Working In Healthcare

Digital Health: Meet Four MBAs Bringing Big Data, Internet of Things To Healthcare

BB looks at five MBAs helping unlock potential of health data

Written by Seb Murray | Working In Healthcare | Wednesday 27th January 2016 23:18:00 GMT


Analytics provide a wealth of knowledge and source of innovation for care providers

Analytics provide a wealth of knowledge and source of innovation for care providers

Few topics in the business world get MBA grads pulsating like big data does. Coupled with the cacophony of innovation in the digital healthcare space, it’s an enticing area of work.

Among the greatest MBA job opportunities emerging in healthcare are around innovation, say careers experts. Digital tech is helping to cut costs, increase efficiency and improve patient care. “It’s poised to have a major impact,” says Kim MacPherson, associate director for health management at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

As more data flows from everything from fitness apps like Fitbit and Jawbone to clinical drug trials, analytics provide a wealth of knowledge and a source of innovation for care providers, according to McKinsey & Company, the consultancy. “It has potential uses for prevention, disease management and wellness,” says Federico Lega, director of the masters in international healthcare management at SDA Bocconi School of Management.

AstraZeneca, Roche, Google and McKesson are among the companies exploring health data.

Yet there are concerns around privacy and security. Cyber criminals stole last year records relating to 80 million patients from Anthem, the second largest US health insurer.

In healthcare, big data is still in its infancy. “We are just beginning to realize the potential of digital innovation,” says Dr Rainer Sibbel, professor of international health management at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

Below, BB looks at five MBAs helping to unlock the potential of health data.

Jonathon Feit, CEO, Beyond Lucid Technologies and Tepper School MBA

Two weeks ago, Jonathon Feit was at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. Rubbing shoulders alongside execs from biotech’s Shire, Celgene and Allergan in San Francisco, it was a fitting spot for a man behind a start-up focused on the flow of healthcare data.  jonathon-feit-small.png

Founded in 2009, Concord-based Beyond Lucid Technologies makes software for capturing and transmitting electronic patient records. The company’s tech connects ambulances with hospitals so they can receive patient information before arrival, saving time and ultimately improving care.

“It closes a critical set of gaps,” says Jonathon, who has a military and clinical background. “Reading pieces of paper when you need to be taking care of a patient is a problem.”

The tech is used in 18 US states and the company has raised around $1 million in venture capital. Key to Beyond Lucid’s success has been the Tepper School of Business, where Jonathon and his co-founder, Christian Witt, met.

They used the MBA program to craft and perfect their business plan. “We ended up with a year and a half worth of market research,” Jonathon smiles. He still refers to his b-school books, which he has stacked at home, to the annoyance of his wife. “She’s not a fan of this.”

Blake Long, chief clinical officer, Mosaic Health Solutions and Fuqua MBA

With several years’ experience as a physician, Blake Long knows better than most the impact of the digital revolution on healthcare.  blake-long-small.png

After gaining an MD in medicine in 1986 and working across the US medical sector, he switched to the business side, where he is pioneering innovation.

Last year he joined, as chief clinical officer, Mosaic Health Solutions, which invests in ground-breaking healthcare start-ups. The Durham-based firm’s portfolio includes AxisPoint, which uses analytics to engineer health management, and TouchCare, which lets patients see doctors remotely through an app.

He is also an angel investor and life sciences due diligence lead for Ariel Southeast Angel Partners, a fund based in Savannah, Georgia.

Blake says digital is “powering both the ability to collect meaningful information about patients in real time, and the analytics to impact the health of individuals”.

In 2014 he graduated from the MBA at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Now, he is a “translator between business and medicine, which has allowed me to assume roles in healthcare innovation,” Blake says.

Vikas Shrivastava, sales operations, Alcon (Novartis) and LUMS MBA

Vikas Shrivastava spends most days feverishly analyzing big data to develop business insights for Alcon of Novartis, the global pharmaceuticals group.  vikas-small.png

The Swiss drugmaker has lead the industry’s data deluge. It most recently teamed up with tech company Qualcomm to develop an inhaler that beams data to a cloud network. Novartis is also developing a smart contact lens that could monitor diabetics’ glucose levels.

Such whizzy innovations are what get Vikas out of bed in the morning. “Healthcare keeps me excited….Because I am part of an industry which brings better technology to doctors and eventually patients,” says the MBA, who has spent more than a decade working with medical devices and surgical equipment.

Previously he was at rival big pharma groups including Merck and Johnson & Johnson of the US.

A pharmacist by trade, he first graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in India before earning an MBA at the UK’s Lancaster University Management School.

Vikas says the degree has given him the tools to move into more senior management posts: “I am now eligible for a lot [more] jobs.”

Artem Andrianov, CEO of Cyntegrity and Cass Business School MBA

Artem Andrianov founded Cyntegrity, which offers risk-based monitoring services for clinical trials, the same year he graduated from London’s Cass Business School, in 2013.  artem-small.png

“We see enormous potential in applying risk information and data analytics to clinical research,” says Artem. “By means of smart data evaluation, pharma companies can reduce patient risk and the cost of clinical monitoring.”

Data sharing in trials has led to breakthroughs, such as the discovery that desipramine, an anti-depressant, has potential uses in curing types of lung cancer.

The start-up, which is based in Frankfurt and is backed by Commerzbank, could also make clinical trials safer for patients. “Safety risks are controlled by smart data-engines,” Artem says. “It checks sloppiness and misconduct, and can even identify fraudulent behaviour.”

The MBA degree has helped him transition from a background in software development at leading healthcare companies in Germany, including Cardinal Health and ERT.

“The MBA provided me with the necessary tools for planning and launching a technology start-up,” he says. 

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