Elia Stupka GM of Life Sciences for Health Catalyst sits down with us to discuss how insight generation can improve outcomes for Patients, Providers, and Pharma in the advancement of new therapeutics. Hope you enjoy.
Bill Russell: 00:07 Welcome to this week in health it influence where we discuss the influence of technology on health with the people who are making it happen. My name is Bill Russell, rcovering healthcare CIO and creator of this week in health it a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to developing the next generation of health it leaders. This podcast is sponsored by health lyrics. Professional athletes have coaches for every aspect of their life. To improve performance, you have many CIOs and health executives choose to go it alone. Technology has taken center stage for healthcare. Get a coach in your corner, visit HealthLyrics.com to schedule your free consultation. There’s two new free services on our website that I want to make you aware of this week. Health insights is for individuals looking to profile your health it career forward two emails a week designed to give you insights that set you apart.
Bill Russell: 00:49 The second service is this week health staff meeting. This is for teams and really for managers. Looking to introduce your teams to new thinking from industry leaders to get the conversation started on the right foot. If you’re interested in either of those services, check them out on the website. Today we’re starting another of our interviews from the health analytics summit in Salt Lake City, put on by health catalyst. If you’re trying to apply data as a transformative part of your healthcare strategy. This is a fantastic event. Had a wonderful conversation at the conference with Elia Stupka, the GM of life sciences for health catalyst. And we just sat down and talked about what this new endeavor for health catalyst was about. They have collected so much data through their network of trusted providers and partners. We talked about improving outcomes for patients, providers, Pharma, new therapeutics, and accelerate, accelerating that whole path. So great conversation. Hope you enjoy. So I’m with Elia Stupka who’s the GM of life sciences for health catalyst. Welcome. So this is a, you know, fairly new, uh, new role for you and a new endeavor for health catalyst can you give us some background on it?
Elia Stupka: 01:56 Absolutely, yes. I joined health catalyst a year ago, uh, to build out the new business unit in the life sciences. Um, and by life sciences we mean med device companies, Pharma, biotech, digital therapeutics are pretty wide. A wide, uh, industry. Um, the, the thinking behind it was that, you know, over 10 years we’ve accumulated incredible expertise and relationships and a trusted network of providers and, uh, reach into a hundreds of millions of patients, uh, and their, um, and their data. And so on the premises of that, we thought we should try to pursue our mission further in this new industry.
Bill Russell: 02:33 That’s awesome. So the, uh, so what’s the aims and the goals of life sciences in general for um, for health catalyst?
Elia Stupka: 02:41 Yeah, so I think because of our commitment and our mission to patient outcome improvement, clinical improvement, financial improvement for providers, we have a pretty unique way of looking at the life sciences. We know that there are many companies out there that are basically data brokers. They accumulate data, they resell data and they licensed data. Um, when we approached the life sciences, we wanted to take a very different spin that was aligned with our mission. Um, and so while yes, there is a lot of data available from our provider base and across our patient, um, population, we really wanted to focus on insight generation that could improve outcomes. And so the way we think about it is we take and mathematical needs. We take areas where both patients and providers and Pharma can benefit where they’re developing new therapeutics and help them accelerate that path to success to getting the right drug in the right patient.
Bill Russell: 03:34 Is there a, yeah, one of the concerns is obviously sell your data and you’ve already sort of addressed that, but are there certain things you do you’re not going to do based on your mission?
Elia Stupka: 03:44 Yeah, it’s a great question. We actually thought hard about what we don’t want to do and what we’re not going to do. Um, and so some of the things we’re not going to do are any engagements that are branded and brand specific and engagements that relate to advertising to pure commercial activities related to, to one or the other, uh, drug. Uh, the other thing is that we’re not going to resell data. So we’re not going to park, you know, the data of our providers in our patients at one or the other. Um, you know, uh, industry clients, we will provide access to generate insights with on projects that we approved that were, that we feel are mission aligned.
Elia Stupka: 04:21 So those are two big areas that, you know, we’re very keen to invite doing as we build this out.
