Tech Tonics: Navigating the Healthcare Highway with Megan Callahan, Lyft’s Head of Healthcare

August 19th, 2019 |
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When Megan Callahan was growing up, she was supposed to end up in healthcare – she didn’t even know there were alternatives. And she has spent her career and life in and around the field in more ways than she ever expected, as both an executive and a breast cancer patient. What she didn’t foresee was that she would be putting her healthcare skills and experiences to work at a ride-sharing company, driving their navigation of the healthcare highway.

Veering off her original plan to become a physician, Megan got an Masters in Public Health and headed into epidemiology, looking at underserved populations devastated by cancer in the strip-mining town of Pueblo, CO. But seeing that her ability to make a meaningful impact was limited, she headed down a different, more business-oriented path, first at firms like Anderson Consulting and HealthNet, but later finding her way into a pod of people that traveled from startup to startup together. Along the way she learned some great lessons about entrepreneurship but some tough ones about trust, governance, and the pitfalls of poor leadership.

Eventually Megan joined McKesson, working in the health solutions business in strategy and M&A. But in 2014 she learned she had Stage 3b breast cancer and got a front row seat in patient experience, dropping everything to recover and spend as much time as she could with her two young daughters. Fortunately, the story ended well, and McKesson was especially supportive, bringing Megan back after her recovery to design the strategy that led to the formation of Change Healthcare. In effect this was a return to the startup days, albeit one built by transferring assets from a large company and merging them with a small one. Megan stayed through formation of the company, wanting to “land the Change plane” because of a loyalty to her long-time team. She left in 2018 looking for a new adventure. Change Healthcare went public in 2019.

Lyft called Megan out of the blue while she was taking a sabbatical; the company could not have known that Megan’s own cancer experience painfully highlighted the importance of transportation support in healthcare. Megan jumped at the opportunity to combine her own experiences as a patient with her commitment to serving those in need. Moving from traditional healthcare players to Lyft has been characterized by an interesting revelation that being the healthcare voice in a non-healthcare company forces one to leave the jargon behind and frees one to think creatively in ways our traditional system sometime forgets to do.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Manatt Health—a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that integrates a full service law firm and a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help its clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system.

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Posted in: Audio Podcast, Healthcare, Tech Tonics, Technology