Operational Leadership: Accelerating Innovation in Healthcare with Dr. Raj Garg and Les Funtleyder

This week on World Reimagined, we spoke with two experts about what leadership and technology is needed to transform the healthcare industry in the U.S. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.

The healthcare industry is one of the largest and most consequential sectors in the United States—but it’s also one of the most complicated. This unique complexity makes it challenging for the operational change and innovation the industry desperately needs in order to better serve citizens. 

In contrast, the inherently innovative tech sector is not only a huge component of the U.S. economy, but it also plays a pivotal role in accelerating change across all other industries. In this episode, Host Gautam Mukunda speaks with Les Funtleyder and Dr. Raj Garg about what leaders can learn from combining the fast-paced innovations in tech with the cautious and deliberate rhythms of the healthcare industry.

Les is a portfolio manager at E Squared Capital Management, and the author of Healthcare Investing, and he sits on the boards of Applied Therapeutics and Acalis. Dr. Raj Garg was the former President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, he was also one of the most trusted advisors to CEOs of the world’s largest healthcare companies during his time as senior partner in the healthcare practice at McKinsey. He is a doctor and attorney and serves on the boards of Health AI 360 and the National Spine and Pain Centers.

What I would actually predict is that the next couple of decades are going to really be an age of biology, and an age of technology and healthcare that will cause pretty fundamental shifts.

Dr. Raj Garg

The biggest [healthcare] challenge from my perspective is that people don’t like change, especially in systems that been in place for a really long time.

Les Funtleyder

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Literature Referenced on World Reimagined Season 2 Episode 10:

Healthcare Investing: Profiting from the New World of Pharma, Biotech, and Health Care Services, by Les Funtleyder

Guest Information for Operational Leadership:

Dr. Garg is a strategic, inspirational, values-based health care leader with a proven P&L track record. He is deeply experienced across multiple segments of health care. He builds exceptional aligned senior teams with commitment to delivering tangible results. His global experience spans North America, Europe and Asia and substantive expertise covers the corporate value chain as well as a broad range of C-suite topics.   

Most recently, Raj led Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), a $4.5B company, as CEO & President, where he drove a major turnaround of the company significantly reducing costs and driving operational excellence across its hospitals and functions. He built a strong leadership team, a culture of performance accountability, moved the company to go in-network and accept Medicare patients, and defined a new strategy for the company while creating/executing against a robust inorganic growth pipeline. Raj was a member of the Board, its Executive Committee, and its Finance & Risk, Medicine & Science, Strategic Growth, and Talent committees. Raj’s leadership stabilized the company’s operations and financials, while allowing its shareholders to choose their future direction.   

Prior to CTCA, Raj was a Senior Partner in McKinsey & Company’s New York Office for ~25 years. He co-led the health care practice at McKinsey and served leading institutions across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, where he advised CEOs and other C-suite leaders. He established McKinsey’s pharma R&D practice and its health care practice in India. His experiences focused on health care ranging across biopharma, medical products, providers, payors, and ancillary service companies (e.g. lab, CROs). Over the course of his career, he led 500+ engagements across nearly every functional area including strategy, M&A, post-merger integration, sales and marketing, and operations. In global public health, he worked closely with the UN Special Envoy on Malaria and other NGOs to mobilize $5B+ and reduce malaria mortality by an estimated 6M lives in Sub- Saharan Africa.   

Currently, Raj works with a small group of tech-enabled growth companies that are helping to define the future of health care. He is on the Board of Koning Corporation, a company transforming breast imaging. He is an advisor on health care to MHR Fund and to Medocity, the leading cloud- based enterprise-wide solution for digital patient care. Until recently, he was on the board of the National Spine and Pain Centers, the leading provider of non-surgical pain management services. He has served on the boards of various non-profit organizations, including the New York Blood Center, where he chaired the Governance Committee and initiated significant governance changes.  

Before joining McKinsey, Raj worked as a physician, and as a healthcare attorney for the Manatt Law Firm in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Stanford Medical School, Yale Law School, where he co-founded the Yale Law and Policy Review, and the University of Pennsylvania, summa cum laude.   

Raj is licensed to practice medicine in California and law in California and the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Funtleyder is a Healthcare Portfolio Manager at E Squared where he is responsible for conducting fundamental and valuation analysis of public and private companies within the healthcare industry.  Prior to E Squared Mr. Funtleyder was the Director of Strategic Investments for Opko Health and a healthcare strategist portfolio manager for the Miller Tabak Health Care Transformation Fund (Symbol: MTHFX). He joined Miller Tabak after managing a healthcare portfolio for Provident Advisors. Before joining Provident, Les worked as a medical device analyst at UBS Warburg. He also covered Biotechnology stocks at Bigelow and company. His industry experience includes directing clinical and business research at Innovative Health Solution, a joint venture of Merck and Wyeth, and as a consultant to HMOs and hospitals for Coopers & Lybrand and Health Strategies Group. He started his healthcare career at Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield. 

Mr. Funtleyder wrote Healthcare Investing: Profiting from the New World of Pharma, Biotech, and Health Care Services, which bridges the gap between health reform, innovation and investing. He is widely quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Financial Times, and is a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, and NPR for his perspective on the healthcare sector and its constituent companies. He is also a consulting partner to Bluecloud Health and holds boardships with several healthcare companies and foundations. Les is currently at Adjunct Professor of Public Health at Columbia. 

Les earned his Masters of Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and studied English and Economics at Tulane University.