How Data can Make or Break Your Business
Episode 519

Anna Levchuck, Healthcare Industry Head at S&P Global

How Data can Make or Break Your Business

In this episode, we feature Anna Levchuck, Healthcare Industry Head at S&P Global. Anna has worked on the payer side, the investment, the strategy side, and now the healthcare side, and she said she found her passion and satisfaction at the personal level which helps her get out of bed every day.

Anna discusses the impact of data in analyzing business performance as a healthcare player, viewing healthcare in a multifaceted way, how their platform enables business strategies, investments, and healthcare professionals to collaborate and easily access data that will provide new analysis and new solutions. You’ll also hear her thoughts on clean data, the challenges of sharing data, the need for a regulatory framework about the acceptable use of data, and more.

 Tune in and find out how your company can leverage data to improve efficiency and increase productivity!

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How Data can Make or Break Your Business

Episode 519

Recommended Book:

An American Sickness

Best Way to Contact Anna:

LinkedIn

Company Website:

S&P Global

How Data can Make or Break Your Business with Anna Levchuck, Healthcare Industry Head at S&P Global transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

How Data can Make or Break Your Business with Anna Levchuck, Healthcare Industry Head at S&P Global was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. Today, I have the privilege of hosting Anna Levchuck. Anna Leads to the health care vertical at S&P Global, where she’s focused on facilitating data exchange among industry players and investors with the ultimate goal of accelerating progress in health care. Prior to joining S&P Global, Anna worked at United Healthcare Group, where she was responsible for digital innovation and M&A for several divisions, both domestically and internationally. Previously, she held positions at NYU Health, where her role was to bridge translational research and practice of medicine and at Healthagen Aetna’s incubator and investment fund. Anna holds an MBA degree from the University of Chicago and enjoys playing violin in her spare time. It’s it’s a data rich environment today, but the question around what we do with what we have and how we process this data. What data sources we’re taking in is critical. Will there be responding to Covid-19 epidemics or or, you know, market intelligence on how you’re going to operate your health system or company? And so it’s such a privilege to have Anna here with us today to discuss the importance of of data. And so and just a privilege to have you here with us. Thanks for joining.

Anna Levchuck:
Thank you so much, Saul, for inviting me to the podcast and giving me the opportunity to share a few things about my work and my thoughts on health care space.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely, Ana. So what would you say inspires your work in health care?

Anna Levchuck:
It’s a great question and a very simple question for me to answer. The answer is greater good. Behind the work that I do and it’s immediate applicability and perhaps a bit of a career. History will help me to illustrate the point. I started my career as a strategy consultant, and I loved the intellectual component of the work. But frankly, this work is called Ivory Tower for good reason. Specifically, it’s rather limited. It has rather limited applications in real life. And then I became an investment banker for a very short period of time. And that didn’t appeal to me either, because I applied the importance of facilitating the work of the financial system. I saw very little applicability of this work in my day to day life. And then finally, I found health care and found was a bit of tone, cheek remark here, because I actually come from a family of physicians who also do research. So and this extended family, not just my parents or my siblings. And so, you know, well, given my professional credentials, my work is on the business side. Throughout my career, I had an opportunity to impact health care delivery through investing, designing models of care and promoting research. And this provides me with the satisfaction at the personal level, which in turn helps me to get out of bed everyday.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you know what, it’s it’s certainly important work and, you know, these days with quarantine and everything that we have going on is having that reason they get out of bed is is key. Won’t you agree?

Anna Levchuck:
Yes.

Saul Marquez:
And that the thoughtful work that you’re doing is is fascinating. You know, you’ve worked on the on the payer side of things, on the on the on the investment side and strategy side. Now, at S&P, you guys are doing some fascinating things at the health care vertical. Tell us a little bit about how you guys are adding value to the health care ecosystem.

Anna Levchuck:
Yes. So healthcare S&P Global is traditionally thought of as a financial services firm. And we are, however, one of our divisions. Market intelligence also provides all kinds of data and in facility healthcare. What’s the last segment that the company entered? And then my boss opinion is the most promising sector. Why? As a country we spend three and a half trillion a year on health care. To put it in perspective, that’s about one third of all health care spend in the world. And those two facts alone tell us that this trend spending trend is unsustainable. So what can be done to change that? Well, we need an effective, systematic reform. That’s among other things. We’ll look at better aligning incentives within health care systems, focusing on wellness rather than illness. In other words, emphasizing prevention over treatment. And, of course, also improving productivity and healthcare segment. So what S&P market intelligence does we’ve tried to provide data that can help answer all of these questions. Now, I want to also say that collecting and collating such data is a very lengthy process and we are still at the beginning of it. But when we finally succeed in providing access to holistic health care data to the market, there’s there’ll be a need for reform and continues to refine it. I don’t want to have the listeners to leave the listeners with an impression that data will solve our problems. But I want to emphasize that being able to analyze your performance as a health care player or system is truly the prerequisite to success in turning around American healthcare.

