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Outcomes Rocket Podcast - Lisa Suennen

Why Health Leaders Must Seriously Consider Social Determinants of Health with Lisa Suennen, Senior Managing Director, Healthcare at GE Ventures and Managing Partner at Venture Valkyrie, LLC

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes rocket listeners, welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders really want to thank you for tuning in. And I want to invite you to outcomes rocket dot com slash reviews rec'd leave a rating and review for this podcast. So without further ado I want to introduce our outstanding guest. Her name is Lisa Suennen. She's a senior managing director for healthcare and G.E. ventures. And so she's also a writer and blogger and podcaster at Venture Valkyrie and so she's done a lot of things. You guys are probably very familiar with who she is but what I want to do is welcome Lisa to the podcast and then have to fill in any of the gaps in the intro that I may have missed. Lisa welcome.

Lisa Suennen: [00:01:03] Hello there. Well that's about that about covers and I do all kinds of crazy stuff but that's the main thing the main day jobs.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:09] I love it. I love it you're up to some really cool things. And so I always love to ask why did you get into health care to begin with.

Lisa Suennen: [00:01:17] You know it wasn't really an intention. I was working in the tech world. This is back you know in the 80s I was finding it frankly pretty boring sultry Internet kind of stuff right. Yeah. And I talked to my dad who had been in a health care entrepreneur who was healthcare entrepreneur. And he said you know there's some really interesting health care companies you might find that were inspiring and I meet up with a guy a new CEO of a company and the rest is history.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:43] That's pretty cool. You know and it sounds like your dad kind of had the roots in healthcare entrepreneurship and you just kind of led that way and you haven't looked back since.

Lisa Suennen: [00:01:51] I look sideways every once in a while but no not too far.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:55] Nice nice. I love it. I love it. So you're doing some really cool things at G.E. movement and shaking with your own podcast. I have tuned into it. Really great great conversations listeners I'll include a link to Lisa's podcast on the show notes for this one so you could listen because Craig Onix. That's right. Called tectonics and so take a listen. She's doing some really cool stuff on there too. Lisa what do you think. I know all the things that are going on in health care is a hot topic that should be on every medical leaders agenda today.

Lisa Suennen: [00:02:27] Well I think a lot of people would expect me to say technology stuff and there is a lot of technology stuff going on. And I'm glad for that. But I also think that one of the most important things that we can really pay attention to is figuring out how to systematize productize and simplify the access to the social determinants of health. Things around housing nutrition transportation and other related categories that frankly have far more impact on the cost of health care than do many things that we attribute the cost of health care too. And so while I am a big fan of technology and health care and excited about a lot of things that's probably the number one most impactful thing we can do is expand our view of precision health to include an entire patients life.

Saul Marquez: [00:03:15] I think that's really interesting and you know the first thought that comes to mind. Lisa I've been doing a lot of thinking about this and one of the things that you've probably very aware is when companies get into this space oftentimes they're faced with the problems of who pays for it and when you talk about the social determinants of health. Who pays for it.

Lisa Suennen: [00:03:33] Well it's a touch you know obviously the 64000 dollar question as well. I think in a system that's a closed or fully at risk capitated type of system the answer is easy it's the payer right because frankly the downstream cost of not attending to these issues is so high. You know if a patient needs to get an A for services and treatment but they have no transportation it's going to be more expensive take care of them if they can't get access to behavioral health services keep him stabilized they're not going to take care of their diabetes or her condition. Right. So it's really easy on the interest financial interests are aligned when they're not. It's tough you know and the truth is the same in the end I think ultimately it was ever financial risk for the program for the person or the member whomever it may be is who should pay for it. If they're looking to reduce healthcare costs and improve outcomes.

Saul Marquez: [00:04:26] Yeah and just kind of diving deeper into that Lisa. The thought is OK well maybe these patients where now they're being tagged with readmission fees right the provider. So. And yeah so just it's a really great idea and just picking through it could be really impactful. You know anybody doing cool stuff in the space right now.

Lisa Suennen: [00:04:46] I do, actually I think there's a couple companies like healthify, Nowpow and ConsejoSano who are doing finding ways to create for profit business models out of these things companies like CareMore the healthplan. Oh yeah they're doing some incredible stuff particularly around lowliness which frankly is considered to be more deleterious about health and smoking now among older populations. It's very interesting yeah. There's a lot of a lot of work been done about that. So there are some really great programmatic work being done out there. There's a great organization called the Health leagues which is working on this for years. So you know there's a lot of good stuff. It's just not widespread yet. Unscalable and I think some of these organizations are trying to figure out how to solve that.

Saul Marquez: [00:05:32] Yeah for sure. Some great examples and definitely listeners take a look at these companies because if you're exploring the space if anybody knows companies doing good thing that's Lisa. So take a look at those for sure. I'll provide links in the in the show notes too. But Lisa give us an example of how you maybe GE or through you or your own you know podcasting are seeing outcomes improvement through the things that you're doing.

Lisa Suennen: [00:05:59] Well I think that our goal actually ventures is to invest in things that align incentives improve outcomes and reduce costs for all parties involved. We are really excited for instance about sysops which is a company that I did interview the CEO Ken Tarka on my cast recently. They combined data from Myanmar's and genomic data and the like to help identify what's the most effective likely treatments for cancer patients. You know personalized medicine approach. Yes I think that's a good example of that. We're working with another company called Health reveal which uses similarly large quantities of data from disparate sources to identify patients who are not getting treated in accordance with best practices of evidence based medicine. Identify people who might be very likely to have a stroke or heart attack or something and intervene with them before those horrible things happen which obviously saves money but more importantly saves lives. Yeah. So you know that's a big focus of what we do and to the extent we can identify those types of things that align incentives for patient payer and provider. Those are things we look for.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:08] I love that those are really great examples of the sign it's so great that you're doing this you know having these people on your show having these conversations because half the battle is breaking down the silos and communication and health care and so kudos to you for taking the six that so maybe you could share with us. Lisa you've done a lot in health care of a time when you had a setback or a failure and what you took out of that. What pearls of wisdom you took out of that.

Lisa Suennen: [00:07:35] Well I mean those of us who've been inventor or have had numerous setbacks and failures. The odds of all of our companies succeeding are pretty low. And I think about one for instance along the way that what does it do. Actually it was kind of focused on the social determinants thing. Ironically it was. But cancer was focused on getting ancillary services to cancer patients like physical therapy nutrition counseling financial counseling behavioral counseling. You know things that address the side effects of having cancer and being treated for cancer and it was set up kind of as an in clinic model with them physician offices within cancer clinics you know particularly the community sometimes in hospitals and it failed. And I was really upset by that because I didn't really believe what they were doing was good and it was clearly good. I mean there was no dispute as to whether it was helpful to patients patients loved yes but physicians just the oncologist at the time and this is now probably 10 years ago sort of early on in the discussion of paying for the social determinants types of stuff or the ancillary services type stuff. I think it's more common now particularly at the NCI Caterson cancer centers and the like physicians just couldn't remember to refer to it didn't bother to refer to it you know and I think part of it was workflow didn't exactly fit the workflow. Yeah the part of it was frankly it didn't add real revenue to their practices and that we know stood in the way of success and really taught me about how how important that aspect of it is not just the workflow I do about the workflow aspect. We worked hard on that. We obviously didn't get it right but also the financial incentive alignment was a stark example because you're doing something you know is good. You can't get people to refer to it for financial reasons they just didn't make any real revenue from it while they didn't lose money from it. It just didn't care enough.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:27] Yeah Lisa that's such a great great lesson and listeners something to consider as you dive into your business ideas or if you're looking to implement something into your hospital. Lisa brings in some really great examples. This company that just the heart was there but the money and the incentives weren't truly aligned. And it's something that you really have to make sure it's aligned. Yeah. You know Lisa one of the things that comes to mind when we talk about aligned incentives is the implementation of CAP Nagra fee to avoid respiratory compromise in hospitals. And I'll tell you what. You know it's one of those things that should be done but frankly is not done everywhere and it's just an example of you got to make sure you find a way to either bake it into the order set the physician or otherwise find a financial incentive because otherwise it's not happening.

Lisa Suennen: [00:10:23] Yeah well there's many examples of things like that unfortunately and until we have a system where the financial alignment is ubiquitous we will continue to find examples of things like this.

Saul Marquez: [00:10:33] Totally. LISA Okay. So that's one side of the coin. Let's look at the other side the much more bright and amazing side the stuff that you do. What are your proudest moments to date in what you do.

Lisa Suennen: [00:10:45] We'll give you not what you probably expect to answer but my proudest moments are really two things that come to my mind immediately. One is that my daughter told me not that long ago my daughter is in college that she appreciated that I was a role model for her and I know that's like. But you know it really meant something to me that I was always the mom that worked among many moms that didn't around me and that I felt really committed to that and I did what I could to be with her of course but that I felt it was important to have a career to model that for her and she all the guilt that I felt all those years of not being around for whatever programs at school. I think that all washed away with that discussion. For one thing the other thing is now you know being of a certain age and not in my 20s anymore. I spent a lot of time advocating for women and strictly women in leadership and health care and I appreciate that people look up to me for that and that I've been able to do something active and create a company called C-sweetener for mentoring of women in leadership and health care that's been taking off and I know that people respond to it and feel excited about it. And it's very gratifying. I mean it's of course gratifying to invest in a great company and see them succeed. That's incredibly gratifying. But some of the other stuff has been super exciting too.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:09] Totally. And you know what. It's so wonderful. Thanks for sharing that. Lisa I'll have to replay this part of the podcast for my wife because she and she does get these feelings of guilt. And so you're doing an amazing job. Just trust me you are. And so I'm hoping that my son when he grows up he can say the same thing he said to you and I'm going to give him some guidance. So thanks for sharing that and the other organization. I wasn't aware of that when me so that you started that. So that's very encouraging to hear that you have a movement like that in place.

Lisa Suennen: [00:12:44] Yeah it's a company called the C-sweetener. He could find it on the web light of what is going on

Saul Marquez: [00:12:50] Why the name, it's a really interesting name.

Lisa Suennen: [00:12:52] It was a play on the word c suite is the target women who are already women in the sweetener were either in the c sweet or near to the c sweet, to make it a sweeter experience. Hence the name. And like that it's kind of a model where women can sign up as men to use it's for women who are you know senior level and match with mentors through batching that's both skill based and interest based as well as personality based with mentors who've signed up and committed time who are extremely experienced people both men and women dedicated to helping women find more in their careers.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:31] That's so cool. Definitely another one we'll have to check out listener so if you find yourself as somebody that can give mentorship or you want to receive mentorship your lady wanting to receive mentorship please visit. But if the mentors could be men and women right.

Lisa Suennen: [00:13:46] Yes the mentors can be men and women I mean we really feel strongly that if men don't participate in the change it will never be struggling.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:53] Yeah for sure. Oh that's so great. So listeners you'll have a link to that too. Lisa doing some amazing things. Tell us about an exciting project you're working on today.

Lisa Suennen: [00:14:02] Well I think we're starting to do a GE where I work is very much a leader in 3-D printing broadly and we're starting a project on the investing side to really focus it on where the opportunities are going to be to make a material difference no pun intended. And I was just going to say a 3D printing world applied to healthcare and I'm really excited about that. I feel like that could have. It's early in the 3D printing application elsewhere but I see how it could have really a big impact over time. You know and we want to be at the front of.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:37] That it's really exciting. And so if you had to say one thing that that's exciting say ten years from now in that space what is the prospect of fill in the blank.

Lisa Suennen: [00:14:46] Printing scanned printing organs printing bone.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:49] The biological side of it.

Lisa Suennen: [00:14:50] Yeah. I mean we're already using it for her some things health care at least experimentally but boy can you imagine how many lives could be saved if you could could use some of those things and use organic products and the body great can.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:06] That be really great. No more donor waitlists.

Lisa Suennen: [00:15:09] Imagine if you could print about heart valves that fit properly. Amazing was made of natural material that would be amazing.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:17] Now our but super interesting definitely Lisa. The list goes on and on and what you do and so appreciate you kind of getting those little gems out to the listener.

Lisa Suennen: [00:15:25] Sure.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:26] All right. Getting to the end here what we're going to do Lisa is you and I. Let's just pretend we're building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine. It's the 101 or the ABC is over. Lisa Suennen, it's a syllabus right now for questions lightning round style followed by the book that will add for our listeners. You ready. Yes. All right. So what's the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?.

Lisa Suennen: [00:15:51] Design products and services that really align particularly financial ones can focus deeply on the clinical side of that. I mean without clinical depth it doesn't go anywhere.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:03] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Lisa Suennen: [00:16:06] Hiring weak people.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:08] Ooh, that's so great. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.

Lisa Suennen: [00:16:14] Never stop learning. I mean I think you have to not believe your own B.S. You have to always assume other people are smarter and you have to like go seek out information all the time.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:23] What is one area of focus should drive everything else in your organization.

Lisa Suennen: [00:16:28] Creating value for patients.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:30] And finally. Lisa what book would you recommend to the listeners here on the syllabus.

Lisa Suennen: [00:16:34] Now in an age where data is becoming more and more important I love to recommend Moneyball. It is about baseball it has nothing to do with health care. Yeah. The analogies are terrific. I think the cleverness in which data was applied to make decisions about teams about strategy you know in a way that nobody really had written about before. It's funny as hell it's great.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:57] Lisa so I've seen the movie does it differ from the book much.

Lisa Suennen: [00:17:01] It's a lot more in-depth about how they use data. It's a lot more wonky in a way. Yeah but it's still absolutely fun to read apply. You know and I wasn't big baseball fans. I love it. Didn't know that about you very cool listeners so there you have it Moneyball along with the answers to this syllabus. You could find everything on the show notes. Just go to and you're going to be able to find everything that we just talked about today right there. So Lisa before we conclude I just invite you to share a closing thought with the guest and then the best way that they can get a hold of you or follow you.

Lisa Suennen: [00:17:41] The best way to follow me is at on my Website you can sign up for my blog. Or you can follow me on Twitter @venturevalkyrie and my closing thought is if you don't ask you don't get go out there in the world and ask for what you need you know find partnerships ask for help and ask for opportunity. It's amazing what you get when you ask.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:02] What a great message Lisa and listeners. Be sure to ask and again be sure to visit us at Let us know what you think. Lisa just want to say thank you so much once again for spending time with you.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:16] Thanks so much Saul.

