As part of Slone Partners’ ongoing series of exclusive interviews with healthcare pioneers, we’re delighted to present Harry Glorikian, a global healthcare industry businessman, observer, and writer for over three decades. Well-known in the life sciences, diagnostics, and healthcare IT communities, himself holding four US patents in telecommunications, Mr.Glorikian spoke with Slone Partners to offer his insights into healthcare industry disruption, technology, and future developments. 

SLONE PARTNERS: Apple, Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway have all announced they’re tackling healthcare directly for the benefit of their employees – a privatization of processes and upending of traditional “market rate” costs. What’s your take on this disruptive trend?

HARRY GLORIKIAN: The idea that employers are tackling healthcare directly isn’t a new one—it’s how the health insurance industry began more than 100 years ago. For years, employers have seen their costs rising tremendously and have begun to pass those costs on to employees. With both feeling the squeeze, it’s natural that there’s a push to transform the system and upset the status quo. There have been several attempts in the past few years to do this, like the Health Transformation Alliance, which counts diverse employers like IBM, American Express, and Caterpillar among its members. I think all of these attempts by employers, including Apple and the joint Amazon-JP Morgan-Berkshire Hathaway group, to tackle health costs are perfect opportunities to try out disruptive ideas on relatively small populations and see what works best, what could be rolled out to a much larger population in the future. Google tried their health record system, and now Apple has broached this subject with their IOS personalized electronic health record that’s become a standard for health records traveling with patients everywhere they go. For medical records organizations and hospital systems, this is a wake-up call. Silos are being broken down, the moats around industries are being erased, and the markets are reacting quickly. 

SLONE PARTNERS: You’ve become a prodigious blogger who covers all things healthcare, with real focus on life sciences and technology. What is it about being a writer and publishing your insights that are different from your speaking engagements or business ventures? 

HARRY GLORIKIAN: Writing (either in blogs, short pieces, or my books) gives me the opportunity to explore topics in greater depth than I’m generally able to when giving a talk. I can describe in more detail how science and technology are transforming the healthcare landscape than a 30-minute or 1-hour talk allows for. But when you read about something, talk about it, think it through, and finally put it to paper, it’s like getting a mini degree in any subject. And when you string many subjects together, down the road, making connections in your mind, epiphanies can occur. This is what makes writing special. 

My business ventures give me the opportunity to investigate new technologies and products that are on the cutting edge of the industry. I’m constantly reading about and interacting with tech companies, which gives me a great deal of insight into what’s possible and where things are headed. I integrate that information and look at it from various points of view: how it fits into the industry as a whole, and how it could influence one sector specifically, like drug discovery or health systems. Learning about these startups shines a light on where change will happen first and where there are investment opportunities. 

SLONE PARTNERS: You’ve been a healthcare industry watcher and participant for 30 years who’s recently written about gene editing, genome banking, and individual DNA rights, among others. What scientific breakthroughs in the past 3 decades have you witnessed that you deem thrilling? And what frightens you? 

HARRY GLORIKIAN: At the top of my list of scientific breakthroughs has to be sequencing the human genome. That feat has set the stage for what’s come since. Gene editing is another breakthrough; the potential to cure diseases like sickle cell or fix rare metabolic diseases is nothing short of astounding. I think that the integration of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and technology into the healthcare arena is also at the top of my list of breakthroughs. We’re just beginning to see how these technologies will transform the entire industry, from patient care to research; it’s a very exciting time. I’m not frightened, per se, of the use of technology in this way. Computers and robots aren’t replacing the doctors and scientists—they are helping them to be more efficient, and make discoveries more quickly and accurately. But we may need to develop frameworks, guidelines, or even regulations that help us better manage the technologies. At the center of this is both personal and social responsibility – people don’t like regulation but they’ve never lived in an unregulated world, and in an unregulated world, they may not like what they end up with. 

SLONE PARTNERS: Wearables and simple-to-use software are giving average people more information and presumably more control over their healthcare. Is there a power shift occurring between patients and doctors? What are the ramifications for diagnostics and therapies?  

HARRY GLORIKIAN: They want to feel in control of their data—just look at the popularity of fitness trackers and Apple Watches. This is a move toward true shared decision-making. So, it’s a power shift in that patients are not just going to blindly accept doctors’ decisions. There is a need for tools that help patients understand their disease, their treatment course, or that help doctors do a better job of explaining it. As medicine becomes more personalized, particularly for oncology and chronic diseases, the role for diagnostic devices is becoming even more important and the market for some therapeutics are becoming narrower. This is leading to tremendous opportunities for diagnostics manufacturers as pharmaceutical companies look to identify the best patient group for a particular drug. There’s also a very interesting generational gap – older people look to their doctor, while younger people use technology and tools to manage themselves. Younger, educated people are helping us transition from a “sick care system” to a “wellness care system” through self-monitoring, and it’s probably saving a lot of people trips to the ER. 