Saul Marquez:
Well said, Anna. And, you know, I think about that, you know, analyzing your performance. A lot of performance analytics is really, you know, not not complete in its field or it’s biased and doesn’t have the right pieces. And even even thinking forward, like beyond your silo and health care. Right. So if you’re listening to this, you’re thinking, hey, I got it figured out. Hey, if you’re thinking that you’re probably in trouble, first of all. But secondly, what’s going on outside of your health care silo? A lot of things that are happening outside of, say, home care or the acute space or telemedicine could really be what’s going to impact you and what you’re doing today and in the future in your in your strategic plans. So maybe you could highlight some of the things that you do differently than what’s available today that could help folks in their journey to make the health care system more more efficient.

Anna Levchuck:
Absolutely. By the way, I love that question. And if any listener thinks, hey, I got that figures out, please give me a call because they may want to hire you…

Saul Marquez:
Love it.

Anna Levchuck:
Now it’s you know, it’s it’s a very complicated question. So how would you know what what do we do differently? I think and I think you you led the question towards it perfectly. You know, if there are a lot of silos within the health care, traditionally, when they say health care to my colleagues, they think pharmaceutical and hospitals. That’s great. But that’s definitely not not everything. Governments have an immense stake in health care. And, you know, academic research centers and companies that we traditionally think of, technology companies are all entering healthcare. And they that field is so rife with examples from Apple and Google and doing this with like digital analytics capabilities to also companies that used to be a sort of a traditional industrial engineering company such as Siemens and Philips. And now Siemens have a healthcare arm. And Philips pivoted entirely to its healthcare. Valuable you know, preface, and that the goal was to highlight that, you know, healthcare is multifaceted. And there was this, you know. Expansion of health care outside of your traditional, you know, doctor slash pharmacist diet. So what what this does, we strive to provide a holistic view. And there is there are lots of fantastic companies that happen to be competitors of ours that provide data, for example, in life sciences space or they cover hospitals exclusively or they do a great job in gathering data about clinical trials. However, the healthcare products we are building will provide all of these types of information, plus additional so-called alternative data. On top of that, we also would like to link all of these data sources. So if you are looking for, you know, a specific piece of information, it’s not only our search systems, not only give you that particular answer, but also shows show you the impact in the ecosystem. So I have a few examples of the other types of data that we are. We all do have or currently put it, putting it on our marketplace. And that could be very important in analyzing healthcare holistically. The first one I would like to highlight is supply chain data. A few years ago, Lesinski acquired a company called Jebba. And when I first heard about it, you know, I thought the supply chain data really has nothing to do with me. But I think Covid-19. So that’s really well, it has to do. Everything was all of us. So this data is probably the hottest data sets we have these days. And it’s really fantastic. And it can tell you. Who are the suppliers of a certain thing? What that thing is, who are the buyers of it. It shows all sorts of relationship within that ecosystem. Another type of data that we have is environmental data. And I also don’t I don’t think any intensifies the importance of environmental data. In other words, he is due data when it comes to population health. So think about linking some powerful datasets, such as, you know, the pollution, maybe, maybe chemical pollution, making noise pollution with sales of pharmaceutical data to some, say, pharmaceutical sales data to understand, you know, what kind of. What kind of demand and diseases? Certain. Not optimal environment create. And then, of course, they provide macro economic data and company data and company data includes coverage of private companies. A lot of innovation right now happens in the private sector. And it’s no coincidence that pharmaceutical companies are looking to buy innovation rather than entirely blue light on their development departments and FDA looking to introduce new solutions to the market. They need to have an insight into who’s doing what, who’s developing what and how they’re doing. And that’s the data we are trying to provide.

Saul Marquez:
It’s clear all the opportunities to to dive into supply chain, environmental data, ,macro economic data, company data, all these things that that we could leverage to to to make the right decisions at the right time. And and so I love to hear more from from you on what you believe, maybe an example of how high you’ve improved outcomes or made business better with this data that you’re offering.