Bill Russell: 04:27 So Health catalyst is a cloud based solution. So essentially you’re, um, you’re brokering access on behalf of the, uh, of the providers, but really in with a focus around the patient. So you’re anonymizing the data and giving people access. Yeah. And even the access to data is only in certain areas where research, uh, you know, research scientists from these industries would want to work with us, right. So the drivers of the project will be the providers and our teams. And sometimes of course they are great data science teams within those industries. They want to work with us and we’ll be open to that on our cloud. Uh, but really the ultimate goal is also to shift away from this data discussion of just having data and generating insights to what we’ve been good at for the past 10 years at health catalyst, which is actually to drive the action, the transformation, the change, and the providers.
Elia Stupka: 05:18 So let’s say, you know, a life sciences company asks us to look at, you know, how a certain disease, um, you know, is handled currently at our providers to understand, you know, patient characteristics and, and other, uh, in other features, we would ask them, you know, why are you trying to do that? Then what do you actually want the ultimate outcome to be and how can we help you pick the right providers among our network of providers to work with to help me ultimately go beyond the insight to the actual change. So, for example, deploying new guidelines that are national guidelines that are, you know, that, uh, industry partners would want to deploy further and better across our providers or deploying a clinical for a new drug.
Bill Russell: 06:00 So, um, you know, there’s, so cosmos was all the talk a couple of weeks ago. Um, and, and, and there’s other players out here. IBM bought companies name escapes me right now, but, um, a little while back a startup, but they had accumulated all the data and they were in that same space. Um, what, you know, what differentiates your approach? Is it the number of data elements? Is it, uh, the providers? I mean what.
Elia Stupka: 06:29 So I would start from the fundamental sort of philosophy of health catalyst and track record of health catalyst setting. The first differentiator is that we have proven over and over again, um, that we are focused entirely on outcome improvement and we have great expertise, track record, um, in that space. And so that’s the first major difference. Um, the second differences that while, you know, cosmos and other companies have focused, uh, and other initiatives have focused on EMR. The EMR is really about, you know, five to 10% of the data that you need to drive population health and personalized medicine and so on. We’ve, you know, published a white paper recently on that and there’s a lot of research showing that to drive more sophisticated behaviors like population health and personalized medicine, you need a lot more than the EMR. And so since health catalyst has been ingesting more than 300 data sources and on average and just, you know, 50 to a hundred data sources at our clients, we have much deeper, broader access to the patient, uh, to understanding the patient journey. Uh, for example, you know, it’s great to understand their clinical journey, but if you don’t understand their costs or the patient flow or how operationally they’re handled, it’s very hard to really understand how you can change things on the ground. So I would say on the one hand the outcome improvement success and, and the on the other, the depth of the data that we have.
Bill Russell: 07:51 It was, yeah, one of the questions I’m going to have, or one of the conversations I’ve been having a little later was I didn’t realize how much, um, around financials and operations that health catalyst was, uh, participating in to, uh, really help the efficiency overall efficiency of health systems. And I would imagine that data on a, I don’t know how you have you share that on a global basis and anonymize it, but it would be interesting to look at where the inefficiencies are across the entire, uh, health ecosystem.
Elia Stupka: 08:22 Yeah. And I think that’s why we’re receiving a lot of interest because you know, a lot of positioning a new product in a new therapeutic on the one hand opposite, you have the clinical trial, you show that it’s effective and that it’s, you know, improving certain symptoms or you know, uh, or uh, or length of life. But on the other hand, there is all the economics of it. How can I price it, what’s the right price? How can I show that the outcomes are tied to, especially as we move more to risk based contracts and so on. So, and also for example, as we work with digital therapeutics companies, you know, we announced recently our partnership with um, Algorithms that digital therapeutic company that has a product for stroke. A lot of it was about, I mean, they already know the clinical side of things because obviously they’ve been developing the therapeutic, right? But a lot of it is understanding the health economic outcome, outcome model and understanding if I bring this therapeutic in, what am I replacing? What cost elements am I replacing and what can I charge and, and how can I charge for it. So certainly having the, the combination of clinical and financial and operational is, uh, is very, very important to truly drive, you know, new therapies to, to success.
