Where is DTC Healthcare Headed? Lessons from 23andMe’s SPAC IPO

Where is DTC Healthcare Headed? Lessons from 23andMe’s SPAC IPO

ruby.gadelrab

MDisrupt CEO and founder Ruby Gadelrab shares her insights in a recent Clubhouse MedTech interview with Henry Peck. Ruby has worked on the commercial side of biotech, healthcare, and digital health for 24 years. She founded MDisrupt to connect digital health innovators to the healthcare industry experts and scientists they need to responsibly accelerate product development, commercialization, adoption, and scale.   

Henry Peck: Let’s talk about 23andMe. What role did you play there and what were the key challenges you were trying to solve for the business?

Ruby Gadelrab: First, some disclaimers—I left 23andMe four years ago. So I’m not speaking on behalf of the company. The opinions are my own as an industry observer.

I was hired at 23andMe just after the FDA had told them they had to temporarily stop selling health products to consumers. My role was to help them figure out some of the non-consumer business models. These included:

  • 23andMe for medical professionals. How do we educate and engage medical professionals on genetics and the reports that 23andMe were providing?
  • 23andMe for educators. Could a genetic test be used to teach university and medical students about genetics, statistics, and ancestry better than a textbook could?
  • 23andMe for research. How could the 23andMe experience be used in a research setting to improve recruitment in population health studies? For example, by giving people interesting data about their ancestry and eventually their health, can we improve recruitment and longer term engagement?

How 23andMe broke new ground

Henry Peck: In your opinion, what makes 23andMe’s product offering so successful and “sticky”?

Ruby Gadelrab: Let’s break this question down into two parts—why is it successful and sticky to consumers, and then secondly why does it have huge potential as a business.

Let’s start with consumer experience. Every aspect of our lives has been digitized through technology. Healthcare is undergoing that same revolution. 23andMe was the first company to work closely with the FDA to create a product that consumers could buy directly themselves that gave them personalized insights from their genetics about their health and ancestry. Over 10 million people bought the product and clearly, ancestry was one of the killer apps, but consumers also had an interest and hunger for health information and trait information.

23andMe made that information really easy and engaging for consumers to understand and interact with. They made the information digestible at an eighth grade literacy level and they explained complex genetics concepts simply enough for people to understand.

23andMe gave consumers the ability to participate in research for causes and diseases that they really care about. During the time I was at 23andMe over 80% of consumers were consenting to research.

Business value

Henry Peck: So what does that mean in terms of value to the business?

Ruby Gadelrab: 23andMe has one of the largest genetic databases in the world, with over 10 million people genotyped and consented to research. An individual genome isn’t really that useful unless it’s paired with phenotype and/or clinical information and aggregated with millions of other genomes so that we can see the patterns and discover new genes that are important for diagnostics and therapeutics.

What’s unique about 23andMe is that the database is recontactable and engaged and the company has the ability to collect additional phenotype data—I believe they currently have over 30K phenotypic surveys completed daily. Effectively, they have built a crowdsourced research platform where you can quickly make novel discoveries which can be applied to building new generations of therapeutics and diagnostics.The value they add to research is clearly recognized by pharma. Drug development is a long and expensive process. That’s because:

  • It takes 7-10 years to bring a drug to market.
  • 90% of drug candidates fail.
  • $2.6B is the average cost of getting a drug successfully to market.
  • It’s incredibly difficult to recruit patients into clinical trials and engage them for the life of the trial.

How do we create efficiencies in this process? The theory is, with the combination of genotype/phenotype data and a recontactable database, can you accelerate the pace of novel drug discovery? Find new drug targets and bring them to market faster? 23andMe has a partnership with GSK where they currently have over 30 therapeutic programs in the areas of oncology, cardiovascular disease, immunology, neurology, and metabolic disease, so clearly pharma sees the potential of such an asset.

4 keys to health product success

Henry Peck: Let’s talk about 23andMe’s recent announcement. How do you think this next step will change the company and their business? Any bold predictions for the future of 23andMe?

Ruby Gadelrab: Despite the numbers, the genetics industry is still in its infancy. And it’s still not a routine part of our healthcare system. Our healthcare system as it stands today is neither about health nor about care—it’s actually a reactive sick care system.

One of the few silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that It showcased the huge gaps in our healthcare system that are ready to be addressed by those who are daring enough to try and disrupt it. Effectively, the pandemic pushed the fast forward button on digital health adoption. And one of the biggest gaps that was revealed is the problem of access.
Everyone from within the health system and outside of it recognizes that it has to change—we have to:

  • Improve access to health information and health services
  • Build solutions that can predict and prevent disease before people ever get sick and deliver the right interventions to the highest risk populations at the right time
  • Have a more holistic view of individuals’ genetics, lifestyle and behavioral data as well as social determinants of health in order to figure out what the right interventions are and who needs them most urgently
  • Develop tools for individuals to have all their health data consolidated in one place.

At MDisrupt we see many digital health companies trying to address some of these challenges. We work with them to identify which problems they are trying to solve that matter to the current healthcare system. So generally for a health product to be successful and gain widespread adoption it has to improve one or more of these four areas:

  • Health outcomes
  • Experience—for patients and for physicians
  • Access to healthcare products or services
  • Reducing healthcare costs.     

When I think about how companies like 23andMe have played a role in this (beyond therapeutics, which we already talked about), here’s what comes to mind:

  • 23andMe has built a platform that provides easier access for consumers to gain insights about their health.
  • They have built an experience for consumers to engage in conversations about their health often before they are patients—and this experience is more engaging than what we currently see from our health systems.
  • The previous generation of genetic tests focused on inherited rare diseases that affect 1% of the population.
  • The next generation of genetic tests will focus on common chronic diseases that affect many of us, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity. 23andMe’s genotype/phenotype database gives them the power to develop this new class of tests known as polygenic risk scores.

One caveat to this is that these types of tests are difficult to get to market as hey require huge datasets, the studies are complex because many of the diseases are impacted by lifestyle and behavioral factors, and how these products will get through regulatory is still to be seen.

Why building health products is a marathon and not a sprint

Henry Peck: 23andMe has been one of the flagship companies in direct to consumer (DTC) healthcare. Talk to me more about this space.

Ruby Gadelrab: Building health products is hard, it’s expensive and it takes time. You have to be in it for the long term. It’s hard for a number of reasons.
In healthcare, the user, the influencer, the payer, and the consumer of the product are often completely different stakeholders with completely different incentives, so that’s a really tough challenge.

