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20-Minute Leaders

"Every CEO needs to have a good grasp on social psychology because having that human-to-human connection is crucial"

Healthtech leader Maital Rasmussen talks to Michael Matias about the advancement of personalized medicine and the importance of understanding human behavior

CTech 09:0721.01.21
In the 1950s, it took medical knowledge 50 years to double. In 2010, the doubling rate decreased to two years. Now, medical knowledge is doubling every 73 days, and as Maital Rasmussen, board member at Pluristem Therapeutics and former Global Head of Marketing at Roche Diagnostics Information Solutions explains, the current evolution of medical technology provides a unique opportunity for innovation and collaboration. Over the last few years, there has been a boom in the utilization of technology and data within the medical industry. Because technology has advanced, medical organizations can now gather huge amounts of data and use the information to create personalized treatment options for their patients. In addition to her passion for medicine, Rasmussen loves to explore the field of social psychology and apply its principles to better understand her patients and consumers. Throughout her career, Rasmussen has impacted a countless number of individuals and plans to continue to connect with people in every industry she explores. In an interview with 20MinuteLeaders creator Michael Matias, she shares her journey.

 

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Can you give me a brief rundown of who you are and how you got to where you are today?

 

I'm driven by my passion for understanding people through social psychology, which has been key throughout my career in marketing leadership and my passion for the relationships I've built with people around me. I’m also passionate about data and understanding how different industries are harnessing it. I've been fortunate to have opportunities to work on Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and most recently now at Roche, a global pharmaceutical company.

 

Given your recent role as the Global Head of Marketing of Diagnostics Information Solution at Roche, how do you understand what consumers think, love, adore, and engage with?

 

In social psychology, we try to understand human behavior and what motivates people to behave in a certain way so that we can resonate with them. In medicine, we try to understand the biology, genetic makeup, and clinical makeup of humans so that we can drive personalized healthcare and messaging. We can leverage technology to understand not only humans but a segment of people so that we can resonate with them.

 

Given your recent role as the Global Head of Marketing of Diagnostics Information Solution at Roche, how do you understand what consumers think, love, adore, and engage with?

 

In social psychology, we try to understand human behavior and what motivates people to behave in a certain way so that we can resonate with them. In medicine, we try to understand the biology, genetic makeup, and clinical makeup of humans so that we can drive personalized healthcare and messaging. We can leverage technology to understand not only humans but a segment of people so that we can resonate with them.

 

How complicated and how different is medicine marketing from B2C marketing?

 

In medicine marketing, you need to figure out whether the buyer is a consumer, a patient, or a company, and technology helps with social psychology, the selling process, and the resonance of what you're trying to sell. The pandemic has emphasized the importance of digital transformation, and I believe now is an opportune time for startups to accelerate and come up with new technologies because healthcare workers and professionals need them.

 

Startups with a small team can easily pivot and innovate, but how do huge corporations with huge ladders of decision making adapt to life in a pandemic while moving their businesses forward?

 

Big companies need to pause, rethink their strategy, reinvent themselves, and connect at the higher level, the purpose level, and the mission level. They need to go beyond selling and figure out their target audience and how to best connect with them. Doing these things builds trust amongst their customers because they're making an effort to resonate with them and support them during this time.

 

Maital Rasmussen. Photo: Mira Mamon Maital Rasmussen. Photo: Mira Mamon

How important is it for the average CEO or entrepreneur to have a good grasp on social psychology and a lot of these innate mechanisms that you're touching upon?

 

Every CEO needs to have a good grasp on social psychology because having that human-to-human connection is crucial. They also need to understand their target audience and what drives them because if you don't understand people and their needs, you can't sell.

 

I'd love to hear a little about what it was like being on Wall Street during the meltdown.

 

I was working at JP Morgan at the time. It was a tough experience; it felt like pulling out hair for days. From a banking perspective, seeing the magnitude of loss that people experienced was difficult.

 

Going back to digital transformation, give me a little bit of insight into your work and some of the big transformations that are happening.

 

The biggest driver and the biggest innovation both within the hospital and outside the hospital is at the nexus of scientific discoveries, the technologies that enable them, and medicine. Looking at data, medical knowledge has expanded exponentially. The doubling time for medical knowledge in the 1950s was 50 years, but that has now accelerated to 73 days, and healthcare practitioners are struggling to keep up with new information. So, we need to capitalize on the existing technologies to close this growing knowledge gap.

 

For technologies that enable scientific discoveries like genomic evolution, we now can not only map the genome, but we can see specific mutations and specific diseases. The knowledge of biology is also growing, and innovations are coming in different forms, like AI or virtual tools that help us make better and more data-driven decisions. We can see technology, scientific discovery, and medical innovation coming together, and it’s now about utilizing data to create more personalized medicine. One size does not fit all! The new technology allows us to deliver on the promise of personalized medicine to provide the right medicine to the right patient at the right time and at the right dose. It’s an exciting time for digital health across the healthcare industry, in pharma and diagnostics, and for healthcare providers and the insurance companies.

 

Are we seeing a race between companies to understand and make sense of this siloed avalanche of data?

 

I don’t think it’s a race, but companies are forming collaborations that complement one another to bring a solution to this data problem. When companies collaborate, we draw a lot more insights, and if healthcare's goal is to provide better health, that can happen with these synergies.

 

How would you describe yourself in three words?

 

Passion. Resilience. Curiosity

 

 

Michael Matias. Photo: Courtesy Michael Matias. Photo: Courtesy

Michael Matias, Forbes 30 Under 30, is the author of Age is Only an Int: Lessons I Learned as a Young Entrepreneur. He studies Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University, while working as a software engineer at Hippo Insurance and as a Senior Associate at J-Ventures. Matias previously served as an officer in the 8200 unit. 20MinuteLeaders is a tech entrepreneurship interview series featuring one-on-one interviews with fascinating founders, innovators and thought leaders sharing their journeys and experiences.

 

Contributing editors: Michael Matias, Amanda Katz