AiThority Interview with Jeff Elton, CEO at Concerto HealthAI
Hi Jeff, please tell us about your journey in technology and how you started at Concerto HealthAI. What inspired you to be part of a global Life Sciences technology company?
I have devoted my career to advancing new medical innovations for patients with the most devastating diseases. My experience as a Global Executive and Consultant in Healthcare and Life Sciences has given me a unique understanding of the life science industry, both as an insider and outsider. Over the last 25 years, my work in Healthcare technology has led me to challenge the conventions and boundaries of both Life Science companies’ and Healthcare providers’ business and operating models. Concerto HealthAI was a unique opportunity to work with the industry’s top talent to advance the field to a new level.
Concerto’s access to large-scale data; intellectual property assets; unusual depth of practice and expertise in Artificial Intelligence; and financial strength meant that we had the chance to do breakthrough work for the industry when it came to precision oncology and the next generation of clinical research.
You have handled challenging roles in the life science realm – working with McKinsey, Accenture and Novartis. How did your experiences with these companies help you transition to a CEO’s role?
When you are in a field that is changing as rapidly as Real-World Data and AI, you need to be a simultaneous strategist, skeptic, and relentless operator. A strategist to see value and potential before it is obvious to others, with a clear line of site for how it can be realized. A skeptic in that our field is filled with brilliance and hype – and we want true and durable results.
And a relentless operator in that we are building an integrated data and technology company that our partners and customers can have confidence in, base their future strategies around, and have the confidence that we will deliver. McKinsey, Novartis and Accenture were all leading companies, with top talent and exceptional performance, where I held roles that allowed me to develop the depth as that strategist, skeptic, and operator.
Tell us about the approach you have built for your AI in the Healthcare market.
In our AI we develop methodologies and disease-specific models and tools that automate new AI innovations and make them accessible to researchers in a variety of Life Sciences and Healthcare settings. Our advantage is having the best data in the industry that allows for highly accurate, trained and validated AI models, and assures ongoing validity.
The power behind Concerto HealthAI’s AI approach is eurekaHealth 3.0 – our Cloud-based, integrated data and technology RWE solution within which we can enrich, define, predict and optimize. Our goal is build high-confidence AI applications that bring precision and orders of magnitude higher speed and productivity advantages, all while ensuring intuitiveness and highly relevant utility for our users.
AI algorithms enrich data for at-scale functionality. Predictive AI models that are specific to all cancers and hematological malignancies speed and improve decision-making for multiple forms of clinical analysis and insight.
For example, eurekaHealth clinical applications allow teams to query, model, analyze, compare, and test a host of assumptions to design more successful clinical trials. This includes direct clinical measure of disease progression, reassessing cancer stage at any point, normalizing non-standard terms such as line of therapy, etc. These AI solutions are accelerating real-world evidence insights into rare cancers faster than previously possible.
You recently raised $150 million. How are you investing this fund for your Marketing, Sales and Partnerships?
The funding assures our multi-year roadmap. It allows us the latitude to co-innovate with our partners. Our goal is to make research more productive, more precise, and higher impact – for both the provider and life science innovator communities.
There are requests from our customers, current partners, and prospective partners that we take our model into new geographies and diseases. While we are far from finished in our work in oncology, this supports the high-value and high-impact future directions eurekaHealth can take us in.
Is AI and Machine Learning really the future of any Healthcare experiences company?
These are the early years of AI. Life Science innovators are seeing the benefits of new insights, speed, precision. Healthcare providers will have AI integral to all of their operations, from decision-making support to assuring the highest quality of care.
Like all industries that are evolving and maturing, we are part of the critical strategic and innovation discussions that aid understanding and provide meaningful transparency on where AI is deployed, how models are built, where to have confidence, and where to maintain traditional forms of evidence and decision-making.
Confronting devastating diseases is among the greatest and most worthy problems in healthcare we can help solve. AI will play an increasingly important role in new innovations and in assuring the best outcomes for patients.
Which other emerging technologies are disrupting the Healthcare scenario for you?
There are computation and biological technologies. Gene editing is profound and stands at the intersection of technology and biology. Engineered cells, e.g., CAT-T, is transforming outcomes – again, the result of immunological, cellular, and computation insight. AI analysis of images and digital pathology will change diagnosis processes forever.
What kind of governance policies are we looking at to tackle issues with managing data that goes into your AI engine?
These operate on a number of levels. We are a data company where appropriate use, deidentification, and security all matter. We are a precision oncology company informing new treatment approaches and evaluating what’s working with current ones, so data accuracy, provenance, overall integrity are key.
We are in a field that is starting to see a high rate of innovation, which means the original training sets for models have to stay valid. We are always concerned with forms of bias, so knowing the data we have, its representativeness, its limitations, and the prospective impact of all of this is both professionally necessary and morally required.
Some of our data and tools are used as part of regulatory submissions or support conversations with regulators – which in turn requires that we have GCP, 21CFRPart11 and formal processes of compliance and validation. So we do have formal governance, validation processes, external reviews, and more to bring all this together into a highly responsible system.
If not a Healthcare tech company’s CEO right now, which other “hat” would you have donned in your career?
I had a brief period as a Faculty member in the Healthcare management area of a major business school. I loved inspiring, training, and mentoring my graduate students and felt like I really was impacting the future.
I am also at my essence a ‘strategist who likes to build’ – be it technology, teams, products, or companies.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Thank you, Jeff! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Jeff Elton, PhD, is CEO of Concerto HealthAI. Prior to Concerto, Dr. Elton was Managing Director, Accenture Strategy/Patient Health.
Dr. Elton has over 25 years of experience as a global executive and consultant in the healthcare and life sciences. He was previously Senior Vice President of Strategy and Global Chief Operating Officer at Novartis Institutes of BioMedical Research, Inc.; founding CEO of an oncology molecular diagnostics and therapeutic pathways company; and founding board member and senior advisor to several early-stage companies in Artificial Intelligence, Digital Pathology, Parkinson’s Disease treatment, protein therapeutics, diabetes, oncology therapeutics, and precision medicine/oncology diagnostics.
Dr. Elton is currently a board member of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. He is a former partner with McKinsey & Company and was adjunct faculty at Boston University, Questrom School of Business, in Health Sector Management. Dr. Elton has a PhD and MBA from The University of Chicago.