Zayna Khayat and Will Falk: Hanging Out with the Future


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Welcome to Healthcare Change Makers, a podcast produced by HIROC. I’m Ellen Gardner with Michelle Holden and Philip de Souza.

Today we’re talking with Zayna Khayat and Will Falk. Zayna is Vice President, Client Success and Growth at Teladoc Health. Will is a Senior Fellow at the CD Howe Institute and has an appointment at the University of Toronto as an Executive-in-Residence at Rotman.

Zayna and Will have collaborated in many different ways over the years and delight in wading into the messy problems in healthcare.

They don’t always agree, but Zayna and Will are united in their desire to use technology to move care forward. That task, they readily admit is hard work. As they call it, the clash of the static and the dynamic – when the industrial age and technological age collide with not always pleasant results.

The real satisfaction comes from breaking down the barriers to thinking big and getting stuff done. The tools they’re using and approach they’re advocating doesn’t just improve access to care, it delivers culturally appropriate care to communities that have been isolated in the past.

It's all about hanging out with the future, something Zayna and Will agree is a highly privileged place to be.


“The thing that really gets me going these days is working with young founder teams who are dealing with tough problems.” - WF

“One of the great things about having to teach MBA students and other learners is having to explain yourself in front of really smart people.” – WF

“As soon as I see the doubt, the skepticism, hear ‘it’s impossible’, then I think time to double down, that’s the lock and I got the key!” – ZK

“In talking to people, many of whom were on the frontlines during the pandemic, I was blown away by how hard people worked in spite of the technological choices that are available.” – WF

“A study done by Dr. Eric Topol and the NHS in the UK concluded that 90% of all jobs will change because of what’s happening now and coming in tech. That’s a massive reskilling, retooling of the current workforce, let alone how you breed and train the next generation.” – ZK

“As soon as our tools can de-couple time and place from care, you’ve got a real gamechanger for access.” – ZK

“If you think economically about the fact that a public visit to a free provider costs the average Canadian $99 – that’s a big barrier for a lot of people.”– WF

“I’m not conceding the compassion high ground to anyone who’s advocating physical care over virtual care because it is not at all clear to me that the compassionate answer for most people is to insist that they show up in your office when other alternatives exist.” – WF

“No matter where you are – student, administrator, clinician, department chair – I always say, at least 10% of your capacity, 1/2 a day a week has to be blowing up the past and putting it together for the future.” – ZK

Mentioned in this Episode:

Teladoc Health

Verto Health

Chris O’Connor - FirstHx

Rotman School of Management

Computer Sciences Corporation

Robert Wachter – The Digital Doctor

Why Doctors hate their computers by Atul Gawande

John Nosta – The Emerging Role of TQ

Matthew Mendelsohn – Mowat Centre

Dr. Eric Topol Scripps

Canada Health Infoway

The State of Virtual Care in Canada as of Wave Three of the COVID 19 Pandemic: An early Diagnostique and Policy Recommendations by Will Falk


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