: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez
Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes Rocket listeners welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders. Really want to thank you for tuning in again and I invite you to go to outcomesrocket.com/reviews to give us a rating and review and let us know what you thought about the show. Love hearing from our listeners. And today I have an amazing guest for you. His name is Mick Correll. He’s president at Genospace. Mick has done a fabulous amount of work in the space that he’s currently in. He’s held several different roles. I want to do is give Mick a warm welcome and have him as the expert dive into what they do at this amazing company. Welcome to the podcast.
Mick Correll: [00:01:07] Thank you Saul, it’s all a real pleasure to talk to you today and you know thanks again for invite me also.
Saul Marquez: [00:01:13] Absolutely Mick. So maybe we can walk through a little bit of what you guys are up to at Genospace for the listeners.
Mick Correll: [00:01:20] Yeah sure. So you know you space is a software company we’re based in Cambridge Massachusetts and it’s really what we focus on is the application of Nomex in medical care. So we’re kind of two parts what we do on the one hand. We’re trying to help make gnomic information useful to doctors and nurses and patients at the point of care. So powerful technology complicated. How do we use these resources to help the individual involved to make better treatment decisions. That’s one part of it. At the same time though we really recognize that this is kind of a special opportunity that we shouldn’t think about Nomex just like any other laboratory test and we’re really trying to capture that detail so as we as we applied to Nomex in mainstream medicine how do we actually enable them to fuel more of a learning healthcare system. How do we capture the details from this routine practice to help build an aggregate better data that can drive future research development and application.
Saul Marquez: [00:02:28] It’s really interesting. You guys have done some really cool things matching patients to trials. Population analytics. I mean you guys are really diving into some pretty cool things and even getting deep into like molecular pathology reporting. I mean super fascinating. I want to take it back to the genesis of it all to why Mick is in medicine what is it that got you into this field.
Mick Correll: [00:02:52] You know it’s been an evolution over time. I started out you know pretty early in life I was really drawn to biology and a lot of ways it really wasn’t even much of a question for me. You know I thought about the different things that I could study and apply myself to the science of life was incredibly attractive to me. I mean I’ve always come out to think about the big questions you know who we are why we’re here kind of midway through my education I stumble into computational biology and I was blown away like this is going to change the world moved out of Cambridge she started working at a startup company and in the Maxfield and this was more on the research side of things. So it was more oriented towards the pharmaceutical target identification development. It was cool it was really interesting but it was also a little bit abstract to me. So this was drawn more towards the clinical application side of things it really all that sort of jelled together when I when I started working at Dana Farber I can tell you. I mean you know when I’m coming to work every day the fiber had kind of come to the third floor and I walk past the Jimmy Fund Clinic which is the pediatric oncology unit and we’ve work in a place like that you never question why you’re coming to work every day. You know I’ve always I’ve always loved the science but kind of having that that feeling of kind of more direct connectivity to how and why what you’re doing is actually helping to you know impact you know individual people’s lives has sort of been brought into it.
Saul Marquez: [00:04:18] I think that’s so cool. And you know you came from the science background and research and then you get to the point where you’re constantly reminded you know when you have a clinic right there every time you walk into work you’re reminded of why you’re doing what you do. And fast forward to today with this amazing solution that you guys have built. I’m just curious what do you think in the array of different things that are out there for leaders to focus on. Should be that one thing that leaders should be focused on today in improving outcomes.
Mick Correll: [00:04:49] You know I’ll give you it’s probably a little bit of all of a long winded answer here. And obviously I think to Nomex and understanding the molecular basis of disease is a big deal. I mean I think this is going to change the entire practice of medicine at the same time you know I think there’s something bigger going on as well in a lot of ways it can be best captured under the umbrella of synthetic biology. You know I think you combine the capabilities of genomic and I use that term broadly that’s giving us this incredible microscope to really understand what’s happening in ourselves at a molecular level. But observation isn’t enough necessarily right. I think what gets me so excited about synthetic biology is in the past we had these really crude tools for manipulating biological systems and synthetic biology is a game changer in the sense that now we have these really precise ways to manipulate these biological molecules. And the reason I think it’s so important is that it’s moving biology away from being simply an observational science to more of an engineering discipline that now we can we can take this machine apart and put it back together again. The reason it is so important is I think this is going to be an incredible source of innovation. I don’t think that I think we’re already starting to see some of this hitting the clinics. And you think about Karti therapies and the resurgence of gene therapy. When I look ahead I think we’re going to have one new treatment capabilities that are fueled by the US and I think of how this intersects with the healthcare system that is I don’t think innovation going to be our challenge. I think it’s going to be how do we disseminate that innovation and how do we actually get a better understanding of how to use these tools how and when and where they actually are effective because trials are going to get you there. It doesn’t. Even our biggest and our best trials they’re pretty effective at understanding safety profile and establishing that something has efficacy. But the reality is most drugs don’t work in most people and I think we need a system wide perspective to get much better at measuring and tracking what’s working where so that we can become much more focused and targeted about. This is why the implication. You know I think there’s a lot of capability out there some can be expensive. We get to give a lot more about how and when and where to use these kind of tools.
