impact are you hoping to achieve?
Nationally, we are about to experience an aging crisis. People reasonably want to live independently in their homes for as long as they possibly can and having access to high quality home care can make this possible for more people. However, we have a national shortage of professional caregivers. My job is really about designing health and wellness programs that help professionalize caregiving and also keep caregivers well and safe so that they can provide the best care to their clients. I love being able to go to sleep at night knowing that I am making a difference in caregivers’ lives, as well as helping solve really important problems, not just for caregivers individually, but for our country as a whole.

Q: Ideally, what do you think the future of health will hold? How will design help us to get us there?
Ideally the future of health is making sure everyone has access to quality healthcare regardless of who they are and where they live. Also, not that they just have access, but they know how to access it and they can get the right care at the right time and its affordable and transparent. Design can help us by making that care and knowledge accessible. There are huge accessibility problems due to location and staffing issues. Design has a role in helping consumers understand the system better, understand what is covered by insurance, what is an appropriate choice, what is not an appropriate choice, what the cost is. It can help them synthesize options and select what is best for them. It can also make options available that weren’t previously.

Q: What are the biggest obstacles you face? How might your organization or the industry help to solve them?
A big obstacle in Behavioral Health is there are not enough providers for the level of need in terms of how we deliver care. Within the general population 1 out of every 2 people will have a diagnosable health condition. It is impossible to have 1 to 1 face to face hour long therapy sessions for that level of need. We could hire at an unprecedented rate for the next couple years and still not meet the demand. One of the things we need to think about as a society is how do we create treatment models that work with people’s lives (patient and provider!) and we can scale. That is an area our organization is working really hard at. Our mindfulness model is great this way. Mindfulness can be useful for people regardless of whether they have a mental health diagnosis and provides skills that we see decrease depression and anxiety symptoms. Many people can take one mindfulness course, and they can participate in the comfort of their own homes.
We also offer the Ginger app which provides access to an emotional wellness coach 24/7. Instead of driving each day/week for an appointment they can text with a coach right then and there. It makes these services accessible, personalized and available exactly when someone needs them.
Our approach as an organization is to really talk to caregivers themselves about what they need and want. We then look for community partners who are willing to customize their solutions in a way that really meets caregivers’ needs.

Q: What would you tell your younger self?
I did not train to be in health design, I trained to be clinical psychologist. And I would tell my younger self, “Don’t limit yourself to the kind of careers and opportunities that are out there.” The work I am doing now didn’t exist when I was in school. There is a whole new frontier opening up in healthcare, and I imagine that in 20 years there will be even more exciting career opportunities in this field as health design continues to disrupt the industry. People looking for direction now need to be open because there will be new problems and opportunities out there that we cannot conceive now. To prepare for these unknown problems and opportunities those in school now need to develop critical thinking, team work, and communication skills.

My Speakers Sessions

Wednesday, April 3

2:25pm EDT


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