We’re delighted to introduce Jeff Ruby, a health innovator and entrepreneur who is passionate about shifting the focus of health care from sick care to keeping healthy people healthy.
His mission has its roots in personal loss; his father died of cancer at a young age. When Jeff discovered that the cancer was largely a result of lifestyle choices, it demonstrated how unhealthy behaviors go unaddressed until it is too late to intervene.
It led to the realization of how backward our traditional health care system has become: it’s really a reactive sick care system that treats people after they’ve already become sick, rather than a proactive health care system that works to keep people healthy and prevent illness through primary prevention.
Jeff’s belief in the critical importance of prevention led him to establish several innovative health care startups prior to founding his current company, Newtopia, a tech-enabled habit change provider that helps health insurers prevent disease and save costs through sustainable habit change instead of late-stage condition management.
As Jeff says:
Health care providers often offer patients lifestyle-related platitudes — eat healthier, exercise more, get more sleep, reduce stress — but they are not trained or incentivized to take the time to really get to know their patients and their unique needs and work with them to make the daily choices that will build new, incremental healthy habits. So how do we make sure that these recommendations actually turn into change in people’s lives? A new front door and front line is required. Changing and stacking habits requires both a hyper-personalized approach (taking into account factors such as genetics, medical history, social determinants of health, behavioral profile and personal preferences, for example) and a strong human connection supported by technology to ensure inspiration, build confidence and accountability..
Jeff is committed to helping health insurers re-envision their investment in health and realize the greater returns of creating pro-health and pro-wellbeing workplace cultures. By addressing the unhealthy life choices that are a major risk factor for many noncommunicable diseases –
including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke – health insurers can proactively intervene to change the trajectory of chronic disease development, saving lives and reducing costs.
According to Michael Palmer, the former Chief Innovation and Digital Officer at Aetna, and current Newtopia Board member:
Jeff proved his solution works – for Aetna he netted out over $1,500/year in medical cost savings per member per year, kept over 70% of them engaged to achieve their goals, and materially reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease for a large percentage of our at-risk people. We even co-published the results of a randomized controlled trial – and Aetna would only put our stamp of approval on a solution that is proven safe, effective and economically beneficial. In addition to finding the secret sauce of personalized habit change, Jeff has built an inspiring team of health coaches, technologists and habit change gurus who will likely change the trajectory of healthcare for good.
Prior to founding Newtopia in 2008, Jeff was co-founder and chief operating officer of Cleveland Clinic Canada, a collaboration between the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Canyon Ranch, and Canada’s leading destination for preventive health and lifestyle management; co-founder and chief operating officer of Life Screening Centers Inc., a cancer screening and prevention company; and co-founder and head of operations of Genetic Diagnostics Inc., an early-stage biotechnology company commercializing a new genetic diagnostic testing platform.
Jeff holds a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business in Toronto. He received his bachelor’s degree from Western University in London, Ontario.
If you’re interested in the push to create a more sustainable approach to health care, Jeff is someone you’ll want to have on your radar. If you’d like to connect with him, you can do so via the links below.