Anna Levchuck:
Yes. Absolutely. So essentially, we provide mechanisms for feedback. And this enables business strategies and investments and healthcare professional to look back and understand what worked, what didn’t work and what they need to change to go forward. And one example, and they gave it away a little bit when they started talking about supply chain data. But right now. And specifically beating the podcast. That’s right now is mid April 2020. And we are in the middle of Covid outbreak. I think the entire country is reading, reading this news about the nurses and doctors working overtime and and also not being adequately protected. We know about the shortages of ventilators, about shortages of ICU beds and so on and so forth. So can S&P help with something like that? Absolutely. And they have a really fascinating example. So, as I mentioned, our supply chain data allows people to understand very at a very granular level what kinds of goods cross the U.S. border. And when we saw some of the reports in the press about companies like Mt. Sinai, troubling was was having enough supplies for their health care professionals. The first thing we did reached out to them and offered them access, free access to but how can this help them? Well, very simply. So the first thing they can do, for example, they they have a shortage of N95. We can need to do they need to go into the system put N95. And then they will be able to see a few things that I think will be very valuable. First of all, they will and they will be able to see who in the U.S. bought those supplies. And oftentimes, of course, there’s a big resellers. So they can contact them immediately. And I’m sure that that will streamline their PDF acquisition process. In addition, they can also see who the shippers where, in other words, who made those supplies. So these these are very, very basic examples. But of course, it doesn’t. If it isn’t limited to just just DEPI, it could be anything from pharmaceuticals to to medical devices. So my final was one example. However, you know, I talked a lot about sort of the. The benefit of having data to not only to make real time decisions, but also to provide new analysis and new solutions. And one of the great examples will be the collaboration that we have just last week with M.I.T. and a number of other prominent organizations who are really taking side. It is Covid-19 seriously. So what M80 did is they hosted a hackathon and the two goals of that phone was to provide protection for vulnerable populations. And that’s something we cannot helpless. But the other part was how to improve performance of healthcare systems in this environment. And that’s something we can certainly improve with help, with improving. And that goes to reallocating the resources, but also to make sure that supply chains are perfectly enabled.

Saul Marquez:
Well, fascinating examples on on. You know, you think about the situation that we’re in. And even even before and in the future. Right. There’s certain things that a Google search won’t yield you. And when you’re when you’re dealing with a system wide strategy or gut checking your investment strategy, you know, a Google search is not going to do it right. You want something validated. You want something that’s a little deeper or a little more granular. And I think that’s what you’re getting at on. And you guys are providing some insights that are not readily available on the on the Internet.

Anna Levchuck:
Oh, absolutely. And the interesting part is yes. Well, you definitely can not go and check bills of bleeding usually. But even with a simpler things, like no hospitals, what are the hospitals in the U.S.? Well, good luck finding that information on Google. A lot of it is available. But if you try to combine of a list of all the hospitals, just hospitals, not care delivery, you know, not mental health facilities, just typical hospitals will probably need five people and five full days of work of Google search. And that’s that’s definitely something that they’re trying to circumvent and make it easier for people and sort of make it available at your fingertips.

Saul Marquez:
Anna and then like and even after five days and five people’s worth, the work that I think is that less even reliable. What you’re left with. You know, it’s like it’s it’s like you’re leaving it up to luck.

Anna Levchuck:
Absolutely. That’s you know, that’s another great point, while Google is a fantastic search engine and we all still learning from it. You know, there’s this aspect of it being a hundred percent of the point. And that’s obviously what what corporations like ours are trying to screen out things that are not accurate or not up to date.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. So, you know, and that leads to to the to the point that data is hard and it’s not always clean and it has challenges. And on the topic of challenge, you know, what would you say has been one of the biggest setbacks with the business in the health care vertical? And what was the key learning from that that’s made you guys better?

