Digital Health Heavyweights

Norm Volsky

This conversational podcast brings you exclusive interviews with all the Heavyweights in Digital Health. Hosted by Norm Volsky, a top industry headhunter, whose team helped scale companies including Livongo, Hinge Health, Lyra, Virta, Progyny and many more. This series will bring listeners insights into the latest trends, technologies, and strategies driving the digital health revolution.

In each episode, Norm sits down with some of the most influential and innovative leaders in healthcare technology today from legendary founders who have built successful companies, venture capitalists who have led funding rounds, HR/Benefits leaders at forward thinking companies, Consultants and Brokers at the top benefits consulting firms, and other impactful visionaries challenging the status quo in healthcare. Listeners can learn from the industry greats who have created what we now know as health benefits, and who are changing the face of healthcare as we know it.

Whether you're a healthcare professional, a tech enthusiast, a start-up founder, benefits aficionado, jobseeker in Digital Health, or simply curious about the future of healthcare, Digital Health Heavyweights has something for you.

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Episodes

Episode 41 - Maria-Helen Maras, Venture & Growth Investor at Kinnevik
Jun 10 2024
Episode 41 - Maria-Helen Maras, Venture & Growth Investor at Kinnevik
Welcome back for episode 41 of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast! Today Norm sits down with Maria-Helen Maras, venture and growth investor at Kinnevik AB. Maria shares her insights on healthcare technology, venture capital, and her career journey. She discusses her experience in consultancy, her role as the chief of staff at Pelago, and the focus of Kinnevik in healthcare and biosciences. She also highlights the traits of successful founders and the future of healthcare startups. Maria shares her insights and experiences in the healthcare investment space, discussing the impact of public offerings, the importance of urgency and storytelling, and the key ingredients of a compelling investment pitch. She also delves into deal sourcing, evaluation criteria, and the challenges of the venture capital landscape. Additionally, she provides valuable advice for founders and offers bold predictions for the future of digital health. The conversation concludes with a discussion on personal wellness and healthy eating.Takeaways  ๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ”ฌ The intersection of technology and science in healthcare presents significant opportunities for disruption and transformation.  ๐Ÿš€๐Ÿ’ช Successful founders in healthcare need to be fast learners, persevering, and deeply motivated to make a difference in the complex healthcare industry.  ๐Ÿ’ผ๐Ÿ’‰ Kinnevik's focus on healthcare and biosciences reflects a long-term view of investing and a commitment to supporting companies across their growth stages.  ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’ผ The role of a chief of staff at a startup involves cross-functional working, communication, and knowledge capture, providing valuable insights into the challenges and successes of building a business. ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’ผ ๐Ÿ’ธโฑ๏ธ The funding process for healthcare startups involves a tight and fast process, reflecting the competitive nature of the market and the importance of founder-friendly support from investors. The impact of public offerings on perspectives and urgency in healthcare investment.  ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ’ก The key ingredients of a compelling investment pitch: big vision, engaging founders, clear story, clear plan, and a mix of qualitative and quantitative information.  ๐Ÿ’ผ๐Ÿ” The importance of deal sourcing, evaluation criteria, and the challenges of the venture capital landscape.  ๐Ÿค–๐Ÿฅ Bold predictions for the future of digital health, including personalized healthcare and the integration of AI in medical practice. ๐Ÿค–๐Ÿฅ ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™‚๏ธ The significance of personal wellness and healthy eating in maintaining a balanced lifestyle, especially in high-stress professions. Chapters 00:00 Introduction to Healthcare Technology and Venture Capital03:03 Career Journey and Consulting Experience05:59 The Role of a Chief of Staff at a Startup09:00 Kinnevik's Focus on Healthcare and Biosciences21:05 The Future of Healthcare Startups45:16 Balancing Wellness and High-Stress Professions Follow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 40 - Pamela Pure, CEO at Posterity Health
Jun 3 2024
Episode 40 - Pamela Pure, CEO at Posterity Health
Welcome back for episode 40 of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast.In todayโ€™s episode, Norm interviews Pam Pure, CEO of Posterity Health. Pam shares her background in healthcare and her inspiration to get into the industry. She discusses her experiences leading Channel Health within Allscripts and her time as President and EVP at McKesson Technologies. Pam also talks about her role as interim CEO of Nurse Grid and the sale of the company to HealthStream. Finally, she explains her excitement to join Posterity Health and the importance of addressing male fertility in healthcare. Posterity Health aims to unite couples in the fertility journey by providing comprehensive care for both partners. They offer a hybrid model of digital and in-person care, personalized treatment plans, and integration with OB-GYNs and fertility centers. They partner with women's fertility companies like Progyny, Maeve, Carrot, WINFertility, and Kindbody to provide consistent care for male reproductive health. Posterity Health has made male fertility care more accessible and affordable, and they are expanding into hormone management for men. The CEO emphasizes the importance of perseverance, building a team of champions, and understanding the customer in building a successful company culture. The company's goal is to be the male partner for reproductive health services and drive a sea change in how couples approach conception. Takeaways๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš•๏ธ Pam Pure has a strong background in digital healthcare and has held leadership positions at various companies in the industry.๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ผ She emphasizes the importance of focusing on the customer and hiring talented individuals to create successful teams.๐Ÿš€ Pam played a key role in the development of Relay Health, a company focused on connectivity in healthcare.๐Ÿฅ She is currently the CEO of Posterity Health, a company addressing male fertility in healthcare.๐Ÿ‘ถ Pam believes that addressing male fertility is crucial and can lead to faster and more cost-effective treatments for couples trying to conceive. Posterity Health aims to unite couples in the fertility journey by providing comprehensive care for both partners.๐Ÿ’ป They offer a hybrid model of digital and in-person care, personalized treatment plans, and integration with OB-GYNs and fertility centers.๐Ÿค They partner with women's fertility companies to provide consistent care for male reproductive health.๐Ÿ’ฐ Posterity Health has made male fertility care more accessible and affordable, and they are expanding into hormone management for men.๐Ÿ† The CEO emphasizes the importance of perseverance, building a team of champions, and understanding the customer in building a successful company culture.๐ŸŽฏ The company's goal is to be the male partner for reproductive health services and drive a sea change in how couples approach conception. Follow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 39 - Russell Glass, CEO at Headspace
May 21 2024
Episode 39 - Russell Glass, CEO at Headspace
Welcome back for Episode 39 of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast. In todayโ€™s episode, Norm sits down with Russell Glass, CEO of Headspace, who shares his experience as an entrepreneur and leader in the healthcare and tech industries. He discusses the importance of culture, focus, and building a great team in driving success. Russell also emphasizes the need for founders to be optimistic, curious, and intentional about the culture they create. Russell highlights the challenges and complexities of building a digital health product, including navigating regulatory and payer landscapes. He also shares his insights on the explosive growth of Ginger and the importance of getting the core model right before scaling in healthcare. Russ and Norm discuss the importance of distribution and marketing in determining the success of a product. He explains that the best product doesn't always win, and that in healthcare, distribution is even more crucial. Russ also shares his experience of joining Ginger and leading it through a period of growth and transformation. He highlights the accomplishments he is most proud of, including rebuilding the team and growing the company's care team. He also discusses the merger between Ginger and Headspace and the benefits it brings to the member experience. Russ concludes by sharing his personal practices for wellness, including meditation, walking meetings, and intentional time management. Takeaways ๐ŸŒŸ Culture, focus, and building a great team are key to driving success in entrepreneurship.๐Ÿ” Founders should be optimistic, curious, and intentional about the culture they create.๐Ÿ’ป Building a digital health product requires navigating complex regulatory and payer landscapes.๐Ÿ”‘ Getting the core model right before scaling is crucial in healthcare.๐Ÿ’ก The best product doesn't always win in the healthcare industry. The best product doesn't always win in the market. Distribution, marketing, and access play a crucial role in determining success.๐Ÿฅ In healthcare, distribution is even more important than in other industries. Removing friction and making it easy for people to access a product or service is key.๐Ÿ”ง Rebuilding a team and creating a world-class executive team can contribute to the growth and success of a company.๐Ÿค The merger between Ginger and Headspace has enhanced the member experience by combining two powerful brands and offering a comprehensive end-to-end platform for mental health support.๐Ÿง˜ Personal wellness practices include meditation, walking meetings, intentional time management, and prioritizing sleep and exercise.๐Ÿš€ When considering a career in healthcare tech, focus on the mission, the CEO, the company culture, and the product's potential impact.Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Background05:32 Creating the Right Team21:27 Building a Digital Health Product27:14 Differences in Building Tech and Healthcare Products33:19 Leading Growth and Transformation at Ginger41:26 Personal Wellness Practices51:30 OutroFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 38 - Brook West, Chief Commercial Officer at Carrum
May 13 2024
Episode 38 - Brook West, Chief Commercial Officer at Carrum
Welcome back for episode 38 of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast.In this episode, Norm interviews Brook West, CCO of Carrum Health. They discuss Brook's background in digital health, her experiences at 98.6, and her decision to join Carrum. They also talk about the challenges and accomplishments at Carrum, as well as advice for commercial leaders trying to create a market category and generate buzz for their company. In this conversation, Norm and Brook discuss her experience in scaling sales organizations and creating high-performing teams. They discuss the importance of relentless improvement in hiring, removing bias from the hiring process, and the key traits of successful salespeople in the benefits market. They also explore the onboarding process for new employers using Carrum as well as future plans for the company. Brook shares her advice for those starting a career in sales and makes bold predictions for the future of digital health. Lastly, she talks about the importance of self-care and shares her quick and healthy recipe ideas.Takeaways ๐Ÿฅ Brook West entered the healthcare market and discovered the purpose of selling products and services that impact human lives. ๐Ÿ“ˆ At 98.6, Brook experienced rapid growth by implementing a playbook of direct sales, consulting partnerships, and health plan collaborations. ๐Ÿ’ผ When building a sales team, Brook looks for traits like passion, drive, coachability, and organization. ๐ŸŒŸ Brookโ€™s greatest accomplishment at Carrum is building a team that is aligned with the mission and delivers impactful services to patients and employers. ๐Ÿš€ To create a market category and generate buzz, it is important to have a differentiated product with a hard ROI, invest in product marketing and sales enablement, and have a brand and thought leadership strategy. ๐Ÿ” Quality is the foundation of everything at Carrum, from the product to how they behave and deliver services. Relentless improvement is key to creating a team of A players. Continuously adapt the hiring profile and learn from each interview to find the right fit. ๐ŸŽฏ Removing bias from the hiring process is crucial. Use a hiring matrix to ensure the right questions are asked and the appropriate weighting is given to each category. ๐Ÿ”„ The onboarding process for new employees using Carrum is simple and plug-and-play. ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธ Successful salespeople in the benefits market need traits like resilience, drive, thick skin, and belief in what they do. Empathy and understanding the challenges of benefits leaders are also important. ๐Ÿ“Š Carrum's plans for the future include doubling down on cancer care and expanding in the behavioral health and women's health categories. The focus is on delivering quality care and addressing top spend and concern areas. ๐Ÿ’ป In the digital health space, virtual care and in-person care will blend seamlessly, and digital health will become the status quo. Digital health will tackle inefficiencies and reduce waste in healthcare. ๐Ÿ˜Œ In a stressful job, it's important to participate in wellness and reduce stress. Taking mini vacations and finding moments to escape and relax can help. ๐Ÿฅ— Quick and healthy recipe ideas include pan sheet meals with vegetables, chicken, or salmon cooked in advance for the week. ๐Ÿ“ž Advice for those starting a career in sales: be aggressive, confident, and find a mentor. Preparation and excitement are key to successful sales calls. ๐Ÿ”ฎ Bold predictions for the future of digital health include the blending of virtual and in-person care, the fading out of the term 'digital heaFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 37 - Dave Kerrigan, CEO and Founder of BenefitPitch
May 6 2024
Episode 37 - Dave Kerrigan, CEO and Founder of BenefitPitch
Welcome back for Episode 37 of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast. Today Norm is joined by Dave Kerrigan, founder, and CEO of BenefitPitch. Dave shares his journey in the healthcare industry and the changes he has witnessed over the years. He discusses his experience working at Optum, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Willis Towers Watson, as well as his role at the Massachusetts Health Connector. Dave also talks about the challenges and successes of negotiating contracts with insurance carriers and managing vendor strategies. He highlights the shift towards self-funding and the proliferation of startups in the healthcare benefits space. Daveโ€™s personal experiences, including the loss of his mother-in-law and father, led him to found Sante Nasc and BenefitPitch. Dave Kerrigan shares his journey from being forced into entrepreneurship to founding BenefitPitch, a vendor management system for brokerage firms. He discusses the impact and focus of BenefitPitch, as well as the importance of collaboration between vendors and brokers. Dave also talks about the 'Masked Broker' series, which provides insights and tips for vendors on how to work with brokerage firms. He shares his thoughts on the future of the benefits industry and highlights the importance of transparency and engagement. Kerrigan also discusses his personal wellness practices, including running and portion control.Watch the Masked Broker and sign up for BenefitPitch here with this link: https://www.benefitpitch.com/?utm_term=digital-health-heavyweights&utm_campaign=Podcast%20Appearances%202024&utm_medium=dri&utm_source=podcastTakeaways๐Ÿฅ Dave Kerrigan has had a long career in the healthcare industry, working at various companies such as Optum, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Willis Towers Watson.๐Ÿ’ผ He played a key role in negotiating contracts with insurance carriers and managing vendor strategies.๐Ÿ”„๐Ÿš€ Kerrigan has witnessed the shift towards self-funding and the emergence of numerous startups in the healthcare benefits space.๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’ผ Personal experiences, including the loss of loved ones, led Kerrigan to found Sante Nasc and BenefitPitch. Dave Kerrigan founded BenefitPitch, a vendor management system for brokerage firms, after being forced into entrepreneurship.๐Ÿค Collaboration between vendors and brokers is crucial for success in the benefits industry.๐ŸŽญ๐Ÿ’ก The 'Masked Broker' series provides insights and tips for vendors on how to work with brokerage firms.๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ’ฌ Transparency and engagement are key factors in the future of the benefits industry.๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿฅ— Dave Kerrigan practices personal wellness through running and portion control.Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Background06:55 Role at Buck Consultants and Vendor Strategies14:41 Heading Vendor Strategy at Buck Consultants27:03 From Forced Entrepreneurship to Founding BenefitPitch39:18 Transparency and Engagement in the Future of Benefits47:40 Personal Wellness Practices: Running and Portion ControlFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 36 - Branden Fini, Healthcare Investor at Providence Ventures
Apr 29 2024
Episode 36 - Branden Fini, Healthcare Investor at Providence Ventures