It’s a really highly regulated space and the regulation is not just per country, it’s potentially per state as well. When you’re thinking about building a health product, you have to think about the regulatory process countrywide and statewide. Your regulatory strategy also deeply impacts your commercial strategy—the type of product you would build for a DTC market is potentially different to what you would build if you want the healthcare system to adopt it.

Unlike tech, in health, you cannot test and iterate quickly. You need to do the studies to generate the evidence that your product is safe, is effective, is clinically useful, and that its economics work, and these studies can take many, many years.

When you start the commercialization process, you have to find your earliest adopters in the healthcare world, which involves building specialized sales teams and deploying expensive KOL (Key Opinion Leader) programs,
Finally, you have to get your product reimbursed and engage the medical community.

Digital health innovators: Don’t skip these steps

Henry Peck: What are the key challenges in DTC? What do you absolutely HAVE to get right in DTC?

Ruby Gadelrab: These three areas are critical:

Regulatory and Evidence Generation
For ANY health product the two things that are most critical are regulatory and evidence generation. No one should skimp on those. If you really want to disrupt healthcare this is the key differentiator. Quite frankly, there is a lot of nonsense out there disguised as health products and your studies and regulatory strategy is what will differentiate you from the nonsense and stop you getting in trouble. The advice I give all digital health companies is to hire a CMO (Chief Medical Officer) even if part time, because they will help you with the evidence generation and staying on the right side of regulatory.

Understand User Acquisition
People underestimate the cost of user acquisition. It’s very expensive to acquire consumers for health products, especially when most people are used to health products being covered by insurance. To be clear, I am a firm believer that there is a self-pay market for access and convenience, but it’s a subset of the market. I see this a lot where companies start out DTC, then realize how hard and expensive it is, and then want to pivot to B2B2C—where they want to work with health systems, employers, providers etc. So, back to my earlier point—to do that you need to make sure you have the right regulatory strategy and have done the evidence generation to allow you to make that pivot.

Bring Healthcare Providers into the Experience
Many DTC companies are improving the access to and experience of health products—and we love this democratization of health products. HOWEVER, part of the consumer experience has to be bringing healthcare providers into the fold. Think about the scenario where a consumer orders a test at home or uses an app or wearable to track their health data and that consumer takes that report to their physicians who has never seen it, has no idea why they ordered it and they ask the consumer, “What is this crazy thing you ordered off the internet?” That ruins the consumer experience.

The way around this is to engage healthcare professionals early on in your product development, so they can help you build products that are clinically useful even if they are for a consumer market. They will be your advocates later. Then, when your product is on the market, provide education for healthcare providers who may see your consumers. Educate them on your product with data and studies. This will massively help with the consumer experience and you won’t spend ridiculous amounts of money calming the naysayers.

Innovators to watch 

Henry Peck: Who are some of the leaders and “up and comers” in the space, in your opinion?

Ruby Gadelrab: It’s companies creating DTC health products that are taking an evidence-based approach that democratize access and improve the experience of healthcare products and services responsibly. And they are even better if they can demonstrate that they can improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

  • At-home lab testing. I think Everlywell and Modern Fertility are fascinating in that they massively improve the access to and the experience of a traditionally cumbersome process.
  • Liquid biopsy for early cancer detection, particularly patient-initiated (not DTC, but easy access). There are so many digital health companies innovating in this area: Grail, Exact Sciences, Guardant Health, Freenome, just to name a few.
  • Femtech. Women’s health has been neglected for far too long. Everyone thinks Femtech is just about fertility but it goes beyond that into hormone testing, sleep, diet, menopause, endometriosis, and so much more.
  • Apps and wearables that help with at-home patient monitoring. I like OneDrop. It’s a diabetes product that uses a data-driven approach to measure blood glucose levels with coaching and data.
  • Mental and behavioral health apps that combine technology with coaching experts.

Henry Peck: What types of technologies/businesses can we expect to see with the rise of DTC?

Ruby Gadelrab: Some products are DTC and some products are easy-access, where a physician network behind the scenes orders the product. Telehealth is the key technology that can power this. Telehealth and virtual care are big areas by themselves but they also power some of these products that appear to be DTC.

Health data analytics companies are generating huge amounts of data. How do we make sense of it all into something that’s clinically useful?

I think there is also potential for a company to create a space for providers and consumers to learn about digital health products and the evidence behind them. This is one of the things we are working on at MDisrupt.

At MDisrupt we believe that the most impactful health products should make it to market quickly. We help make this happen by connecting digital health innovators to the healthcare industry experts and scientists they need to responsibly accelerate product development, commercialization, adoption, and scale.

Our expert consultants span the healthcare continuum and can assist with all stages of health product development: This includes regulatory, clinical studies and evidence generation, payor strategies, commercialization, and channel strategies. If you are building a health product talk to us.

The Future of the Healthcare System

The Future of the Healthcare System

Chet Robson

Meet Chet Robson, DO, chief clinical officer at Walgreens.

podcast available

Beginning as a family practice physician, Robson went on to C-suite positions at health systems and one of the largest health retailers. He was an early adopter of electronic medical records (EMR), educating himself and helping colleagues understand how to use and implement them. He later earned his MBA at Dartmouth in health care delivery science with a focus on how healthcare can be delivered to different populations. At Walgreens, he delivers healthcare directly to the consumer on a national scale—in everyone’s neighborhood.

Listen to the full interview here.

MDisrupt: How do you envision healthcare delivery in the US changing?

Chet Robson: Health care is becoming more home- and consumer-driven. Examples of this include telemedicine for care delivery, oral oncology medications that can be taken at home, home testing (COVID-19 testing, cholesterol and genetic tests), mental health coaching, and health tracking through apps. Hospitals are having to become parts of a system that reach beyond the hospital walls; integrating with retail pharmacies, companies like Uber, and more.

From the pharmacy standpoint, it’s a very similar theme—meeting consumers where they live and making it easy for them to get medications and other health care services. Several retail healthcare venues now have primary care doctors’ offices inside of their pharmacies—an elegant integration of delivery models supplementing the norms of the traditional health care system.

The final piece is the payment models to help facilitate care. It’s not simply about how we pay for a particular diagnosis and treatment , but how we pay for the prevention, the treatment, and the aftercare for the best outcome.

