5 Minutes With: Mohamad Makhzoumi, NEA
At Collective Health, we know creating a better healthcare experience is not the job of one company. That’s why we spend a lot of time working with, and listening to, some of the most innovative companies and people working in our industry.
This month, we sat down with Mohamad (Mo) Makhzoumi—Partner at NEA. Mo leads the healthcare services and healthcare information technology investment practice for NEA. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the American Pathology Partners, Bright Health, Collective Health, DaVita NephroLife, Docent Health, Elements Behavioral Health, Nova Medical Centers, Nuvolo, Pager, Radiology Partners, SCI Solutions, U.S. Renal Care, and Welltok.
“At NEA, we are financing the next generation of innovative companies that are really moving the healthcare industry forward.”
Is there a specific problem in healthcare that you’re trying to solve?
At a high level, our team at NEA is focused on improving quality, increasing access, and reducing costs in healthcare—the three “Holy Grail” outcomes I think everyone in the industry is trying to achieve. Our goal is to make our healthcare system on par with all of the other unbelievable services in our country—from education to finance—that are second to none.
How do you feel like your work is moving the industry forward?
Meaningful improvements in healthcare aren’t going to come from incumbents within the system. At NEA, we are financing the next generation of innovative companies that are really moving the healthcare industry forward. My job is just to make sure the right people get the right amount of money at the right time (easy enough, right?).
What keeps you motivated to do what you do?
Fundamentally, I think anybody that gets into healthcare is on a mission to heal people—to help people during one of their life’s most vulnerable moments. Whether you’re on the investing side, the operational side, or some place in between, I don’t think you can be good at your job without having that be a core tenet of what motivates you.
When it comes to my role managing NEA’s global healthcare services and healthcare information technology investment practice, I’m motivated by the opportunity to work with really smart people to do really important things in a way that has never been done before. That’s an exciting nexus to sit at. It’s incredibly difficult to change this $3 trillion industry, but when you think about the upside, when you think about the reward waiting for you when you accomplish your goals, the challenge is both compelling and motivating. That keeps me going.
What do you think the biggest challenge in health benefits is right now?
One word. Engagement.
Engagement means many different things. It means getting members and their dependents to engage in their own care. It means getting financial institutions to engage in HSAs and FSAs. It means getting employers to engage with their benefit plan administrators, claims adjudicators, payers, and networks. Engagement in healthcare really sucks all around. Any kind of product, tool, or service that can drive engagement for members, employers, payers, providers, and financial institutions at the same time will be incredibly powerful for the healthcare industry as a whole.
In my opinion, Collective Health is the closest solution in the market aiming to—and actually proving that it can—drive buy-in, engagement, and utilization from all of those stakeholders.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how does that inform what you do today?
This is easy. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. Both my parents are doctors. I have two sisters who are both doctors. Naturally, people think I’m adopted because I am decidedly not a doctor. I think getting into healthcare from a venture capital angle was my best path at proving to folks that I’m actually a genetic match to my siblings and parents.
Joking aside, like many kids, I grew up wanting to do what my parents did. Once I realized that I didn’t have the stomach for dissecting a frog let alone standing in an operating room, I looked at other ways that I could make an impact in the healthcare industry. I found my place in public policy, investing, company creation and incubation, as opposed to care delivery. I’m glad it worked out the way it did, and I’m glad for the patients of America that I am not in an operating room.