Originally recorded for Healthcare Podcast, from MarketScale.
James: Hello and welcome to the Healthcare Podcast brought to you by MarketScale. I’m your host, James Kent. If this is your first time joining us, please note MarketScale brings you the best thought leadership content in a wide variety of industry verticals with blogs, videos, and podcasts like this one. You can check out all our content on MarketScale.com, and for more Healthcare Podcasts, make sure to hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcast content.
On today’s episode, we’re going to point the spotlight on Carevive, a leading oncology-focused health technology company centered on understanding and improving the cancer patient experience. We are going to get into the ways in which Carevive drives data as a service to gather electronic patient-reported outcomes to improve overall patient outcomes. But first, there are some exciting changes happening at Carevive that I’m going to talk about, and here to help me with that is one of those changes.
I have with me today the new CEO for Carevive, Bruno Lempernesse. Bruno brings with him 25 years of experience in real-world patient data analytics and corporate leadership. He’s provided leadership to companies such as SHYFT Analytics, Inflexxion, and Cegedim, originally from France, but now located in the greater Boston area. Welcome to the podcast, Bruno Lempernesse.
Bruno: Good morning, James. Thank you for having me.
James: Well, it’s my pleasure. Bruno, I believe you’ve been working inside the United States for the past 10 years. What brought you over from France?
Bruno: Well, it’s business. I relocated for work. Back a few years ago, I was COO of this company, Cegedim, you just mentioned, and I was leading their data and research business unit. We were expanding covering about 30 countries, including the U.S., and at some point the U.S. market, as you expect, became very important for us. I’d been traveling back and forth, a week here, a week there, and after a couple of years my wife and I decided that we should take our four kids and start a new life in New York, so we did.
James: Wow! Well, 2020, this past year was definitely a crazy year and lots of change, a ton going on. You were with a couple of different companies in 2020, and then in December, you joined Carevive. I was hoping you could take me through that journey and how you came to Carevive.
Bruno: 2020 was a very special year, indeed.
James: ‘Special’ is an interesting word to say.
Bruno: Right, and we know it’s not over, right, because I think before we know it, we’ll keep talking about that in 2021, maybe 2022. I learned a lot about leadership of teams and companies during tough times and that’s the good side of 2020. Now, I was not looking for a job. Who is trying to find a new job during a pandemic situation? I was not, until I spoke to Maddy. Maddy, so you know, she co-founded Carevive and she was the CEO before I came on board. We spoke sometime in June, and I hung up the phone and went down to talk to my wife and said, “I want to be a part of this company. The vision and the energy of Maddy, I want to be a part of it.”
So, I’m like, how can I do that now? So, that was very exciting. The number 1 reason, I’ll say, I personally relate to what Carevive is doing. I lost my mother, it will be five years in April. She passed away after her breast cancer relapsed. Back then, especially being here and she was still over in France, I felt useless and so frustrated. I could see she was suffering and there was nothing I could do. So now, being in this position at Carevive and all we do, I know the team and I can really impact the lives of people with cancer.
So, it’s a sense of me, maybe selfish, the sense of me if I can give back to the community, I can give back to patients, and I can really help them going through what my mother had been through five years ago.
James: Yeah, no, I hear you. I lost my father to cancer nine years ago almost. He was living in Massachusetts, where I’m from, but I was living in Arizona at the time, and I was powerless. I couldn’t do anything to help him because I wasn’t there. So, I hear you, it’s very tough when you’re so far away.
Bruno: It is, yes.
James: Now, I hear you’re a marathoner, so I guess it’s good that you live in Boston because marathoning is pretty big there.
Bruno: That’s right.
James: But that’s a sport that truly tests endurance and often mental over the physical to make it across the finish line. How does this specific passion cross over into your leadership philosophy and style, and, overall, what would you say your leadership style is like?
Bruno: What a great question, James. There’s actually a lot of similarities between long-distance running and the leadership of companies. For me, it’s all about being well-prepared. You plan your actions like you plan your run and your race. You understand your environment, your competition, too. You get the right expertise and technology, like the right gear and shoes and all of that, and you want to be ready to adapt to changing conditions, like the weather, like you don’t feel that good today. At the end of the day, it’s like you never give up until you cross the finish line. So, that’s how I approach the run and the business.
James: Plus, also, if you think about trying to win this battle with cancer, it’s certainly not a speed race. It’s a long-haul, long-distance marathon, and it takes a lot of mental wherewithal to try to get to that finish line.
Bruno: That’s right!
James: Now, I read where your main focus will be scaling Carevive’s innovative cancer care digital platform, which is currently in use by dozens of healthcare systems across the United States to help cancer care teams monitor and manage their patients remotely between clinic visits. In addition to Carevive’s cancer care digital platform, you will also focus on increasing Carevive’s remote patient management functionality with the Carevive PROmpt®, growing Carevive’s Oncology Pragmatic Trial Investigator Network, the Carevive OPT-IN, to conduct real-world studies evaluating patient experiences and building stronger evidence for treatment and symptom pathways.
