Louis Burns, CEO of Intel-GE Care Innovations since the joint venture launched in early 2011 and, before that, head of Intel's Digital Health Group, will retire at the end of the year, Roseville, Calif.-based Care Innovations announced Thursday. Taking his place will be former Humana executive Sean Slovenski, who brings a background in behavior change and wellness to the three-year-old maker of wireless home monitoring technology.
Slovenski, who will take over Oct. 7, is new to remote patient monitoring, but not to digital health, consumer engagement in healthcare or immature marketplaces. Burns, a former Intel CIO, will be helping Slovenski transition into the CEO role until November and should remain with Care Innovations through the end of the year, according to a company spokeswoman.
Slovenski was VP for health and productivity solutions at Humana, a segment of the insurance company focused on wellness services for employer groups. Humana in 2010 bought Hummingbird Coaching Services, a provider of online wellness coaching and behavior management services that Slovenski co-founded and was CEO of.
In the 1990s, he led development of wellness, fitness and integrative medicine centers at Mercy Health Partners in Cincinnati.
Slovenski believes this background will help as he tries to figure out how humans engage and interact with the technology, then make the appropriate product adjustments. "This industry very much reminds me of a lot of the spaces I've worked in before," he told MobiHealthNews, in what he said was his first interview representing Care Innovations.
"There's no cookbook out there to tell you how to bake the cake," Slovenski said, noting that wireless home monitoring still is searching for its footing.
Slovenski said that, "Next year is going to be the breakthrough," has been a common refrain in health IT and digital health, even though "next year" keeps getting pushed back. Yet, he believes there is good reason to be optimistic about rapid growth, particularly since various healthcare reform measures, including the emergence of accountable care and the Medicare policy of refusing to reimburse for certain preventable hospital readmissions, are pressing the issue.
"I think the bubble is going to be forced to occur quicker rather than later in this industry," he said.
Slovenski said he was drawn to the Care Innovations job in no small part because parent companies GE Healthcare and Intel are established, have long histories of innovating in uncertain markets and are not looking for a quick exit from the home monitoring business. "They're in it for the long haul," he said.
This is important in an emerging industry like home monitoring. "You have to have a lot of patience," Slovenski said. "You've got to be in it for the long haul, but you have to be able to react to the now," he added.
Even as companies ramp up their sales efforts to meet growing demand, they still will have to innovate, according to Slovenski. "How effectively can you tie your shoes while you're running?" he asked. His challenge is to answer that question.