Anna Levchuck:
Yes. So the setback is still ongoing, so hopefully we do have a key learning there. But but I can’t say I have a solution. So this setback is basically the finding, the right balance between data price free and and usefulness. What do you mean by that? If we want to provide as much data and as granular data as possible and oftentimes not all health care data has, you know, individual components, however, many data points will have something that will reveal who forms has had the potential to reveal who the individual is. Now, we are very strict about upholding the privacy of entities we collect the data from, whether those are people or, you know, or commercial entities. So we need to find that balance. However, you know, it’s hard because we lack a few things at the regulatory level. Those are not good understanding of who owns the data. And then also, you know, we have HIPAA, which is great and very important, but it really is up for debate right now. You know, how much of it is this close? Can somebody take my data and use it? And a great example of misuse will be, you know, if if a health insurance company gets a hold of your with a genetic data, can they. You know, increase your rate based on the genetic conditions that you, A, may not know about. B, you know, may still come to life within your lifetime or not. Maybe it’s just sort of in your genes. But those those conditions will never you’re never going to suffer from those conditions. So those are big questions. And personally, I tend to sit on the liberal side of data sharing and I would start sharing my data first. However, I understand why people feel very careful about. About the need to share their data and why we have so many debates on the topic. So what is the solution? I don’t think the solution sits at a company level, to be honest. Yes. Every company of ours and all the other companies that provide healthcare data will need to decide what the acceptable balance of data sharing for them is. However, in my opinion, I think there should be literally a multinational task force that can tackle questions of healthcare, data ownership, privacy, and, most importantly, ensuring security and appropriate use of data already collected. And once we fall for that, I have no doubt that floodgates of efficiency will open in health care. To me, solely for this will have an effect comparable to an impact of decoding genomes.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, and it’s challenging, right. Because there’s so many people are has have such strong opinions. It becomes like one and like, you know, talking about politics or religion, you know, or just some of those hot topics, Right. that that become the reason why one politician wins versus the other in a political race. How do we get past it? How do we get past the emotional nature of how we feel about this?

Anna Levchuck:
You know, it’s a great question and I only have a subjective answer to that. I think for me, sharing my data out will be even easier if I knew that if can only be used in a specific circumstance, for example, for research or even for things like, you know, what pharmaceutical companies decide or medical devices, companies decide to focus on sort of some sort of a population health level of decision making. I’m very comfortable with that. On the other hand, of course, I did not want it to be used to discriminate me in one way or the other, whether it’ll be employment opportunities or insurance premium as well, as you mentioned. So I think what’s important here is to have a good regulatory framework or legislative framework in place about the acceptable uses of data. And then also the security of such data, you know. So as you mentioned, I very much agree with you. The financial data, some of the personal data about your beliefs, such as political religious opinions, is is highly sensitive and so is healthcare. It’s like even one of the most sensitive out of sleep. So security and appropriate use of that is locked at the highest level legislative level. But also something that can probably be reviewed and updated every 10 years as the or so as we have used cases, use cases emerge in this suit.

Saul Marquez:
Now, that’s a that’s a great it’s some great requirements, I agree. And, you know, having that security, that regulatory framework is is is really fundamental for going to get there. And then whether or not you disagree or or opt in or opt out, then, you know, at least if you opt in, you know, that the frameworks to to protect you are there. So great, great discussion here, Anna. What would you say you’re most excited about today?

Anna Levchuck:
Well, it’s hard to answer this question without inadvertently beating this forecast the game, given that the in mid April 2020. So I’m really excited about the end of self isolation, wherever that happens. But I am not advocating for premature end of that.

Saul Marquez:
Now for sure. And I think…

Anna Levchuck:
Joking aside, I’m really I’m real excited about the rise of digital health. I mentioned before our productivity in health care is low. And by our I mean United States of America, we overspent on Cuil services such as doormen and beautiful artwork on pianos in the hallways. But all the social sometimes we understand them, you know, not to use that example is a fantastic example. In addition, most of the countries in the world, not just the U.S., lack adequate number of physicians, especially specialists. So while you may have a of general practitioners, which is not trained in this country, in China, say oncology specialists are really in high demand, especially in more rural areas. Another huge area of shortage, nurses. We don’t have enough nurses in the U.S. and don’t have enough nurses in UK and Europe in general. So it’s it’s a it’s a shortage that’s only becoming worse and worse as the years go by. And finally, we often don’t know what works and what doesn’t work clinically as we can’t crack it. You’re getting digital health care can fulfill all of these things. So, you know, telehealth expands access. So you you don’t have to come to America if you live in rural China. All you need to do is you need to hop on on a telehealth consultation and have a consultation with American cancer specialist. This is actually an existing service. You know, if can things like that, you know, telehealth, but also other kinds of digital health can ensure that we not over spending money on non-essential things like making hospital comfortable. You know, we are actually going to be spending money on providing access to people at home when they don’t need to go to the hospital at all, whether they’re comfortable or not comfortable. And, you know, I can go with these examples for a very long time. Digital health can be applied in many ways from 3-D printing of teeth to to, you know, having booths that provide telehealth consultation and also dispense pharmaceuticals. These things also already exist in China. So what we’ll say, as excited as I am about digital health, of course, it also has limitations. You know, the app can’t change someone’s bedpan or give a patient a hug. So the goal is not to substitute humans with digital technology. It’s never going to be possible. However, if it is to combine both and increase productivity and efficiency of healthcare professionals while reducing the strain on them.