: [00:18:20] Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

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Outcomes Rocket Podcast - Lisa Suennen
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Outcomes Rocket Podcast -Learn What it Takes to Influence Behaviors and Improve Health with Olga Elizarova, a Senior Behavior Change Analyst at Mad*Pow

Learn What it Takes to Influence Behaviors and Improve Health with Olga Elizarova, a Senior Behavior Change Analyst at Mad*Pow

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes rocket listeners, welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket where we chat with today's most inspiring and successful health care leaders. Thank you so much for tuning into the podcast today if you like what you hear or you just love the show in general, go to and leave us an Apple podcast review and rating. We'd love to hear from our listeners and can't wait to hear what you have to think as well. I want to introduce my outstanding guest today. Her name is Olga Elizarova. She's a senior behavior change agent at MAD Pao. Over there, they're doing some research strategy and design of digital experiences and health and behavior change intervention. Obviously we all know behavior change is crucial to improving health care outcomes and they do it through user experience design process. From research strategy through design. Olga's got some really cool experience here so what I want to do is open up the mike so she could fill in any of the gaps in the intro. Olga, welcome to the podcast.

Olga Elizarova: [00:01:21] Thanks for having me. It's great to be here. And I'm very excited about the interview. So just to add some information to what you already mentioned I work at Mad Pow The senior MBA or change agent. All the analysts I work on the team of change designers we collaborate with strategists and content people researchers. It's pretty exciting job and we have a lot of interesting projects but some of the side projects that I'm involved with involve social impact work and we work with different organizations such as way to well they'll help them in different underserved communities to cultivate their resilience and creativity. Disregarding the socioeconomic status and access to resources and opportunities and with some of my friends we volunteer and we coordinate volunteer projects through which we partner with those communities on bringing human centered design to the places that need it most.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:18] I think that's so great. Olga and you know just focusing on the people that need health care the most you know population health is so crucial to the overall wellness of people our economy. I mean it's just pervasive. So I think it's so cool that you guys are doing that even on your time off.

Olga Elizarova: [00:02:34] Yes. Slowly and it's definitely a passion of ours and we are trying to discover the ways that we can make designing for the underserved communities collaborative and financially sustainable. And also always constantly exploring academically and practically how we can design interventions to address the root causes of recurring public problems not just the symptoms because that is actually one of the patterns that we saw a lot in the last year and also before adjusting the work that we do that some of the companies and organizations are just very focused on fix and the symptoms and are not going deep into the understanding of the problem space and trying to parse out what are the root causes and why these problems are in a cure especially if we're thinking about people who have less resources and less opportunities.

Saul Marquez: [00:03:24] Yeah. We spend a lot of time focused on the symptoms. And I think it's true within the walls of the hospital is true within communities. And I know that you guys are very focused on getting to the root cause. And speaking of root causes Olga. What is that root cause that got you into health care.

Olga Elizarova: [00:03:41] Sure. So I went for a step into the medical sector was driven by my curiosity and I thought wow isn't that going to be cool to go to medical schools spend six years there studying pretty much yourself. It's going to be amazing. The whole of my anatomy that to me all of the physiology and that's exciting because if I'm ever going to forget anything I can always look it up and I can always think about something because it's you. You are. That's right. Other people like me and I think that human bodies are the most complex and interesting subject for research. So there are many unanswered questions worth exploring but curiosity is also something that in general allowed me to get to where I am right now meet incredible people who taught me everything that I know and helped me not to be afraid of change and new things. And I saved my career from being a dentist when I was 21 to become in a project we had on a ten year long federal project in Russia designing the environmental services for people with disabilities. And when I started my work there when there were jobs job my first big project was designing the environmental services for people with disabilities that never ever happened before it was brand new for while. It was 2012. The director of our department was just getting started on this project. He was looking at examples in other countries how we can train this how we can get support from other ministries from finance from transportation from social development from healthcare. So all the aspects that would be important to make sure that the services and the products are adjusted for people with disabilities. And there were things that I have never thought of before that actually happen and were not adjusted. So we have the team 12 people I was responsible for strategic planning and evaluation of the pilot projects and three federal subjects which are pretty much like states and states and their regions. Okay gotcha. And they Insight's learned from those three pilots in those three subjects will be applied will be used then to implement this project. Nationwide's to the whole country. Eighty five different states and it was incredible and challenging to learn how different that level of work. Working at the level of the country would be different from working seeing patients daily just 1 on 1 you and the patient and that actually helped me to understand all the gaps in all the things that I did not know and things that they don't teach them at school. They don't tell you that there is such a thing as epidemiology or statistics or it is very important to look at some aspects of intervention design and how would you even design and instrumentation at such scale. And so I get into public health and I went to Brown. I started my public health fast there and then I met Mad Pow and then the conference together factors and that this company human centered design agency and I started as the original analyst and designer and at my current company I'm focusing on design and change interventions primarily in the health care fields and in my three years at the company and worked on so many different projects starting from mental health to healthy lifestyle and wellness to smoking cessation. And it's incredible to have an opportunity to work so closely with patients providers health insurers other stakeholders communities as a dentist or a public health professional. I would have never been able to see the problems from those Birju perspective and understand them at a system level because there's clearly a difference between individual level and systemic problems that we are interested in and then looking at the solutions on how systemic solutions would be fundamentally different than the individual ones.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:44] Wow that is quite the journey. And you went from med school to dentistry to public servant and dealing in Russia all these these really interesting things. I think it's so cool that the Russian government is investing in their country that way. I feel like over here in the U.S. we do a really good job but we've got to do a little bit better for the public sector and investments such as the ones that you are involved with. I would say listeners if you're in policy if you're in the government and encouragement to take a little tidbit from Olga's story and what the Russian people are up to. Why don't we learn from them. And why don't we take a little bit of of action in terms of helping our public services out to the extent that they have over there. Although I think that's so cool and now you fast forward to today working over there at Mad pow dust Dustin I think for for the intro there was fun to connect with him at Health 2.0. I mean you guys are really doing some cool things in the realm of behavior change. How do you get people to change behaviors. What is the message that you would give to health care leaders on how this should be done.

Olga Elizarova: [00:08:54] Absolutely. So as you said I work in the design agency. We have a lot of exciting interesting projects that also means that we're exposed to multiple problems coming from different industries and sectors. It's not just healthcare. And though the sectors are different it is not hard to see a repeat in patterns. As one of those patterns is that we work to sew complex problems systemic problems that are intertwined with elements and touch points both inside and outside of the sector and the change and evaluations are two things that I believe are going together and a very important and critical to success or success of healthcare as an industry and the success of the work that we do overall. And let me explain because for those of you who might not know what behavior change is this wanted to give a brief kind of overview and definition of what it is behavior change as we see it from our perspective the work in intervention design and it is a set of processes and activities that are used to design an intervention whether it's a product or service that aims to change a defined and modifiable behavior. So those are two key words for us. We want to make sure that we are able to define and make sure that it's very granular. What exactly do you want to change. And we also are looking at the evidence and looking at the research that was before doing our own primary research with target audience and trying to understand how modifiable this behavior is at all because we don't want to be investing in just solutions or different products that are created with very little expectation of this behavior to be changed at all. And so behavioral a change in direction design process is something that thrives on the intersection of behavioral and social science motivational psychology, Data Science, human computer interaction and design and it gets all this little bits and pieces from each of those sectors and many others that I didn't mention and then it combines them together with one object with one goal to understand the behavior and system interactions and context and implement human centered solutions addressing this behaviors and the value of their facts the impact that we're making.

Saul Marquez: [00:11:11] Olga you just drop so many valuable things here further listeners really appreciate your thoughtful answer. And you know the thing that stuck out to me and listeners that you should think about is definable. You've got to set yourself up to success. And is it modifiable. Because if you're going to be pouring a bunch of resources and time into a problem make sure you have that problem well defined. I know this may seem elementary but so many times people don't do it. I've been guilty of it too.

Olga Elizarova: [00:11:44] I agree with CNN many many many times it's not something uncommon that happens. But the key here is for us as consultants as people who are subject matter acts words and behavioral change is to guide our clients to guide people we work with through the process of defining what is the problem space which specific behavior you want to change and would specific business objectives. Do you have what health outcomes you want to change. What are your expectations. What is your timeline defining all the long term outcomes that we are aiming to change all that short term outcomes. All the intermediate variables that we might be able to measure earlier because we lie want to reduce the costs of your visits but we are going to have to wait four years in order to be able to measure that whether if we are going to look at some intermediate variables like people's knowledge or attitudes or beliefs and behavioral determinants we might be able to measure them way earlier than something that is long term.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:50] Olga you work on a lot of projects and you've seen behavior change in healthcare and in other industries. Can you give an example to the listeners of some a setback that happen and maybe what you learn from it.

Olga Elizarova: [00:13:04] So something that didn't quite go right, right?.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:07] Yeah.

Olga Elizarova: [00:13:08] Sure I think that in my experience and again don't want to be very don't want to be very negative about this. But I personally don't really I'm not a big fan. I don't really like the projects where people come to us and tell us what kind of deliverable they want to see and they and I know they're all different kinds of restrictions and limitations and we are all having different organizational structures that bound us to a certain kind of work and responsibilities and project types that want to be doing. Let's say if we work with a digital department of any organization a new large insurance or pharmaceutical company and it says that it's in the name digital department we kind of expect that they're going to ask us for some digital product. But the idea is we shouldn't be doing it that way it's doing the work backwards if someone comes to us and asks us could you design a digital product to solve this problem. This is not the right direction to go the way we should be going is going backwards from research from talking to people trying to understand their needs trying to understand what are their problems what kind of gaps they have what are the opportunities that we can use and how does it fit in their context of their lives holistically and how does it fit in the context of health industry and where we can really provide value. And I think the best example that I could think of of explaining that if we are a pharmaceutical company and let's say we're looking into developing a new medication we are not sitting there in our first kickoff meeting and thinking and brainstorming. Should it be an injection or should it be a pill or should it be the bandaid or whatever. Like We are not brainstorming the vehicle the vehicle yet we are deciding after we chose which is the right molecule and which is the active ingredient. Then we're thinking okay which mode of delivery which vehicle would allow us to deliver the most of this ingredient people without loss of this active component.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:13] Yeah you know and it's like you can't use a hammer for everything. So you got to sit back think through the problem and that hammers not always gonna be that solution. Sometimes you may just need a knife or a towel or a fork anything. Yeah exactly. Love it. And I think that's a good way to think about it you know. So the question is listeners have you been trying to solve a problem and the way you approach it. Have you been just trying to solve it with some sort of vehicle think outside that one vehicle that you're approaching it with and ask those fundamental questions about what you're trying to achieve how you're trying to change it and then apply the vehicle. I mean that's a great note there. Olga Kay thank you for sharing that. So OK. Share with us a point that was so exciting so amazing. A proud medical leadership moment.

Olga Elizarova: [00:16:05] Oh OK so there's going to be a difficult one. I don't have such an little internet or I think this moment is coming out sometime soon hopefully. But I admit that I'm very grateful and honored every time I'm being invited to Joe's hackathon so bootcamps and provide feedback just start ups and entrepreneurs because it's just such a rewarding moment and it makes me feel very happy to know that my experience in the field and feedback that I'm given to those teams can actually help them further improve their products or services and ultimately with the work that they do improve health outcomes. So that would be my proudest moments. Every time I'm on the panel helping to facilitate some process boot camp hackathon or just doing a 101 coaching for start ups. That is something that makes me feel very happy and I hope it's very helpful for them as well.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:00] I love it, Olga. I'm sure it is. And so if you have a hackathon coming up or if you're a startup that wants some expert advice we'll give you a chance to have Olga's best way to contact Olga here at the end of the show so that you could tap into her passions and she can help you make your business more successful and improve outcomes. Olga tell us a little bit about an exciting project or focus that you have today.

Olga Elizarova: [00:17:26] Absolutely, love to. So there are two projects that I want to talk about. One of the projects that I'm most proud of is a project where we worked really closely with patients who have an autoimmune disease clinicians and a client to design a patient centered solution tool that would help to address their unmet needs and hopefully will make their life a little bit more positive and easier. And we aim to create a motivational and empowering experience and address some of the things that doctors currently might not be addressing because they don't have time for it or they just not sure how to better address it or whether they have the right access to some emotional aspects of the problem. And it was just so heartwarming to hear the feedback from people during the tests of the application. So it was the mobile app and we did the first usability testing and the results of this test were the positive feedback from people sharing how this is really very different from everything else that is out there how this is very supporting and empowering all the different design criteria that we have identified for us that we want to make sure that this tool is hitting on scored really high on all of them. So that made me feel very happy because we were working on this project for almost a year and it's going to be launched in January 2018 and signed. Yeah it is very exciting. And the credit Arwed is that we were able to be on this project from the very beginning which means your view of the evidence. Guidelines looking at what actually could help. So just reviewing the evidence like no design yet no prototypes like would make sense to integrate what makes sense to put in this tool and then tested it with patients and code design and asking clinicians for their input and testing that again. So it was just such a great workflow and creative process. And the second project that I recall of the second project that are really like is our imagine care which was done together with Dartmouth Hitchcock and Dartmouth Hitchcock is a leader in population health management. The work that they wanted to do as accountable caring innovation was very much focused on how can we keep patients out of the hospital this is exciting isn't it. We help patients to avoid being in the hospital in the first place. So they wanted to create this remote patient monitoring system that is going to have both patient centered interface and clinician centered interface. And we were involved in building this tool as well. I was a mobile and web application that supports this virus and it disrupts the healthcare as we know it. It is having all those different components the blood pressure Kov Kales the wearable devices they're all wirelessly connected to the application that has the complicated algorithm developed to code developed together with clinicians that allows us to notice when a patient starts trending that and send the alert early on and it has a really interesting aspect of algorithm when it's going to go to the nurse versus when it's going to go to the child but or a system that has said it will then some problems there and there were some really good results for this project as well.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:52] Well you're definitely up to some really amazing things. Oh that's exciting. You know on the two fronts you know the remote monitoring system and also your project for the mobile device for the immune disease. I think it's such interesting projects that you have I'm excited to keep up with them so you'll have to send me the links to those companies I'd love to learn more. Let's pretend you and I. Oh thank you so much. So Olga you and I are going to build a medical leadership course right here. It's a syllabus it's 101 or the ABCs of Olga and so I'm going to give you four questions lightning round style and then we're going to finish up with a book for the listeners. You ready. That's awesome. All right. What's the best way to improve healthcare outcomes.

