10 Emerging Industry Leaders: Christopher McCann

October 23, 2020
Karen Appold
Karen Appold

Volume 30, Issue 10

Managed Healthcare Executive's October issue headlines 10 healthcare leaders in its fourth annual "10 Emerging Industry Leaders" feature. MHE spotlights each leader individually with a Q&A interview between MHE and the emerging leader.

Christopher McCann, CEO and co-founder, Current Health, Boston

I grew up in Paisley, Scotland, a post-industrial town that has suffered greatly in recent years, with high levels of poverty and deprivation. I disliked school but was fascinated by computers and creating things from a young age, so I left school two years early at age 16 and gained a degree in computer science. From there, I went to medical school and then founded Current Health.

Why did you choose your profession?

I loved computers and building things, but I also became fascinated by medicine. The human body is almost the ultimate machine. After a relative became severely ill and I spent a lot of time in hospitals, I decided to enter medical school.

Building Current Health gave me the opportunity to bring everything I loved together. I got to create, build technology and solve one of the most fundamental challenges in healthcare: preventively identifying and treating illnesses. If we can shine a light on patient health at home and then use that data to identify illness, then we can radically change how healthcare is being delivered. Other goals include ensuring that every patient has access to preventive medicine, improving patient outcomes and reducing the cost of healthcare delivery.

What has been your biggest learning experience in the industry? What did it teach you?

Financial models are complicated, and incentives are counterintuitive. Understanding how to successfully embed a new solution within the complexity of these financial models is challenging and takes a lot of time, energy and collaboration.

Second, it’s critical to keep a focus on delivering an amazing product experience to patients and providers who have busy, complex lives. Understanding their needs and how to deliver a quality, simple experience takes time, care and precision.

How has COVID-19 affected your responsibilities and how your organization operates? How might your job and your organization change because of the pandemic?

Since COVID-19, we’ve grown more than 1,000%, all while being fully remote. We’ve deployed to tens of thousands of patients and doubled the size of the Current Health team.

COVID-19 has accelerated a transitional shift that was already occurring, driving increases in value-based care and more global risk, as well as more healthcare at home and greater adoption of remote patient management (RPM) and telehealth. While I believe an equilibrium will be reached, use of telehealth and RPM will still be far greater post-COVID than before.

Continuing to build an amazing experience for our patients and providers, at scale and globally, while being fully remote, has been an interesting challenge.

How has the current discussion of racism and healthcare inequity affected you, your outlook and your organization? What has been the short-term response, and what do you envision happening over the longer term to your organization and American healthcare?

From the beginning, it’s been my core belief that the patients who most need access to technology-enabled healthcare services are the least likely to be able to access them. We’ve put a significant investment into making it possible for patients to easily and successfully use our services at home.

We provide connectivity and everything the patient needs for the service in a preconfigured box. We put a huge amount of time into simplicity and ease of use so that we’re accessible to all populations.

We’re also recognizing as an organization that our team should better represent the populations that we’re involved in caring for. We need to do a better job of building diversity within that team, including across age, race and gender.

What other kinds of changes do you expect to see in healthcare in the next five to 10 years?

COVID-19 has accelerated an existing transitional shift to more delivery of healthcare at home. It’s my belief that COVID-19 will also accelerate more managed care and global risk contracting, and there will be continued expansion of telehealth and home-based digital health technologies. For years, value-based care has been discussed and written about and yet most healthcare is still traditional fee for service.

I believe in the next 10 years, we’ll see a far greater proportion of healthcare delivered in the patient’s own home, and many health systems will finally make the transition from traditional fee for service to value-based arrangements. That will be better for the patient and healthcare as a whole.

What have you enjoyed about social distancing and extra stay-at-home time during the past few months?

Building a high-growth technology company has meant a lot of travel and time away from home and my partner, Jo-Ann. Getting to spend some time at home, in one place, has been amazing. I think a positive aspect of staying at home is that it has encouraged greater quality time with families.

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