Let’s discuss these focuses a little more and tell me what you’re looking forward to accomplishing with Carevive in the short term, and then in the long term.
Bruno: I think what we’re doing at Carevive is really about reshaping cancer care. Like I said earlier, patients are really at the center of all we do, and the center of our strategy and investments. What we’re planning to do is to really accelerate our vision to collect and analyze real-world patient data, combining clinical data but also patient-reported outcomes. This will help us to continuously improve upon the cancer care experience first in the U.S., we want to focus on the U.S. market. At the end of the day, patients can find out how people like them have experienced similar treatments, that’s No. 1.
Two, researchers can get access to masses of unique sets of data, discover new trends, help to manufacture their product, and assist products on the market, really track the way it’s prescribed, the way it’s used by physicians, and the way patients really experience the treatment.
Finally, providers can become more efficient. Everybody is talking about precision medicine and personalized treatments. This is also what we do. All of that will help providers to avoid misprescriptions, but it’s also, back to the pandemic discussion earlier, monitoring systems and patients when they’re home, how they feel. They go to a clinic for a treatment, they go home, and then what’s happening? The system can reduce the need for in-clinic appointments. More efficient prescribing means less waste of money and less spending for patients.
James: Healthcare organizations, traditionally, sometimes can be a little bit of sticks-in-the-mud with their processes and can be a little bit slow to adapt to change. What do you find the reception to be, to what Carevive is doing? Are healthcare organizations receptive or are they a little bit hesitant or are they fully on board?
Bruno: A part of where we are right now with these different programs, PROmpt and OPT-IN you mentioned earlier, is a new technology. It’s innovation. We’re disrupting the space. We have all these conversations at Carevive about practice transformation and practice transformation innovation, it’s sometimes scary. People say, “I’m not ready for that.” Right now, it’s also challenging because of this pandemic situation where you don’t have physical access to clinical practice where you can really show the value of what we’re selling.
You mentioned dozens of sites using our platform so far, these guys are maybe early adopters, more innovation. They certainly understand that there’s a need and it’s going to be more and more important for patients and for them, as providers, providing care to patients about this kind of technology. Some of them, I’m telling you, are not ready to do it. It’s going to take time, like always, for innovation.
James: I want to get into some specifics around electronic patient-reported outcomes. I believe that at the beginning of March, this topic was discussed at the 47th Annual Meeting and Cancer Center Business Summit, or the ACCC conference, and it was virtual this year. Were you able to attend the summit and, if you could, tell me about the discussions related to electronic patient-reported outcomes?
Bruno: Well, that was a great conference. My team and I attended the conference. In fact, we had two presentations during this conference. First, before I go into takeaways, all these cancer community talks, that’s our vision: how can we help patients and providers across the board, new treatment, a new way of capturing information about how patients feel, and the patient experience, and patient-reported outcomes.
But there are really four main takeaways about ePROs.
- Number 1, using ePROs can really help to reduce the gap between the incidents reported by patients versus what clinicians see.
- Number 2, it’s actually possible to have a quick implementation of an ePRO system.
- Number 3, this remote symptom management is getting momentum because of the pandemic situation and the limited access right now, but also because of a change in the landscape for reimbursement, in value care, and all these models are changing.
- The last one, which is not the least, is really patient-experience data, which really PROs are about these patient-experience data, really matters and it actually gave a voice to the patient. So, not only the clinician as he’s/she’s driving the treatment, he/she can now really empower the patient, like this is how I feel, this is what’s happening when you, the clinician, give me a treatment.
James: So, then what was the reception like to these presentations that you gave at the conference?
Bruno: It was interesting in terms of experience. Now again, we’re trying a new way, and the new way is virtual. So, it’s challenging to engage in conversation with these people when all of that is through a Zoom or WebEx or whatever. These two sessions, at least for Carevive, were well-attended, and we managed to really get them engaged and get questions and traction. As I follow up now, with providers and also stakeholders from healthcare and life science, they are interested in discussing the importance of PROs.
James: That’s, great. Obviously, you are only a few months into the job, but what are you finding most surprising about what Carevive does?
Bruno: I don’t know about surprising, but I can talk about exciting.
James: Oh, sure!
Bruno: Every day, I love this idea of bringing so much innovation. Like I said earlier, innovation means disruption, it means difficult, but we know, and this is why the team is amazing, we know that all we do can impact patient life. So, it gives us a lot of energy, a lot of excitement. Every day I say, you know what, when we do this new feature in the product, when we collect such data, down the road, there’s going to be a patient that will benefit from all we do. That’s exciting.