Recently with COVID-19, there’s been a huge evolution of home delivery, medication, and medical goods.

MDisrupt: As a health retailer, how do you evaluate innovative technology for introduction into the retail pharmacy market?

Chet Robson: This is always an exciting challenge because there are so many great ideas at different stages of development. Given this, we have a very formalized approach that we go through. The first thing we evaluate when a company brings something new to us is identifying what problem the technology is trying to solve. We’ve seen things where it’s great technology and an interesting scientific venture, but it doesn’t really solve a problem. Then we dive into the fundamentals around the basic medical science, clinical efficacy, real-world evidence data, multi-population studies, outcomes, and feedback that affects patients around use, price, insurance coverage, and ordering. We really want to understand if the technology actually improves the problem that needs improving.

From a business standpoint, we evaluate if there is a sustainable business model and synergistic fit with our current strategy. There are many times we’ll see products that are really very good, interesting, but it might not really be the exact right fit for what our current strategy is or what we’re trying to achieve.

MDisrupt: Adverse drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the US, but pharmacogenomics is still not a standard of care. How do we reconcile that and where is it going?

Chet Robson: I share that frustration with you because I’m a big believer in pharmacogenomics. It could really become a valuable tool, but we are still along the pathway to integrating it into the standard model of care. First, it’s “newer” science to the general public, regulatory bodies, and legal organizations so there are hurdles around education and defining how to use the information in patient care. Second, we have to become very specific about the benefits, impact, and use cases for pharmacogenomics. Third, there are operational challenges around getting the information into a prescriber’s workflow so that the health care provider, at the point of writing the prescription, has access to drug interaction information. It has to be simple and straightforward. Lastly, the information has to be available to anyone who’s going to interact with it. This includes the healthcare provider and the pharmacist, so they can support each other to ensure that drug interactions are identified and acted on appropriately.

MDisrupt: Do you have an example of a country or health system that’s been successful in implementing a PGx program?

Chet Robson: We’ve implemented a very successful program through Walgreens Boots Alliance and our independent pharmacies in the Netherlands. The health system in the Netherlands is a single payer system, so both the physician and the pharmacists have access to a common EMR. This is critical because the physician or pharmacist can look up a patient’s drug interaction information. The physician can request a pharmacogenomics test, the patient’s results get added to the system, the pharmacist sees the results, and then walks the patient through the information. If there’s an actionable medication, the pharmacist can then connect with the physician to request a change of medication. It’s worked extremely well and we’ve had really good uptake. Even throughout the pandemic we’ve seen the number of pharmacogenomics tests going up greatly because there is a good deal of interest from the patients. The other interesting piece is that the physicians look at the pharmacies now as part of the whole ecosystem. It’s still early and we’ve not even completed a year, but the initial results have been strong.

MDisrupt: What’s the future for pharmacogenomics?

Chet Robson: PGx is beginning to be a part of a bigger picture of understanding a robust genetic overview of an individual. Currently we have an understanding of phenotype through biometric testing, lab testing, and imaging, but we tend not to have a very good genetic view. To be able to fully manage a patient’s health, you have to understand that entire equation including the social determinants of health.

The FDA a year or so ago really pulled back on the pharmacogenomics information that could be released to patients. Currently, they’ve begun to make major strides moving forward by looking much more deeply at the research and working with the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC) and other organizations. A major hurdle to overcome is the FDA becoming more comfortable with what PGx offers. Payors are also doing a lot of different testing in various different forms with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), sometimes with their insured populations, and sometimes with particular disease states.

As you begin to make PGx an actionable, value-based test, we’re going to need to become much more refined in our risk stratification of how we use the test. It’s an important piece of the total comprehensive view of the patient.

MDisrupt: What does the pharmacy of the future look like?

Chet Robson: There’s only about four ways to manage health and disease. First, maintain health by exercise and good nutrition. The second is to prevent illness through immunizations, routine testing, continuous health monitoring. Third is medication delivery and education. And fourth are interventions like surgery and radiation. Pharmacists can play an integral role in the first three ways by providing medication and treatment expertise.

Part of the pharmacy of the future is helping pharmacists become integrated in delivering health services rather than simply delivering prescriptions. This can include mail or home delivery, telemedicine, followup care, and clinical services. Pharmacies are already in everybody’s neighborhood and it creates a network of places where people can easily access the health resources they need. Lastly, in the virtual world of health apps tied to medication and health management, digital pharmacy services can play an important part in medication management, providing immunization information, or answering questions around the clock via Ask A Pharmacist chat. Having that virtual, always-ready connection is definitely going to play a critical role in the pharmacy of the future.

The pharmacy of the future is really an expansion of what we do now. It’s about allowing the pharmacist to use their full skills rather than just operational ones, thus allowing people to connect virtually and in-person to their local pharmacy. It’s about an interconnected healthcare ecosystem that meets people where they live and experience health care. A health care system that operates in the continuum of people’s lives—living, working, and virtually.

At MDisrupt we believe the most impactful health products should make it to market quickly. We connect digital health innovators to the healthcare industry experts and scientists they need to responsibly accelerate product development, commercialization, adoption, and scale.

If you are building a pharmacogenomics or other health product, MDisrupt can help. Talk to us.

Six Things Healthtech Founders Should Know When Building Health Products

Six Things Healthtech Founders Should Know When Building Health Products

Healthtech is a fast-growing industry in which technology (wearables, apps, cellphones, databases and software) is used to solve problems in healthcare around improving access, productivity, delivery and quality of care as well as potentially reducing costs. According to Rock Health, despite a global pandemic, in the first half of 2020, $5.4 billion was invested in healthtech in the U.S. alone.

However, building health products is hard and very different from building tech products. Many innovators from the tech world are flocking to the world of healthcare and attempting to disrupt it through their innovations. There are well-established steps for building health products that scale. What are the key things that healthtech entrepreneurs should know as they navigate this complex industry?

1. Understand healthcare’s many stakeholders.

Within the healthcare ecosystem, there are many stakeholders; often, the user, influencer and payer are not the same people. When building a health product, it’s important to understand from the beginning who the stakeholders are and what they value. You should map out who will use it, who will pay for it and who will make the decisions to implement it because this will have a direct influence on what you build, what features it will have and what the value proposition will be. Some key stakeholders include:

  • Providers: The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, radiologists, surgeons and other practitioners who are licensed to deliver care to the patient.
  • Health System: An organization or a group of organizations that is responsible for delivering primary and secondary care to a target population.
  • Payers: A company that pays for medical services. Insurance companies are the most common type of payer. In the U.S., these fall into one of three categories: commercial, private and government.
  • Employers: The largest purchaser of health insurance, covering more than 55% of Americans.
  • Patients: The ultimate consumers of healthtech and healthcare products and services.