Olga Elizarova: [00:21:37] The best way to improve healthcare outcomes surprise cert measuring them. Now you know said the best technique ever. We have two types process evaluation and impact were fact evaluation. I think that as soon as companies and organizations are going to start measuring things create and benchmark baselines and actually evaluating both the process and the impact then the final outcomes we're going to move towards improvements in the healthcare outcomes.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:09] Awesome. What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Olga Elizarova: [00:22:13] In healthcare and in life for confidence. I think that that is probably one of the biggest mistake to be made when you were sure that you know everything and you're making assumptions and I don't think there ever ever are stupid questions to ask and people should be asking more questions. They should be checking their assumptions and making sure that they are not being too confident and not jumping into conclusions too fast.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:41] I love that. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.

Olga Elizarova: [00:22:46] We as an organization are learning all the time we're learning from our clients. This is the most exciting part but we're cannot match. It is that every next project that we work on is different from the previous one and that I think is what allows us to stay relevant. As an organization we are very collaborative. We are working with our clients in a way that allows us to provide the expertise and best knowledge and the best practices to them but also learn from them and learn about the different problems in the industry and learn about the different ways that people and organizations are approaching them so definitely more work and great clients. I still think that allows us to stay relevant.

Saul Marquez: [00:23:30] And finally what's one area of focus that should drive everything else in the organization.

Olga Elizarova: [00:23:35] Collaboration between different teams. I think that there is never enough of that. There is never enough of this like collaborative spirit of having this entrepreneurs in the company and giving people the opportunity to work on passion projects giving them the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines and working with different departments so we were lucky that at all we have an opportunity to do that. So if I want to work with our development team I can do it and I can go and ask Graham when they're going to be excited work and some project with me. So I think that that should be something that should be implemented in many organizations allowing people to explore their passion and work with other teams.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:23] Awesome and Olga what book would you add to the syllabus here for the listeners.

Olga Elizarova: [00:24:28] I mean I can add two books.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:29] And you can add two books.

Olga Elizarova: [00:24:30] That's great. OK. So I think that first line is going to be a Richard Dawkins Selfish Gene that no one else had mentioned that you know and.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:39] That's the first and I have to take a look at that one.

Olga Elizarova: [00:24:42] Yeah it's a great book. It's talking about genes centered view of the evolution which is just a very different perspective and quite interesting for anyone where it can be changed. And I like all the examples that the author promotes in the book with mostly animals and insects but it makes you think about what is the role of genes and behavior and how much they are responsible for the things that we do in our life. So that is a very interesting one. And the second one that I'm finished in right now is how emotional made the secret life of the brain by Liz Feldman Barrett article is also a very interesting book for everyone working in behavior change but in general for people because aren't interested in how emotions energy absolutely insane insane. How do you fall in love while you're happy. What are the things that drive you crazy. Why do they drive you crazy. Is it vain that is very intrinsic. Or is it something that just happens to you like the classic theory says I'm just responding to the outside triggers and this is how emotions are made. Or is it something that the book is are gay. Is it something that is being constructed by your brain. So I would definitely recommend.

Saul Marquez: [00:25:57] But I love it. And listeners you have it. You got some great books. Some great takeaways to think about. Don't worry about writing any of this down go to outcomesrocket.healthdot/Olga. O L G A and you'll see all the show notes as well as the links to the books and mad pow and all the things that oboes up to. You'll see it in the show. So check that out Olga, before we conclude can you just share one closing thought and then the best place where the listeners can get ahold of you.

Olga Elizarova: [00:26:25] Sure. The last thought I wanted to leave the listeners with is that if you work in the health care you should be thinking about it differently than any other industry. I realize that it is and that it creates a range of business opportunities to pursue. But healthcare is truly different from retail or any other business. Stakes are high. Decisions are made very fast. You risk losing and everything and incentives are misaligned to the very basic level since what people want is health. And would some companies and organizations ones are producing health care and we shouldn't be thinking that poking people digitally through another health and wellness app on the App Store without understanding what exactly you were doing and how it works can be harmful. It can harm people emotionally physically financially and that's why it matters to everyone sitting in the room and listening to this podcast and in the end of the day don't forget that it's not about winning. It is about health and you can get in touch with me through that website. so happy to get insights and answer any questions you might have

Saul Marquez: [00:27:38] Awesome, Olga. A powerful ending message there and really really appreciate you taking the time to be on the show.

Olga Elizarova: [00:27:43] Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

: [00:27:49] Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes, resources, inspiration, and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

The Selfish Gene

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Healthcare Podcast

Outcomes Rocket Podcast -Learn What it Takes to Influence Behaviors and Improve Health with Olga Elizarova, a Senior Behavior Change Analyst at Mad*Pow

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Outcomes Rocket Podcast - How to Build a Flexible Culture in Health without Compromising Values with Drex DeFord, Indie Healthcare IT Consultant

How to Build a Flexible Culture in Health without Compromising Values with Drex DeFord, Indie Healthcare IT Consultant

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:18] Outcomes rocket listeners, welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket where we chat with today's most inspiring and successful health care leaders really want to thank you for tuning in again. And hey if you like what you hear today or in general I want to ask you to just give us a rating and review on Apple podcasts. Just go to and you'll be able to rate and review the show and give us some feedback. And even if you don't like it which I'm sure that won't happen with today's guest, let us know and we'll make sure that we make it better. We want to make sure that the show adds value to you so please and thank you. Without further ado, I want to introduce our outstanding guests. His name is Drex DeFord. He's an independent healthcare I.T. consultant. But he has a long list of achievements in health care. He's been the chief information officer at various institutions including Seattle Childrens at Scripps Health and a long list of other things that he's done even in the Air Force. So what I want to do is just open up the microphone to Drex and have them around out that introduction Drex. Welcome to the podcast.

Drex DeFord: [00:01:35] Saul, I'm glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:38] Absolutely. It's a pleasure to have you.

Drex DeFord: [00:01:39] To tell you a little bit about myself. Yes sure I'll try to do the short version as much as I possibly can. I'm a farm kid from Indiana didn't have money to go to college wanting of joining the Air Force as an enlisted guy went to school as I finished my degree and sort of wound up weirdly in the right place at the right time became a CIO at a small hospital in one of our regions and one of our medical centers was the chief technology officer for Air Force Health in DC for worldwide operations before I retired after an accidental sort of 20 year career. And then who was recruited to Seattle Children's. No sorry scripts health see there's so many of these things I can't even describe. But I went to scripts and was there for a few years. We recruited to Seattle to be the CIO both the hospital and the Research Institute and Steward Health Care in Boston and I did start up with a friend of mine and about two and a half years ago my own shingle and have been lucky enough to be able to work on the things I really want to work on and that I'm good at and not work on the things that I don't want to work on and I'm not good at it. So it's been fun. I'm really very very lucky.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:51] Now that's great Drex I know had an opportunity. Folks I had an opportunity to meet Drex at a health I.T. meeting and struck up a conversation and I was just really moved by some of the thoughts and things that Drex was doing and I just said Drex you have to be on the show the listeners will get a lot from having you on. So I'm really glad we were able to put it together Drex. What would you say a hot topic you feel should be on every medical leaders agenda. And how are you addressing it with your clients.

Drex DeFord: [00:03:22] Hot Topic. Well you know I'm lucky enough now I do get to speak to a lot of conferences and do some some things like that. And when I do that when I engage with any of my clients or really talk about building an organization culture that kind of has the ability to bend and flex and change and be innovative you know ultimately building an organization that can take advantage of and thrive in the new model of health care. Because I see a healthcare storm moving from feet per service to value based care and that's going to happen without a doubt. We have healthcare organizations certainly that are stuck in the peak or service side of the fence and they've built a whole culture around this model and they're taking their sweet time making a change. Not only did it really change. Because it's not fun but you know in my opinion it's time to embrace the stuck. You know as we say in the military. Change means figuring out what what's going to work and what will work what won't work. You're not going to do that overnight. This new model. So I'm always a big proponent of sort of started now build a culture that allows for failure and enter iteration learning fast and taking advantage of the opportunities that are ultimately going to reveal themselves during and after the storm because I think when the storm is over there's going to be a lot of fire sales. And I can almost guarantee you that you're not going to want to be on the wrong side of that MNA. So yeah I think cultural changes being flexible that's kind of a key to the operation.

Saul Marquez: [00:04:54] Drex, I think that's such a great highlight there and I've been a part of great cultures and I've also been a part of not so great work cultures for the leaders listening to your words of wisdom here what would you say in a nutshell is the key to creating an agile amazing culture.

Drex DeFord: [00:05:12] That there's really a bunch of things that go into this. I also one of the things I well it really is this idea that everything is connected everything else. And so trying to change one thing and thinking that if I just do this one thing then everything else is going to fall into place may not be true. But there are things that if you focus on I think you can be more successful and that's really things like relentless prioritization. Right. We have a hundred things going on in any health care organization or vendor or startup or VC firm today. You know there's a hundred things going on and you have to focus. You have to prioritize and that means that sometimes the things that are below the line the things you choose not to prioritize or focus on that doesn't mean those things are bad ideas or things they shouldn't do. It's just that you have to realize that you only have so much energy and you have to focus on the things you focus on. I think for health systems a lot of it is to drive driving hard on analytics and continuing to focus on security because we're definitely in that world now where you just can't afford to have that kind of a stumble or that kind of a problem. So you have to focus on security and then innovation is a big part of it. And innovation is one of those words that means almost anything that anybody wants it to mean. So for me a lot of the innovation is I have a big background in Toyota production systems and lean methodologies. Know again to be at Seattle Children's very organizations very sort of focused on that with three and half years in Japan. I was able to go back and spend time with Yamaha piano and Toyota and others direct mostly on home care. I might be.

Saul Marquez: [00:06:54] How many times did you make it to the White House.

Drex DeFord: [00:06:58] Only once and only as a tourist.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:01] Ok all right. All right.

Drex DeFord: [00:07:03] Yeah but it's it's that kind of stuff. You know there are a lot of components in this that you know and I would say the bottom line probably of all of this is that you have to re orient your organization as much as anything else to focus on the patient. There are a lot of health variations you talk about that today the patient is our customer but saying the patient is your customer and actually acting like a patient is your customer all the time is a huge difference.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:29] That's a great callout directs be a call out. And I think for everybody listening you know what are you doing to make your patient your customer. And I think right now Drex in this health care consumer is a magnificent word. But you know rising deductibles the patient is starting to be more cognisant of where they spend their money and what they spend their money for. And I think it's this is pushing our our healthcare providers to be a little more cognizant of tailoring their services in a way that makes the patient the consumer.

Drex DeFord: [00:08:03] Oh yeah I think so too. And I think the other thing is and we may talk about this more in just a little bit but this idea that especially from information service departments perspective the customer is not the doctor or the nurse or lab of radiology or pharmacy or whatever the case may be. Those pieces of the organization and the AS Department have to be partners in the provision of great care to our customers the patients and family and that every place that I've gone into when I've brought that attitude to the organization. And so. So I'm I'm I'm kind of a change guy I mean a been a change guy my whole career. Unfortunately that replaced that I've been invited into as chief information officer has been specifically to make change. Things weren't going well and that's why the position was open. You know that's why I was hired. And so when you come into it with that you're really sort of changed the whole game for everybody right. Doctors and nurses and lab rat and everyone else start to understand that you're not there to win they say jump say how high. You're there to win they say jump say well let's talk about jump and what that means and what he will do. And you know I want to make sure I have your back in all of this and building that partnership make and make all the difference in the world.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:24] That's a great point. Direct you know you've had a really fruitful career and through the abs and flows you've taken some opportunities to turn around bad situations. Can you give the listeners an example of what you did in one particular situation that helped improve outcomes or helped turn the ship in the right direction.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:45] Sure I spend a lot of time but I spend some time thinking about mistakes that I've made and there's a bunch of them right. I mean I don't think you get to do all the different stuff that I've been able to do. And hopefully as well as I've been able to do it without sort of sometimes falling down and. But the important part of that is really getting back up right. So the problem is easily making a mistake easily usually recognizing that there's been a mistake and then admitting it and doing something about it. So you know there was one that I was I really sort of pull out here and talk about kind of tied to the last part of the conversation it was 2008 probably not long after I arrived at Seattle Children's. We had this really tragic patient incident that led to an accident an accidental medication overdose for a patient and the nurse had made a calculation error. And you know the patient was very sick anyway. And all of this sort of combined together to cause the patient passed away and everyone was crushed. I mean the family of course that the family first and foremost. But when it came to the hospital everyone in the hospital family was also crushed after this had happened and the nurse especially and I don't think people really understand until they were through it when a clinician makes an unintentional error and harms the patient they carry that with them for the rest of their lives is really a terrible burden. And so that children as we brought everybody into the auditorium and it was kind of one group after another for several days in a row and at every different shift and we asked the really simple question What can we do keep this from ever happening again. And we got lots of different responses all sorts of feedback on the way that the system and I don't mean the computer system I mean the capitalist system was broken or had a problem. And for my part as a CIO I kept hearing about how I was looking for consistent patterns places where maybe we were making a mistake or there was there was a challenge and a lot of it was run slow currencies and logging on to computers and sometimes I just go by what I remember because it's hard to get PCs to boot up sometimes takes a long time and all of that very generalizable complaint. And I realized through all that and this is really the lesson mistake that I had made for much of my career going back to this idea that information service shops and healthcare organizations are just a service and support department. And as I said earlier we're way more than that. We're partners with our clinicians in the delivery of great care to our patients and families. We're not something separate seriously I think we are part of the delivery care team and rightfully so. Our teammates expect us to have their backs when the going gets tough and if we do this right they'll have our back too. And so back to the Seattle Children's Story. Slow PCs were impacting patient care and patient safety. They were really just sort of another clinician obstacle to getting the right thing done for the patients and family so I decided that what we have to get out of the PC business which sounded like a ridiculous idea but we've been doing a virtual desktop infrastructure pilot inside that apartment. This was 2009 so hardly anybody was really doing health healthcare. And I said as my CTO job in the name of West right now the CTO etc. and I said Dude we have to get out of the PC business somehow. And so we did. It was a massive effort. We had the backing of the CEO. We had partnerships with a lot of great companies like Citrix anextra hop. We pulled almost all the PCs out of production and replaced with 0 clients in virtual desktops kind of follow clinicians around everywhere that they when they booted up in just a few seconds they didn't take their desks. I mean literally just virtually take their desktop home with them and run them on their own PCs or their own Macs at home. And it went a long way toward convincing everyone on the team that the highest department was a partner in their provision of great care to our patients and families not just a service providers. So every piece of work that I do now with CEOs and vendors and startups and investors now includes that very simple point that you made earlier how is what you did adding to the value a larger team. How's it making care delivery now better faster simpler safer easier access patients and families. Our customers and the other part of that is how are you being the kind of partner that everybody wants on their teams. It's got to be part of it. So yeah mistakes as they say mistakes have made a few. But it's kind of how do you how do you recover from those when they happen.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:15] Drex, that's such an amazing story. And you know it sounds like you guys definitely shifted in a big way. You didn't just take an incremental step here you shifted in a big way that was thoughtful. You didn't just innovate you listened which is the number one thing that I think led to you guys making an impact that actually mattered. You listened and I really admired that about you even when we were at the conference I mean you are such a great listener and so you took that and you applied it at mass scale and you got out of the PC business and made it so much easier you became a partner instead of getting in the way of clinician's and I think that's so cool. Thank you for sharing that.