James: Now, you’ve used this term ‘disruption’ several times, and I think you look at Carevive as an innovator that thrives on disruption. Is that also something that you, as now the leader of Carevive, is that something that you enjoy as being a disruptor in the industry?
Bruno: Yes, indeed. In fact, back in the days when I started to work for Cegedim, this company I mentioned earlier, we disrupted the market over in Europe, before the U.S., providing the first electronic medical record software, EMRs, which now are like a standard of care, if you will. But, in the world in the ‘90s, remember, physicians were using paper records for patients. We came with this technology and it was not easy because people are like “no, I don’t trust your software.” It’s like, “where’s my data going to go once it’s in the software?” “Well, I have no time.” “Well, I don’t have a computer.”
So, it’s different, what we’re doing right now, because the landscape has changed, but we also have roadblocks and pushback, and that’s fun. It’s exciting.
James: Now, you obviously have previous experience with electronic patient-recorded outcomes, but is there anything that you’re learning about the benefits of how these recorded outcomes are affecting overall cancer care in your new role with Carevive?
Bruno: Yes, I do. I probably underestimated the complexity of managing cancer-related symptoms. It’s fragmented, inconsistent, and this is really impacting the way cancer care is delivered to patients today.
James: Welcome to U.S. healthcare.
Bruno: Now I can say I’m used to it after over 10 years in the U.S., but I’m still shocked by how the system works. All of these fragmentation inconsistencies contribute to rising costs. It also hinders access to quality cancer care.
James: I think that, if anything, we always have to look at the benefits of something like the pandemic or something that affects an industry so dramatically like the healthcare industry that there are great opportunities. When you see how important it is to have less fragmentation in order to deliver a massive, massive endeavor like this type of healthcare effort, I think that the industry is waking up and it is realizing that it needs to change a bit. There have been changes that have happened in the past year.
Something that sounds as simple as telemedicine was not really a thing that was getting a lot of traction prior to the pandemic and now it’s an absolute. So, I think that this is like an important moment in time for healthcare to make some disruptions and some dramatic changes.
Bruno: That’s right. That’s a very good point you’re making, James. As we observe this shift of reimbursement, shifting from volume to value, and there’s a critical need for cancer clinicians to really demonstrate improvements using patient outcomes as a metric of the choice they’re making with their treatment.
James: As we wind down the podcast, I wanted to provide you with an opportunity to let any listener of this discussion know something either about yourself as a leader or if there’s anything about Carevive and its mission that you’d like to share or comment on.
Bruno: Wow, that’s a great question, another one. I don’t know so much about myself. I feel lucky to be here, honestly, relating to where I come from and how I relate to this disease. The problem is not solved, let’s put it this way, so I feel lucky to be here and make some impact. Again, I’ll say about the vision and our mission at Carevive, being able to really combine technology, products, science, and data to help patients is exciting.
I feel very proud when I talk about it to my friends now. I can say hey, this is where I am, and people are like, “oh wow, tell me about it.” Which was not always the case. Sometimes they were like, “oh, this guy’s in data, so boring.”
Like you said, James, you lost somebody. Everybody, sadly, has lost somebody to cancer. So, I feel great about it [being a part of Carevive].
James: I would say that if you are a person who hasn’t experienced losing someone to cancer or know somebody who’s currently battling or has battled cancer, then you would have to consider yourself: (a) an anomaly, and (b) very lucky and fortunate.
Bruno: That’s right.
James: It really does affect pretty much everyone, so I think it’s something that everybody is rooting for those who are in the fight to improve patient outcomes for cancer patients.
Bruno: That’s right, yes.
James: Well, this has been a fantastic opportunity to spend a little time getting to know you, Bruno. I wish you a lot of success in leading and driving Carevive’s mission and goals into the future. If folks want to get in touch to learn more about Carevive, its solutions, and what you are doing to improve patient outcomes, where should they go?
Bruno: Well, first they could go to our website, Carevive.com. They can also follow our page on LinkedIn, and we also participate in all of the major oncology industry events. We’ll be at ASCO in June. Part of the vision is to be a little bit more visible and let people know what we’re doing.
James: Great! Hopefully, as the pandemic subsides, you can be a little bit more visible in person as well.
Bruno: That’s right.
James: All right, that does it for another episode of the Healthcare Podcast brought to you by MarketScale. My guest today has been Bruno Lempernesse, the new CEO for Carevive. Bruno, thank you so much for sharing your insights today.
Bruno: Thank you, James. Thank you so much for your time and the opportunity.
James: Thank you for tuning into the MarketScale Healthcare Podcast. Please be sure to leave a rating a comment after each episode. That is your opportunity to tell us what healthcare topic you’d like featured on a future show. On behalf of MarketScale, I’m your host, James Kent. Let’s talk again soon.