Miriam Paramore has been influencing the direction of the healthcare technology industry for more than 30 years. Her contributions have had significant impact on the major healthcare business sectors – providers, payers, pharma and, most importantly, patients. It has been Miriam’s life’s work to improve the U.S. healthcare system through the power of information. She is an expert in healthcare data and the rules that govern it. Miriam is an operating partner at Goldman Sachs and a senior advisor at Sixth Street growth equity. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Medsphere, a private health IT company that provides EHR, RCM and other IT solutions for healthcare providers.
What inspired you to go into healthcare? Tell us about your career journey.
I did not set out to be a healthcare executive after college. I was raised in a generation where there was a playbook for women: go to college, get married and have children, and if you want a career, you can pursue that as long as you fulfill the expectations of raising a family. I studied math and computer science at Belmont and got a job as a software engineer for HCA. Through that role, I discovered that not only was I good at the technology side, but I was also good at project management and problem solving. I realized that I enjoyed solving business problems through technology, rather than just focusing on tech for tech’s sake. I was given the opportunity to work with business owners to help solve their problems, and this helped me learn the inner workings of health systems.
The 1980s were just the beginning of the digitization of healthcare, and my career followed the arc of this transformation. By the age of 30, I was running a subsidiary of Anthem BCBS that focused on digitizing the revenue cycle (and, yes, raising a family). I continued to feel energized by the acceleration of healthcare technology and the promise of making a difference for patients.
In 2008, I joined George Lazenby as his C-suite hire at Emdeon, the company that would eventually become Change Healthcare. We took the company public in 2013, the largest HCIT IPO in history at that point in time. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to create whatever I wanted for my next chapter.
I began co-investing in healthcare start-ups with other like-minded healthcare executives and VCs. I worked with start-ups in operating roles to help teams market-test their products and see if they could become businesses. I joined OptimizeRx as President and Chief Strategy Officer when there were 10 people in the company. I left when we had driven the stock price from $3 to $99 dollars. I then set my eyes on the private equity world, looking for opportunities to leverage my healthcare domain expertise and executive skills across multiple businesses.
What are you focused on now?
After 39 years, I’ve learned how healthcare works inside and out, from healthcare services to insurance/payment, pharmacy and pharma manufacturing, and consumer health. Finding alignment is critical to creating a successful business in this industry, regardless of the tech solution on offer. Because of that background, I can now do what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m an industry expert and board member for private equity firms, namely in my roles as operating advisor at Goldman Sachs and Sixth street. I am also a board member and advisor to several promising startup companies.
At the same time, I’m devoting a lot of energy to DEI efforts for the companies I serve and the industry at large. There is both institutional racism and sexism in our country. We’ve come a long way, but there is so much work left to do. And it starts with awareness. I love helping women understand how to follow a trajectory from manager to executive to board member to investor, as I did. This path is still mysterious to a lot of women, yet they have so much to offer. If we are more open and inclusive as an industry, we can all benefit. We need more women at the top of the private equity hierarchy.
What problem do you most want to solve in healthcare?
My personal mission statement is to improve the U.S. healthcare system through the power of information. There are so many misaligned incentives in healthcare. I can’t change those incentives, but I can make a difference by focusing on data liquidity and data equity. We all understand that data must be digital in order to be liquid, in order to flow among healthcare stakeholders, including consumers. Digital transformation is underway. However, there are many moots and dams that prevent data equity. Everything from missing or under-adopted data standards to intentional data blocking. My definition of data equity is making data available so that it doesn’t belong to just one party but can be shared easily to improve patient care. Data equity can have powerful implications on many fronts – from genetics to diagnostics to revenue cycle.
How did the Fellows program influence your life or career?
I was in the first Fellows class, and it was a fantastic experience both educationally and from a networking perspective. I was honored to be a part of the group, which was made up of brilliant healthcare executives who were eager to collaborate to create meaningful and positive change. There were a lot of demands on my time then and now, but Fellows remains a group that I find valuable and want to be a part of. There is no substitute for creating relationships and finding ways to work with others towards the common goal of better health for all.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing is more important than moving the whole team along. The whole team means everybody from customers to shareholders.
Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.
I am passionate about nature, and hiking in particular. I love adventure travel and get out in the wilderness as much as possible. Nature is healing and inspiring. It helps me stay grateful and humble.
What books would you recommend that have shaped your business thinking?
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- Blue Ocean Strategy – an oldie but a goodie