SLONE PARTNERS: What are the healthiest things – mental and physical, personally and professionally – people can do to live long, productive, and meaningful lives?  

HARRY GLORIKIAN: I’m not a medical doctor so I can’t speak about what people should do specifically, but I’ve worked with and talked to hundreds throughout my career; balanced nutrition and being physically active are essential components of any healthy lifestyle. Professionally, I think being open to change is essential. Healthcare is an area where individuals with very diverse skills and ideas can make a significant difference in people’s lives—I think that’s incredibly meaningful. But in the end, taking control of your health and taking control of your healthcare goes a long way. Technology nowadays makes it much easier and simpler. 

SLONE PARTNERS: You mention above that the recent trend of employers getting into healthcare is the result of companies and their employees taking on more of the costs. What do you think is behind the growing number of proposed mergers & acquisitions between insurers and pharmacies and others? 

HARRY GLORIKIAN: Just as employers and employees are bearing the brunt of escalating health costs, insurers, and pharmacies are, too. Companies are using data analytics to identify areas where they can streamline processes and improve margins. It’s not entirely surprising then, that we find an insurer looking to work with a pharmacy benefits manager or pharmaceutical companies directly. The task will be for the companies to leverage data analytics in such a way to identify where the low-value/high-cost products are leading to unnecessary, higher costs systemically. It’s not going to be about steering everyone toward the cheapest drugs or procedures—in the end, that won’t save the system money if they aren’t effective. But if these vertically-integrated companies can highlight the high-value products, and move patients and providers toward those, I think we will start to see a dramatic reduction in wasteful health spending. 

About Harry Glorikian

Harry Glorikian is an influential global business expert with more than three decades of experience building successful ventures in North America, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world. Harry is well known for achievements in life sciences, healthcare, diagnostics, healthcare IT, and the convergence of these areas. He is a sought-after speaker, frequently quoted in the media, and regularly asked to assess, influence, and be part of innovative concepts and trends. He holds four US patents in telecommunications and has others pending. 

He currently serves as General Partner at New Ventures Funds. Before joining New Ventures Funds, he served as an Entrepreneur In Residence to GE Ventures – New Business Creation Group. He currently serves on the board of GeneNews Ltd. (a molecular diagnostic company). He also serves on the advisory board of Evidation Health (a digital health startup launched with support from GE Ventures), and several other companies. He is also a co-founder and an advisory board member of DrawBridge Health (a revolutionary diagnostics startup launched with support from GE Ventures). 

Previously he co-founded and held the position of managing director and head of consulting services for Scientia Advisors, a company that became the go-to provider of strategic advice and implementation services for next-generation healthcare and life science innovators and Global 25 market leaders. Scientia Advisors was acquired by Precision for Medicine in November 2012. Among his other professional roles, Mr. Glorikian served as senior manager for global business development at PE Applied Biosystems, founded X-Cell Laboratories, managed global sales at Signet Laboratories, and held various roles at BioGenex Laboratories.

Mr. Glorikian holds an MBA from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University. Harry has addressed the National Institutes of Health, Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference, World Theranostics Congress, and other audiences, worldwide. He has authored numerous articles for industry publications, appeared on CBS Evening News, and been quoted regularly by Dow Jones, The Boston GlobeBioWorld Today, Los Angeles Times, London Independent, Medical Device Daily, Science Magazine, Genetic Engineering News , and many other media outlets. He is also the Author of two books: Commercializing Novel IVD’s; A Comprehensive Manual for Success and MoneyBall Medicine: Thriving in the New Data-Driven Healthcare Market.

About Slone Partners

Slone Partners delivers the leaders who build amazing organizations – People Are Our Science™. Since 2000, Slone Partners specializes in delivering world-class C-suite leadership, executive, and upper management talent to the most promising and established life sciences, research, diagnostics, precision medicine and laboratory services companies. With coast-to-coast presence in the most active healthcare industry hubs of Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Research Triangle Park NC, and Washington DC, Slone Partners uniquely and precisely provides an array of executive search and advisory services to exceptional clients. Our full suite of services includes identifying, negotiating with, onboarding, and relocating talent, in addition to post-placement mentoring, success monitoring, and culture fit services.

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Edited on 7/2/2023