The Profession

Jeffrey Driver

After witnessing the aftermath of medical error firsthand, Jeff Driver dedicated himself to reducing risk and promoting prevention in health care.
By: | August 29, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Respiratory therapist at the Cleveland Clinic.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

When I worked as an orderly at an inner-city hospital in Cleveland, my team experienced the trauma of medical error involving a child. All my training hadn’t prepared me for that — for medical error and its causes, its scope, its prevention. As a result, I became a patient representative, and shortly thereafter, a risk manager.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

Advertisement




We’ve adopted enterprise risk management nicely.  And while that’s a good holistic strategy, I don’t think it’s the silver bullet. We need to continue to work on risk management effectiveness.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Using technology to collect and analyze data to quickly implement safety interventions. In short, prevention.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Probably adopting new technology. Other industries have been quick to do so — AI for example —  but we’re a little laggard at adopting technologies that are designed specifically for the health care space and managing risk.

Jeffrey Driver, CRO, Stanford University Medical Center and CEO, The Risk Authority Stanford

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber risk and cyber threat.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We engage with our brokers hand in hand, as a partnership. Our CEOs and team meet and work directly with underwriters on an annual basis all over the world.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the U.S. economy or pessimistic?

Optimistic.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Advertisement




I’ve had many mentors over the years, but my first mentor, actually, was my first broker. Before I even became a risk manager, I reached out to her about an internship with her company and she went to bat for me. While I didn’t end up with the internship, I did end up working with her as my first broker. She took me under her wing and taught me the business. And while she’s now retired, we remain close.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I haven’t accomplished it yet. We’ve done a lot and there are many things my team has done that I’m proud of, but I feel like we can’t stop until we reach zero harm. And while that’s perhaps not entirely possible, we will continue to endeavor for it. I’m also taking a personal and active interest in suicide prevention.

R&I: How many e-mails do you get in a day?

200-plus.

“I love putting people together with complimentary skills and disciplines, and then helping to foster and focus those talents in a particular direction.”

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Field of Dreams.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Castello di Sinio in the Barolo wine region of northern Italy.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Advertisement




Nickle & Nickle Cabernet Sauvignon single vineyard designates.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Czech Republic right after it formed as a democracy. This was in the ’90s, after the Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and a democracy and federalization deepened. The citizens were amazed at how Americans were living and beginning to embrace their own liberation. It was an amazing thing to witness.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Scuba diving.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The people reading this and the ones in our industry who never give up. The ones that want to learn more, and do better, and never stop reaching.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

The thing I take the most joy in is bringing in teams of people to accomplish specific goals. I love putting people together with complimentary skills and disciplines, and then helping to foster and focus those talents in a particular direction.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my daughter, who actually works within my company as a business writer. Here’s what she said: “What I see you doing is bringing together a team of bright, passionate, and talented people who want to make health care better in whatever way they can. You have a vision that unites them, one that embraces a diversity of strengths and strategies, which then accelerates the growth of innovation. I see you redefining what it means to be a risk manager in health care, and while complex, what it all boils down to is I see you trying to help save lives.”




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

The Profession

For This Pharmaceutical Risk Director, Managing Risk Means Being Part of the Mission to Save Lives

Meet Eric Dobkin, director, insurance and risk management, for Merck & Co. Inc.
By: | September 28, 2018 • 5 min read

R&I: What was your first job?
My first job out of undergrad was as an actuarial trainee at Chubb.I was a math major in school, and I think the options for a math major coming out are either a teacher or an actuary, right? Anyway, I was really happy when the opportunity at Chubb presented itself. Fantastic company. I learned a lot there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?
After I went back to get my MBA, I decided I wanted to work in corporate finance. When I was interviewing, one of the opportunities was with Merck. I really liked their mission, and things worked out. Given my background, they thought a good starting job would be in Merck’s risk management group. I started there, rotated through other areas within Merck finance but ultimately came back to the Insurance & Risk Management group. I guess I’m just one of those people who enjoy this type of work.

Advertisement




R&I: What is risk management doing right?
I think the community is doing a good job of promoting education, sharing ideas and advancing knowledge. Opportunities like this help make us all better business partners. We can take these ideas and translate them into actionable solutions to help our companies.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?
I think we have made good advancements in articulating the value proposition of investing in risk management, but much more can be done. Sometimes there is such a focus on delivering immediate value, such as cost savings, that risk management does not get appropriate attention (until something happens). We need to develop better tools that can reinforce that risk management is value-creating and good for operational efficiency, customers and shareholders.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?
I’d actually say there hasn’t been as much change as I would have hoped. I think the industry speaks about innovation more often than it does it. To be fair, at Merck we do have key partners that are innovators, but some in the industry are less enthusiastic to consider new approaches. I think there is a real need to find new and relevant solutions for large, complex risks.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?
Cyber risk. While it’s not emerging anymore, it’s evolving, dynamic and deserves the attention it gets. Merck was an early adopter of risk transfer solutions for cyber risk, and we continue to see insurance as an important component of the overall cyber risk management framework. From my perspective, this risk, more than any other, demands continuous forward-thinking to ensure we evolve solutions.

R&I: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Sticking with the cyber theme, I’d say navigating through a cyber incident is right up there. In June 2017, Merck experienced a network cyber attack that led to a disruption of its worldwide operations, including manufacturing, research and sales. It was a very challenging environment. And managing the insurance claim that resulted has been extremely complex. But at the same time, I have learned a tremendous amount in terms of how to think about the risk, enterprise resiliency and how to manage through a cyber incident.

R&I: What advice might you give to students or other aspiring risk managers?
Have strong intellectual curiosity. Always be willing to listen and learn. Ask “why?” We deal with a lot of ambiguity in our business, and the more you seek to understand, the better you will be able to apply those learnings toward developing solutions that meet the evolving risk landscape and needs of the business.

Advertisement




R&I: What role does technology play in your company’s approach to risk management?
We’re continuing to look for ways to apply technology. For example, being able to extract and leverage data that resides in our systems to evaluate risk, drive efficiencies and make things like property-value reporting easier. We’re also looking to utilize data visualization tools to help gain insights into our risks.

R&I: What are your goals for the next five to 10 years of your career?
I think, at this time, I would like to continue to learn and grow in the type of work I do and broaden my scope of responsibilities. There are many opportunities to deliver value. I want to continue to focus on becoming a stronger business partner and help enable growth.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?
I’d say right now Star Wars is top on my list. It has been magical re-watching and re-living the series I watched as a kid through the eyes of my children.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in? When I was about 15, I went to a New York Rangers versus Philadelphia Flyers game at the Philadelphia Spectrum. I wore my Rangers jersey. I would not do that again.

Eric Dobkin, director, insurance & risk management, Merck & Co. Inc

R&I: What is it about this work you find most fulfilling or rewarding?
I am passionate about Merck’s mission of saving and improving lives. “Inventing for Life” is Merck’s tagline. It’s funny, but most people don’t associate “inventing” with medicine. But Merck has been inventing medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases for a long time. It’s amazing to think the products we make can help people fight terrible diseases like cancer. Whatever little bit I can do to help advance that mission is very fulfilling and rewarding.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?
Ha! My kids think I make medicine. I guess they think that because I work for Merck. I suppose if even in a small way I can contribute to Merck’s mission of saving and improving lives, I am good with that. &




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]