Just a couple months after rolling out a new value-based care model, Spring Health has also created and filled a new chief technology officer (CTO) position. The behavioral health benefits company tapped Amazon Web Services (AWS) alum Harshit Shah to step into the role in June.
With 20 years of software engineering experience, most recently as head of engineering at AWS, Shah told Behavioral Health Business he plans to bring lessons learned from Amazon to the new position, while also furthering the company’s goal of taking the guesswork out of mental health care.
Headquartered in New York City, Spring Health uses a mix of technology and human touch to help employers connect workers with behavioral health services, which are delivered by vetted providers in the company’s network. Its comprehensive solution can direct employees to any type or level of care, from self-guided digital exercises and employee assistance program (EAP) services to coaching, therapy and prescriptions.
As CTO, Shah plans to improve that process, prioritizing customer experience and outcomes along the way. You can find BHB’s conversation with Shah below, edited for length and clarity.
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BHB: First of all, what made you decide to join Spring Health?
Shah: I’m a very mission-driven individual, and mental health and mindfulness is at the center of everybody’s well being.
Over the past year and a half, the pandemic has brought mental health to the forefront in a way it never has before. And when I looked at the mission that Spring Health has — to remove barrier to mental health care by providing the right tools, resources and support for our customers — that was one of the primary drivers for me.
The second thing is that diversity and inclusion is a core part of our value system, and I was surprisingly happy to see an organization living and breathing that.
And then, finally, the third reason I wanted to join Spring Health is the role I’ll play in building our enterprise software through the right talent and team for our global customers, members and caregivers.
I understand that software engineering, information security and IT all fall under your purview in the new role. What are your priorities on those fronts?
We are trying to remove the guesswork out of mental health treatment. We don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach for our users and members, so when customers sign up for Spring Health, what they are getting is a customized care plan, which is grounded in data and science.
There are more than 700 unique mental health needs and journeys that a single individual can go through, so technology plays a very critical role in how we help our customers.
When customers sign up to our web or mobile application, we have a set of questions that helps them to customize the plan. We have a network of care navigators and care providers that engage based on users’ needs. And all of this moving at a scale in a frictionless way requires technology innovation at every level.
That’s what my focus is: building on the software and technology that we have built and continuing on that path.
Spring Health has said that one of its big priorities is scaling its enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) teams to deliver new capabilities for customers, members and caregivers. Could you provide any color on the end goal there?
We want to take the guesswork out of the picture.
Looking forward, we want to ensure ease of access for every individual. Once a customer signs up, we want to reduce and simplify the experience. We want to use data and science to provide more precise, customized plans.
We have started providing care through our partner network WTO across the world, and we will continue to invest into that. We will continue to look into the ways to improve the provider and patient onboarding experience, as well as the rest of the care journey. And we will continue to add more experiences and more capabilities.
Got it. You’re coming to Spring Health from Amazon Web Services. What lessons learned are you bringing from there to your new position?
Spring Health’s six core values are very close to the Amazon leadership principles.
There are many lessons I’m bringing, but if I were to call out a few, I’d say that, at Amazon, customer optimization comes first. The same applies to everything that we do at Spring Health.
The second thing is, at Amazon, I helped build a business productivity enterprise SaaS solution for our AWS customers in the enterprise space. It was focused on the collaboration between the team members in the workspace — video conferencing, document sharing and more. When I think about that service, which was for a global audience, it’s no different than what we are doing at Spring Health in terms of proving endpoints that are accessible to the user at any platform and building a service that is highly available and highly resilient in multiple regions.
Moving to a bigger picture question here: What role does technology have to play for Spring Health, as well as for the behavioral health industry at large, going forward?
There is an unprecedented need for services right now, and Spring Health has a big role to play. We want to be the solution, not only in the workplace, but for the community at large.
I’m excited about what the team at Spring Health has built so far and the opportunity to help push them even further. We are building the right engineering team. We are hiring at all experience levels for engineers and product management roles across the USA, and we will continue to grow to build the right tools and experiences for our users.