Drex DeFord: [00:15:00] Yeah sure no problem no I think the listening you know listening is a key part of it. It would be easy for me to say I'm working on a book with a friend but I'm working on the very early stages of sort of scratching our head about how would we write a book about yes but listening as a part of the concept of empathy as a leader and as a teammate is a huge deal. Empathy is in many ways empathy is just the key to everything. You have to whether it's your enemy or it's one of your teammates you have to understand where they're coming from and what they think and what they need. If you get that then you're way more likely to put together a plan whatever it is. And I am really lucky to see Seattle Childrens was kind of a big evolutionary change maybe not evolutionary maybe intentionally innovative change to bring better service to my teammates and ultimately to the patients and families. But most of the time those mistakes and those changes are little tiny iterative innovations that make things just a little bit better maybe almost unnoticeable. But the ideas that they build that culture that sort of continues to promote that. So can we make mistakes. We'll figure it out and we'll go from there and everything that we're doing we're not doing perfectly. There are mistakes built into it. Our goal in life should be to find those mistakes and make them less of a mistake or eliminate them in the process. And again if you can do that with empathy in mind you are much more likely to be successful.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:41] That's a great message Drax and you know I think I'm excited for this book when it comes out. Let us know any better.

Drex DeFord: [00:16:48] We'll see if that ever actually turns into a book but it may turn into a series of blog posts or I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:55] Which would be cool too and a little bit later here we'll be able to share your website with the listeners so that they could tap into some of the blog posts that you do. Drex is definitely an amazing contributor not only to his clients but also to the health space as a thought leader. So definitely make sure to check out his info here. We'll provide it to you soon. Drex, not to get in the weeds but you know we had some changes recently with the executive order of Trump. Now what are your thoughts on all of that. You know as we dive into this how do you think that's going to impact health care.

Drex DeFord: [00:17:29] A really kind of set of questions and we could probably spend the whole day talking about those. But I go back to this idea of flexibility and creating organization the table to take advantage of whatever might happen to tear up the old Marine Corps saying simplify I used and tell my things and I and my team today Semper Numbi right. You know always flexible. I don't know what that means ultimately I know that there's a lot of change and I know that there are things that health systems may have been counting on to happen that may or may not happen here today but I think it's pretty clear to me we are running downhill towards value based care and that's going to happen right. So no matter how you slice it whether it's a single government payer or it's a model like we have today with a lot of payers including the government they want to move toward value based care. So the best thing you can do is to keep your eye on that and that's going to happen. How do you go through this process of working with your clinical partners and your payer partners and everyone else that's involved in the healthcare industry. How do you go through this process of making the transition and doing it in a way that makes sense for you and makes sense for your market makes sense for your patients and families if you focus on that. I think the other side you know regulation or regulation there. You'll figure that out. Don't start digging your heels in fee for service and you say I'm not going to do anything until they figure this out because I can tell you there's going to be a really bumpy ride and by the time they figure it out you better already be down the road or you're going to be on the wrong side of that. And today she talks about it.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:14] But Drex and I appreciate you saying that you know. Friends, we have to make sure that we are not distracted by the noise and the things that happen in the news and ensure policy it's noise. But I think direct says has highlighted for us that where the puck is going is value based care. And if you stay focused on that laser focused you're going to get an outstanding performing culture that is in it for the long haul tracks. What's the proudest. One of the proudest medical leadership moments that you've experienced to date.

Drex DeFord: [00:19:49] Wow. I would say that's a tough one to say. I think probably I don't know that it's a particular high or event but it's probably more that people that team teammates that I've worked with over the years the folks that I've coached and mentored. But many of them have coached and mentored me right back. So that's great. I've been left you know fine really smart people who want to do that do the right thing and that really is kind of you know solving our problems. I've been able to mentor some really great folks and gone on to be amazing CIOs and CPA folks like Patrick Thomas who recently retired CIO Scripps and Julie Berry replaced me as CIO steward and of course I can't forget West Wright who was with me in the air force and at Scripts Health and in Seattle Childrens. And I'm proud to have been mentored by some really great people like Ivan Nelson who most people probably knows the founder of Healthlink that owns for health resources. He gave me my first shot as a CEO and then you guys like Ralph dilatory the CEO Stuart who has has a whole different radical way of looking at health care and that has proven to become the new model of healthcare. So from a personal standpoint I would say the things I'm most proud of are probably my time as the time chair of the college healthcare information management executive chair. It's great learning experience for me again surrounded by a bunch of other great CEOs and a great staff led by rich Karylle and Keith Brandenberg. People like that around it's pretty easy to make that things happen. We hired Russ Frenzel the CEO of Time during that during that time period too and that's proven to have a positive long lasting impact on the college. Oh and now I'm I'm the I'm a board member at center gearstick which is best in class healthcare security consulting firm with great we recently Mack McMillan and David just joined us back in February. See this is another one of those things where you scratch your head and go I don't know why these things happen to me or how they happen nothing happened so bad. Back in February we rang the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange and that was just a crazy moment to experience. So a lot of good stuff that happened to me throughout my career. A very lucky guy. I don't know. Wake up every day. Just so you know. Today's the day they're going to find out that it was just not me.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:05] That's awesome. Now directs. I love it. And you know the message friends as you are the average of your five closest peers and. Yeah yeah yeah. And you agree with that right, Drex? Surround yourself with amazing people. You're going to do amazing things if you surround yourself with bad people you can do bad things and so Drex you've been surrounding yourself with amazing people. You're an amazing person and you just continue making things happen in healthcare and I think that's a strong message. Tell us about an exciting project or focus that you're working on today.

Drex DeFord: [00:22:39] Yeah thanks. I'm kind of all over the place I work with health systems and vendors and startups and investors and it's all pretty exciting but I guess I'm going to pick out one thing right now that could turn out to be a very big deal under a product development effort with major health care I.T. and that's no renovation. And one of their vendor integration partners can provide a lot of details. Unfortunately because we're kind of in the early stages of it and under NDA if we figure out how to create this product in the right way and if we can do it at the right price point I think we could kind of radically change the way healthcare organizations deliver services to clinicians eliminate distractions improve workflow getting vitality out of the way eating technology out of the way is a huge deal that I've discovered over the course of my career and in the hospitals and clinics where we pilot and clinicians have fallen in love with it. And I guess most of all I would say you know it's not just a technology solution it's a workflow driven solution that's enabled by great tech. So I'm in the early stages right now doing that. Tell me why this is a stupid idea. Discussions with healthcare execs across the country and so solve the hidden probably Southern California in Dallas during the end of the year and it all plays out I'll be able to tell you a lot more about it in 2018.

Saul Marquez: [00:23:59] Way to put a hook in. I love it. Keep up with your blog to make sure that I know what's going on but this sounds exciting so and if you're anything Drex. I'm sure that there's something there so really appreciate you sharing that. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine today. That's the one of course or the ABC is of Drex DeFord and so we're going to write out a syllabus for questions. It's going to be a lightning round. Then finish up with a book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready.

Drex DeFord: [00:24:33] Ok I'm ready.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:34] Awesome. What is the best way to improve healthcare outcomes.

Drex DeFord: [00:24:38] Yeah that one's easy. We've already talked about it remember always that the customers the patient family it's easy to lose that truth. Air quotes truth in the complex and chaotic healthcare environment that we've built. But that's that's true for us. For all the other stuff that we do in our industry.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:57] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Drex DeFord: [00:25:00] I would go back to prioritization. You have to focus your energy on a limited number of things if you really want your organization to make a difference and if you can't do that then it's hard to understand what you really stand for you have to focus.

Saul Marquez: [00:25:13] How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change.

: [00:25:18] Yeah I talked about this earlier to embrace the suck. OK change her. It's no fun. We don't like it as humans. I actually did write a blog post about a year ago about healthcares antibodies to change and how we seem to have people who have has an additional position description stop all things from changing and they come out of the woodwork when you have a new idea and they just attack it and your organization and you have to get rid of those people. You have to embrace the. You have to create that organization that's nimble and agile and really to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. One of the quotes I use all the time is from Darwin and actually not from Darwin I always say that Darwin is misquoted as not the strong who survive those who can change the quickest. Right. So in today's environment it's not the big fish the small fish it's the fastest and the slope. So don't be a slippage.

Saul Marquez: [00:26:12] Love it. Embrace the suck and wonder one. I love that. I'm going to put that in a quote right here my recording booth that extracts you made the booth ball what what's one area of focus that should drive all else in the company.

Drex DeFord: [00:26:27] In my company. And remember I'm really a solo independent consultant so it's just me but for me it's about working on hard problems number one. Number two that make a difference to patients and families. And number three working with people that I like or people that I think are smart and that I can learn from. So I mean that's for me. Those are the three things that that helped drive me or were different people and those are pretty broad. So there's a lot of things that can wind up getting into those arrangements but that's what works for me.

Saul Marquez: [00:27:00] And finally Drez what book would you recommend to the listeners.

Drex DeFord: [00:27:04] So now I read lot more than I ever have work. So can I give you a couple. Actually.

Saul Marquez: [00:27:08] Absolutely. Give us a go.

Drex DeFord: [00:27:11] I would say Jay Samit Disrupt you. There's hope back and great ideas in that book and it's a pretty easy read and you'll put new stuff from the book to work every day. And even as he read the book Jay Samit Discrupt you and then I had another really good book called Give and Take Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant. This was a book that was a friend of mine Jeremy Shumack who's the CEO of Blue Tree. He's become a good friend of the last couple of years. He actually gifted that book to me at one point after an early conversation and as Shaw says that giving away your time to others is just good karma. And in the end you get it you get back way more than the universe has a way of balancing themselves. So I really like that book. And then I'm also in the process of reading just finishing now the subtle art of not giving a by Mark Manson of that book that's actually a quick fun read and it drives home the point that you only have so much energy so you have to relentlessly prioritise and all of that for me a lot of it was just reinforcing the way that I kind of go through life anyway but it's good to have that reaffirmation of history I really like life. There's a lot of a lot of great books out there but those are the stories that I would say.

Saul Marquez: [00:28:33] There's the top three so listeners we have an amazing syllabus here put together for you with three amazing books go to and you'll be able to find that syllabus as well as the shownotes for the things that we discussed with Drex and and so don't worry about writing any of the stuff down all the links will be there. Drex, before we conclude. Please share a closing thought with the listeners and then the best place where they get in touch with you including your blog site that we've talked about.

Drex DeFord: [00:29:05] You know. So my blog site is really not nearly as good at this as I probably should be. So the blog stuff that I write usually is on Linkedin cool you know so you can publish stuff there now and I don't write nearly as often as much as I should. But you have an author has not fluff that you can find me on LinkedIn of course and then Web site is really simple. www. I know you can always email me at I'm pretty good about responding. Follow me on Twitter and @drexdeford. I know Donald Trump but I do tweet about some pretty cool stuff from time to time and like I said I'm very particular on LinkedIn so I get a kick out of hearing what everybody's working on and closing thought that's a good one. I think I'll talk about this probably as a personal thing but right if you do the right thing you have integrity that's probably to me the most important personal trait to have. In the end it is new. I think in the end you only have your reputation and that really ensure your integrity and you know for everybody listening to this you were raised right. You know the right thing to do and if you're in turmoil about it because you feel like something that you're going there is a gray area. Go ask your mentor or ask somebody you admire they can help you with that. So if you start with integrity as an anchor then everything you do will make sense. You know people right all seem to fit and it will be consistent. And so do the right thing. That would be my my final word.

Saul Marquez: [00:30:38] I love it. Drex thank you so much for sharing that and really appreciate your taking the time to be on the show with us. Spent some really great time talking about some valuable things and I know the listeners are going to get a lot out of it. So really appreciate your time.

Drex DeFord: [00:30:52] Oh my pleasure. Keep up the great job of podcasts. I mean you are you're interviewing some really cool and interesting people. I love that you do the show notes. It's really easy to get to and listen to. And you know when you're driving in your car whatever. It's really great till you're doing a good service. And so you know speaking for me. But I think probably for a lot of your listeners thanks this has been great.

: [00:31:18] Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Disrupt You!: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation 
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

The Best Way To Contact Drex:


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Outcomes Rocket Podcast

Helping Physicians and Patients Make More Informed Decisions with S. Thacher Hussain, Patient Advocate, and Front End Developer at WiserCare, Inc.

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Welcome back once again to the outcomes bracket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders. I invite you to go to to rate and review the podcast And I have an amazing guest for you today. Her name is Thacher Hussain. She's a software developer and patient advocate. She's currently serving as a front end developer at Wiser Care Incorporated in Seattle. Her focus is definitely in clinical situations preferences and values aimed to give more confident treatment decisions to both patients as well as physicians and clinicians. She's done a lot of things as a patient advocate as well. She's motivated by her own diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes and she's become very active in improving the healthcare ecosystem for both patients and providers. Whether it's speaking writing or just using her skills as a developer she is fully committed to helping patients find their voice and providers learn how to best support these patients without further ado. I just want to open up the microphone to this amazing woman and welcome you to the podcast, Thacher.

Thacher Hussain: [00:01:31] Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:32] It is a pleasure to have you. And I wanted to ask you what got you involved into this system to begin with.

Thacher Hussain: [00:01:40] Yeah actually I was an industrial and systems engineer in university. I guess I am an investor engineer now and I had the opportunity as the senior to do some research where that point is somewhat new field of healthcare engineering and it was the first time I felt like I was doing something big with what I was good at and so that was a real sort of game changer for me. Going from a student thing you like to solve problems to hey look this is something where there's a real area for improvement and something that I think I can help with. And so that actually well before my diagnosis set me in the healthcare direction.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:24] That is so cool and it's so neat that you found it pretty quickly out of the gates just a way to apply the things that you're amazing at in a field where you get the sense of gratification and that you're making an impact.

Thacher Hussain: [00:02:37] Yeah absolutely. And I mean for better or worse health care has a long way to go. So on the one hand as an engineering problem solver that's a great problem. The other hand you know as a patient and looking to help providers. We've got some good news to make.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:53] For sure for sure. Totally agree. Betcher what would you say should be on every medical leaders agenda today. And how are you guys focused on this particular topic.

Thacher Hussain: [00:03:03] Yeah I I'd say bringing patients into the process is probably the thing. And so there's some. But beyond that is really just working as a team with all parties involved. Sometimes you get patient advocates speaking and not to notice at all if the patient narrative the diagnosis message definitely has to be heard and it's something that I've spoken to as well. But we need to take the next step and go towards obtaining discussions between doctors and patients and the entire care team. So turning that into productive discussion to not only bringing patients into the process of bringing patients caregivers whether it be pharma or trials and having an entire conversation that need to be everyone in a room physical conversation but making sure that all parties involved who the care of this patient on the design of this product or whatever task you're addressing are all involved at every possible stage so that you don't get something like a product that's been built phenomenally by your researchers and engineers that hasn't seen review from either a doctor or a patient when you're already getting to prototyping and those are just gashing that should be happening well before you are talking about anything physical.

Saul Marquez: [00:04:23] Yeah I think this is great you know and blowing it down to the basics right you've got to have the people involved in the problem. All in the room. You can't move forward on this. Every single person all the stakeholders are in the room. What is it that you all are doing where you're at now Thacher to make this happen.

Thacher Hussain: [00:04:40] Yeah I'd say probably most in my independent work that's something that I'm trying to help our organizations to do. I'm being grateful to have opportunities like Medicaid and Health 2.0 to really speak to larger groups of physicians and professionals. He has as much power as we have as patients we really need the buy in from the medical teams in order to make that conversation happen. So even just free up the idea you know whether that's professionally a software developer. I get to have input on how we build our platform to help doctors and patients make more informed decisions that are going there and so that is definitely a piece of what I think about bringing my perspective as a patient into what I do as an engineer. Every time I'm building something like OK how now that we've built it and where does it still fit what we're looking for for the patient. So really just trying to promote that model of decision making with bringing all your stakeholders like you said to the table and making sure those decisions, direction, mission whatever whether it's an idea or project to me an idea or product or a physical promise that it's coming through with all of the expertise that you have access to. Nothing should be wasted. You want to hear from every doctor with an important opinion. You want to hear from every caregiver every patient every researcher has something to give you or make sure you're taking advantage of that.

Saul Marquez: [00:06:13] I think that's absolutely point. And you know a lot of times we get into situations and we neglect including the people as part of the decision and that's when things fall through the cracks and we don't achieve our actual goals or the implementation or the product that we had in mind doesn't exactly go as as needed. And so listeners, there's a great note to take from Thacher in the things that you have will be a device company pharma or provider or physician. Just making sure that you're always including the different people that are at the table. Thacher. Can you give us an example of something that you guys recently developed or an experience that you recently had a story of how you've been able to do this successfully.

Thacher Hussain: [00:06:58] Yeah absolutely. I'd say 4 with wiser care as a decision support platform. We really aim to take into account both physicians and patients and then being research fact as well. So we're taking into account the physician prescribes our platform essentially to the patient at the time of diagnosis. For example prostate cancer is one of our models that we use. And then the patient goes with this thing rather than having to make immediate decisions you know on the spot with the doctor which let's be real no one's making single decisions after receiving a diagnosis like that. There is absolutely no way that your calm and rational laugh and have enough information to make a decision. So that's what the problem that we're trying to address in giving the patient access to this forum to be able to really learn and go through and apply their preferences so that they're best prepared and going back for that discretion with the doctor because there are things that we can't change you know in a heartbeat or tomorrow or even next year you know that 20 minute conversation with a doctor if we get any longer for insurance reasons for practical reasons for staffing reasons. But how can we optimize that time and so that was a product. You know we talked to physicians all the time and are using the product we go through the schedulers and clinic admin to make sure that the patients are being heard in every way that we can bring the opinion to to me those opinions and to the way that we build the product. That's what we're doing.

Saul Marquez: [00:08:41] Very very powerful and you know I just go back to a year ago you know I had had a friend that just from one minute to the next like he got diagnosed with some pretty bad cancer and within a couple of months he was gone. And this was a year ago and it just you know being on the outskirts of that I was even just I was at a loss for words and just trying to have to make decisions decision that. Imagine being that patient receiving that news and what you do to decide on your care and the time frame that these physicians have Thacher. Like you said is just so limited. I think it's wonderful that you guys are putting together programs and software and tools to help maximize that time. So I think that was a great sharing. Thank you for that.

Thacher Hussain: [00:09:27] Yeah absolutely. It's something that I really believe in and I think that this product is going to help a lot of people.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:33] Thacher you're you as a software developer and patient no better than anybody else that there are bumps in the road and that on the way to figuring it out there's bumps in the road. Can you share with us a time when you had a setback and what you learned from it.

Thacher Hussain: [00:09:49] Yeah absolutely. From a more personal perspective here I am different type 1 diabetics or people with diabetes depending on who you talk to and how they like to be referred to. We'll have differing opinions on that. But for me every time I have a bad low blood glucose event that's a failure for me. Failure is a strong word. I'd say maybe more of a mistake than a failure but because of the system that I use the open artificial pancreas. Augments pumps that are insulin pump that I wear combined with a blood glucose monitor continuous blood glucose monitor every failure is not necessarily only food or exercise or behavior. For me I get to sort of abstract and look at it as a system failure or an engineering troubleshooting exercise. So it's not necessarily something that I have to feel emotionally bad about although that is definitely from a patient perspective it's really hard to separate out what is my fault and what is negative about fattier versus what is something that is out of my control. But I like to really try to turn that around every single time and figure out what I can learn from it and whether that hey you know 45 minutes on the treadmill it's five minutes too long or hey I had an interruption in their service and my system went off line for half an hour and I didn't notice. And I got stuck at a basal radio. What have you been into those details but being able to break that down and very engineering type way and sort of postmortem for the worst word ever. I guess you review what the possible causes for there were how to best address those. Next time is really helpful for me and definitely killing that mistake around to learning plane is helpful in every way I can think of.

Saul Marquez: [00:11:50] Love it. A great great example Thacher especially one that you're living with and so many millions of Americans and people across the world are living with. And it's something that when you take it to the system's level it's something that can be applied very very elegantly that it like Google says you've got a fail forward and don't do things personally right. Better look at the system things that could be improved at potential connectivity issues or whatever it could be so that you could fix as many of the variables as possible so that when you move forward you have a system that's working really well. So I love your example because it applies so much to the individual level as much as it does to the systems level. And just thank you so much for sharing that personal story. Absolutely. What about on the other side of a proud medical leadership moment that you had or can you share one with the listeners.

Thacher Hussain: [00:12:43] Yeah absolutely. I think and I was thinking about this listening to some of your other episodes which I love by the way you're doing a phenomenal job.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:51] Thank you.

Thacher Hussain: [00:12:52] I think being heard as a patient and this has happened in more public and more private moments as far as individual doctors coming up to me and saying you know I hadn't thought about it that way or I didn't consider this that or the other that I honestly believe that everyone in healthcare is coming from a place of wanting to help. And that's something I think that gets lost sometimes. So being heard as a patient and getting that narrative across to people who may not think about that every day because that is my every day. And so being able to hear from other people OK they're thinking about something in X Y or Z. From that perspective but then being able to turn that around and say you know yeah building a better more efficient fill in the blank is very important. But have you considered the emotional ramifications of that product. You're asking a person to wear a nebulizer mask 12 hours a day. Have you thought about the fact that they have three children under five. Completely absolutely not. It's little things like that. So if I can help one physician ask one more question with one more patient I'll consider that.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:12] Love it. This is awesome. And you know there's no doubt Thacher that you're definitely leading the way here as a voice for the patient and advocate. And so keep doing what you're doing because what you're doing is inspiring others to do the same and you're being the CEO of your own health care and that's what matters that's what's going to make this entire experience for other people powerful. So kudos to you and your leadership in this field.

Thacher Hussain: [00:14:39] Thank you so much.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:41] So Thatcher let's talk about an exciting project that you're working on today. Anything you want to share or can share.

Thacher Hussain: [00:14:47] Yeah absolutely. I have a project that I'm working on the pet project for sure but oh I think it's relevant to what we've been talking about. I met a friend who I guess made a new friend from the accelerator program through Diabetes Hands Foundation. Almost a year ago now and I was struck. She's a diabetic educator in Costa Rica also a type 1 diabetic and I'm very into all of the technology stuff as we've talked about and the products I went with there was taking using Apple Halket and taking the data that coming out of the continuous glucose monitor and putting it in a format that is more conducive to a system Diprose could continue that theme and to be able to see your patterns more easily. But I had almost a 180 degree pivot after having conversations with her and a couple other people at that event because I realize how lucky I am to have access to the care that I do. The fact that I live in a country where insulin pumps and continuous glucose those are available that I'm in a position where I have insurance and can afford that. And while this is not sort of a woe with me or you know any sort of thing like that realizing that where she is that and the patient that she's dealing with they don't even have access to continuous glucose monitors. Financial yes but even taking a step back and not even available in order to have a continuous glucose monitor in Costa Rica. You have to go through with the U.S. which has numerous regulatory and financial affects that just make it completely out of reach for the majority of people. So taking the idea that I had to bring in two basal rates was that was what I was looking at something in diabetes care. If you don't have your basal rate right you know it's just there's nothing else that's going to go right free throws like if you don't have the ground floor the rest your house can collapse. Yep. So in order to get that right for people who are probably on long acting insulin pens are shot and not having access to an insulin pump. How do we help those people find to their base. All right. And so that's something I'm working on with her now taking my software expertise. I'm looking at building an application that can be deployed and now we're looking at a whole different kind of project restraint. So rather than oh this is really cool let's use Apple healthcare. We're going to build on IOS. We can't build on IOS are expensive. Now those are really expensive and not attainable for a lot of people. All right we're building on android Data wireless data is not as reliable and some people can't afford plans that are going to have the amount of data that someone like us in the U.S. has access to. So it needs to be something that's solidly on the phone. So these are things that I've now visited and are we are addressing from a totally different perspective and I'm just so grateful to have met her and to be able to see. I was going to say this strong from another angle but really just this whole different problem that because of the perspective or how has me. I hadn't even thought about before so that I like set up a pet project something that I am working on with this friend and on my own trying to get a prototype out of her as fast as possible so you can see there's also very high. Yeah I was quickly as possible don't get the user feedback and you build a better product but hoping to finish that soon at least get the first round out.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:38] You had that sure. This is exciting and you're working on this amazing thing to help people. And the reality is I think what's going to end up happening is here in the states as well. We've got this you know social determinants of health that affect patients that don't have access to a lot of these things even though they're available. And I was reading an article by Jane Saranson Kahn she talks about how broadband. You know having broadband connection can be a social determinant of health because you know you can get access to information or whatever you know. And so I think what you're doing even though you may not see it right now I think it's going to have its applications here in the States too.

Thacher Hussain: [00:19:21] And it's definitely an interesting thing to consider I'll have to look at that article.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:25] Yeah I'll send it to you. And so wow super cool. Thank you for sharing. And it's like you know my side project. I'm just shipping out solutions to solve diabetes and other nations. It's already a Thacher.

Thacher Hussain: [00:19:39] That's a grand a grand statement for what I definitely feel health project. But I will I will accept.

: [00:19:46] That's so awesome. I love you for that you keep it so simple. You're very humble. Keep doing what you're doing. So awesome. All right. This is crazy how fast time flies when you're having fun. So we're here to the end. Let's pretend you and I are building a leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine. Except now it's the ABCs of Thacher Hussein. But this is going to be all about using software and patient focus and health care. So I got four questions for you followed by a book for the syllabus that we're building for the listeners are you ready?

Thacher Hussain: [00:20:16] Yup.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:16] All right. What's the best way to improve health care outcomes with software.

Thacher Hussain: [00:20:20] Work with your whole team all parties included your patient your MDs, clinician and your researchers.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:28] What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid with patients.

Thacher Hussain: [00:20:32] Thinking that you got this and that you know everything that you need to know because no matter who you are on the team that's not true.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:41] Love it. How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change she could answer that one. However you see fit

Thacher Hussain: [00:20:48] Stay curious stay hungry.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:49] And what's one area of focus should drive everything else in your organization.

Thacher Hussain: [00:20:54] Helping people live better.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:55] And what book would you recommend Thacher for the listeners to read.

Thacher Hussain: [00:20:58] A little bit of her are related but Man's Search for Meaning.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:05] I love that.

Thacher Hussain: [00:21:06] Yeah it's one of my absolute favorite. It's applicable to everyone.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:10] Victor Frankl.

Thacher Hussain: [00:21:11] It was a game changer yeah.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:12] Oh my god.

Thacher Hussain: [00:21:13] The game changer when I read it.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:15] Totally couldn't agree with you more listeners. Great book. Amazing tidbits here. Pearls of wisdom from Thatcher. All these things are available to you. Don't worry about writing them down. Just go to That's t h a c h e r. Thacher. This has been amazing so much fun. Before I conclude I'd love if you could just share a closing thought with the listeners and the best place where they could reach out to you and follow you.

Thacher Hussain: [00:21:40] Yeah I'd say as opposing just brings humility empathy and passion into everything that you do and you can't go wrong. Something that I try to remember from myself every day. And then as far as finding me you can find me on the Twitter @thacherT1D or on my website.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:08] Love it. Love it.

Thacher Hussain: [00:22:11] There's a link to my professional portfolio on there too but I think that one is more relevant hold that if you don't recension.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:18] It's beautiful I love it.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:21] There's like my favorite url now.

Thacher Hussain: [00:22:23] It came from a from my first Facebook post after I was diagnosed and I didn't know how to process it so I process by writing letters to diabetes. That was the first letter that is so short and sweet.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:37] That is so cool. Well listeners all these things if you want to get a hold of Thacher just go to and you'll find I'll put her twitter link in there I'll put her dear diabetes you suck website and make sure you get in touch with you of something she said resonated with you. Thacher. This has been so much fun. Really appreciate you jumping on the podcast with us.