Bill Russell: 09:28 It’s interesting with all those points, one of the things that, you know, Dale Sanders shared yesterday was he had a, he had a fuzzy picture of a family in any, had a clear picture of a family. And that’s what really what we’re trying to get to. And I guess when you look at all those data points, we’re getting closer. Um, but there’s still so many other, I mean genomics. Are you guys bringing genomics in
Elia Stupka: 09:48 sort of, yes. It’s, it’s interesting you mentioned that we actually have our first live demo here, uh, at our summit today, uh, of our, we call it molecular marks. So all the genomics data, uh, that we’ve put together for about 50 million patients so far and growing every week. Um, uh, which is absolutely crucial, obviously becoming in a shift from being a research interest to now driving daily decisions, you know, for personalized medicine products, for all the new innovative therapies that require, uh, a molecular and molecular marker. Um, so yeah, we’re definitely going to be bringing more and more genomics data and generally speaking, I think we’ve now created, you know, an accepted equals where it becomes easy for third parties to come in and plug in their data and for us to rapidly ingest other datatypes and build partnerships to extend the ecosystem.
Bill Russell: 10:42 I wonder, well I’ll probably ask somebody else about this, but you know, are people coming to you saying, hey, we want to make sure our data gets into your platform or are you still, is it still go out and try to figure
Elia Stupka: 10:52 that’s a, it’s actually, yeah, that’s starting to happen to reversal of the trend is starting to happen. Um, so we’ve, we’ve had very interesting inbound requests because, you know, especially when you look at anything that is sort of a research, so molecular images in the companies that have been leading the wave in genomics and an imaging, um, unless they can put it in the context of clinical operation and financial, it’s, it’s very hard to make it meaningful. And so there’s definitely been a shift.
Bill Russell: 11:19 So you’re, you’re doing a lot of work overseas, you’re going to conferences, Singapore and other places. Um, you know, what, what’s the challenges of that? Is it, I mean, cause you’re, I mean, the data’s very handled very different differently in other countries and I mean, it’s pretty complex that endeavor. You’re heading off it.
Elia Stupka: 11:40 Yeah, it’s a great question. Yes. I think partly because of my background, I lived and worked in Asia, Europe, and North America. Um, and partly because of the mission that I have, I always think globally when, when I think of how we’re building out our business, our clients are completely global. And when you’re talking to a top 10 Pharma, um, you literally don’t know where they’re taking the coal from. And usually there’s people on the call from different continents and different countries and regions. Um, so yes, as we started expanding our operations outside of the u s and specifically, you know, where are our, with our opening up an office in Singapore, uh, and with some of the work we do in the UK, um, there’s definitely challenges there. Not Actually, you know, the technical ones I think are the ones that are easy for health catalyst because, you know, the joke is sort of if we managed to handle all the diversity and heterogeneity and complexity of us healthcare systems, which are running on so many different types of, uh, systems, uh, well it definitely, what doesn’t scare us is like a different characters symbol or language.
Elia Stupka: 12:43 That’s, that’s not, you know, the the biggest challenge, um, the biggest challenge which I think we’re, we’re dealing with reasonably well is that you really need to adapt your go to market strategy. You need to understand what that country’s trying to achieve. Um, you need to come in as a, as a true partner. You don’t go in, which I think the health catalyst culture again helps a lot because we are very long term focus, very outcome focused. If you go in and sort of look at it as a sales account and try to call it closed, some short term deals, that’s definitely the wrong way to approach it. But anyway, when we look at Singapore, it’s a country that has, you know, at its forefront, uh, the wellbeing of, of their citizens and so many ways. And so when, when you work with countries like this and you say, hey, we’re here for the long term, we want to accompany you on a healthcare transformation journey and really try to understand how best to do it with all the players and stakeholders, then you start to have, you know, really interesting engagement.
Elia Stupka: 13:40 The other thing that is a bit different is because some of the countries are not fully digitized yet. Uh, what you see is an interesting interplay with for where, for example, life sciences companies are interested in willing to fund the digitalization of entire countries or at least the top health system. So they, and they, you know, this is not new. It’s been happening in the last years in various countries where different technology companies have been approached by life sciences companies working with the governments and saying, look, you know, we, as long as you know, we, we need access to data to understand your patient population. It’s nothing to do with our current products. You know, it’s not about, again, kind of advertising a product. It’s about really understanding how patients are doing in your country. Therefore we’ll come in and fund digitalization. So there is a much tighter in ecosystem interplay in these countries.