2. Solve a real problem.

Many of today’s healthtech products started as a technology discovery that was then applied to healthcare to try to solve a problem. Often, this is merely a perceived problem because the founder’s limited experience of the healthcare ecosystem means that they haven’t understood their target audience and the audience’s clinical workflows, intent or guidelines they follow.

The way many healthcare stakeholders think about this is that they look for solutions that generally solve one of these problems:

  • Does it improve patient health outcomes?
  • Does it reduce healthcare costs?
  • Does it improve the patient and physician experience?

It’s important that your product solves real problems in healthcare, and the best way to do this is to consult health industry experts and deeply understand your audience.

3. Generate evidence to convince skeptical audiences.

Evidence generation is one of the most critical steps in building health products. Firstly, people’s lives are at stake, so it’s important to demonstrate your product is both safe and effective.

Secondly, you have to convince doctors to use it. Doctors can be the world’s most skeptical audience, partly because they are scientists at heart and partly because they took an oath to “do no harm” and they genuinely care about doing the best for their patients. In addition, medicine is one of the most litigious industries.

Data, publications and recommendations from medical societies will likely convince doctors to routinely adopt your product in their practices.

4. Ensure that the economics work.

Evidence generation is important not only for providers, but also to convince payers to reimburse your product. Payers and employers will need to be convinced of the financial advantage of utilizing your technology. They will want to know:

• How much does it cost compared to what they are currently doing?

• How much will it cost to implement the solution in its entirety (switching costs, training costs, etc.)?

• How much will it save the healthcare system and over what time frame?

• Does the cost of the solution plus the implementation provide a compelling ROI over a reasonable amount of time?

This is where the skills of a trained health economist come in. Health economists are trained to do health economics and outcomes research. They help compile the dossier with models that you will need to present to payers.

Like all other types of business, even if you have the best product to solve the biggest problems, if the economics don’t work and you can’t convince someone to pay for it, it’s nearly impossible to scale.

5. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Most entrepreneurs who build health products and expect them to scale in a healthcare setting have to be in it for the long haul. It can take 10-15 years to get widespread adoption of a health product, including the time to complete all the studies necessary to generate the evidence to convince providers to adopt it and payers to pay for it. This is very different from the tech world, where products can scale and exit within five years.

Often, good healthtech companies run out of money and time before they can fully scale. For example, clinical studies from a healthtech company called Lantern were just recently published, two years after the business folded and sold its IP.

6. Pick the right investors.

To the point above, it’s important that healthtech founders choose their investors wisely — the ones that understand the time and money it will take to successfully build and scale a health product and have realistic expectations. The studies and regulatory processes may take years, and revenue and exit expectations should be adjusted accordingly.

There is no doubt that healthcare is ripe for disruption through technology, and there is no shortage of talented entrepreneurs to catalyze this disruption.

FBC-Badge-2021

First published in Forbes Business Council.
Ruby Gadelrab Forbes Councils Member

ruby.gadelrab

Ruby Gadelrab, CEO + Founder, MDisrupt

Ruby Gadelrab is a seasoned health executive with a track record in successfully commercializing healthcare and healthtech products. Her expertise lies in developing high-impact B2B and B2C marketing, branding, and commercial strategies. Ruby served on the executive team at 23andMe as vice president of commercial marketing and has worked for many leading companies in the biotech and genetic spaces. Before founding MDisrupt, Ruby consulted for, advised, and mentored more than 25 companies in the healthtech space.

At MDisrupt we believe that the most impactful health products should make it market quickly. We do this by uniting digital health companies with experts from the healthcare industry to help them accelerate their time to market responsibly.

Our expert consultants span the healthcare continuum and can assist with all stages of health product development: This includes regulatory, clinical studies and evidence generation, payor strategies, commercialization, and channel strategies. If you are building a health product, talk to us.

3 Leadership Roles Doctors Can Play In Healthtech Companies

3 Leadership Roles Doctors Can Play In Healthtech Companies

Healthtech is defined as the application of technology to solve problems in healthcare—think wearables, apps, cellphones, connected devices,  software, databases, etc.  It can also include medical devices, personalized medicine, and even at-home testing solutions.  

The healthtech industry (also known as digital health) is growing rapidly.  According to Rock Health, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic the first half of 2020 saw a record investment of $5.4B in the sector in the US alone. Healthtech products are designed to solve problems in healthcare related to

  • improving patient outcomes 
  • reducing healthcare spend 
  • increasing access to care, and 
  • improving the patient and physician experience. 

Many companies in the industry are started by nonmedical founders— technologists, scientists or business leaders who see the $4 trillion healthcare industry as ripe for disruption. But doctors, too, are playing many critical roles in this industry. Increasingly, mid-career physicians are reducing or ending their clinical practice to join or found healthtech companies themselves.  

What leadership roles can physicians play in healthtech and how are they contributing?

Physician CEO/Founder

Doctors have a clear understanding of problems they have witnessed and experienced within the healthcare system. And they often have a good understanding of how the healthcare system works and who its important stakeholders are. This can make doctors very well-suited to creating health products and solutions that will not only solve real challenges in healthcare but will also be valued and adopted by other healthcare professionals.  

Some examples of physicians who founded health companies include: 

  • Kartik Modha, MD, a UK-based GP who founded myhealthspecalist. He recognized patients’ struggles to find private physicians recommended by other doctors and built a search and recommendation platform to address this. 
  • Suzanne Sysko Clough, MD, co-founded Welldoc a digital health delivery platform for chronic disease management through lifestyle interventions and behavioral coaching.  
  • Moira Schieke, MD, a clinical radiologist, founded Cubisimi to digitize radiology practices and create a new category of precision imaging.   
  • Nate Gross, MD, co-founded Doximity, the world’s largest medical network for physicians, and then went on to co-found Rock Health, a VC fund focused on digital health. 
  •  Andrew Beck, MD, is a molecular genetic pathologist who co-founded and leads PathAI. The company seeks to use AI and machine learning to modernize pathology and improve diagnostic accuracy and treatment efficacy for diseases like cancer.  
  •  Jeremy Friese, MD, MBA,  founded and leads Verata Health, a  company that has created an AI-powered Frictionless Prior Authorization™ platform to optimize both the patient and physician experience.
  • Oliver Kharraz, MD, founder and CEO of ZocDoc, a platform that solves access to care through telemedicine.