Saul Marquez:
Some great points Anna. And, you know, going back to the beginning of our chat, you talked about tracking performance and digital health is one of those things that will help us better track performance. A lot of things are not being done well and they’re being siloed or still even written on pen and paper or just the Excel document and some dusty computer. It’s a phenomenal landscape. And, you know, before we even, you know, decided to go down the road of kind of what we were going to talk about today, you know, we were gonna focus on digital health, but time shift. And as many of you have have heard my my quote like that, the quote that I’ve been targeting here on is a quote by Charles Darwin. And it’s not the smartest and it’s not the strongest that survive. It’s the most adaptable. And we’re adapting here for you listeners. And so I decided to take a different framework of… What would you say is is your favorite book that you’d recommend to the listeners?

Anna Levchuck:
There are so many. There is this incredible amount of really good publications, whether those are books or articles. But there are two that I actually man made a mandatory reading for all of my life. So the first one is called American Sickness, and it’s by Elisabeth Rosenthal. It’s a hard book to read. It’s an exceptionally hard book to read because she’d demystify so many things. And she goes on a crusade against American health care system. But her opinion is exceptionally important. She’s a daughter of physicians. She’s a physician. I believe a Harvard trained physician herself. She also worked as an investigative journalist. And she’s the head of Kaiser Foundation. So I think she’s one of the best equipped people to to expose the flaws of healthcare system, and I think she does it with a good goal to make it better. So, yes, hard book to read, but highly recommend. And another one is something that also, you know, very prominent in this Covid crisis situation. No, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering, you know, why did Italy did so poorly? What’s happening in Spain, why the U.S. is, you know, the leading country in terms of Covid cases and why did South Korea did so well? Well, I think some of the answers could be found in a great book by T.R. Reid that called The Healing of America. So unlike Elisabeth Rosenthal, T.R. Reed is not an investigative journalist. So his book has been criticized for some objectivity. But it’s fantastic because what it does is it tracks the healthcare system from the perspective of layman, you know, a very smart layman, but not as physicians across different countries. He looks at a number of your 10 Asian and healthcare systems, Canada, US. He breaks them down very nicely. He shows a few model and he also tries to zero in on what works and what doesn’t. And I think this international comparison is really applicable to today’s world.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. What a great recommendation. American sickness and the healing of America. You all know where to go. Outcomesrocket.health in the search bar you could type in Anna Levchuck, or type in S&P and you’ll find the show notes for our entire podcast today. Full transcripts as well as links to to check out the health care vertical at S&P, as well as how to get in touch with Anna and team. This has been such a fascinating discussion with you on. I’ve enjoyed it so much. Why don’t you go ahead and leave us with a closing thought. And then the best place for the listeners to get in touch with you or your team to continue the conversation.

Anna Levchuck:
Sure. So I’ll start with the easy part of the question, the best way to reach me is definitely LinkedIn. I’m quite active. I love the classroom. So please feel free to reach out. And in terms of the closing thoughts, you know, full disclosure, I knew that the question is coming, so I did. I just prepare for this question was three quote those are my favorite quotes out of here in and they’re coming from Warren Buffet, Donald Trump and Tim Cook. So roughly, roughly in order. In 2017, Warren Buffet repeated his original quote from around early 2008, saying, once again, medical costs are the tapeworm of the American economic competitiveness. And then he proceeded with citing the costs in the 60s. The costs were about five percent of GDP. Now, health care costs then at 18 percent. Also, in 2017 Donald Trump now famously said nobody knew that health care could be so complicated. And this remark was prompted by debates around Obamacare. And finally, in 2019, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said, if you go out into the future and you look back and ask the question, what was Apple’s greatest contribution to make mankind it will be about health. So what are we trying to show with these quotes? First is that the way we approach health care in the U.S. is a problem. Second, better this immensely complicated. And third, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And in my opinion, it happens to be in the form of new care delivery models, including digital ones.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. Beautifully said and some great quotes, I love it. I mean, what a great compilation of quotes there to make anybody think, especially this audience of sophisticated listeners. Just the incredible thought that you leave us with Anna and just wishing you and your loved ones health and success. And listeners, you know, we we certainly appreciate you tuning in for. For the insights that Anna shared with us. And Anna know just a big thanks to you. Thanks so much for all you’ve shared.

Saul Marquez:
Thank you all for giving me this platform, and I can only echo your lovely comment and wish you and your loved ones as well as all the listeners health first and foremost in this difficult time.

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