Editor’s Note: Ya’ara Goldschmidt, VP of Product, joined TailorMed this year with significant experience in product management, AI research, and digital health. Most recently, she served as Director of Data and AI Product Management at K Health. She previously led research teams dedicated to developing machine learning models for healthcare and life sciences at IBM Research. She holds an executive MBA from Northwestern and Tel Aviv Universities, as well as a PhD in computer science and bioinformatics from the Weizmann Institute of Science. We sat down to chat with Ya’ara about her professional journey and her passion for building products that improve patients’ lives.
TailorMed: Tell us a bit about your academic and professional background, as well as your journey into the field of digital health.
Ya’ara Goldschmidt: I was always fascinated by computers. In particular, I loved learning about algorithms and computational methods because of their potential to help us understand biology and medicine. My interest led me to pursue a PhD in bioinformatics at the Weizmann Institute, where I first encountered the field of machine learning.
After earning my doctorate, I spent a decade at IBM Research developing cutting-edge machine learning algorithms for healthcare and life sciences with my research team. We analyzed vast amounts of EMR and claims data for various use cases—ranging from drug discovery to clinical decision support. It was exciting to see AI evolving in all industries, especially in healthcare.
During my time at K Health, a digital healthcare company, I had the opportunity to apply my skills to build an AI-driven consumer product for use in a primary care setting.
TailorMed: How did you transition from AI research to product management?
YG: I made the switch from managing AI teams to managing product teams after finishing an executive MBA program at Northwestern and Tel Aviv Universities. Since then, I’ve developed a passion for building products that leverage data and algorithms to bring value to users—particularly in the healthcare space.
TailorMed: What motivated you to join TailorMed?
YG: I saw this role as an exciting opportunity to lead TailorMed’s product team and help shape the company’s future. In my previous positions, when analyzing electronic health records, I learned how financial hardship impacts patients’ clinical outcomes—and I wanted to be part of the solution to this critical challenge. I was eager to contribute my management and leadership skills to help drive our growth, as we seek to match the right patient with the right financial assistance at the right time.
TailorMed: What do you see as the primary role of the product team in helping TailorMed achieve its mission of “moving mountains for patients”?
YG: Simply put, the product team makes things happen by envisioning the future for our users. We play a critical role in executing this vision, working at the intersection of R&D, sales, and operations. We drive TailorMed’s product roadmap to extend our offerings, so that we can bring value to both patients and healthcare organizations—wherever prescriptions are written or dispensed. We’re also committed to improving our current system by adding more capabilities and incorporating feedback from the providers and pharmacies who use our platform.
TailorMed: What’s next for TailorMed in terms of harnessing the power of technology to tackle healthcare affordability?
YG: TailorMed aims to apply our solutions at any point where a patient has difficulty financing their treatment. In the beginning, we focused primarily on implementing our financial navigation platform within hospitals and health systems. We later expanded our network to include pharmacies and life science companies. Today, we are developing solutions geared for healthcare consumers. Our goal is to empower patients to take an active role in securing financial assistance for their medications.
TailorMed: AI is reshaping healthcare, from drug discovery to patient care. As an expert in the field, what do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities as the use of AI accelerates? How does this relate to TailorMed’s work?
YG: Applying machine learning and AI algorithms to healthcare data is very promising and has been a huge focus for academia and industry over the past two decades. However, these algorithms are only as good as the data on which they train.
Working with real-world healthcare data, I came to realize that patient outcomes were not only driven by medical decisions, but also by the patient’s ability to adhere to treatment. All too often, patients skip or delay necessary care due to financial difficulties. Without taking patients’ financial circumstances into account, AI algorithms will only learn which treatments are affordable rather than which treatments are effective.
At TailorMed, I get to think about the other side of the equation: How can we eliminate patients’ financial burden, so that they can adhere to their medications and achieve the best possible outcomes?
TailorMed: In 2021, we were recognized by Power in Diversity as being one of the best health-tech companies for representation of women. How has the organization built a culture that supports and empowers women in tech—and why do you feel this is so important?
YG: I’m proud to be part of a company with a culture that embraces diversity in all forms. When women are represented at all levels of an organization—from leadership to entry-level staff—empowering women becomes second nature. At TailorMed, this is a way of life. Women in our organization do not have to fight to be heard or to have an impact—nor does anyone due to their gender, race, religion, or other parts of their identity. We’re all here to collaborate and to contribute our individual skills as we advance our mission, together. I also find it fulfilling to work with many dynamic female leaders from our partner organizations.
What do you find most rewarding about your day-to-day work and what excites you most about TailorMed’s future?
YG: At the end of the day, what drives and motivates me is helping patients improve their lives. I love jigsaw puzzles; every day, I get to help solve the giant puzzle of how to tackle healthcare affordability. I’m excited about the vital solutions we’re developing to address this challenge wherever prescriptions are being written. As we grow and scale our efforts, I’m confident that we’ll continue to find innovative ways to reach every part of the healthcare ecosystem—from hospitals to pharmacies to the patients themselves, so that everyone can afford the care they need.