Often physicians who found companies need to augment their executive teams with both technologists and product leaders who understand how to turn the insight into a product. They also need to include commercial leaders who can ensure the commercial viability of their solutions and then help them develop  market access strategies. 

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) 

As mentioned above, many innovators who start healthtech companies do not have medical backgrounds. That’s why the Chief Medical Officer role can be one of the most critical hires for the success of a healthtech company. This role is a key executive position and is essential for companies that expect their product to be adopted and paid for by stakeholders within the healthcare system. The responsibilities of the CMO are broad and can include: 

  • Develop and communicate the clinical strategy
  • Represent the voice of healthcare and patients inside a company
  • Enable the company to find product-market fit and solve real (not perceived) problems in healthcare 
  • Ensure the company meets regulatory requirements
  • Design studies to generate the evidence required to prove the products are safe, useful and cost effective
  • Develop the product’s global value and reimbursement dossier 
  • Ensure that patient care and safety are a consistent company priority
  • Communicate with medical advisors, key opinion leaders and medical societies 
  • Educate payers and other stakeholders in presentations on clinical utility 
  • Ensure that the company is designing its products responsibly and ethically. 

If you want to look at the career paths of some incredible physicians who have left clinical practice to become chief medical officers in health companies, here are some great examples: 

While the chief medical officer role is critical for companies creating health products, many early-stage health startups often can’t afford to hire one full time. This is where new versions of this role are emerging; they include:

  • Part-time Chief Medical Officer – This is where a chief medical officer can work for a company just a few days a month so the company gets the benefit of their expertise without the full salary costs. Federico Monzon, MD, one of our senior CMO consultants at MDisrupt, currently works with three separate healthtech companies in this capacity, dividing his time between them. 
  • Interim Chief Medical Officer – Hiring a CMO is a big decision and it’s important to choose the right one. You want a person with the skills and knowledge you need for your health innovation but also one who can fit in culturally with the rest of your team. It’s important not to go for long periods without any medical oversight at all. Companies whose CMO leaves suddenly may also require an interim CMO.  In this case, a physician works with a company for a few months, filling the key responsibilities while the search for the long-term CMO is underway. 
  • Virtual Chief Medical Officer – This is a very new way of engaging a CMO for companies that need flexibility—think of it as a CMO on demand. The virtual CMO isn’t usually there physically (who is these days since the global pandemic?) but they work with companies to solve some key clinical issues, particularly early on. The time commitment can be anything from 2-10 hours a month as needed. It’s a perfect role for physicians who are still in clinical practice but want to experience working with healthtech companies in a lighter capacity.

These roles allow healthtech startups to have an executive-level medical voice at the table in a way that they can afford. They also allow physicians to add value to health companies, and try working with the founders and ensuring alignment with product strategy and company  culture before making a full commitment to join. 

Head of Medical Affairs 

Medical affairs professionals often (but not always) report to the chief medical officer and are the medical face of the company.  Many physicians take medical affairs roles, but non-MD clinicians, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, genetic counsellors, and PhD scientists do so as well.  The primary role of medical affairs is to educate, communicate, and engage the clinicians who will be adopting the product the company is developing. Medical affairs roles are ideally suited for clinicals who love to make sense out of data, develop content, and teach.

 Their responsibilities can include: 

  • Building, managing and engaging Key Opinion Leader (KOL) programs 
  • Overseeing clinical trials 
  • Executing publication plans
  • Developing education programs for healthcare providers 
  • Educating sales and marketing teams 
  • Developing content for patient education 
  • Coordinating data and communications at scientific conferences 
  • Gathering and sharing market intelligence
  • Providing clinical and technical support to the clinical users of the product.

Some notable physicians who have had successful careers in medical affairs include: 

The medical affairs professionals are critical to the commercial success of a health product. They work hand in hand with the sales, marketing and product development groups within an organization. The key to adoption of health products is educating the providers who will be using them; this is the primary function of this role. 

Adding Physician Leaders to Health Companies May Enable a Faster Path to Market. 

These roles discussed above are just three examples of leadership roles that physicians can play. There are many more that we will outline in future blogs. 

At MDisrupt, we believe that the most impactful health products should make it to patients faster. From reviewing and advising hundreds of companies, our insight is that healthtech companies that hire and engage healthcare experts early and often are the most likely to be successful. We currently have 31 physicians in our network who are looking for opportunities to advise and consult for healthtech companies.

If you are a healthtech company that requires a CMO or Medical Affairs leader (full time, part time, interim or virtual) please click here. 

If you are a physician who would like to join our network to become a CMO or Medical Affairs lead for a healthtech company, please click here.

ruby.gadelrab

Ruby Gadelrab, CEO + Founder, MDisrupt

Ruby Gadelrab is a seasoned health executive with a track record in successfully commercializing healthcare and healthtech products. Her expertise lies in developing high-impact B2B and B2C marketing, branding, and commercial strategies. Ruby served on the executive team at 23andMe as vice president of commercial marketing and has worked for many leading companies in the biotech and genetic spaces. Before founding MDisrupt, Ruby consulted for, advised, and mentored more than 25 companies in the healthtech space.

What Employers Should Know About Covid-19 Testing When Bringing Employees Back To Work

What Employers Should Know About Covid-19 Testing When Bringing Employees Back To Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has played out with unexpected twists and turns. The truth is, with a novel infection such as this one, we have to learn as we go along. This has been apparent as we’ve watched public health agencies, state and federal governments and essential businesses respond to the pandemic every step of the way. This is also true for how we track the infection and its immunity.

Employers need guidance on COVID-19 testing. Companies are asking who should we test, when and how often should we test, what do we do with the results and, what kind of testing should we use?

Types of testing for COVID-19

It is important to understand how we test for COVID-19 infection and how we test for presumptive immunity to the infection. There are two different types of tests – diagnostic tests and antibody tests.

  1. A diagnostic test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests – molecular (RT-PCR) tests that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
  2. An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks after recovery. Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active coronavirus infection. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus in the future.

What Employers Should Know About Covid-19 Testing When Bringing Employees Back To Work 1

The FDA is also tracking new diagnostic tests available with alternative methods and benefits.

  • Rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tests use a mucus sample from the nose or throat but can be analyzed at the doctor’s office or clinic where the sample is collected and results may be available in minutes. These may be molecular or antigen tests.
  • At-home collection tests are prescribed by a doctor but allow the patient to collect the sample at home and send it directly to the lab for analysis.
  • Saliva tests allow a patient to spit into a tube rather than get their nose or throat swabbed. Saliva tests may be more comfortable for some people and may be safer for health care workers who can be farther away during the sample collection.

Reliability of these tests have improved and whereas symptomatic testing is usually paid for by medical insurance carriers, there are significant gaps in coverage for other types of testing (see below). Testing for asymptomatic employees (and dependents) is usually not covered. Guidance on diagnostic testing has shifted over the past several months in the United States as more testing becomes available. Most of this guidance, notably, is intended for health care professionals. 

The guidance and use of antibody (immunity) testing is still evolving. There have been more questions around reliability of these tests and the dust has not settled on how or whether employers should leverage antibody (presumptive immunity) testing. 

What does the sensitivity of a Covid-19 test mean?

Sensitivity measures how often a test correctly generates a positive result for people who have the condition that’s being tested for also known as the “true positive” rate. 

A test that’s highly sensitive for current COVID-19 virus infection will flag almost everyone who currently has the virus and not generate many false-negative results. 

For example: a test with 90% sensitivity will correctly return a positive result for 90% of people who currently have the virus, but will return a negative result — a false-negative — for 10% of the people who currently have the virus and should have tested positive.

What does the specificity of a Covid-19 test mean?

Specificity measures a test’s ability to correctly generate a negative result for people who don’t have the condition that’s being tested for also known as the “true negative” rate. 

A high-specificity test for the COVID-19 virus will correctly rule out almost everyone who currently doesn’t have the virus and won’t generate many false-positive results. 

For example: a test with 90% specificity will correctly return a negative result for 90% of people who currently don’t have the virus, but will return a positive result — a false-positive — for 10% of the people who currently don’t have the virus and should have tested negative.

Testing for COVID-19 infection in the workplace

It should be noted that much of the return to work preparedness and business continuity planning involves making adjustments to workplaces, operating procedures, administrative protocols and the requirements for work-from-home versus onsite work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) points out that employers should continue to implement the basic hygiene, social distancing, workplace controls and flexibilities, and employee training described in this guidance in ways that reduce the risk of workplace spread of COVID-19, including by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals.

In the OSHA Guidance to Returning to Work [4045-06 2020] employers may consider implementing strategies to reduce risks to the safety and health of workers and workplaces from COVID-19 that include conducting diagnostic testing. “Neither the OSH Act nor OSHA standards prohibit employer testing for diagnostic testing, if applied in a transparent manner applicable to all employees (i.e., non-retaliatory)” the guidance affirms. 

Because of the limitations of current testing capabilities, employers should act cautiously on negative test results. OSHA is quick to point out that employers should not presume that individuals who test negative for COVID-19 infection present no hazard to others in the workplace. 

OSHA also provides guidance and resources for employers and employees  on the control and prevention of COVID-19 by industry. This guidance applies to all workers and employers, while other sections focus on those at lower risk of exposure and those with increased risk of exposure, including workers involved in:

  • Airline operations
  • Border protection and transportation security
  • Business travelers
  • Construction
  • Correctional facility operations
  • Dentistry
  • Emergency response and public safety
  • Environmental (i.e., janitorial) services
  • Farmworkers (developed in partnership with CDC)
  • Healthcare
  • In-home repair services
  • Laboratories
  • Manufacturing (developed in partnership with CDC)
  • Meat and poultry processing (developed in partnership with CDC)
  • Postmortem care
  • Retail operations
  • Solid waste and wastewater management 

Testing asymptomatic employees for infection

According to the May 2020 CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again, testing of asymptomatic individuals is a growing consideration as the role of asymptomatic and subclinical infections in transmission becomes more apparent. 

Emerging evidence suggests that asymptomatic infections may play an important role in the epidemiology of the disease. Nevertheless, it is important to define the circumstances where testing asymptomatic persons is likely to be helpful in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The CDC provides further clarification that effective testing programs will focus on (1) persons with an increased likelihood of infection and (2) settings with particularly vulnerable populations, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Contacts of known (symptomatic or asymptomatic) cases. This may include testing of contacts going back one to two weeks before the onset of symptoms, particularly contacts who work with vulnerable populations.
  • Staff of long-term care facilities. Periodic testing and sentinel surveillance in these settings may serve to detect outbreaks early in this setting, where devastating outbreaks are known to occur and to be associated with high rates of asymptomatic infection. 
  • Other healthcare facility workers and first responders. Healthcare facilities may consider testing staff periodically, starting with staff in high traffic, high risk areas such as emergency departments.

Workforce: CDC guidance on “vulnerable individuals”

As workplaces consider re-opening it is particularly important to keep in mind that some employees are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These vulnerable workers include individuals over age 65 and those with underlying medical conditions (regardless of age). Such underlying conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, hypertension, severe heart conditions, weakened immunity, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis. Vulnerable workers should be encouraged to self-identify, and employers should avoid making unnecessary medical inquiries. Employers should take particular care to reduce vulnerable workers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19, while making sure to be compliant with relevant ADA regulations.

OSHA recommends that employers should identify workers who may be at increased susceptibility for COVID-19 infection or complications and consider adjusting their work responsibilities or locations to minimize exposure. Other flexibilities, if feasible, can help prevent potential exposures among workers who have diabetes, heart or lung issues, or other immunocompromising health conditions. 

Serology testing for immunity to COVID-19

The CDC recently acknowledged that serologic testing may play a role in a back-to-work strategy provided it can be shown that serologic testing can reliably infer immunity. This immunity may not need to be absolute: protection against severe infection may be enough even if immunity against reinfection isn’t reliable or durable. Some employers, and some industries in particular are counting on serologic testing for immunity.

While there appears to be considerable public optimism that serologic testing will allow return to work without the need for PPE or other precautions, there are many unknowns at this early date that limit implementation of serology for this purpose. 

There is a need for high-level consensus on the role of serologic testing in a back-to-work policy. Consensus is also needed on a plan for how to provide documentation of that immunity, be it through federal- or state-based immunity registries, digital proof-of-immunity, or physical documentation such as “immunity certificates”. Despite these limitations, continued interest in the use of serologic testing in a back-to-work policy is likely.

