“Tactical” and “practical” are two words Mark Liber, SVP of Growth, used to describe Siftwell’s mode of operation.
“We’ve been you. We’ve run health plans and various core functions,” Mark said. “So we know what’s realistic and practical—and what’s not. We’ll tell you who needs help in your population and why. We’ll also tell you what to do about it.”
For our first installment of the Inside Siftwell series, we’re sharing a bit more about Mark’s perspective on how Siftwell uses founder expertise to impact the broader healthcare landscape.
From Pre-Med to Changemaker
Mark began his undergrad studies on the pre-med track, but soon evolved in career focus. After spending hours in the lab after class, he realized he wanted to contribute to the American healthcare system in a non clinical way. Eventually, Mark became a published biomedical and healthcare researcher.
“But research wasn’t what I wanted to do longer term, so that’s what led me to grad school. Healthcare policy and informatics. And that’s all about helping the system,” Mark explained.
At Cornell, Mark learned how policy shapes doctors’ ability to deliver care as well as who pays for and is motivated by what. “I got a good sense of how certain stakeholders might feel about certain trends,” Mark said. “A lot of it came down to ‘The Quadruple Aim.’”
The Quadruple Aim refers to a popular framework for transforming American healthcare. It includes:
- Enhancing patient experience
- Improving population health
- Reducing costs
- Improving the work life of healthcare providers
“To make an impact in healthcare,” Mark continued, “you must impact them all.”
After grad school, Mark joined StartUp Health, a startup incubator that works with health tech businesses. From wearable fitness trackers to hospital IT systems, dozens of transformative products and services built on their promise to impact patients and the stakeholders in the healthcare system.
“All of these startups impacted The Quadruple Aim in one way or another,” he said. “I got the chance to see what early-stage companies are like, learned about how to grow a company, fundraise, get customers, pressure-test business models, and develop go-to-market strategies. Most of all, I saw what successful founders do to constantly learn and serve their customers better, which ultimately leads to business growth.”
He also learned ways to address one of the biggest barriers in American healthcare innovation: “Who’s going to pay for it?”
Innovation Goes Where Money Flows
“Most of the attention in healthcare innovation has gone to commercially insured people,” Mark said.
Before Siftwell, Mark worked at Kaia Health, a digital physical therapy company. There, he witnessed the power of health tech on people’s quality of life. However, he also saw that mainly relatively affluent populations could interact with the product. Meaning, only people with Fortune 500 employer-subsidized health insurance.
But what about those with more limited health coverage—nearly half of all Americans?
“There’s a shortage of primary and mental healthcare in rural places. And everywhere we’re seeing fundamental health-related social needs such as lack of affordable housing,” Mark said.
“Not a lot of healthcare innovators strive to serve these majority Medicaid populations because the markets are fragmented. Each has specific regulatory dynamics, and the member populations can be complicated. For instance, what if the member doesn’t have stable housing? They wouldn’t have a permanent address to receive communications. They may not have a reliable internet connection. So, they may not be able to use tech even if they wanted to.”
Furthermore, companies aren’t targeting these underserved communities because “there’s not a lot of money in it,” Mark elaborated. Lack of funding, as previously mentioned, is a massive barrier to innovation.
“But Siftwell’s a new type of company. We’re using AI to address a lot of these things. Our goal isn’t to be disruptive and act like we can care for people better—it’s to help community health plans help their members,” he said. “The plans have the local trust and resources already, and many are making a real difference.”
Impacting the System With Siftwell
Our “tactical” and “practical” approach leans into the idea of empowerment through community. Community health plans like you have closer access to your population and local supports than any commercial or employer-funded insurance. So we grease the wheels for you to do what you do best: help your members thrive with boots-on-the-ground campaigns.
When we create our AI models, we take into account the limited budget and bandwidth of community-based plans. That’s why our clients don’t receive one-size-fits all solutions.
“We don’t tell you: ‘Hey, you should call 1000 people.’ Our product is more bite-sized, more precise. We make it really easy for you to use our suggestions,” Mark said. “You’re not making 1000 calls. You’re making 100 and getting 10 times the performance. You’re applying better workflows to deliver on those solutions.
“Our approach is better for the member, too, because you can remind them of services they actually need. It’s better for the provider, because we help you direct the member to a primary care appointment or health screening.”
Instead of starting from square one with every population health initiative or quality improvement plan, we’re turning your attention to the people you can actually impact. Our models and solutions are created by people who’ve been in your shoes, understand your strengths, and can—through lived leadership experience—see the light at the end of the tunnel.
A Team Stacked With Expertise
“And everyone on the main Siftwell team is super skilled at what they do. Trey ran a health plan and has a great way with people. Chuck has this amazing attention to detail. Eben is an incredible data scientist. Melissa keeps us all on the rails,” Mark said, adding that she’s Siftwell’s “client champion.”
Furthermore, Trey and Chuck both served as Medicaid Managed Care Organization executives, CEO and CSO respectively. This means they’re well versed in the challenges of the public health sector. This “founder expertise” is a game-changer.
“Between the two of them, they’re building the product they wish they had. They’re the customer,” Mark explained. “Not many companies have that dynamic.”
Let’s Change Things Together
Mark understands the policies and their impact. He brings the private sector’s perspective and knows how to grow a company from scratch. But his true superpower? His passion for improving the whole system.
Mark joined Siftwell to make an impact. As a mission-oriented company, we want to address the gaps in care for our most vulnerable populations. However, we also understand that we can’t change the system alone. That’s why we partner with community-based health plans. Because you operate closely alongside your members, you have a greater opportunity to transform their lives.
We don’t offer generic solutions to mask the problems. We’re here to give you tactical roadmaps and practical strategies. We’ll help you direct your limited bandwidth toward those who need you most. Whether it’s through creating unique Member Profiles or finding ways to remove socio-economic barriers to care, Siftwell is your partner at every step.
True change isn’t easy, but with the right tools—and people—it doesn’t have to be hard.