Innovator CEO profile: Clarify Health’s Jean Drouin

Drouin discusses the company’s origin story, the accomplishments he’s most proud of as CEO and serving as a Switzerland between health plans, health systems and life sciences organizations.

Health Evolution | June 22, 2022

Jean Drouin co-founded Clarify Health in 2015 with the goal to utilize the latest analytics technology, successfully applied in other industries such as banking or retail, to improve health care delivery and outcomes for patients.   

Prior to founding Clarify Health, Jean was a Senior Partner at McKinsey, where he led the Healthcare Digital and IT practice and built and served as the founding Head of McKinsey Advanced Healthcare Analytics (MAHA). Drouin spent several years in the UK, where he helped set up the hospital regulator and served as the Head of Strategy for NHS London, a $15 billion organization which oversaw London’s hospitals, primary and social care.

Health Evolution interviewed Drouin about his inspiration for co-founding Clarify Health, his greatest accomplishment as CEO and what he thinks are health care’s greatest challenges in the coming future.

What is the inspiration fueling Clarify Health or its origin story?
For years, health care has faced many deep challenges – specifically around how health care is delivered and paid for, which has forced providers, payers and life sciences companies to evolve. That said, health care remains stuck behind other industries when it comes to using precision analytics and longitudinal consumer insights to drive smarter decisions, fuel greater efficiency, and most importantly, improve outcomes.

These challenges that have plagued the industry for years are exactly why we started Clarify Health. We operate on the belief that by applying the latest analytics technology from industries such as banking, manufacturing and retail, we can dramatically improve health care delivery and ultimately be a driving force in powering the Quadruple Aim: better outcomes, more delightful patient experience, lower costs, and improved physician satisfaction.

When we founded the company, we deliberately brought together three core elements: a deep understanding of health care, big data engineering power from the financial services field and cutting-edge data science expertise. This allowed our team to build a technology platform powered by the largest and most integrated data set in health care, that empowers providers, payers and life sciences organizations with actionable insights to help them deliver more effective and efficient care – and will bring our vision of better coordinated and more personalized care to life.

Almost seven years into our journey, I’m even more energized and passionate about our mission to power better care. I believe through our enterprise system of intelligence and our digital value-based payments platform, we will achieve our goal of improving outcomes for all, simplifying the health care experience and reducing overall health care costs.

What should prospective clients expect in the next 18 months? The next 2-3 years?
Clarify had a breakout year in 2021, doubling revenues and serving over 75 of health care’s largest and most innovative organizations. We look to keep this momentum going in 2022 by delivering the most actionable patient journey insights to help payers, providers and life sciences companies deliver better care, therapies, and outcomes. We’ll build on the unique position of trust we have earned with these stakeholders to advance health equity, increase diversity in clinical trials, and accelerate the adoption of value-based care.

As we work toward greater adoption of value-based care, we believe the key to increasing payer-provider collaboration, improving health outcomes, and creating significant savings is the ability to incentivize behavioral change. In the next 18 months you’ll see us fully incorporate and bring to bear the power of the behavioral change platform that our acquisition of Embedded Healthcare has brought into the Clarify family of capabilities.

Two years from now, we hope to have significantly expanded our footprint of organizations that we serve so that we can further grow the impact that our delivery has in health care. There is also a role for us to become the Switzerland between payers, providers and life sciences organizations, and enable value-based care by dramatically reducing the friction that exists amongst these stakeholders today. 

Which accomplishments are you as a CEO and founder most proud of?
What matters most are two things — the impact which we help our customers to achieve, and our ability to attract, retain and develop an exceptional team.

At Clarify, we are enabling our customers to solve critical business problems and seeing them deliver truly remarkable stories of impact — which for me, as CEO, is extremely rewarding. I’m immensely proud of the work we’ve done with organizations like Highmark, Horizon, Pfizer, Hackensack and many others to not only pinpoint improvement opportunities, but more importantly, provide actionable insight into how they can solve those challenges while driving growth and supporting access and affordability of care.

In March 2022, KLAS evaluated our solutions in its Emerging Technology Spotlight report and the results speak to the success and value we bring to our customers. Specifically, 100 percent said they would buy our products again and are using Clarify’s precision analytics to answer business questions and/or drive strategy and execution. Additionally, 64 percent said they saw outcomes within 6 months, and 86 percent within 12 months. These proven results speak volumes about what we are striving for at Clarify.

Ultimately, our ability to deliver the technology and solutions that power the success of our customers depends on our team. Here, we lean heavily into the very same values that guide many of our partners — trust, humility, empathy, courage and learning. I am proud to say that seven years into this journey, I still wake up every day feeling incredibly grateful to work alongside a great team and equally inspiring partners.

What is the most difficult challenge you have overcome on the road to success?

Scaling new innovations in health care is incredibly hard. Just today, a fellow health care growth company CEO called to ask if I could listen to his recent struggles. He wasn’t looking for advice – just for someone to listen. It can be a lonely road to be CEO of any organization, let alone one that is trying to create a new market or establish itself. In health care, existing payment models and incentives are very entrenched. Finding a way to scale while meeting the realities of the existing system has required creativity, tenacity and the goodwill of customers who were willing to take a chance on us.

What advice would you give to other CEOs and founders?
For me, the most important lessons to remember as a business leader are:

  1. Be humble – don’t underestimate the challenges you’re tackling and the ones that may arise.
  2. Center on your mission and vision for change – as a leader, your organization needs a north star, and you must exhibit that leadership and vision from the top down.
  3. Listen to your customers’ needs – be sure to clearly demonstrate the impact you can deliver toward their goals, all while being a strategic partner built through trust and transparency.
  4. Keep good company – surround yourself with incredibly passionate and impact-driven colleagues to bring your mission and vision to life. The camaraderie you instill within your organization will carry through all aspects of the business and will make for happier and more successful teams.

What do you see as health care’s greatest challenge? 

Value-based care programs are proven to reduce the cost of care and improve quality and outcomes. Yet these programs are struggling to scale because contracts are too complex, incentives are misaligned, and performance is difficult to forecast. To date, siloed data and disparate systems have made it extremely difficult to build the trust and transparency needed to accelerate the shift to value. This disconnect hinders the success of value-based programs because ultimately these stakeholders must work together to ensure success.

We believe that the industry must fundamentally re-think the way health care is both paid for and delivered. That’s why we built a platform that connects clinical performance to financial incentives – to deliver a transparent source of truth and enable the transaction of value-based payments. The results are proven, and our customers have been able to simplify contracts, make performance transparent, identify opportunities to improve care, and incentivize provider behavior change.

About the Author

Health Evolution, Staff Writer