Talk Boutique is excited to welcome Zayna Khayat to our speaker roster. She is a Future Strategist with SE Health (formerly, Saint Elizabeth Health Care), a health and social impact enterprise with a significant focus on creating a better future for ageing adults in their homes and communities.
One-on-One With Zayna
What’s an accomplishment that you are proud of?
- Birthing and raising three children.
- Earning the President’s medalist at my undergrad university. I was the first in my family to go to University, so it was extra special for my parents to be in the front row at my grad when I was awarded top all-around graduate of the entire graduating class of the University.
Describe a significant business or challenge you experienced throughout your career and how you resolved it. What lessons did you learn in the process?
When I started a new role at a nonprofit, I inherited a government-funded program that had lofty ambitions in terms of a major market problem it was aiming to solve. Still, the business model had many flaws in its assumptions. When I inherited it, I knew the assumptions were flawed, but I did not have the courage to challenge many smart and passionate people who created the model in the first place. We stumbled for several years and did not deliver. I learned a lot from that experience. I learned how not to be attached to pet projects, to be ruthless about stopping if things are not working, and having the confidence to speak up when my gut says things are not working even if I risk making people uncomfortable or upset that what they built does not work.
How did mentors influence your life? What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
Mentors have been critical to me at many points in my personal life and professional life. A key message from a mentor once was about taking care of myself – she could see I was burning out and was the only one (despite being surrounded by many friends, family and staff) who had the courage and clarity to stop me and give me real talk about self-care.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
If I could start over – going back to undergrad, I would have spent more time understanding who I am and what kind of work I want to do. If I had known then what I know now about who Zayna is, I would have likely studied engineering and then law. I would have ended up in the same space, but via a path, that was a better fit with how I think and what I value.
What is the last business book you read?
I have three books on the go at the same time that I keep cycling back through:
- Home Deus
- Longevity Economy
- New Power.
What does the future of health look like (5-10 years)?
Proactive, predictive; personalized; intelligent; decentralized, disintermediated, dematerialized, digital; continuous & team-based; people-powered; funded based on value created, not the inputs.
Tell me more about how future healthcare will be much more personalized, de-physicalized, and empowered.
Personalized — shift from a segment of 1 to something closer to an n of 1.
De-physicalized – like all of the other sectors of society and our economy, we will not need to rely on big physical things (like buildings and large equipment, beds); they will be hyper miniaturized. Therefore physical things will be democratized, and consumers will be able to access and afford them. Soon our wearables will become medical devices used by the consumer and also the healthcare system. Democraziation will extend to humans as well, and we will use less human capital for repetitive and some cognitive tasks. This will free up our highly trained medical personnel to do things only humans can do: compassion, context, empathy, and humanizing situations.
Empowered – we have had a highly patriarchal paradigm of healthcare and medicine for more than 150 years. All that is up for grabs. At a minimum, we will shift to a paradigm of shared decision-making and in some cases, patients and their families/communities will be in charge, and the rest of us will be in service to them.
How can front-line healthcare workers prepare for the changes that you’re describing?
First, be aware; read, listen to podcasts, go to meetings where people like me are helping paint a picture of emerging future scenarios. If already there – then act now. Don’t tolerate behaviours in yourself, in your org or in your health system, which are protecting the past. Protect the future instead, and then invest at least 10% of your time co-creating that future. If more, even better.
How can we take some of the fear and resistance out of change in healthcare?
When you see the direction the future of healthcare is going, you can’t ‘unsee’ it. Exposing the “preservatives” to real-world examples of people, patients, health systems who are already part of the new healthcare paradigms is key, and relatively easy to do – as there are dozens of great exemplars we can hold up globally. Next is to have a theory of change that you/your department/your organization follow when trying to bring about system-level change in healthcare.
Where is the impact going to most be felt as we shift from the old industrialized model of healthcare to the future of health you describe?
The change coming to healthcare has profound impacts on multiple components of our health systems of today. When the old paradigm (that no longer serves) is creatively destroyed, and then put back together to the new paradigm (where patients win out first and foremost), people will gain, and people will lose. Those who stand to lose (power, money, predictability, control) will hang onto that they stand to lose for as long as possible. And this is why our system and the incumbent players who dominate the system will continue to be slow to self-destruct creatively. That is where disruption comes in — whatever entity can come up with a way to deliver to patients and families a better value prop that aligns with where the future is heading, at an acceptable cost, will disrupt the incumbent that refuses to let go of its outdated business model.