Research shows that early adopters of technology are often characterized as curious and adaptable, with a keen ability to foresee future impact.
Eric Weil, MD., encompasses all of these early adopter traits — and more. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Rockaway, New Jersey, Dr. Weil says his love for technology dates back to his childhood.
“I was an 11 year old taking computer classes in the early ’80s,” he reflected, adding that his first personal computer was the Commodore 64, which was introduced in 1982. He was also one of the first of his friends to own an Atari 400 gaming console (released in 1979). However, for as far back as he can remember, Dr. Weil always wanted to be a physician.
As the chief medical officer of MDLIVE, Evernorth’s virtual care platform, Dr. Weil has been able to blend his dream of being a doctor with his passion for health care innovation, helping to bring quality health care to millions of Americans in the comfort of their own homes — or wherever they are when they need to see a doctor.
“Technology has always been a part of my life,” he said. “And I have always been interested in coming up with unique solutions to established and common problems. And while real groundbreaking solutions always require human ingenuity, it was always clear that the thoughtful use of technology was going to be a key tool in addressing those very human problems.”
Medicine is both art and science
Dr. Weil earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, where he double-majored in biology and ancient religious studies. While that isn’t the typical mix of courses taken by an aspiring physician, Dr. Weil says it served him well, as the delivery of health care is a science while also being profoundly human.
“A mix of science and classics was a great way for me to feed the right and left sides of my brain,” he said. “On the one hand, I developed the scientific rigor that is necessary to be a physician. And on the other hand, I had a deep-rooted learning in the humanities. People are far more than just their organs — hearts, lungs, and brains. For that reason, medicine needs to be thinking about the person holistically. Having a depth of understanding around the nature of values and beliefs is important.”
He added that his deep dive into religious studies has benefitted him from a cultural competency standpoint, which is crucial in a clinical setting because religion and spirituality has a huge impact on the health care choices that people make.
Making a greater impact in health care
It was about three or four years into his career as a primary care physician (PCP) at Massachusetts General Hospital that Dr. Weil began to shift his focus from working with individual patients to influencing population health — though he says it’s something he had thought about for a long time. His time as a PCP gave him insights into strategies that could raise the quality of care for patients at a population level.
“I realized pretty early on as a primary care physician that not only is a human being a system, but a medical practice is a system, and a town is a system,” Dr. Weil said. “To understand those systems and to be able to ensure the health of those systems, we need to be looking more broadly than at just the individual.”
As the medical director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s primary care practice, he began to understand how a small city approaches the health of their citizens. Dr. Weil worked to develop strategies for taking care of sick and elderly Medicare patients to keep them out of the hospital. These strategies were effective and probably are now recognized as components of what today is considered to be value-based care, he said. Dr. Weil eventually became the chief of primary care for the Massachusetts General Hospital system, which included about 20 practices and more than 200 physicians.
In later roles, Dr. Weil moved away from large academic health care systems, including a two-year stint at a health care start up called City Block, where he helped improve the value of care delivered to at-risk and vulnerable populations.
Using technology as a tool to solve health care’s biggest challenges
In late December 2021, a colleague reached out to gauge Dr. Weil’s interest in working with Amazon to help expand the company’s virtual platform, Amazon Care.
“I was the chief medical officer for Care Medical, the clinician organization that was the sole provider of clinical services for Amazon Care, and I had the privilege of supporting the build of Amazon’s virtual-first primary care platform,” he said. “We scaled it nationally. We grew out all of the resources in some really exciting and meaningful ways.”
Dr. Weil said his time at Amazon helped him zero in on patient experience and how technology can move people through the patient journey. One of his biggest observations were that patients don’t always feel seen and heard — and as a health care industry, this represents a real opportunity.
“We have to do whatever we can to create amazing experiences that are seamless and personal for patients as well as their health care providers,” he said.
Dr. Weil joined MDLIVE after Amazon made a strategic decision in 2022 to ramp down the Amazon Care product. Two of his mandates are to expand the horizons of the services delivered and to think about how the platform can be woven in a meaningful way into the broader ecosystem of services that Evernorth offers now and will offer in the future.
“This is a very exciting time and opportunity. I get to partner with some truly smart and talented individuals from across our organization to figure out ways to merge the care that we deliver on the ground with our virtual services,” he said. “We’re building better health care!”
As Evernorth looks to create, optimize, and scale this hybrid approach to care, Dr. Weil’s variety of experiences will surely be a benefit to Evernorth Care. He has a strong track record of understanding the impact that technology can have and how to use it to engage patients and make the health care system work better. His deep experience in population health and in improving the value of care to people who are vulnerable or underserved will be key in Evernorth Care’s approach to solving problems and creating good for patients and their health plan sponsors.