Meet Your 40 Under 40 Winner - Robin McIntosh, CEO, Workit Health

Sept. 21, 2023
Congratulations to Robin McIntosh for being named to the inaugural Healthcare Innovation 40 Under 40 awards program!

Congratulations to 40 Under 40 Winner: Robin McIntosh, CEO, Workit Health

Get To Know Robin:

Why is this candidate a good fit for 40 under 40?

Since Workit Health’s inception, CEO and co-founder Robin McIntosh has guided the company in building a program that balances member accessibility, ease of use, and clinical quality.  In 2014, Robin considered technology like the apps she was working on at her design firm—innovative digital health advancements that were improving the ways conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure could be treated—and recognized the potential to treat substance use disorder, as well. Robin’s insight came from her personal experience as a woman in recovery from addiction. Her ability and willingness to identify with the people Workit Health serves have been vital in keeping the company focused on the guiding star of patient-centered design.  Robin is a collaborative leader who works with teams throughout Workit Health, from design and development to sales to clinical teams. In 2022, this led to the creation of the groundbreaking Automated Drug Testing option within the Workit Health app, allowing members to complete and submit urine drug screens at any time of day or night. Robin also launched Workit Labs in 2022, a research arm dedicated to analyzing and interpreting the data from Workit’s years of committed member care so that it can guide future advancements. In 2023, Workit Labs presented at the annual conferences of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association, and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Telemedicine and e-Health. A retrospective cohort study by Workit Labs demonstrates that Workit Health’s outcomes among rural members treated for opioid use disorder meet and exceed those reported for office-based care, providing clear evidence in support of Workit’s innovative telehealth model.   Robin promotes flexible solutions and empowers Workit Health staff to implement them. In 2023, she provided transparent leadership amidst a rapidly changing business landscape and unpredictable shifts in Drug Enforcement Administration regulations. Robin has set the course for a sustainable future for Workit Health as the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, ensuring that the company can serve the largest number of members while remaining stable and viable.  Where many people in positions of leadership try to distance themselves from their past struggles, Robin openly shares her history with substance use disorder and mental health concerns on podcasts like This Naked Mind and Sobriety Rocks, in interviews, and on Workit Health’s blogs. This courage and vulnerability help to ensure that members feel heard and accepted. Robin’s experience and passion also emphasize for all staff the importance of harm reduction and nonjudgmental care, which can be in sadly short supply in the wider addiction treatment industry.

Explain this candidate’s professional accomplishments:

Robin McIntosh is a social entrepreneur, designer, CEO, and co-founder of Workit Health. For the last two decades, she’s focused on building innovative and compelling consumer experiences and executing business growth strategies. She’s founded multiple companies dedicated to solving industry-scale problems through user-centered research, design thinking, and business strategy. In 2022, Robin stepped into the role of sole CEO of Workit Health after years of sharing that position. Under her leadership, Workit Health closed 2022 with over 10,000 active members, more than five times as many as in January of 2021. The company’s net promoter score is 64%, and their virtual provider appointments have an average rating of 4.73 from members. Robin has been named a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. She serves as a mentor and board member for organizations focused on design and entrepreneurship. A frequent guest lecturer and critic, she’s spoken at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, World Economic Forum, Milken Institute, Yale, Wharton, and Stanford with a focus on design thinking and innovation as well as business strategy. Prior to Workit, Robin served as Co-Founder and CEO of SIREN, an award-winning and internationally recognized design & development firm based in San Francisco (www.sirensf.com). She co-founded the company after years of working at the crossroads of technology, healthcare, and design at IDEO and WIRED.

How does the candidate show commitment to the industry and bettering their professional career?

The continuing existence and stability of Workit Health as a startup in its 8th year is a testament to Robin McIntosh’s commitment to the industry. Prior to receiving any funding, Robin and her co-founder Lisa McLaughlin bootstrapped Workit Health from the idea phase to a functional prototype. They built an interactive course platform to showcase their substance use recovery content and piloted this platform with consumers. The outcomes of this pilot were instrumental in attracting an initial round of investment. After using this funding to redevelop their lean prototype into a scalable architecture, Workit Health was formally incorporated in January 2015. Throughout the life of Workit Health, Robin has been willing to do small tasks, like pitching in to administer drug screens in the early days, as well as helming large projects, like spending months tirelessly fundraising for the company. Workit Health’s 2021 Series C round of funding totaled $118 million. As a reflection of her deeply held values and commitment to bettering the industry, Robin guided Workit Health to be a registered B-Corporation, a business dedicated to doing social good. Social justice and health equity are at the center of Workit Health’s mission, with the success and well-being of members driving every business decision. Through grants and partnerships with local organizations, Workit Health is able to provide quality and evidence-based care to under and uninsured populations. Robin serves as a mentor to women in the healthcare and technology sectors and serves on several boards, including the American Institute of Graphic Arts and Endeavor and Alter Entrepreneur networks. Despite being in a male-dominated tech and healthcare space, Robin has promoted internally and hired externally to build a C-suite that is fifty percent female and a vice presidential leadership team that is more than 75% percent female.  Robin was invited to participate in and completed the Spring 2021 Harvard Leadership in Social Change Program. For the past several years, she has worked with an executive leadership coach Hillary Folger to intentionally shape her approach to leadership, challenging her internal obstacles. A lifelong learner, Robin actively participates in conferences and symposiums related to design, healthcare, and innovation. She has twice been an invited speaker at the Innovation to Impact at Yale short course. Most recently, she attended and was a panel participant at the 2023 UCSF Rosenman Institute Annual Symposium.

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