Saul Marquez: [00:07:27] I love your passion. You are a gentleman that really understands this stuff and you’re so passionate about it from the firsthand we connected to now I just I love it. Man every time we talk I get energized and I think you sort of nailed it on the hand here with the thought that innovation is not going to be the problem. It’s implementing this innovation and disseminating this stuff that’s going to be the challenge of this century and how we’re going to push forward our our health care system. As a leader Mac what do you do. You know as a as a leader provider as a leader payer as a leader let’s just say Medtech space or manned device space. How do you digest this what do you do with these capabilities that are going to flood in.
Mick Correll: [00:08:10] I think across the board I really think it comes down to being much more purposeful about what is success look like and how we didn’t know when we see it right and then we can talk about improving outcomes. What are we actually mean by that. How are we measuring that. And then I think getting across the board both an individual perspective. You know I think there’s a ton of potential in wearables and devices that people themselves can get involved with the systems themselves. Me I think you know I think every stakeholder has a role to play here. But I think that like you said to me I think it’s going to be an implementation and the dissemination. But I think the key is going to be how are we going to longitudinally track and measure the factors that we’re trying to optimize around from the moment you know from the medtech software side of things it’s a clear area for innovation. Doctors don’t you know we’ve turned some of the most valuable actors in the whole system and turn them into data coders and capture them see that they don’t like it. No they don’t like it at all.
Saul Marquez: [00:09:14] It’s a problem.
Mick Correll: [00:09:15] You know the more the more poor job with them we play it. I think you know I think more electronic medical record systems for the clinical work was I think you know there’s a lot of different ways to come about it but I think being more purposeful about really thinking about what the endpoint we’re trying to optimize around and then how do we capture them so that we can have millions or to grow this but you don’t understand understand trying to optimize on most your models are going to be pretty weak.
Saul Marquez: [00:09:44] I love that Mick and it just really is the basics right blocking and tackling. Understand what you’re going after.
Mick Correll: [00:09:51] You do have the right and it’s you know a lot of it can really revolves around billing optimization of billing system not around health outcomes.
Saul Marquez: [00:09:59] And then the other thing too right. So based on that topic make these big health EMR HHR systems are big billing tools. They’re not really outcome tools. And so what are we doing to optimize these technologies to help improve outcomes. I think shifting that measurement from billing to outcomes improvement is going to be key. Would you agree.
Mick Correll: [00:10:22] Absolutely. I think at that point of care I mean you know being able to understand why did someone come to a doctor. What did we do. And how did it work. Just those basic elements are something that we don’t capture very well. I mean you know the only other other layer on top of that is we’ve got to be able to exchange that data in a pretty precise way. We’ve got a really fragmented healthcare system not about you but you know when I think about even like getting my medical records I don’t know where I’d start. So we have different doctors and hospitals across well I’ve got to remember how well they are may not even exist. So this is like people are just staying in a single system their whole lives. I think they’re moving around between lots of different sources so I think you know we’ve certainly seen that there’s a lot of power at an individual level that people can be a real force of change here that the natural aggregator of your medical history is you. But but but that’s going to depend on the systems having captured Reliable data in the first place and then having mechanisms that they can exchange it and make it accessible to each other and back to the individuals themselves.
Saul Marquez: [00:11:35] Yeah I think that’s such a great point. Mac can you dive into let’s zoom into the genospace activities and can you share with the listeners a way that you guys have helped improve outcomes.
Mick Correll: [00:11:47] I think some of them are really really clear and direct. I can tell you one of the things that really gets the team here really jazzed and proud of the work we do is when we get these stories back from the clinics. So from the work we’re doing with our molecular pathology partners a lot of those there are those who dared to say listen I had a tough case come in had you know really interesting you know set of you know molecular characteristics I was seen in that tumor Alamosa were most produce in cancer you know say you know using your tool. Came across a drug or a clinical trial that had been recently approved who was associate with those mutations and you know I are still to come back and give that doctor that patient option that you know without you might not have ever found. So those are really clear examples of just where the tool is helping to use this rich information source to help inform some of the profit might be. I think on the other on the other side the harder to measure some of the research aspects of things. I think with our tools so we’ve done a lot in making making the information more actionable and commutable key thing for us is thinking a lot about data models. You know one of the one of our real differentiators is how we structure information of what and what we can do with it. And I think you’ve taken a pretty innovative approach there. So being able to make those kind of bring those insights into clinic but then on an ongoing way capturing in a much deeper way and rendering that body of facts to drive researchers to sort of be the other and that I think could take more time I think that up to a fully mature but we’re seeing some early signs of that.
