Profiles in Telehealth: Dan DeSantis, VP of Strategy

Get to know our VP of Strategy, Dan DeSantis! As the strategy extraordinaire at Wheel, Dan delves into the virtual care market landscape and collaborates cross-functionally to create and implement consumer-centric solutions for clients across segments. He has spent over a decade working with companies, ranging from startups to management consulting firms, to strategically grow businesses. When he's not working, Dan enjoys watching college basketball, traveling, and spending time with his wife and two children.

What is your role at Wheel?

As the Vice President of Strategy at Wheel, I have the pleasure of working with nearly every area of our business and spend considerable time in market with potential partners and current clients. In Strategy, we obsess about understanding the market landscape, researching market trends and capabilities, and working with an incredible ecosystem of partners across the healthcare industry to develop and deploy consumer-centric virtual care solutions at scale to provide our clients with everything they need to launch virtual care offerings.

This means that each day is VERY different, shifting from supporting a client demo to selecting a capability partner to ideating and supporting our product teams on roadmap capabilities or marketing teams on our customer segment go-to-markets. Along with a second cup of coffee, reviewing current events in several fantastic industry newsletters, and meeting with compelling solutions from across the ecosystem each and every day, we are off to the races.

What's your personal and professional story?

Over the past decade-plus, I have had the opportunity to work with growth companies, Health Plans, and management consulting firms. Coupled with an MBA from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, my experience has centered on how to make an impact, both in the growth and development of programs or businesses and, importantly, for the users of these services. The end users typically being patients or members spanning the build-out virtual care solutions, a diabetes virtual clinic, 2nd opinion programs, partnerships at a behavioral health growth organization, and more.

I grew up in New Jersey, about fifteen minutes from the beach. From an early age, work ethic was instilled in me (Ok, not so much that first summer at a beach club snack bar), but in the years that followed, whether in a food store where I learned about customer service, my early career working with clients in management consulting, or perhaps dating back earlier to Taekwondo and receiving a black belt by the age of nine (watch out, I might still know how to do a sidekick).

I went to college at the University of Maryland for my undergraduate degree as well as an MBA, and am an avid college basketball fan. I love to travel (spending five months in Italy studying abroad, 43 days across eight countries with a backpack after I graduated, and still try and do a big trip with my wife every year or so). I am a father to two incredible children who are beautiful and our world, which is good since that travel has had to take a backseat for the last couple years.

Why did you join Wheel?

I have always been drawn to companies solving big thorny problems that can be impactful on people. Healthcare is THE thorny problem and is inherently broken. It isn’t affordable, it isn’t convenient, and often isn’t delivering the best outcomes it could. Here at Wheel, we are focused on creating a consumer-centric experience that patients and clinicians alike love and, by doing so, are working to create a system and experience that can work for patients. To be a part of this journey is something that challenges me every day and is a really exciting journey to be on with impactful results.

Just as important as the mission is the people you get the honor of working beside. I joined Wheel nearly two years ago and have worked with some of the smartest people in the industry. Learning is a fuel and being able to learn with and from colleagues here is one of the many rewarding aspects of the role.

What’s your favorite Wheel moment?

Back to those incredible people you get to meet, my favorite Wheel moment has been watching our team participate in Taco Thursday. Yes, I don’t understand why it wasn’t Taco Tuesday, but that aside, seeing the camaraderie, the detailed scoring models, and the most extreme and harsh scoring to go with the sophisticated models would make any taco joint run in fear. Watching teams come together for a laugh, in between solving really hard challenges is what it is all about.

What do you think the future of healthcare holds?

I am really excited to see the continued evolution of interoperability and transparency rules and how this can create a foundational change in healthcare coupled with advances in technology. Inherently, to fix the system, we need to create shared context, we need to break down walls, not build them up, and we need to be focused on the consumers of healthcare and build around and for them. I could write a novel here and add another ten areas I am excited about but will spare the audience.

Fun fact?

I saw Billy Joel take down the house in the last show at Shea Stadium and got to see him and Paul McCartney play Let it Be to close it down, 43 years after the Beatles first opened Shea.

Interested in joining our team? Check out the latest career opportunities with Wheel!

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