Bill Russell: 14:27 Interesting. What, so participation, Heather’s Heather’s a health system participated or if they’re a health catalyst find, do they naturally participate or,
Elia Stupka: 14:37 yeah, so that’s, that’s another very interesting aspect we’ve made now touch, so touched on is the environment where we do identify and aggregate data across our clients. And it used to be sort of a separate product that, you know, had been launched and also had mostly a focus on benchmarking and on some visual apps. And now we’ve just made it part of DOS. So it’s not, DOC is our platform for managing data at our clients. And so now it’s a normal part of DOS and our normal sort of engagement includes already, you know, get into vacation and aggregation. Of course clients are free to opt out if they don’t want to be in. Um, but the beauty is that sort of, it’s all there and as long as they want to be engaged in as long as they are interested in hearing from us about opportunities that are emerging and life sciences, they’re basically already, and so compared to, you know, other companies that have been around the last few years and made the headlines, we’re another company that has to go and build something.
Elia Stupka: 15:33 We’ve built it in the past 10 years and now we can leverage both the relationships then the end, the data. The other thing that I would say is so different is that you know, other companies out there that have some kind of real world data package that they sell to Pharma, you know, they build out a specific data model. They updated maybe on a quarterly basis and that’s it. You, you see what you see is what you get right. And if you don’t find a specific data point that you’re interested in, there is no way to go back and add it. In our case, we have not been feeds from all our clients. We have good relationships with our clients. So if there is an interesting project and we need to bring in an extra special TMR or some, you know, new patient reported outcome table, we can just go and work with our providers into it.
Bill Russell: 16:17 You make it sound so easy. I’m sure when I talked to Dale he’ll be like, or the man,
Elia Stupka: 16:23 well a lot of it is in our, what we call source smarts. That’s their whole finding approach. So it is that easy. So I have to say honestly in, in several projects that we’ve been doing recently, it is that easy.
Bill Russell: 16:34 Yeah, it’s really interesting. Anything else you’d leave with a provider’s that that is important for them to know?
Elia Stupka: 16:40 Yeah, I guess, uh, you know, two things. The first one is that, you know, we often talk about how this can be also an opportunity for diversifying revenues for providers. And sometimes that’s interpreted in an, in an odd way as if this was sort of profit making activities that are not aligned to mission. Uh, but really we select priorities and opportunities that are very deeply aligned to their mission as not for profit entities.
Elia Stupka: 17:04 As many of them are with our mission. Um, so you know, the, when we say about revenue diversification, what we mean is paying extra clinical research coordinators or nurses or you know, our staff to run interesting clinical studies that are hopefully aligned with their, you know, with their priorities and their interests. And the other thing is that as part of this adventure, we’ve started tackling things like molecular and genomics and other things which we are now realizing regardless of the life sciences clients that providers are becoming very interested in. And so there is an opportunity to integrate, I would say more of the research offices, you know, the clinical trial offices and really start creating an integrated care model that goes between research and operations.
Bill Russell: 17:47 So the last question is, uh, is really for my daughter who transcribes these things and she’s always saying, what does that mean for the patient? So I’m curious, what does that mean for the, let’s just stay in the u s for now just cause that’s where we’re sitting. Uh, what does that mean for the u s patient? The work that you guys are doing.
Elia Stupka: 18:05 And this is probably the most important question. I think ultimately what it means is that by working across the wide provider network, integrating all of this data, having the depth of data to link in outcomes, um, and clinical care, that we can gradually shift to becoming a company that really serves the patients and make sure that the patients are getting the best value for the best outcome, uh, in the easiest and most successful way.
Bill Russell: 18:31 Yeah, that makes sense Elia. Thank you. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Bill Russell: 18:37 Thanks for listening. We have several other great interviews from has 19 please check them out on the website, iTunes or youtube, and please come back every Friday for more great interviews with influencers. And don’t forget every Tuesday we take a look at the news that it’s impacting health it, this shows the production of this week in health it for more great content. You can check out our website at this week health.com or the youtube channel this week health.com just go to the top, click on the youtube link and it’ll take you there. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.
Elia Stupka GM of Life Sciences for Health Catalyst sits down with us to discuss how insight generation can improve outcomes for Patients, Providers, and Pharma in the advancement of new therapeutics. Hope you enjoy.