Ittai Dayan, M.D., M.P.H., co-founder and CEO of Rhino Health, connecting the world’s disparate health data with federated computing, in order to unlock insight and create powerful artificial intelligence, is one of the 12 up-and-coming leaders in healthcare included in the annual Managed Healthcare Executive feature.
We are thrilled to present this year’s list of 12 emerging leaders in healthcare. Managed Healthcare Executive editors picked the emerging leaders from a list of almost 40 nominees. They come from the full gamut of U.S. healthcare, including companies harnessing the ever-increasing amount of healthcare data, community health worker organizations addressing social determinants of health, and enterprises devoted to improving Medicaid program access and quality. These leaders are tackling the challenges of the 21st century with creativity, dedication and insight. They give us confidence in the future of healthcare.
I studied at both Hebrew University and Johns Hopkins University. As a physician, I was passionate about the potential of digital health and artificial intelligence (AI). That led me to Boston Consulting Group’s healthcare practice, where I led patient care pathway transformation, serving both providers and biopharma industries.
I later led the Center for Clinical Data Science at Mass General Brigham, developing and deploying AI solutions in collaboration with leading industry players. During that time, I also published articles in leading peer-reviewed journals and began experimenting with federated learning.
Career turning point: During the COVID-19 pandemic, at Massachusetts General Hospital I drove the development of an AI algorithm to predict outcomes of patients who presented to the emergency department. Using federated learning technology, I managed to retrain and validate our algorithm on data from 20 institutions around the world.
The whole process, from contracting to model validation, took weeks. It showed me the power of federated learning in unlocking collaborations on medical data, without the arduous processes that occur when you need to share data. Federated learning obviates that by “learning” from disparate data without needing to centralize it.
From the moment onward, I decided to dedicate myself to promoting this technology and turning it into a new “federated computing platform” that will transform healthcare data collaborations.
Biggest challenge of the job: Evangelizing a transformative way of collaborating on data — it’s one of those things that become indispensable once you’re using them but getting people to understand the federated computing platform concept is nontrivial, to say the least. We get folks asking us again and again, “But how can you use the data without sharing it?” Despite that, I do see that the technology is becoming more popular; much of that is thanks to our efforts.
Long-lasting COVID-19 effect: Rhino got started during the pandemic and, like many, have adjusted ourselves to a reality in which employees work remotely. That means that we need to invest more effort in community building and maintaining contact with people who don’t often meet each other in person, no water-cooler talk, etc. We actually have folks on the team who have never met each other in person, but that doesn’t stop us from having a Rhino team spirit.
Book everyone in healthcare should read: “The House of God” is a cautionary tale that every person working in healthcare should be aware of. It deals with the discrepancy of “providing healthcare” and benefiting the patient.
Guilty pleasure: Making my 3-year-old son an ice cream cone with vanilla (or as he’d call it, vallillila) and then making myself one as well at the end of the day, either deserved or not.