Welcome back to the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast for Episode 36. In todayโ€™s session, Norm sits down with Branden Fini, partner at Providence Ventures, who shares his journey at the intersection of healthcare and finance. Branden explains how healthcare inspired him because it combines technical challenges with the opportunity to impact patients' lives. Branden discusses the various ways to improve healthcare, including through venture capital and digital innovation. He also highlights the importance of understanding the pain points in healthcare and the need for a comprehensive set of expertise in the management team. Additionally, he emphasizes the value of trust, pattern recognition, and being coachable in evaluating founders and management teams. Branden also discusses the unique value proposition of Providence Ventures and the future of the firm. In this conversation, Branden Fini, Partner at Providence Ventures, shares insights on what sets a venture capitalist apart and how to win deals at a good price. He emphasizes the importance of having a track record of adding value to portfolio companies and being able to showcase successful partnerships. Branden also highlights the significance of building trust and rapport with founders, as well as the importance of understanding the pain points of the healthcare industry. He advises founders to focus on solving a specific problem and to have a clear go-to-market strategy. Additionally, Branden discusses the red flags he looks for in founding teams, such as being overcapitalized, and shares his personal approach to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.Takeaways โ€ข ๐Ÿฅ Healthcare combines technical challenges with the opportunity to impact patients' lives.โ€ข ๐Ÿš€ Improving healthcare requires more than just caregivers and clinical technologies.โ€ข ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ผ Evaluating founders and management teams involves assessing their expertise, trustworthiness, and coachability.โ€ข ๐Ÿ’ผ Providence Ventures offers a unique value proposition with its strategic platform and connections to stakeholders.โ€ข ๐Ÿ”ฎ The future of Providence Ventures involves scaling its strategy and continuing to attract top talent. To stand apart and win deals at a good price, venture capitalists need to have a track record of adding value to portfolio companies and showcasing successful partnerships.โ€ข ๐Ÿค Building trust and rapport with founders is crucial in the venture capital industry, as founders want to work with people they like and trust.โ€ข ๐Ÿ’ก Founders should focus on solving a specific problem and have a clear go-to-market strategy, including understanding the pain points of the healthcare industry and integrating their product into existing workflows.โ€ข ๐Ÿšฉ Red flags in founding teams include being overcapitalized, as it can lead to excessive spending and compressed investor returns.โ€ข โš–๏ธ Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important in a high-stakes job, and having a clear understanding of priorities can help reduce stress and improve performance.Chapters 00:00 Introduction to Branden Fini and Providence Ventures06:52 Joining Strathspey Crown and Shaping Career in Digital Health14:09 Qualities of a Good Board Advisor or Observer29:14 Differentiating Factors for VCs without a Strategic Backer38:17 Solving Specific Problems: The Importance of Go-to-Market Strategy52:17 Red Flags in Founding Teams: Overcapitalization and Excessive SpendingFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 35 - Senan Ebrahim, MD, PhD, CEO at Delfina
Apr 22 2024
Episode 35 - Senan Ebrahim, MD, PhD, CEO at Delfina
Welcome back for Episode 35 of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast! ๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Today, Norm sits down with Senan Ebrahim, MD, PhD,  Founder and CEO of Delfina. Dr. Ebrahim discusses his journey in using technology to improve global health, particularly in the field of maternal health. He shares his inspiration for getting into healthcare, the challenges he witnessed in prenatal care, and the importance of data-driven clarity and certainty in healthcare. Dr. Ebrahim also talks about his previous venture, Hikma Health, and the accomplishments he is proud of. He highlights the inequities in maternal care and how Delfina is working to solve them by partnering with Medicaid plans and community-based organizations. Delphina is focused on solving the maternal health crisis by using data and AI to provide intelligent pregnancy care. One major challenge in the healthcare industry is the data infrastructure, which is often outdated and not interoperable. Delphina aims to provide a maximally interoperable platform that can pull in and deliver data to health plans and providers. The company is committed to using AI and machine learning to improve outcomes in obstetrics and pregnancy care. The typical experience for a Delphina member includes onboarding through the app, tracking symptoms and vital signs, and engaging with human doulas. The goal is to empower pregnant patients and provide personalized care. Delphina's future plans include deepening its impact, rigorously measuring outcomes, and scaling to reach every pregnant patient in the United States. Takeaways๐ŸŒ Using technology to improve global health, particularly in maternal health, is a passion for Sanan Ibrahim.๐Ÿ’ก Data-driven clarity and certainty are crucial in healthcare to provide better care for patients.๐Ÿฅ Hikma Health, Sanan's previous venture, aimed to provide digital health solutions for refugees and vulnerable populations.โš ๏ธ Inequities in maternal care, particularly among Medicaid patients, are a public health crisis that needs to be addressed.๐Ÿค Delfina is working to solve these inequities by partnering with Medicaid plans and  community-based organizations. The data infrastructure in healthcare is a major challenge, and Delphina aims to provide a maximally interoperable platform to address this issue.๐Ÿค– Delphina uses AI and machine learning to improve outcomes in obstetrics and pregnancy care.๐Ÿ“ฑ The typical experience for a Delphina member includes onboarding through the app, tracking symptoms and vital signs, and engaging with human doulas.๐ŸŒŸ Delphina's future plans include deepening its impact, rigorously measuring outcomes, and scaling to reach every pregnant patient in the United States.Chapters00:00 Introduction and Background08:24 Founding Hikma Health and Accomplishments14:36 Early Years of Delfina29:34 The Delphina Member Experience38:39 Traits of Successful Founders46:53 Future Plans for DelphinaFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 34 - Dr. Maroof Ahmed - COO and Co-Founder of Pelago
Apr 15 2024
Episode 34 - Dr. Maroof Ahmed - COO and Co-Founder of Pelago
๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ Welcome back to our channel and thank you to our subscribers!! We are thrilled to bring you Episode 34 of the Digital Health Heavyweights podcast! Today, Norm sits down with Dr. Maroof Ahmed, COO and co-founder of Pelago (formerly known as Quit Genius), to discuss the company's recent Series C funding round and its mission to transform substance use support. Maroof shares his personal motivation for starting the company, which was inspired by the loss of his uncle to addiction. He also highlights the challenges and successes of the early years, including the rebranding from Quit Genius to Pelago. The conversation explores the shift in mindset around substance use management and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maroof discusses the company's expansion into the B2B market and the onboarding process for large employee populations. Maroof discusses the importance of hiring strong talent and maintaining a high talent density as a company scales. He emphasizes the need for passion and commitment when starting a business, as success takes time and perseverance. Maroof also highlights the member experience at Pelago, which focuses on judgment-free, stigma-free messaging and tailored support for substance use management. He shares the company's impressive clinical outcomes, including a 62% reduction in alcohol use and a 67% success rate in helping members become opioid-free. Maroof discusses the importance of building a strong company culture and staying ahead of the competition in the digital health space. He also predicts that there will be increased scrutiny on the ROI claimed by digital health vendors and a shift away from the per employee per month model. Finally, Maroof shares some healthy recipes, including chicken and mushroom risotto and chicken Caesar salad.Takeaways๐Ÿ’ฐ Pelago(formerly Quit Genius) recently raised $58 million in a Series C funding round.๐ŸŽฏ The company's mission is to transform substance use support from prevention to treatment.๐Ÿท๐Ÿ’Š The rebranding from Quit Genius to Pelago was driven by the expansion into alcohol and opioid addiction treatment.๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿ’Š The COVID-19 pandemic increased the need for substance use management solutions as people turned to alcohol and drugs during isolation.๐Ÿš€๐Ÿ’ผ Pelago has successfully onboarded large employee populations, including Fortune 50 companies, with seamless implementation processes. Hiring strong talent and maintaining a high talent density is crucial for scaling a company.๐Ÿ’ช Passion and commitment are essential when starting a business, as success takes time and perseverance.๐Ÿค The member experience at Pelago focuses on judgment-free, stigma-free messaging and tailored support for substance use management.๐Ÿ“Šโœ”๏ธ Pelago has achieved impressive clinical outcomes, including a 62% reduction in alcohol use and a 67% success rate in helping members become opioid-free.๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ” Building a strong company culture and staying ahead of the competition are key in the digital health space.๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ’ผ๐Ÿ”„ There will be increased scrutiny on the ROI claimed by digital health vendors and a shift away from the per employee per month model.  Chapters00:00 Introduction and Series C Funding08:57 Y Combinator and Guiding Principles15:41 Expansion into the B2B Market31:25 Impressive Clinical Outcomes49:18 The Future of ROI in Digital Health51:06 Outro.mp4Follow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 33- Sapna Swaroop Chief Solutions Officer at Homeward
Apr 1 2024
Episode 33- Sapna Swaroop Chief Solutions Officer at Homeward
๐Ÿ”ฌ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ผ๐Ÿ’ก Welcome back to the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast hosted by Norm Volsky, in this episode we sit down with Sapna Swaroop, Chief Solutions Officer at Homeward, shares her journey in the digital health industry and her passion for health equity. She discusses her experience at Blue Cross of Minnesota and the importance of understanding the delivery system to impact health equity. Sapna also talks about her time at Livongo and Teladoc, where she focused on value-based care and medical economics. She explains the mission and impact of Homeward in addressing health disparities in rural communities. Sapna shares her insights on the future of value-based care, healthcare technology, and maintaining well-being in a stressful job. She even recommends a healthy recipe for Baba Ghanoush. ๐Ÿฅผ๐Ÿ“Š๐ŸฅTakeaways๐Ÿ”น Passion for health equity and reducing health disparities is a driving force in the digital health industry.๐Ÿ”น Understanding the delivery system is crucial to making an impact on health equity.๐Ÿ”น Value-based care is an effective model for addressing health disparities in rural communities.๐Ÿ”น Advanced analytics and technology have the potential to personalize and improve healthcare. ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ“ˆSound BitesChapters00:00 Introduction and Background02:50 Passion for Health Equity06:01 Experience at Blue Cross of Minnesota08:59 Joining Livongo and Teladoc12:00 Value-Based Care and Medical Economics15:08 Joining Homeward and Impact in Rural Communities19:35 Convergence in Value-Based Care20:23 Predictions for Healthcare Technology21:28 Maintaining Well-being in a Stressful Job23:27 Healthy Recipe Recommendations23:55 ConclusionFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 32- Andrew Parker Founder and CEO of Papa
Mar 25 2024
Episode 32- Andrew Parker Founder and CEO of Papa
๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธWelcome back to our channel and thank you for 200 subscribers!! We are thrilled to bring you episode 32 of the Digital Health Heavyweights podcast! Today Norm sits down with Andrew Parker, CEO and founder of Papa, who shares his journey in healthcare and the founding of Papa. He discusses the early success and challenges faced at MDLive, as well as the lessons learned during that time. Andrew dives into the early years of Papa, the importance of building what customers want, and the company's focus on transparency. Finally, he explains how Papa pivoted during the pandemic and the impact it had on the company's growth and ability to help older adults. Andrew also shares his insights on what he thinks makes a founder successful. He emphasizes the importance of grounded optimism, grit, breaking through walls, and rallying the troops. Andrew also highlights the value of being a therapist or philosopher and knowing one's weaknesses. He advises new founders to practice the lean startup methodology and to test and iterate. Additionally, he discusses the significance of maintaining mental health and fitness, including running and weightlifting. Finally, Andrew shares a healthy recipe for turkey meatballs and sweet potatoes! Yum. Takeaways:๐Ÿ— Building what customers want is more important than building what you want.๐ŸคHiring people from diverse backgrounds can bring valuable perspectives to a company.๐Ÿ”ฆTransparency and honesty are crucial in building trust with customers and partners.๐Ÿ˜ทThe pandemic presented challenges but also opportunities for Papa to provide virtual and in-person assistance to older adults.๐Ÿ“ˆSuccessful founders possess grounded optimism, grit, and the ability to break through walls.๐Ÿง Maintaining mental health and fitness is important for success.๐Ÿฅ—Healthy eating can be achieved through simple recipes and a focus on fresh ingredients.Chapters00:00 Introduction and Background01:14 Inspiration to Enter Healthcare07:56 Lessons Learned at MDLive10:41 Starting Papa in 201715:06 Early Customers and Successes30:40 Papa's Response to the PandemicBe sure to subscribe to our channel and stay tuned for the best Digital Health and employee benefits content on the internet!Follow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 31- Craig Wortmann Founder of Sales Engine and Sales Institute at Kellogg
Mar 18 2024
Episode 31- Craig Wortmann Founder of Sales Engine and Sales Institute at Kellogg
Welcome back to the Digital Health Heavyweights podcast, today we are joined by Craig Wortmann, CEO of Sales Engine and founder of the Kellogg Sales Institute at Northwestern University for episode 31! Craig and our host Norm Volsky jump into the world of sales! He discusses the importance of sales education and the challenges faced by universities in recognizing sales as a discipline. He emphasizes the role of persuasion and influence in business leadership and highlights the significance of sales skills in the healthcare industry. Craig shares his own journey in sales and recommends three sales books for continuous learning. He also discusses the characteristics of a successful sales team and the importance of discipline in sales. Finally, he provides insights into the programs offered by the Kellogg Sales Institute. In this conversation, Craig Wortmann discusses the core skills and mindset needed for success in sales. He emphasizes the importance of telling the right story at the right time, handling tough conversations, and embracing healthy conflict. Craig also addresses the social acceptability of negotiating with salespeople and the need for sales professionals to create a positive reputation. He highlights the value of building a personal brand and simplifying complex value propositions. Additionally, Craig shares insights on taking sales teams from good to great and provides information on the programs offered by the Kellogg Sales Institute. Key Takeaways:๐Ÿ’ผ Sales education is often overlooked in universities, but it is a crucial discipline for business success.๐Ÿ’ก Sales skills are essential for business leaders to influence and persuade others.๐Ÿฅ Sales plays a significant role in the healthcare industry, where entrepreneurs need to sell their ideas and solutions to health systems.๐Ÿ“š Continuous learning is vital in sales, and there are several recommended books to enhance sales skills and knowledge.๐ŸŒŸ Successful sales teams require individuals with discipline, curiosity, and a focus on problem-solving. Telling the right story at the right time and handling tough conversations are core skills for success in sales.๐Ÿค Embracing healthy conflict and negotiating effectively are essential in sales.๐Ÿ† Creating a positive reputation and building a personal brand are important for sales professionals.๐Ÿ”‘ Simplifying complex value propositions and understanding the buyer's perspective are key to successful selling.๐Ÿ’ก Knowledge, skill, and discipline are crucial for sales success.๐ŸŽ“ The Kellogg Sales Institute offers various programs for individuals interested in improving their sales skills.  Chapters00:00 Introduction and Background01:25 The Lack of Sales Education in Universities04:24 The Importance of Sales Skills05:52 The Role of Sales in Business Leadership06:49 The Ability to Persuade and Influence08:18 Sales in the Healthcare Industry10:02 Craig Wortmann's Sales Career12:26 Recommended Sales Books14:16 The Importance of Continuous Learning in Sales18:25 Characteristics of a Successful Sales Team19:22 The Importance of Discipline in Sales21:23 The Three Pillars of Sales: Knowledge, Skill, and Discipline22:22 The Kellogg Sales Institute and its Programs23:51 Core Skills for Success24:21 The Importance of Handling Heat25:24 Negotiating in Sales26:56 Creating a Positive Reputation28:11 Building a Personal Brand29:49 Gaining Respect in Sales31:13 The ImportanceFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 30- Matt Hermann, Healthcare Investor
Mar 11 2024
Episode 30- Matt Hermann, Healthcare Investor
Welcome back to the Digital Health Heavyweights hosted by Norm Volsky!In Episode 30, we are joined by Matt Herman, a seasoned executive in healthcare investing, who shares his insights and experiences. He discusses his inspiration for entering healthcare with a finance background and his role at Ascension Ventures. Matt highlights the success of the model and the factors that contribute to achieving outsized financial returns. He also talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare sector and how his team navigated the challenges during that time. Matt shares his advice for founders raising funds and discusses the future of venture firms in the healthcare space. He also shares his personal strategies for managing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.Takeaways:๐Ÿ’ฐ Combining a love for mission and business can be achieved through healthcare venture investing.๐ŸคBuilding a community and fostering relationships with health systems can provide strategic value beyond capital investment.โคด Early success is critical in building credibility and attracting investors.๐Ÿ’ซDifferentiated models and shared services can set venture firms apart and provide additional value to portfolio companies.๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธInvesting in founders with grit, resilience, and an openness to new ideas is key to success.Chapters:00:00Introduction and Background01:27Inspiration to Enter Healthcare05:04Success of the Model07:15Navigating the Diverse Landscape of Startups08:38Achieving Outsized Financial Returns09:50Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Sector11:26Onboarding LPs14:32Delivering Strategic Value to Health Systems15:59Notable Investments and Success Stories19:08Identifying Red Flags in Founders23:05Bullish on Emerging Trends and Technologies25:26Differentiating Venture Firms in the Healthcare Space28:38Adding Value Post-Investment32:17Advice for Founders Raising Funds35:30Venture Firms of the Future40:30Managing Stress and De-Stressing41:52Healthy Recipes and Eating HabitsFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 29 - Joe Murad, President & CEO at Vida Health