Thacher Hussain: [00:22:57] Yes absolutely, thanks for having me. Keep doing what you're doing. I love I love listening to your episodes.

Saul Marquez: [00:23:03] Thank you.

: [00:23:07] Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes resources inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Man's Search for Meaning

The Best Way To Contact Thacher:

Mentioned Link/s:
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Find Out How to Win Investment Money and Support from Bayer for your Startup with Anna Lorenz, Global Innovation Manager at Bayer

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez: [00:00:17] Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders. I thank you for tuning in and I welcome you to go to where you could rate and review our outstanding guests. Today we have an amazing guest. Her name is Anna Lorenz. She's the Global Innovation Manager and grants for APS US program coordinator at Bayer. She's doing some amazing things for healthcare. She's really just such an open minded enthusiastic and amazing team player very curious on work and in new challenges very analytical and outcomes driven that's why we have her on today's podcast. Her background is in business and she's also got a really awesome background. Half German, half Dutch. Now we get to have her here in the U.S. So I really want to open up the mic to Anna as a continuation of our previous guests that we had. Eugene Borukhovich and so Anna I just want to extend a warm welcome to you on the podcast.

Anna Lorenz: [00:01:23] Thank you so much for having me and for the amazing intro.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:27] Oh you're an amazing person and an amazing person needs an amazing intro and. And so and you know you've got a business background but now you're with Bayer you've been with Bayer for for a few years now. What got you into health care.

Anna Lorenz: [00:01:42] Yeah I was actually purely by chance to be honest. I spent some time in the automotive industry. I really loved it. I had a great experience there. But after I finished my university and everything I looked for something that was very operational focus position I looked for something more strategic and I found something at Bayer. And I just thought thought that was going to be a really interesting challenge to tackle and I dove into it. And I've actually come to love the healthcare sector very much because it gives you the opportunity you truly have an impact on improving lives are at you and working towards a better tomorrow. Instead of like yeah about a tomorrow compared to yesterday which was in the automotive industry. More of the fun aspect which was great and having a really nice more luxurious car is an amazing piece too but it just doesn't have that feel of you're providing something of value to society.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:45] Yeah you know and I share that with you too. You know I've been in health care for 10 years and it's that impact right the things that you do are affecting lives and it's so so powerful.

Anna Lorenz: [00:02:57] Yeah absolutely.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:59] Anna what would you say. You know you guys are doing some really interesting things that Bayer now. What would you say a hot topic that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda today. What is it?

Anna Lorenz: [00:03:10] Honestly exactly why what brought me into health care here is it's creating a better tomorrow. And I think that right now we run into so many regulations and processes and all of these things that have been out there for for such a long time they're somewhat antiquated compared like especially for the digital solutions that we work on. And it's really is about pushing the boundaries as much as you can and pushing towards a more futuristic scenario and the whole frame that we're operating in.

Saul Marquez: [00:03:47] Yeah and it's definitely an interesting point right. It's one of those things where you we have to challenge ourselves as healthcare leaders to think beyond the current health care box. And what would you say Bayer is doing today to do that within your realm of responsibility.

Anna Lorenz: [00:04:08] Yes so I think Eugene already gave a really nice overview of our T4A that stems from the grant frappes program is already doing and there's a lot of activity there which is amazing to see and I feel really honored now to be part of our US part of this program. So we just launched our T4A generator it's called the U.S. consumer focused one which is looking to advance healthcare together with a greater ecosystem. So we're actually looking right now it's open for applications for like minded health care innovators in this space and for challenge areas from self care in general nutrition support external pain management and skin and some protection to work with us and strike a tragic deal with Bayer to actually to gather advance self care and help fulfill the full potential of health care.

Saul Marquez: [00:05:01] That's awesome. And listeners ears just perked up because you're a startup that's been working on something or for your company that's already gotten off and running but something that that Anna said resonates with you and you want to participate. We're going to be including the specs that they're looking for on the show notes as well as a link so that you could get engaged with that and has been gracious enough to give us all that information and give that to you here so in the midst of your search and you know what what is it that you're looking for in these in these these entrepreneurs. What characteristics. What types of things are you looking for?

Anna Lorenz: [00:05:47] So we truly look for ready to go solutions. So we're looking more to more towards to towards more mature start ups that we can really work with and commercialize something really quickly to bring valuable new product solutions service model whatever whatever frame it or whatever. Whatever form it may take to to really help our consumers live a better and healthier life. So it's about partnering and that's set. So in those four challenge areas there are some really detailed outline for each of the challenges on our webpage Sonti for a generator dot com you can read up exactly what the team is looking for what types of solutions they have in mind and what specific problem and what is that they desire abilities they want to fall for the consumers.

Saul Marquez: [00:06:43] Beautiful and given that you guys are extending this program to the U.S. something that already was extended in Europe. Things are working sounds like. Can you give us an example of some of the results that have come out from the Europe Program.

Anna Lorenz: [00:06:59] Sure. So I think the biggest success of course right away was a pharma company opening up to this conversation and starting to engage with the ecosystem when Berlin started it which was believe it or it 5 years ago we were definitely the first one up there and the team did an amazing job until they we had in Berlin the biggest ever so healthy. And last year for example for the kickoff et cetera. So there's been a lot of traction and connections that were made. And I think it took a bit of a time as well to really see where the value lies in actually working together and what kind of results and what type of outcome you can bring together and when you connect these to the big pharma company and the startup world. And we're really seeing this take off right now. So it's really exciting to see. They also just added a new program to the original accelerator which is much closer to where we base our generator on. It was cold or cold deal. It's really about bringing in ready to go solution to work with and and start a project together collaborate and bring it to life or bring it to the masses. And I think that within other major staff and really seeing what could be possible if you bring the two to growth together.

Saul Marquez: [00:08:20] That is that's pretty awesome. And you know I really appreciate the openness that that you your team Beyer's is as is approaching the market with and just saying hey you know what we could come up with a lot of great things on our own but we've got to be open to the innovations. Others especially the smaller entrepreneurs already have up and running solutions that could be nimble and make changes because when you get into a bigger organization like like Bayer or a bigger organization you know the big names it's hard to be nimble and. And so what would you say about that.

Anna Lorenz: [00:09:01] No absolutely. I think we we definitely realize that there are certain things that we're just not past that. Then there's also things things that we might not want to be the best at because there are others that can do it much much better much quicker much more agile. And I think that with the major learning from me personally as we coming into this world to see that there is really a huge amount of things that we can profit from each other from and instead of working in parallel on challenges where nobody really gets as quickly to help the consumer as we all want to. It makes much more sense to just really work together and help people live better lives. As soon as possible.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:45] Well there's there's no doubt and super insightful Anna and there's absolutely zero doubt in my mind that Bayer is leading the way with this. You guys are doing such an amazing job is just creating these solutions. And so it's exciting to see that you guys are expanding the program to the US. I'm thrilled to see this opportunity and listeners again you know make sure that you visit it's B A Y E R you're going to find all the specs there with the link that Anna is going to share. now Anna, what would you say through the process the time that you've been in health a mistake or a setback that you had and what you learned from that.

Anna Lorenz: [00:10:32] Honestly there's been multiple and I think yeah to be honest my biggest takeaway which I really love is seeing that at the end of the day they've all had some type of value either. iF there are so many things that we did now that we wouldn't have been able to do if he hadn't done that mistake. Way back when or if you had just tried and seen how it works. And I think especially now with the generator program he really went about it in an agile way. We we created it we went and basically prelaunch it and helped 2.0 last year in September before we even had a timeline or an exact concept nailed down. But really open up and talk to all the startup that were there and into other innovators and say hey let's create it together let's hear your thoughts on how how should we shake this up and what you need. What what do you need from us to say. And I think that that was one of my major experience to see in that process honestly we went from left to right and up and down and it was such an interesting and interesting process of creating it and what we thought it was going to be the whole page or the Web site tomorrow it looked completely different the day after that. And that was to me the major saying really take away and say at the end of the day every single every single failure made it made a shape the way it is right now and that wouldn't have been as good if we hadn't done that.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:10] Now that's a great great story. I had the opportunity to run in a couple of your folks out at the Health 2.0 meeting and it was definitely interesting to see you guys in action. Listeners you got to just do it. Get out there. Work it out. Find a solution. Don't let perfection drive your solution. Perfection is the lowest standard you can have and if you take the words of wisdom from Anna here you know what they did with their program as they went out there they got feedback and in the end their website was completely different than what they thought it was going to be. And that's oftentimes what happens when you get that candid feedback from the users. Anna tell us about one of your proudest leadership moments to date at Bayer.

Anna Lorenz: [00:12:59] Honestly is that that's working in this specific program. So working to bring a program like g4 generator to life has been really my proudest moment so far maybe I'm biased because I'm currently still in it.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:13] It's great to see though.

Anna Lorenz: [00:13:15] Yeah I know it is. It feels like you actually create something that's that consumers react to positively just as much as the startup world does. And it's back to this. That's my first sentence earlier. It feels like you're actually creating something impactful and that's really what I love about it so much.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:35] Well it's definitely something to be proud of Anna. You're leaving your fingerprint on the lives of the people that are gonna use whatever comes out of this and that's pretty amazing to have been part of something like that and I'm excited to keep up with where this goes and listeners you'll you'll definitely have to keep up with where the program goes. Get involved if you if you fall into the qualification specs of it because these folks are definitely doing some interesting things in health care. The focus right now is obviously the program in the U.S.. Anna what about that program are you looking to focus on here within the next six months.

Anna Lorenz: [00:14:17] So we're open right now into March 23rd. So that'll keep us busy right now getting the word out. Then of course we need to evaluate pick our finalists that will be invited to that they kickoff event in New York in May we'll pick the winners there. And they get to xey. Well everybody who comes to the event gets to meet all of the final FXE and talk to the startups there. But of course the winners will also automatically get a letter of intent and a cash prize to really strike this project dealing get get Alpha get started right away basically and writing. Yes so that that will be my main focus for the next weeks and months to come let's say and then we'll of course have to work on on making these these partnerships and collaborations as impactful as possible.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:07] Wonderful. So it's so exciting and you guys are moving so fast so end of March the applications are due and may. You guys are going to be moving and shaking with some decisions and some cash prizes. It's just I love the speed at which you guys work it's so so inspiring.

Anna Lorenz: [00:15:27] We definitely try to be quick.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:30] You sure are. So. So again we're launching this episode immediately listeners. Make sure you take advantage of this. OK. And let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine. It is the 101 of Anna Lorenz. And so we're going to write out a syllabus for questions lightning round style followed by a book and a podcast that you recommend to the listeners. You ready.

Anna Lorenz: [00:16:00] Sure.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:01] Awesome. What is the best way to improve health outcomes.

Anna Lorenz: [00:16:06] So there is such a such a basic response but I feel at least from my own experience we've not really inherited it yet. It's really to get out there and understand your consumers. So somebody really interesting we sat just yesterday to me if you want to know the life of the alliance don't go to the zoo go to the Safari or go to like go to the actual and make their actual place where they're free. And it's the same with the consumers. I think if we spend way too much time in the past focusing on assumptions and watching our consumers and focus groups or other ways ways where it's just bias and it's not the real life situation and you really don't see what their day to day pain and what keeps them up at night. And I think that's one of the main things if you truly understand that only then you can also really react and work on these issues.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:00] Love it. What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Anna Lorenz: [00:17:05] Perfection. We talked about that earlier and I'm totally with you on that.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:09] Yes. How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change of changes everywhere.

Anna Lorenz: [00:17:18] You should go with the change and not just go with a change shape the change. Be the one who does the change.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:25] What's one area of focus that should drive everything else in your organization.

Anna Lorenz: [00:17:32] So our I think our mission assigned for a better life right. So to me it's really innovation in all areas to create better tomorrows and improve the lives that we have today.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:45] Beautiful what book and what podcasts would you recommend.

Anna Lorenz: [00:17:51] So this may be really people will be surprised but I absolutely recommend Lean In which is from Sheryl Sandberg a book about women and leadership. But that's why it's so interesting it's baffling not just for women and it's not just about leadership. I mean the title already says that lean in and it's inspired me. I've read it five times at different stages in my life and I've learned. Every time something new and at the end of the day like the title says that lean men change your environment and play things that new you think need changing speak up and dare to be that person who pushes the boundaries.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:32] I love that line and listeners lean in to health care and what podcasts would you recommend.

Anna Lorenz: [00:18:40] Honestly I have. That's one of the things I have. There's so many interesting things out there. I would just take your main topic. What keeps you up at night like right now and that may change next week. So definitely just go look and pick that one. And there's so many good things out there and we're listening to one right now I hope.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:03] Thank you Anna. Yeah and you know the reason why I put this question in here it's a newer one Anna about the podcast is because I definitely believe that podcasts have the potential to provide inspiration resources and and the reason why we started outcomes rocket is to just just get rid of the silos and open up the conversation so to Ana's point listeners whatever your cup of tea is or whatever your challenges go to your Google podcasts or go to your apple podcasts or just google a podcast about whatever it is that you're looking for and I promise you it's probably out there or there's somebody talking about it and it's the best way to find your tribe. It's the best way to find the people that are that care about what you care about and do what you do so. And I love that response is just such such a great great insight for the listeners to approach podcasts with.

Anna Lorenz: [00:19:56] Absolutely.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:58] Anna before we conclude I would love if you could just share a closing thought with the listeners and then the best place where they could get in touch with you or follow you.

Anna Lorenz: [00:20:07] Sure. So I had to write a little innovation story for our internal page two years ago and I was thinking about so many there are so many amazing quotes out there and so inspirational and I had to pick one right and I picked the one and I still love it. Two years later. Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try. So just go out there and try and push it and keep going. And I have it up on my desk and I look at it every day and I still still follow it. I hope you read the best. I think I'm all of the social media these days. But I think my best the best bet will be Twitter. I'm there as an AnnaLe299 and tweeting a lot about digital health and topics a topic that keeps me up at night right now.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:57] I love it and there's no doubt that you have inspired and encouraged the listeners to lean in and were excited to see what happens with the decision that you guys make there at Bayer so Anna we're going to keep up with you guys and I really appreciate the time that you've carved out for us.

Anna Lorenz: [00:21:15] Thank you so much for having me.