Saul Marquez: [00:13:29] It’s really interesting. And now you guys are really taking a detailed very interesting approach in how you guys formulate these data sets. It’s pretty interesting to see your company and your team really dive into the details of this because it will make a difference. And I am curious you know you’ve done a lot of really great things. Tell us about a time when when something didn’t go the way you wanted to and what you took from that.
Mick Correll: [00:13:54] Well I mean there have been plenty of mistakes along the way.
Saul Marquez: [00:14:00] We all make them and I think that’s when we learn the most.
Mick Correll: [00:14:04] Yeah you know I mean I think there is one instance that really stands out in my mind. So there was a point in the development of our company in the not in the not too distant past when there was a pretty significant change around the reimbursement of these oncology tests to these molecular tests and oncology. And at the time I got a call from from one of our customers. It was also a close relationship and they become you know a friend of mine and he called me he said you know I don’t know if you saw this or not but this is a big deal. This is going to be something that’s going to have a big impact on us and I think on YouTube and sort of registered a little bit of time. But it’s hard to really see like sort of how a change in one part of the system is going to directly impact what you’re doing. And I think to a large extent I mean a lot of our philosophy has been that your own ability to execute is far and away going to be the most important factor of success. Right. So it’s not just having a good idea it’s it’s the execution had to do it. Right. And so to some extent we were kind of like heads down like yeah. Wasn’t that the change. It feels like it’s so far away from us that isn’t really going to impact us. So oh we going just continue on the course but we kind of like double down. We like really accelerated our efforts in that space. And sure enough four or five months later it was a really challenging place to be working in. It was a it was just a strong headwind as a small company and I look back on it was like, listen I miss the signal. You know it was there somebody actually called me and delivered it.
Saul Marquez: [00:15:43] And when it happened Mick did they just cut reimbursement for those tests or what exactly happened there.
Mick Correll: [00:15:48] Yeah I mean the change was you know prior to that was sort of a stopgap mechanism that was what this code staffing approach. But the real change to me was on the one hand it was positive in the sense that they were recognizing the validity of these multi gene panel techs and actually giving it a code. So it’s good I mean this is you know basically accepting the clinical utility of the tests at the same time the reimbursement rate got set for it was really low and it was just going to be in that clinical sequencing is kind of a linchpin for what we do. Right. And so it just introduced I think the economic headwind that immediately you know it was a couple of hops away from us. But you know you play that for four or five months and it had you know a challenging effect on the landscape.
Saul Marquez: [00:16:39] So what did you learn from this. How did you guys pivot. Where are you guys now.
Mick Correll: [00:16:42] So I mean what I learned from it was you know I think I do believe there’s merit to that heads down execution approach at the same time it really impressed upon me the importance of how that needs to be modulated by the macro trends in your industry. I think healthcare especially is one that is subject to pretty wild swings based on you know intervention and regulation. I think you don’t see him coming out right now. Right and I think you know government and other actors can loosen heavily influence the way the whole marketplace works. I think especially when you’re growing enterprise about deep pockets. You got to be paying attention to that stuff. You need to modulate what you’re doing based on some of those larger factors was an important learning from me. I mean I think what divorce is. I mean it did force the company to make some more of a pivot that you know I think we had always kind of preserve option out of what we were doing. We tracked adopt point we saw that the clinical lab space was going to be challenging and we tracked hard towards the health systems and went all in on that. And listen we got to be tough with the play we got to we have to think about how our tools can be applied in other parts of the system. And we went after the health networks in a big way and you know ultimately that was going after those groups that in the acquisition of a company.
Saul Marquez: [00:18:02] That’s really cool and make I really love this story that you told because there is merit like you said to putting your head down and just grinding and staying focused on your goals. But in this space that we’re all in listeners this space of healthcare it is so important to realize that these macro trends these changes in policy these decisions that get made can truly impact our business models in a big way. Take this pearl from Mick and make sure that you take into consideration these changes don’t just ignore them. So the acquisition that Mick is talking about is that they pivoted. They refocused and they were acquired recently. How long ago was it to January of this year. January of this year. So you guys were acquired by hospital HCA right.
Mick Correll: [00:18:53] Yep. It was Sarah Canning which is the cancer institute crêpes. Yes.
Saul Marquez: [00:18:57] Amazing. So something that was so challenging for you make you and your team turned around and started focusing on these larger networks which are not easy to get into but you guys pivoted went for it. They saw the value of it and acquired you.