Feb 26 2024
Episode 29 - Joe Murad, President & CEO at Vida Health
On Episode 29 of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast, Norm interviews Joe Murad, CEO of Vida Health. Joe discusses his journey in digital health, focusing on business flexibility and lessons from health benefits ventures. He emphasizes Vida's impact in virtual cardio metabolic care, detailing the integrated care model, personalized coaching, and data-driven clinical outcomes. Joe shares insights on leadership, GLP-1 drugs, Vida's integration with PBMs, and keys to commercial success in healthcare. Predictions for the future include increased transparency, value-based care, and integrated service delivery. Joe also shares personal wellness practices and a preview of his upcoming GLP-1 drugs panel discussion.Our Takeaways from this episode ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ก Focus and flexibility are important in business, allowing for adaptation and seizing opportunities.๐Ÿ’ก Building a sustainable business with differentiated capabilities is key to success in the healthcare industry.๐Ÿ’ก Precision pharmacy and following recommended clinical pathways can greatly improve health outcomes.๐Ÿ’ก When fundraising, it is important to have a solid plan and demonstrate how the capital will lead to cashflow break even. ๐Ÿ’ก Integrated care delivery models that combine personalized coaching and data are crucial for achieving clinical outcomes.๐Ÿ’ก Companies in the healthcare space should prioritize team building and foster a culture of excellence.๐Ÿ’ก A balanced approach that combines behavioral change and medication is necessary for effective obesity management.๐Ÿ’ก Integration with PBMs can streamline the prior authorization process and improve the member experience.๐Ÿ’ก The future of healthcare will involve increased transparency, value-based care models, and integrated service delivery.Timestamps:00:00 Introduction and Background01:28 Transition into Healthcare04:43 Balancing Focus and Flexibility in Business07:36 Transitioning to a Larger Entity08:07 Impact of Extend Health on Health Benefits09:15 Improving the Quality of Life for Retirees10:08 Joining PocketDoc as President and CEO11:01 PocketDoc's Approach and Value in the Market12:07 Focusing on Pragmatic Components of Service Delivery14:03 Lessons Learned from Acquisitions15:31 Disrupting the Pharmacy Benefit Management Space18:04 WithMe's Approach and Impact in the Market19:44 The Importance of Precision Pharmacy21:24 Fundraising Tips for Founders22:47 Joining Vida as CEO23:39 Vida's Mission and Impact24:03 Integrated Care Delivery Model25:08 Opportunity and Momentum at Vida27:05 Leadership Philosophy28:25 Fostering a Culture of Excellence29:39 GLP-1 Drugs and Obesity Management31:19 Unintended Consequences of Overprescribing GLP-1 Drugs32:14 Integration with PBMs for Prior Authorization33:15 Member Experience at VIDA34:14 Sales and Leading a Company35:22 Commercial Success in the Healthcare Space36:21 Predictions for the Future of Healthcare41:24 Personal Wellness and Stress Management43:31 Healthy Recipes and Balanced Eating45:01 Panel Discussion on GLP-1 DrugsFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 28 - Cheryl Cheng, Founder & CEO of VIVE
Feb 10 2024
Episode 28 - Cheryl Cheng, Founder & CEO of VIVE
๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Welcome to this insightful episode featuring Cheryl Cheng, founder and CEO of Vive Collective, as she joins Norm Volsky to delve into the dynamic world of venture capital. With a background steeped in finance and venture capital, Cheryl shares her invaluable experiences from her time at Blue Run Ventures, shedding light on the intricacies of the industry. Throughout the conversation, Cheryl underscores the importance of grasping the business side of venture capital and navigating the unique challenges within healthcare. She offers her perspective on investment strategies, emphasizing transparency and collaboration as essential components of the process. Cheryl explores the qualities she seeks in founders, stressing the significance of integrity, maturity, and practicality, particularly in the healthcare sector. Furthermore, she provides invaluable advice for entrepreneurs navigating fundraising in a competitive market, while also addressing the vital aspects of maintaining wellness amidst the demands of the job. As the discussion unfolds, Cheryl shares her takeaways and insights, touching upon crucial elements such as market timing, leadership, and the significance of emotional intelligence in the VC landscape. Additionally, she outlines her areas of interest for investments, including pharma tech, back-office, and oncology spaces. Join us for a deep dive into the world of venture capital, where Cheryl Cheng's wealth of knowledge offers invaluable guidance for both investors and entrepreneurs alike. Don't miss out on this enriching conversation! Chapters:Cheryl's Background and Venture Experience03:18Lessons from Blue Run Ventures05:34Lessons from Successful Investments08:35Lessons from Investments that Didn't Go Well11:02Starting Veev Collective26:45Building Veev Collective33:44Investments at Veev Collective44:36Transparency and Collaboration in Investing45:05Characteristics of Founders46:31Importance of Analysis, Decision-Making, and Strong Operators47:29The Need for Strong Operators in a Sluggish Market48:25Maturity and Stepping Aside for Strong Leadership49:34Integrity and Understanding the Business in Founders50:01Avoiding Scaling Too Quickly and Understanding Healthcare51:28Defining a Great Operator52:29Building a High-Performing Team and Cross-Functional Cooperation53:54Hiring, Firing, and Leveling Up the Team55:03The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in VC56:08Organizational Issues in Tech Companies57:12Advice for Founders Raising Money in a Difficult Market58:40Fundraising Process and Managing Existing Board and Investors01:01:30Areas of Interest for Investments01:05:07Balancing a Stressful Job with Wellness01:09:55Healthy Recipes and CommunityFollow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 27 - Snezana Mahon, COO of Transcarent