: [00:21:20] Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www, for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg

The Best Way To Contact Anna and the Bayer Team:

Anna Lorenz on LinkedIn

Anna Lorenz on Twitter

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Outcomes Rocket Podcast - Michael Fratkin

How to Improve Care Giver Well-Being with Dr. Michael Fratkin, Director/Founder at ResolutionCare

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:18] Outcomes Rocket listeners welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders really want to thank you for tuning in again and I invite you to go to leave us a rating and review through Apple podcasts. This gives us the information that we need to get this show to be amazing for you so that you could go back and improve outcomes with what you do so without further ado, I have an amazing guest for you today. His name is Dr. Michael Fratkin. He's a director and founder at Resolution care. They've done an amazing job. It's really been just an opportunity for them to follow their mission to bring capable and compassionate care to everyone everywhere. They use innovative technology payment models and strength of the community to help their patients. But more importantly the people that they help go through the end stages of life. I want to open up the microphone to Michael so he could open up that introduction with anything that I may have missed. Welcome to the podcast Dr. Fratkin.

Michael Fratkin: [00:01:26] Thank you so much, please call me Michael as he started to and I think he gave me like four amazing in that introductions I'm not sure having a go at all is amazing. No the work that we do is amazing that people gather together and do the work are amazing people we care for amazing. So I see your for amazing. And for more.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:51] I love it. And you know one of the things I really appreciate you Michael is just your you're a very present individual. And it's something that is valuable in today's day in health care. A lot of times they leave the care out of health care and I think you do a really amazing job of that. So let me ask you what got you into this sector to begin.

Michael Fratkin: [00:02:13] Oh I am myself I'm 55 years old. I'm a dad and my husband brother. So I got great friends I hope to be a great friend if that's what they say at the end of my life, Michael is a great friend would be a pretty good cash for my life. I started my exploration around serious illness and like when I was just early in college and a friend of mine who was gay and I started talking about all the young men that were dying of HIV. And he didn't know that I knew he was gay. That's a sort of suicide. I was worried because I was watching the stories about a young man coming out into the world having their full experience and to be treated with a mysterious horrible disease like HIV infection. I wondered what it was like to be a man that was dying. And so we both became volunteers in a hospice program in south Florida and we got a look at a few experiences how these young men made their way to complete their lives. And it wasn't with us. It wasn't just a horror story. It wasn't just terrible. It was terrible for grief and discomfort and trouble fear for us. There's also something pretty extraordinary and how resourceful a serious human beings are. And so that definitely planted the seed for me. It was a long time before I decided that I was going to go to health care. But once I started in the emergency room. So you're intact I got more and more interested and thinking about my status as a paramedic or a nurse. But I got through it cursed by a couple of important physicians to keep on going and never forget. And I you know just like everybody else did all of the free stuff from an University of Utah Medical School that again was created by the HIV epidemic during medical school and worked as HIV medicine was turning for sure hospice care is something else. It's a change where there was a whole bunch of therapeutics that were being applied. So when I came out there became an HIV doctor internist and the rest is history.

Saul Marquez: [00:04:56] That's so interesting and definitely sounds like you were awestruck by everything that was happening and history of the human experience and also the surprise of what you saw these these young men going through and it's evolved and it's created into what you've got here now and thing that you guys are doing with your organization what would you say Michael. A hot topic that every leader in health care should be focused on today and how are you all focused on.

Michael Fratkin: [00:05:26] Economics economics economics. It's so easy to be distracted by policy and politics but ultimately human beings behave in a fairly predictable fashion. They follow incentives and the sentence should it ought to be improved quality of life living for people that has better satisfaction and reduction in the horrendous wasteful and excessive suffering that comes with excessive utilization. So the triple aim is critically important area particular focus for me in my work because my working emerge my personal burnout has under-resourced position in a crazy healthcare system. This idea of quadruple this idea that those people over there that are in discomfort or pain or money are no more or no less importance than those of us that have dedicated our artwork that we matter as much. We are people they are people. We need to build new kinds of healthcare structures that tend to be both of those critical stakeholders as well as all the rest. Two sailors move from the center with the industrial design of our system of health care to 20th century now into the 21st. That's where our focus is on the people actually receiving and providing care.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:07] So Michael I think this is such a great cause and we've had previous guests talk about you know that quadruple aim and making sure that we take care of our physicians. And I think it's such a great point. What's the best way to get there. I mean from your standpoint what do leaders provider leaders need to be focused on to make this happen.

Michael Fratkin: [00:07:29] Well we had to get into the DNA of the organization. I mean the amount of pressure there is to think about people as a populate spreaadsheets rather than the way the real world is enormous. And so we as an organization have done is engage with certification as a corporation. So for those that don't know anything about that because or organizations that have committed to a rigorous assessment of their practices and isolation that measures that assesses all their practices are position with all of their stakeholders including their workforce the people that care for their heart in their heart. Companies that are willing to commit at the very core of their structuring to delegate themselves to the well-being of all stakeholders and to do good with their business. Our business is actually outperform in our financial markets. And so by engaging with the lab and becoming the elite who are certified it puts us in the same category of companies that have an identity that they are clear. So Patagonia and charities matter. So this New Belgium Brewery there's a few companies that are willing to say out front now that they a good product you provided incredible service that you will hear each other and themselves and that is that their heart as well as.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:07] I think that's really great and a distinction between what you and your team are doing and I guess the majority of companies in healthcare and outside of healthcare. One of the things that really got my attention Michael was was a quote from your one of your sites says we're an inspired team of palliative care professionals who understands that people are more than their bodies more than their diseases and more than merely patients. Walk us down that in the context of what resolution care your team there is doing to improve outcomes.

Michael Fratkin: [00:09:40] Yeah for sure. Well I mean I introduced myself as a dad and husband and a good friend for good reason because that's where I happen to have a skill set as a physician. Now I'm currently focusing on enterprise and as a person is really at the core of how I made my way through life. And it turns out it might surprise you. And that's exactly how he's doing. They're doing it from the center where they identify themselves. And so people who are sick do not apply or else and less that sort of thrust upon it. People are saying get who they are but they're stuck in a system where for example a person with cancer is undergoing cancer corrective treatment may in the last six months their wife have 150 doses for doctors appointments. Xrays last hundred thirty times leaving her home getting themselves together. How did their daughter take half a day of work to drive them to the doctor's office. Walk into the door to sit in a crabby waiting room with 10 year old People magazines and the sick people in to be sitting there and have another clipboard that same clipboard shoved in your face for 150 a time while you're noticing and asking yourself in a sort of distress existential just say is that person next to me sicker than me am my sister than them that person calls something or a hole in my direction and distant are so afraid 150 times in the last six months of your life. Right. Those people begin to see themselves as a patient and they are processed through a system and gas cylinder example where a doctor sits down the room and then turns their shoulder so that they can tap away at the computer keyboard and gather all the data. That isn't necessarily there to serve that person but he's there to serve the box checking algorithmic crowing based guidelines that everybody's breathing down that provider's neck out and then you rebirths that you're and get a resolution care is people power technology enabled Health Care Services takes care of people not patients in their homes not in clinics. And so when we engage with a person we send them to got that time we send down an e-mail hyperlinking they split into their health care see the doctor nurse a social worker that sharply dockworker who is right there with perfectly framed not invading their house or the home and read their mind to find out how we can be of service whether it's to improve their symptoms whether it's helped them understand their situation the choices depending on whether they're here planning discussions documentation whether it's to coordinate it so that the other members of their family can all be included on the same page about what they're facing. We do that not having to drive people out of their homes and make patients on them.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:00] I think that's really you you've got a really interesting and very interesting is not the word human way of taking care of this. You've obviously given the topic a lot of thought. You do something over and over again it becomes part of your identity. And so how do you deconstruct this system in such a way that helps treat people as people. And I think you guys have done a really beautiful job of that where you're at. What would you say an example of how this has helped families recently.

Michael Fratkin: [00:13:34] Well I can say to say that last week in Cary for a guy youngish man the long history of addiction and very serious had cancer it was estranged from his family. We connected and four members of his family in four different locations in the U.S. to talk it through he hadn't seen their faces or over eight years. We walked through we talked it through and let them know that his addiction was a big part of what was challenging his cancer care how he really needed the support. And so within three days his sister who is now provide caregiving with she's provided a structure that will get him out of the hospital and then will complete his cancer care program. His cancer treatment a new cancer treatment and then as he recovers from that we expect to help him relocate and resell it to his favorite Bacchis without the technology. There is no family meeting totally. There is no talking through the complexities of issues facing and. Trying to find its way at his family. And so using this video conferencing technology we were able to do something simple and it wasn't. How great is the technology how it works. All I know is that I could set it up and how human conversations with human beings are seamlessly.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:11] Yeah I think that's really important. This is such a wonderful story. Super happy to hear that this gentleman was able to reunite with his family and now on a road of recovery. Whereas before hey you know what could have happened to him. You know I think it's likely.

Michael Fratkin: [00:15:27] He said without our support all the way over this last month he couldn't have completed his cancer treatment because he was too socially behaved really burdened by his homelessness and ongoing drug abuse. It took our advocacy are holding hands together. And what could well be cured cancer treatment could translate just by working with all the social determinants of health getting it from place to place getting fat getting in house and all of this can translate into 20 30 40 years of life and with a little luck may surprise us too.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:12] That's wonderful. I think that's so interesting and tell me something Michael. So you've had some success in this area. Give us an example of maybe a shortcoming or a setback that happened and what you learned from it in order to make it even better.

Michael Fratkin: [00:16:29] Let's see that's a good question. As I pause to reflect it's hard to ask that you are so used to saying I'm crazy. It hasn't worked. What I would say is it's really really hard to construct from the raw materials of the status quo. So they are actually very fresh and new. It's very hard to take nothing and make it into something and a step along the way. There are these inflection points these evolutionary moments where everything turns gets turned upside down in those moments I freaked out a little and it was like wow that was exactly what was necessary for any of the listeners or parents they'll understand exactly where you get to a certain place and you're like oh my god this is so crazy I can't go another step. And then you do you learn something about the process of creation. So for me I miss a lot of the space I think with being so emotional reactive when really what was happening wasn't normal illusion and growing and developing new review.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:47] I think that's a great call out and listeners think this is a good message as you move forward in your endeavors to provide healthcare to improve outcomes. Whenever something happens that you're not expecting just think this is part of the process accept it and what comes from here will actually be something that's happening for you not to you. And then it becomes an opportunity that helps you be stronger. And you know I take this message very very to heart. Michael and I appreciate you sharing it.

Michael Fratkin: [00:18:18] Yeah I mean it actually doesn't take too much imagination to bring it out of the sort of enterprise environment and to ask yourself how you made your way through life in a series rising and then collapsing and rising and collapsing and being so caught up in the pain and grief difficulty that you almost can't remember what it was to feel otherwise but then you keep putting your feet and you keep taking steps forward. Keep learning. And all of a sudden you realize that without that conflict there is no tomorrow. You can't get to the future that you. And so are you.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:01] Yeah. No I think it's great. I think it's a really powerful message. And the other thing that it reinforces is the thought. And it really jives really well into what you're doing is that the power of now I was a similar story but a little bit different when I was in college I went to volunteer at a hospice and it was around the holidays and we were putting together holiday cards. And so I'm sitting there and I'm about to work on my first one. Michael. And I'm like What do I write like I'm so used to writing hey you know. Have a wonderful you. I hope next year is awesome and you know what I mean. And so I'm in this place where all of a sudden I'm forced to be in the now and we spend so much time yesterday or tomorrow. And I just zoomed in and then I sort of gained an appreciation for the Power of Now. I said hey you know and I remember my first letter that I wrote was enjoy. Today it's a beautiful day. It might be sunny. It might be windy but everything is there for you. And just a note that I have never forgotten. And it's just kind of you polished it off with some of your thoughts right now. So thank you for that. And yet listeners so be present in the moment and make it work for you.

Michael Fratkin: [00:20:11] Exactly. And this is Resolution care is simply of that position. That kind of thinking integrated into a complicated crazy healthcare system. Health care financing system taking advantage of the economics of incenting outcomes that we wish to get to than fee for service structure which has constrained our ability to grow better manage the well-being of our society. So by leveraging this payment and structuring our relationship to health. That's not to say I was sick but actually I'm not around that bill. Will now we're paddling in the same direction and were able to do what makes sense for the very individual people that are caring for her. It's not about her protocols it's not being responsive to the people we care for. Define what success looks like for now and then it turns out their quality goes up their satisfaction goes up and lo and behold we get them an alternative to the emergency room in a hospital. And their costs go down. Everybody's happy at rocket science.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:33] I love it. It's great. It's so wonderful. So we've got some really cool ideas crank in here. Michael let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what that be successful today. It's a one on one or the ABC of Dr. Michael Fratkin. And so we can write a syllabus right now for the listener really go for questions. Lightning round and then finish up with a book. You ready.

Michael Fratkin: [00:21:58] Yeah.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:58] Awesome. Awesome. What's the best way to improve healthcare outcomes.

Michael Fratkin: [00:22:02] Focus on aligning yourself with the people you care for the people doing the care center your care around human stakeholders that need to be re front and center.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:16] What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Michael Fratkin: [00:22:19] Getting sucked into the status quo compromising too greatly for expediency what seemed like a good idea to create something new turns out to be just another iteration of what's broken.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:34] How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.

Michael Fratkin: [00:22:38] We talk to the people we care for. It was a way. We're so immersed in the mystery of the human experience and the care that we provide to people that there's no way to get bored. There's no way to lose that sense of.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:52] What's one area of focus that should drive everything else in your organization.

Michael Fratkin: [00:22:56] Love

Saul Marquez: [00:22:58] Powerful. I love that. What book would you recommend to the listeners Michael

Michael Fratkin: [00:23:03] I heard Michael Lewis talking on the radio today see us doing projects and there's two reasons. So the new project is a story Tversky and Kahneman as they sort of redefined social economics or economic theory around issues. There's two reasons why it is that I always loved opera singers don't leave everything and think that. Their work is entirely about how we lose ourselves thinking we understand what we see and how we work. I love that part. The other is the story of the human relationships that led to tries to quirky Israeli scientists very different personalities. The story of their relationship the professional relationship interactions with those around them and their relationship. Guys I thought that was beautiful and brilliant. So Undoing Project, Michael Lewis.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:07] Love it. Some really great shares there. And listeners don't worry if you don't have a pan or if you're out for a jog or driving just go to that's F R A T K I N as Nancy FRATKIN.