Mick Correll: [00:19:14] It was an exciting time a company. I mean I think we have been Serkin was a group that we had been involved in discussions with for many years. And just at the point where you know things are starting to get challenging in the lab space meant opportunity came up to kind of get back in discussions with them and I think most people would say we made it we went all in on base. We stopped work on everything else in the company said we’ve got to win them. This is where we have to win right now and we put everything we had into really proving to them that we had the capabilities and technology to really significantly impact where they were going and how they can get there.
Saul Marquez: [00:19:51] Mick I think that what you did that decision of saying OK I’m going to stop working at everything else because I see this as a priority. I see this as a strategic place to focus is a skill that is so valuable in a leader and for the listeners running’s health systems and companies and you know insurance plans. What is your focus and having the ability to turn everything else off and focus on that one or two things is going to be pivotal to your success make such an exciting time. And kudos to you for being able to say all right this is where it’s at. I’m going to focus. Was there any fear behind your decision.
Mick Correll: [00:20:34] Yeah. Yes.
Saul Marquez: [00:20:37] What was the view would be a better question.
Mick Correll: [00:20:39] I mean I think the whole you know the whole experience of running a startup is it’s an emotional roller coaster and I mean it can be terrifying sometimes.
Mick Correll: [00:20:47] I mean we like you don’t know playbook you don’t know at the time if you make of the word decision or not. So yeah there’s a lot of line. I think you know you’ve built these relationships with your customers and they’re depending on you you’ve got all the people that work there. They’re putting their heart and soul into it every day. Sometimes it’s as a leader sometimes you have to make those tough calls. And as you know you get a lot of people depending on you and you don’t want them out now for sure.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:14] Now it’s a big one and you got to have the courage to say no. I see I see this I hear the music and I know this is where it’s going. And then just going for it not hesitating just making a decision. Mick, I wish we had more time we’re going to have to keep moving here. Let’s pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine today. It’s the 101 or the ABC of Mick Chorale. And so let’s write a syllabus together. I’m going to ask for lightning round questions and then finish it up with a book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready?.
Mick Correll: [00:21:48] Yup.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:48] What’s the best way to improve health care outcomes.
Mick Correll: [00:21:51] The system that we measure and track and wanted to know.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:55] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.
Mick Correll: [00:21:57] Got to understand clinical implementation and economics. Going to use your product and why. And understand the flow of dollars. It’s not easy to do in health care but if you don’t understand that it’s going to be a real uphill battle.
Saul Marquez: [00:22:12] Love that one. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.
Mick Correll: [00:22:16] To solve the hardest problems or at least try to.
Saul Marquez: [00:22:19] What is one area of focus that should drive all else in your organization.
Mick Correll: [00:22:24] For us, keeping science at the center has been important. It’s been one of the defining characteristics of our culture that we attract and retain our people being passionate about the domain of the love that is why they’re here. And you know being data driven and disciplined about what we do is at the center of it.
Saul Marquez: [00:22:41] Finally Mick, what is that favorite book that you would recommend for the listeners and put on the syllabus.
Mick Correll: [00:22:48] Those are the hardest questions. You know I love to read. I don’t read out of business books but I like to read books for fun. So not on the syllabus. But you know my favorite book of all time my desert island book Infinite Jest. It is almost 20 you know Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. And that’s one of the most good boys about a lot of different things. The big sprawling complex. But in terms of kind of understanding what it means to be a citizen of this country both time and place in history. I feel like it just brings so much perspective. I love it. You know my favorite book that is awesome.
Saul Marquez: [00:23:25] Well listeners I will definitely have to pick that one up I encourage you to do it as well. Go to outcomesrocket.com/mick. That’s M I C K and you’re gonna get all of the show notes to everything that we just discussed today. Details and also links to Mick’s company the things that they’re up to as well as this book that he just mentioned. Mick, really wanna thank you for being on. Before we part, I want to ask you to just share one closing thought and then the best place where the listeners can get a hold of you.
Mick Correll: [00:23:57] You know my closing thought is kind of where I started. Synthetic Biology. I think I would encourage all the listeners to think for a few minutes about what it’s going to mean when when we gain mastery of the molecules of life. I think and have ethical considerations way beyond health care. I think it will decide we’ve got to start having dialogue. So think about it. The best way to find me you know info@genospace.
Saul Marquez: [00:24:22] Outstanding Mick,. Listen I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and the words of wisdom you’ve shared and the stories. I know that it’s going to resonate with the listeners and and I really will be keeping track of what you guys are up to because it’s so exciting. And definitely be thinking about synthetic biology so Mick, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the podcast today.
Mick Correll: [00:24:47] Thank you. My pleasure.
: [00:24:52] Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.
The Best Way To Contact Mick: