MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative

Jolani de la Porte: MIT Sloan Alum Reflects on the Effect of Healthcare Lab on Her Career

We caught up with MIT Sloan 2021 graduate, Jolani de la Porte last week to chat about how her experience with Healthcare Lab motivated her post-Sloan career. De la Porte focused on healthcare and analytics while at MIT, further developing skills she focused on prior to getting her MBA.

Jolani de la Porte, MIT Sloan Alum

For five years before matriculating at MIT, de la Porte was the Regional Director of Global Services at Dimagi, a health technology company started out of MIT and Harvard, that developed digital solutions for global healthcare workers. There she led the professional services team based in South Africa from start-up to a mature organization. De la Porte also spent a year at Watsi, a start-up building digital solutions for health insurance administration in emerging markets.

While at Sloan, de la Porte enrolled in Healthcare Lab and was a member of the team that collaborated with the Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS). She and her team designed and tested a process to operationalize a predictive AI model, built by MIT researchers led by Prof. Jónas Jónasson, to prevent opioid overdose. HSI has a long-running relationship with SI PPS, with multiple faculty  collaborating with them on various research projects since early 2019.

Right after graduation, de la Porte put her new knowledge and skills to use as the Director of Strategy and Operations, AI Patient Recruitment at Iterative Health, for a year. De la Porte remained in touch with the SI PPS, and at the end of last year, de la Porte received a call from SI PPS Executive Director Joe Conte, asking if she would return to be the Program Director, Hotspotting the Overdose Epidemic Program.

We spoke with de la Porte after she had been working at SI PPS for three months. As Program Director of the Hotspotting Program, de la Porte is building on work that she and others collaborated on while enrolled in Healthcare Lab at Sloan. What is exciting to her, she noted, is implementing some of what her H-Lab team worked on. She credits Healthcare Lab with helping her think about how to improve outcomes in a cost-effective and person-centered way. She is thinking about how to improve outcomes, and that by being proactive, healthcare dollars can be spent more effectively. Paying attention to both the individual and the system results in better health outcomes and less financial waste. 

De la Porte also attributes Healthcare Lab with introducing her to and deepening her knowledge of alternative payment models and value-based care. The Hotspotting program uses an innovative reimbursement model to incentivize comprehensive care and improve outcomes while avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations. De la Porte notes, “As we're thinking about a sustainable expansion strategy for the Hotspotting program through large providers and MCOs (managed care organizations), we have to ensure incentives remain aligned, and therefore, we have to think about alternative payment models for the Hotspotting program in the contracts between providers and MCOs.”

De la Porte has just begun to make her imprint at SI PPS in her latest role and contributing to HSI’s innovative work in substance use disorder and the opioid epidemic. She is joining the team as an integral member with talents in analytics, behavioral economics, and healthcare operations. The early results suggest some promising avenues. De la Porte is eager to dive into the new real-world data to refine the next phase of the project.