In its most recent guidance, however, CDC Interim Guidance said that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” 

In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) an employer may not require antibody testing before permitting employees to re-enter the workplace. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. An antibody test at this time does not meet the ADA’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical examinations or inquiries for current employees. Therefore, requiring antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace is not allowed under the ADA.  

Of note the EEOC acknowledges that an antibody test is different from a test to determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19 (i.e., a viral test).  The EEOC has already stated that diagnostic COVID-19 viral tests are permissible under the ADA. The EEOC will continue to closely monitor CDC’s recommendations, and could update this discussion in response to changes in CDC’s recommendations.

What’s covered?

As of this writing, most insurance carriers will cover COVID-19 testing under certain circumstances and employers should factor costs into their plans to include these tests in business continuity planning and execution. Employers should be sure to contact their insurance carrier(s) and understand exactly what is and what is not covered under each of their health plans. Insurance testing for coverage will almost certainly be a moving target, so employers should plan to monitor insurance carrier communications and postings on a regular basis.

Medical insurers typically don’t cover medical services that aren’t ordered by a health care professional, or that aren’t considered medically necessary in fully insured, or through medical insurance administered self-funded plans. As an example, pre-employment testing for job requirements are usually paid by the employer themselves. Some insurers and health plan administrators explicitly exclude surveillance testing for their members.

According to a recent AXIOS article, UnitedHealthcare, for example, says that “we will cover medically necessary COVID-19 testing at no cost-share…when ordered by a physician or health care professional.”

  • BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will cover diagnostic tests “when ordered by an attending health care provider and provided at the point-of-care for individuals who are symptomatic and are concerned about infection.”
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City will cover both diagnostic and antibody tests “with no cost share if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and your physician orders the test.” 
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi  says it won’t cover tests that are “not medically necessary,” which includes tests for asymptomatic people as part of public health monitoring efforts or screenings for returning to work. 

Not every insurer has added coverage limitations. Aetna, which is owned by CVS, has waived cost-sharing for all diagnostic tests, which “can be done by any approved testing facility.”  

Partnering with employers on COVID-19 testing

Employers are interested in partners who can help them deploy, manage and track testing. If new testing technology enables that, it must have the proper regulatory approvals solidly in place. FDA approval is paramount. Healthtech companies or test provider must remember that there are tremendous liabilities attached to all aspects of this testing- companies are looking for demonstrable reliability and sufficient specificity and sensitivity.

Employers need to follow CDC’s and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance for reducing workplace exposure for all employees. All decisions about following these recommendations should be made in collaboration with local health officials and other State and local authorities who can help assess the current level of mitigation needed based on levels of COVID-19 community transmission and the capacities of the local public health and healthcare systems. In addition, specific industries may require more stringent safety precautions. Finally, there may be essential workplaces in which the recommended mitigation strategies are not feasible.

It is important for any test provider   to fully appreciate the regulatory landscape that employers face. This is the time to be a true partner.

What Employers Should Know About Covid-19 Testing When Bringing Employees Back To Work 2

Ronald S. Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH, Physician Consultant

MDisrupt Advisor and Senior Consultant Specializing in Employee Benefits, Medical Cost Solutions, New Medical Technology

As a credentialed and experienced professional, Dr. Leopold brings credibility and a breadth of knowledge as a consultant, client advocate, and marketplace spokesperson. He is an industry thought leader in employee benefits and health and productivity.

Specialties: Medical Costs, High Cost Claimants, New Medical Technologies, Employee Benefits, Heath and Productivity, Population Health Data Analytics, Global Workforce, Generations in the Workforce, Financial Wellness, Thought Leadership, Public Speaking.

At MDisrupt we can help, If you are an employer wanting to deploy back to work protocols and would like expert guidance – please contact us.   

If you are a test developer wanting to access the Employer market we can help you understand the strategies and protocols necessary to be successful.

Talk to us—we can help.

MDisrupt One Year On—A Year of Transformation

MDisrupt One Year On—A Year of Transformation

The only constant in life is change. And nowhere is that more true than in your first year as a start-up.

As many of you know, MDisrupt was founded a year ago because we believed the healthtech world was lacking “medical diligence”. We believed this was the missing link in the market and the reason why so many healthtech startups were stumbling on the path to successfully commercializing their health products.

We originally created MDisrupt to identify healthtech companies who were at risk of becoming the next Theranos, or uBiome. Our hypothesis was that if investors undertook more rigorous medical diligence, they would be able to more easily identify and evade potential investments in companies that were not clinically or commercially viable, or who were not taking the appropriate regulatory path.

Like any start-up in its first year, we had ups and downs, learned a ton and we soon identified our true direction – to play an even more constructive role in the healthcare / healthtech industry than we had originally planned. Luckily we were small and nimble enough to be able to react quickly to the market dynamics and, while some of the changes were tough, they forced MDisrupt into a stronger, better place. I want to share with you the ways we have changed and the lessons we learned along the way. 

Changing Focus – Healthtech Investors Were Not The Primary Customers For Medical Diligence

It turned out that healthtech investors were not our primary customers. There is not really a ‘budget’ for medical diligence in an investment transaction. Tech funds source health subject matter experts from within their network to conduct diligence, whereas, bio and life sciences investors already have health domain expertise on staff.

We soon found that it was the bigger and more established health companies that had utility for our medical diligence services to provide an objective external third party view and address their needs in a range of fundamental areas such as: 

  • Benchmarking: 
    • “How do our clinical standards as a laboratory compare to other clinical labs?”
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: 
    • “We are considering an acquisition and want to understand the new market of the company we are acquiring.”
  • Market Sizing: 
    • “We are launching a new product in a new market and want an objective view of the market size and opportunity.”

Our True Market: Healthtech Truth Seekers Wanting Much More Than Medical Diligence Services

While we had limited traction with investors, one of the most inspiring parts of the last 12 months was meeting the healthtech founders who were determined to build their companies responsibly and cared deeply about building impactful, scalable and data-driven health products. But they did not just want our medical diligence assessments, they wanted access to us and other health industry experts to help them build their health products well in the first place. They were aware of how other healthtech companies had stumbled in their early days and did not want to make the same mistakes. 

