Emerging Health Leaders: Andrew Toy, M.S., of Clover Health

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MHE Publication, MHE October 2021, Volume 3, Issue 10

Toy is one of 13 up-and-coming health leaders featured in this annual Managed Healthcare Executive series.

Andrew Toy, M.S., president, chief technology officer and board member at Clover Health in Nashville, Tennessee

I was born and raised in Hong Kong and came to the United States to study computer science at Stanford University in 1996. Following my role as vice president of mobile applications at Morgan Stanley and then running mobile content for MTV, I co-founded Divide, a company focused on creating a split between work and personal data on mobile devices. At the time, as iPhone and Android devices were gaining popularity, it was common for folks to bring two devices to work — a work-assigned BlackBerry and a smartphone for personal use. We created Divide to fix the two-phone problem, and four years later Divide was acquired by Google for $120 million.

After serving as a director of Google’s Android enterprise group, I saw the potential to both grow a great business and truly help people at Clover Health. I became chief technology officer in 2018. I helped create its breakthrough clinical support platform, the Clover Assistant. In February 2019, I was appointed president of Clover and also joined the board.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life?

My parents, who have always encouraged me to take the path less trodden. They are Australian-Chinese immigrants who raised me in a British school system in Hong Kong and encouraged me to pursue excellence by attending a university in the U.S. They taught me that talent and opportunity are distributed and that you should always push yourself to chase them wherever they are.

Why did you pursue a career in healthcare?

After I sold my last startup, I wanted to do something mission-oriented and build a great business. Healthcare seemed incredibly interesting and ripe for innovation but, as a technologist, I also saw it as a difficult task to create a business that could drive real change.

Then I met Clover’s CEO Vivek Garipalli, who’s been the most influential person in my healthcare journey. I’ve learned so much from him, and I’ll never forget when he took a chance on me and said, “In a year, you’ll be the technologist (who) knows the most about how healthcare actually works.” I think that was a prescient observation because, in a short time, we’ve combined technology innovation with a deep understanding of how the wheels of healthcare actually turn to create real change.

Which career accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?

My time at Divide has by far been my most satisfying accomplishment to date. Divide technology is built into every Android device in the world.

That said, I fully expect Clover to be the most satisfying career journey I’ll go on — but only after we truly make momentous progress on our goal to fundamentally transform healthcare and make it more equitable. Our mission is to “improve every life,” and we’re only just getting started.

What has your organization’s role been in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines?

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, we prioritized supporting members who had the highest risk for mortality and morbidity to shelter in place in their homes in a number of ways: integrating vaccine supply information into our website with insight into local distribution programs, helping members quickly enroll in a mail-order pharmacy program, building technology to support virtual/telehealth visits (in just three weeks) within the Clover Assistant, delivering programmed iPads to members without access to a video-enabled device via our Video on Wheels program to support virtual/telehealth visits.

What would be the best way to reduce healthcare inequities in the U.S.?

Free internet access for every home in the U.S. would go a long way toward reducing healthcare inequities. The pandemic highlighted just how intertwined internet access and health and wellness are as telehealth took off.

Name a book or article that everyone in healthcare should read.

“StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath is about understanding how to value people who are good at what you aren’t and leaning on their strengths to augment your weaknesses. Diverse opinions and strengths are key to a strong team and company.