Jan 22 2024
Episode 27 - Snezana Mahon, COO of Transcarent
In this episode of Digital Health Heavyweights, we have the honor of speaking with Snezana Mahon, Pharm.D., the dynamic COO of Transcarent and a trailblazer in innovative healthcare solutions. With a rich background at Express Scripts and Evernorth, Snezana brings a wealth of experience and clinical expertise to the forefront of digital health.Join us as we delve into Snezana's inspiring journey, exploring her motivation to join the healthcare industry, rise through the ranks at Express Scripts, and eventually take on the role of COO at Transcarent. We unravel industry insights and gain valuable tips for professionals aspiring to succeed in the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare.Throughout the conversation, Snezana shares how her PharmD has shaped her digital health career, emphasizing the importance of clinical perspectives in a field often criticized for a lack of clinicians. Discover the transformative mission of Transcarent and how it aims to reshape the healthcare experience, offering insights into predictive data utilization, PBM solutions, and strategic partnerships.As we navigate through Snezana's experiences and challenges at Transcarent, we also explore the exciting Transcarent Weight Health Solution and her bold predictions for 2024 in the digital health industry.Tune in for an engaging discussion that not only unpacks the complexities of the healthcare sector but also provides a glimpse into the future of digital health. Don't miss out on the insider perspectives and thoughtful reflections of one of healthcare's leading executives.Follow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 26- Stephen Sokoler, Founder & CEO of Journey
Jan 15 2024
Episode 26- Stephen Sokoler, Founder & CEO of Journey
Norm sits down with Stephen Sokoler, CEO of Journey, who shares his journey from founding Altrum Honors to starting Journey, a mental health solution. He discusses the unique approach of Journey in proactively engaging employees and meeting them where they are. Stephen emphasizes the importance of reducing stigma around mental health and training managers to support their teams. He also highlights the impact of live group therapy and peer support in addressing mental health challenges. Stephen shares customer success stories and case studies, as well as his learnings in building Journey. He provides advice for founders in the digital health space and discusses the role of AI in mental health. Stephen concludes by sharing his personal wellness practices.What makes Journey Special?-Journey takes a proactive approach to mental health, engaging employees through daily emails, calendar integrations, and other tools to keep mental health top of mind.-Live group therapy and peer support play a crucial role in addressing mental health challenges, providing employees with a supportive community and opportunities for growth.-Journey has achieved significant success with Fortune 500 companies and universities, driving high engagement rates and clinical improvements.-Reducing stigma and creating a culture that supports mental health are essential for the success of mental health programs in organizations.Stephen Sokoler emphasizes the importance of sleep, exercise, nutrition, and meditation in maintaining overall wellness. Great episode if you're interested in how different Mental Health solutions differentiate, and how Journey is making a huge impact!Follow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast
Episode 25 - Kelly McDevitt, President of Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI)
Jan 8 2024
Episode 25 - Kelly McDevitt, President of Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI)
In the most recent episode of the Digital Health Heavyweights Podcast, hosted by Norm Volsky, listeners are treated to a captivating conversation with Kelly McDevitt, President of Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI). With a rich background in managing Fortune 100 accounts within the healthcare industry, McDevitt shares her insightful journey and expertise. The dialogue spans the transformative landscape of digital health, exploring McDevitt's experiences at Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, while also clarifying the nuanced differences between UnitedHealthcare (UHC) and UnitedHealth Group (UHG). She sheds light on the impactful work of IBI, providing essential data and research to empower employers in making informed decisions about healthcare.The episode offers practical advice for companies contemplating self-insurance, touching on key considerations and highlighting notable vendors like Magellan and Terra Mind. McDevitt's discussion emphasizes essential takeaways, stressing the significance of impressive clinical data, personal stories, and audience-centric solutions for founders and vendors in the dynamic healthcare industry. Furthermore, the conversation delves into wellness and self-care practices, with McDevitt advocating for meditation, exercise, and maintaining a nutritious diet through meal prepping. The retirement perspective shared is framed as an opportunity for personal growth while staying connected to the industry through consulting and volunteer work. Follow, connect and subscribe:LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/digital-health-heavyweights-podcastYoutube: https://youtube.com/@DigitalHealthHeavyweightsInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalhealthheavyweights/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heavyweightspodcast