These companies wanted our help to solve problems such as: 

  • Should my test be an LDT or an IVD?  Is it a health or wellness product?
  • What is the appropriate regulatory path I should take in the US?
  • How do I find a part-time Chief Medical Officer?
  • How do I access the self-insured employer channel?
  • What is the right strategy for engaging healthcare providers and payors?
  • Help me define a marketing strategy for reaching medical audiences.

Even the investors we engaged with in our early days, started to connect us to healthtech companies in their portfolios. Very soon we were overwhelmed with these types of requests and had to start tapping into our network of colleagues to help us on these projects. We quickly realized that our real market was helping the healthtech founding teams themselves.

Uncovering The Unmet Need: “The Gig Economy For Health Industry Experts”

As we began to reach out to our networks for help on these projects, and with all the press coverage we received when we launched, we were inundated with support from experienced health industry professionals and colleagues. The same key themes emerged: 

  • It is about time someone helped improve standards of health products. 
  • How can I help and get involved? 
  • Can I work for MDisrupt?
  • I want to work with healthtech companies and help them get to market quickly and safely.
  • How can I find the healthtech companies who could use my skills and expertise?

We heard from our client healthtech companies that they were struggling to access the experts they needed and here we were with hundreds of emails from passionate, experienced experts ready and willing to help. That was the moment we realized that the real problem we needed to solve was how we could provide easy access to experienced, vetted health industry experts. We knew then what we needed to build into the MDisrupt platform – a health expert two-sided marketplace. 

And so we did.  To date we have 58 consultant subject matter experts spanning the healthcare continuum, averaging 10 years’ experience in their discipline. Our expert consultants include:

  • MDs
  • Scientists
  • Market Access Experts 
  • Regulatory Experts
  • Commercial and Channel Strategists 
  • Lab Test Designers 
  • Clinical Trial Designers 
  • Health Economists

Many of these industry experts are still practicing and so are able to provide the most current perspective within their disciplines. They are able to assist healthtech companies in a variety of capacities including: 

  • Experts-in-Residence 
  • Part-Time Chief Medical or Chief Scientific Officer 
  • KOLs 
  • Medical or Scientific Advisory Boards 
  • Consulting Projects 
  • Expert Opinions

Engaging these health industry experts as consultants has enabled us to solidify our mission of helping to bring the most impactful health products to market faster and more responsibly by uniting the healthtech and healthcare industries – benefiting from the best of both worlds.

The Covid-19 Pandemic: An Unexpected Driver In Uniting The Healthcare And Healthtech Worlds 

As we entered 2020 the onset of the coronavirus outbreak changed the world for us all. Never has healthcare, healthtech and science been more in the spotlight than over the past 6 months. Very soon we started to see healthtech companies make significant shifts in their business models to help address the global pandemic. Some examples of these include:

  • Lab testing companies that wanted to shift into developing Covid-19 Testing 
  • Telemedicine companies that had to scale significantly 
  • Instrument companies that had developed products for adjacent industries wanting to move quickly into clinical lab testing 
  • Behavioral apps who pivoted to address mindfulness and stress-management issues arising from lifestyle shifts due to prolonged shelter in place mandates
  • Regulatory and clinical activities for “Back to Work” scenarios – how employers, colleges and schools can bring people back safely

Once again, we have been inundated with requests for health industry experts to help healthtech companies make these pivots and transitions. Increasingly, healthtech companies are seeing the value of having scientific and medical experts as core parts of their teams to help them navigate the new opportunities that the pandemic has brought to the industry.

As Start-Ups Evolve, So Do Their Teams 

Earlier in my career, while working for a start-up, a wise CEO told me that the people that found a company are not always the same people that grow the company, or scale it or take it public.  Teams evolve and different people and skills are needed for different stages of progression. 

MDisrupt was founded by myself and my close friend and colleague Jill Hagenkord, who I nicknamed the “Godmother of Precision Medicine”. We founded MDisrupt with the mission of helping bring the most impactful health products to market faster and more responsibly by uniting the healthtech and healthcare worlds. Today is the one-year anniversary of MDisrupt and, while that mission has not changed, it is bittersweet for me to announce Jill’s departure from MDisrupt. Jill was offered an incredible opportunity that she could not refuse and she is off to pursue her next amazing adventure. I don’t want to steal her thunder by announcing where she is going until she does, so stay tuned for her announcement. I am so incredibly grateful for the blood, sweat and tears Jill poured into MDisrupt working alongside me over the past year and how she helped turn a glimmer of an idea into a business that can truly make an impact for so many companies. Myself, and the MDisrupt community she helped to build, thank her for her dedication, passion and brilliance and we will be cheering her on as she embarks on her next journey.

We have also been lucky enough over the past few months to add some new and incredibly talented people to our team:

Ragan Hart, MS, PhD – Director of Operations and Business Development 
Ragan is an applied health economist, who evaluates clinical genomics and digital health technologies.  Learn more about Ragan Hart

 Dr Pamela Mehta – VP of Medical Affairs 
Dr. Pamela Mehta is a board certified, practicing orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Resilience Orthopedics. Read more about Dr Mehta 

Please join me in welcoming them to the MDisrupt Community!

A New Year, A New Look

As a health product marketer by blood, I believe it is important that a brand is not only representative of your company’s personality but also a critical communication vehicle for your target audiences. We serve both health innovators and our health industry experts equally. Our goal has been to create a brand that resonates with both sectors, keeping the modern feel that the healthtech industry is accustomed to, but enriching this with content written by our experts to address the real issues entrepreneurs may face as they take on the challenges of responsibly building scalable health products.  

 We also wanted to make it easier to showcase some of our experts’ skills and create simpler ways for health companies to find them. So we gave ourselves a rebrand – take a look at our new website, we welcome your feedback. I want to thank Paul Bohanna, our creative and technical director who has worked tirelessly over the past few months to reimagine our brand and build our website. 

A Company Is Only As Good As Its Network of Supporters – Thank You

As with any start-up, the first year is a year of learning, pivoting and identifying new opportunities. But one thing has been clear – we have been blessed with incredible support: from the clients that believed in us and trusted us to work closely with them on their projects, to the network of health industry experts that joined our platform and have been passionate about not only helping the healthtech companies but also helping us directly, advising us, writing amazing blogs for our website and evangelizing our message.

Finally, I want to acknowledge a few partners who have supported us and provided wisdom and guidance from our very first day.  

One year on, I am humbled and grateful for all the support and from the bottom of my heart I thank you all. 

Ruby Gadelrab
CEO