Michael Fratkin: [00:24:22] And don't forget as well.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:28] No absolutely. And that. And Mike you know in the show notes when you got to that site that I think you'll be able to find links to Michael's company you'll be able to find a link to his LinkedIn profile answers to the syllabus as well as a link to the book. So everything you'll be able to find right there. But for the sake of reiteration and clarity. Michael's Website is Resolution care just as it sounds Pretty cool place where you'll be able to learn a little bit more about what he does. Michael thank you so much for this. Before we conclude I just want to ask you for a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could get a hold of you.

Michael Fratkin: [00:25:11] Don't sell yourself short to think you got the job or that you are your job. Or that you're a patient or that you're a doctor or you're an entrepreneur. Show up to your life free of all those labels. Bring your stuff out or be a part of collaboration with other people. Don't get fooled into thinking that the role you have is who you are. You know who you are and if you don't know who you are your wife or your husband can probably help you figure that out. I can be reached any way at, on Twitter. @michaeldfratkin And I don't know if you send smoke signal, I might see you.

Saul Marquez: [00:26:01] Love it. Michael listen I really want to thank you for taking the time today. It's been a really big pleasure. Dove through some really great things and just want to say thank you very much.

Michael Fratkin: [00:26:11] Thank you so much, Saul, really has been fun. Really appreciate it

: [00:26:17] Thanks for listening to the outcomes Rockett podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes resources inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

The Best Way To Contact Michael:

Twitter - @michaeldfratkin

Mentioned Link/s:

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Outcomes Rocket Podcast - Michael Fratkin

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Outcomes Rocket Podcast - Bruce Brandes

How to Cut Vendor Evaluation Costs and Improve Outcomes without Sacrificing Quality with Bruce Brandes, CEO, and Founder at Lucro

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes Rocket listeners welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket where we chat with today's most inspiring and successful health care leaders. If you love what you heard today or loved the show in general please go to and leave us an apple rating and review. This is how we know what we're doing is working in helping improve outcomes for you. Driving this conversation to help the feedback common enemy which has bad outcomes and inefficiency and so without further ado I want to introduce our outstanding guest. His name is Bruce Branders. He's the CEO and founder at Lucro. Lucro is a digital platform helping healthcare organizations make better purchasing decisions. He's been in healthcare for almost 30 years as part of Martin ventures. And he's also been executive vice president and president at other health startups. He's done such an amazing job in this field but what I want to do is open up the microphone the Bruce to round that intrp. Bruce, welcome to the podcast.

Bruce Brandes: [00:01:24] Great thank you so much for having me Saul. Really appreciate this forum.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:29] Absolutely. And Bruce why did you decide to get into the medical sector.

Bruce Brandes: [00:01:34] Well it's actually wasn't really my decision coming out of business school in 1989 had a great opportunity to go work for IBM. And at that time IBM would assign you by industry vertical and IBM just so happened to assign me to the healthcare vertical. And I remember coming out of business school as IBM gave us training to better understand the industry how it worked and obviously in education about technology as well as I learned about the business side of how healthcare work that kind of scratch my head and said Well this is completely illogical and makes no sense at all. And then as I got deeper into it I kind of puffed out my chest and I said but I work for IBM. Certainly technology can fix all this. I kind of chuckled over that you know the last 45 years we've shuffled the deck chairs on the Titanic but we really haven't meaningfully adopted technology the way potentially could transform an industry the way it has other industries so really excited to have been part of healthcare through this whole journey but particularly excited to be part of healthcare today.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:32] Bruce It sounds like it was just luck of the draw I guess that you were put into this segment but yet it stuck. And so you obviously found that to be an area where you could contribute and you have through various different companies and ventures. What would you say a hot topic that should be on every medical leaders agenda today. And how are you all at Lucro focused on it.

Bruce Brandes: [00:02:55] Yeah that's a great question and I I think my hot topic is one that is not news to anyone. I think everybody is struggling with it but the reality is the health care industry is currently facing unprecedented financial operational clinical challenges that are coming at a much more accelerated rate change whereas historically doing nothing was always a viable option for healthcare executives. I don't think doing nothing will serve you anymore. There are going to be winners and losers as this industry consolidates. Whether you're a provider or a pay or a vendor serving the industry and I believe that the ability to develop core competencies in focusing and developing agility regarding innovation and cost containment is going to be critical to any of the organizations that are to survive much less thrive. And we started Lucro specifically to address that issue and what we started by doing was building a network of healthcare organizations that collectively operate over 20 percent of the hospitals in the United States to band together to reinvent how the buyers and sellers interact so if you think about traditional things that are used like cold calls and emails and RF no shoving a chocolate down someone's throat at a trade show. I mean these are all antiquated notions and processes that may take 12 months 24 months to make a decision around a you know a complex collaborative AIST new evaluation that needs to happen no longer acceptable. We don't have that kind of time as an industry anymore. And so we've delivered a trusted market place that can reduce the time and costs required to evaluate and choose vendor partners specifically concentrated in purchase services so not so much commodity sized items. But really you know health I.T. digital health outsource services consulting those types of areas which purchase services collectively account for upwards of 30 percent of all the non Labor spend in hospitals. There's a tremendous opportunity for us and trol over that spend and get better returns from the investments that we're making. At the same time help the vendors that serve those spaces that in the same way.

Saul Marquez: [00:05:06] Bruce It's so true right. I mean we were faced with just growing costs and and just the need to continue cutting costs. Lucrow is focused in this in this area where I think there is no system. Currently there's just kind of multiple different ways of doing it and there's just no one way of doing it. What does Luke road do that makes it more effective.

Bruce Brandes: [00:05:29] Well if you think about the traditional vendor evaluation selection process it's really fraught with a lot of fragmented components and pieces of information whether there are a lot of in person meetings that may or may not really be a good use of people's time spreadsheets e-mails very antiquated notion. So first of all built a technology platform that builds a community to enable us to do things differently and so fundamentally that's the first thing that we've built. I'll give you an example of how how this manifests itself. So we have one of our clients is a health system that runs 10 hospitals in the Northeast and the bay had identified that they needed to replace their physician credentialing application by RFP process. That would be about a 12 month process and they recognize that they didn't really have 12 months. This was one of many projects that they worked on that they really needed to do an evaluation quickly and be able to move on even though it required input from lots of different stakeholders. So they actually created what we call a project board in Lucro in lieu of an RFP required that those vendors enter their content in Lucro not just for their benefit but for all the rest of the health systems in our in our network. But they use that as the platform to be able to ask questions and compare to evaluate the different actually they started with six. They found two more through our platform and ultimately narrowed that evaluation down to 2 and then made a final selection in about half the time with about half of the resources required to be able to make that decision. But then the power of that was even better when it gets amplified across our network because there was another helps healthcare organization which was a 200 organization ambulatory surgery center that operates nationally that have the same need for physician credentialing. And because the first health system has engaged all these vendors. The second health system actually just went into our platform searched for physician credentialing found those eight vendors in the robust set of information that they needed to do an initial look at the market and he looked at me and the CIO looked at me and he said you know what this process would have taken us weeks to do this market research. And I got my shortlist within five minutes. And from there they could ask questions you know create qualifying questions to narrow their choices and then the more detailed questions all within our platform. The power of that for the vendor side as well as the health systems are getting benefits. It's also beneficial for the vendors as well because those eight vendors only knew about Lucroy because they engaged because the first health system told them that they were required to to be able to compete. The next thing they knew they got an e-mail notification in lucro saying hey you've been kynde to the project board for this other health system that's looking for physician credentials. And they had no idea who that organization was much less that they were looking to buy what they do. And so the power of that is now that's a much more concentrated use of their sales and marketing resources that they can redeploy. And then where that scales as we've can then notify the entire healthcare community that if you're in the market to buy over the next 12 18 months physician credentialing software you can sign up for Lucro for free and get all. And we're not going to tell you which one is the best. We don't have an opinion. But ultimately you can use this platform to just like for the other two to save significant amount of time and expense in making that vendor selection.

Saul Marquez: [00:08:40] Bruce thank you for sharing that and so many of our healthcare dollars are spent on inefficient processes and just you know waste. And so I think what Lucro's doing is you know this Hub where best practice sharing can happen and not reproduce the same processes that happen when the with the buying process because it's the same it could be the same. And if they need to tweak it they could go in there and tweak it which is great. And then if you're a vendor that you don't even know if something was going on maybe you get alerted and now you have an opportunity that you didn't even know you had.

Bruce Brandes: [00:09:14] And perhaps you can redeploy the dollars you're spending on your database lists to spam e-mail the whole market assuming everybody must be wanting to buy what I do or to have people cold calling you know assuming that every buyer must want what I'm selling. The reality is really needs to be turned around and have the buyer's raise their hands saying these are the things I'm trying to solve for. And if you have a solution for that. This is how I want to learn about it.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:38] I think that's great. And I'm excited to see how this thing unravels because you know it definitely is. You know I've been through the process myself on the vendor side and it is painstaking not only for the vendor but also for the provider you know the purchasing officers just it takes a lot of time a lot of effort a lot of resources to manage an RFP and it's really cool to hear that that what you guys are doing is going to help simplify that.

Bruce Brandes: [00:10:03] Yeah absolutely. And I think we will talk a little bit more about this but I think there's a tremendous opportunity to come together as an industry and challenge ourselves on the way we've always done things because there truly is so much waste and duplication that can go away. It's really not difficult.

Bruce Brandes: [00:10:19] So Bruce you've created results and improved outcomes by simplifying things the example being your you know the physician credentialing. Can you share with the listeners a time when you had a setback it could be with Lou grow or it could be somewhere along the lines of your 30 year health care career. Give us an example of a setback you had and then a pearl that came out of it.

Bruce Brandes: [00:10:42] Sure. And actually this is one of my favorite hard lessons learned that actually at the time and this was 15 years ago. At the time it was happening we said someday they're going to write about this in business school textbooks on how to mess up a great company. And sure enough I actually serve as entrepreneur in residence at my alma mater University of Florida's business school and I guess next on this case study in 2002 I ran a division for a company called Eclipses which was a leading electronic medical records system company. We actually were winning virtually every large academic medical center every complex position driven decision for electronic health records. We were really winning a lot of time and so we were rated first in class and what we then recognized was that there was a lot of money being spent on all of the hardware and infrastructure required to operate our application. And so our CEO and founder at the time Harvey Wilson who was a great industry visionary saw the opportunity for us to develop a truly web based EMR as the Internet was really starting to take root. And so he made that announcement we as a company announced Hey we are going to build this next generation web based EMR that essentially today will cloud based tmr that will eliminate the need for all of this other cost and infrastructure and complexity and implementation time and great vision. Absolutely and we froze the market as we announced it and then spent the next 12 18 months building it only to learn once we got close enough and in delivering it that the bandwidth of the Internet at the time given the complexity when a physician's entering in an order for example the complexity of the rules engine made the response time of entering it in order just unacceptable. And so the real lesson learned from that was and I would contend that's actually what gave rise to epic and their dominance in that space because we are at eclipse us winning all those deals that have been subsequently started to go to APIC and by freezing the market and then missing that window of development opportunity and reverting back to the older platform once we realized didn't work we really messed up a great company. Now eclipse this is now part of Allscripts in 2010. They merged and they still endure. But I would rebound. And I think the real lesson learned from that is to make sure that you don't get too far ahead of the market and your ability to deliver and make sure that you set proper expectations and do that at the appropriate time publicly. Those are some of the lessons that I took from that.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:10] What a great share Bruce and I think it's one of those lessons that I'm sure will remain in your mind forever and now you're teaching to your students. I think it's a wonderful one to have shared with with our friends here our listeners. Tell us a little bit about maybe one of the most proud medical leadership experiences or moments you've had to date.

Bruce Brandes: [00:13:28] Thank you. That was a great question. And as I reflected on it I smiled because there is one story that I have great fondness for. I was chief strategy officer of a company called airstrip which was pioneering the use of mobility and health care. Back in 2000 9 10 11 before anybody really knew what that meant. And in many ways became the face of iPhone and iPad in health care and got a lot of great visibility through our Apple relationship. And one of the applications that we delivered was a way for an obstetrician to be able to see the real time and historical waveform data on their smartphone of a mom while she was in labor at the hospital while the physician was anywhere that they might be over the course of their day to be able to do that type of real time near real time remote monitoring of patients. I was sitting. Because normally that's handled the phone call and then the physician of drop what they're doing and you know get to the hospital. And lots of time delayed. Anybody who's had a baby knows that experience. I actually was at that was at church and met a guy sitting next to me we struck up a conversation and it turns out he was an obstetrician and he asked me what I did and I told him and he actually was a user of our platform and he shared with me a story about when he was he had a mom in labor and had late decelerations in a contraction in the heart tracings and noticed when he was away from the hospital something that was very distressing before the nurse ever even called. He was proactively monitoring that mom and he caught something because he had access to that information in real time that otherwise probably would have taken some time for the nurses to discover and then subsequently for him to be able to act on. And he shared with us that ability to intervene at that time right away may very well have saved that baby's life.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:16] Wow that's amazing. And that's just one of those things that it lets you know what you're doing is impactful right.

Bruce Brandes: [00:15:23] At the end of the day. Back to how did I get into a health care kind of Rwanda at IBM. I noticed that when they assign me to the healthcare vertical I had and that was a marketing rep. So I was basically selling IBM hardware and I noticed my colleagues who were assigned to other industries I really couldn't get motivated. I'm not a good enough sales person to sell computer you know servers to the banks. I mean frankly you know by whichever one you want whatever's cheapest forms are here. But when you look at it in healthcare it's really about how can we as an organization help doctors and nurses to save people's lives. How can we help people with chronic illness to be able to manage that condition so they don't have a sentinel event that sends them to a hospital in the first place. So I think that there's a tremendous opportunity for us to really do good in health care.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:07] Bruce tell us a little bit more about an exciting project or focus that you're working on today.

Bruce Brandes: [00:16:13] Yeah well back to Lucro as I mentioned to you we started by working with some of the large national and regional health systems and understanding their needs because we were trying to get scale in building our network. But what we found is the needs that those health care organizations shared frankly most smaller organizations whether it's a small you know hospital or physician practice have the same needs around being able to operationalize innovation faster to be able to filter the universe of all the shiny things that are out there to find the right solutions in the right way and to advance that we actually I'm not sure when this will be aired but we signed last week a partnership that will be announced next week with the American Medical Association to be able to take the platform that Lucro has built and to have AMAA be able to offer it across all of their memberships so that all of these individual group practices that have needs and oftentimes common needs for the AMA to essentially be a facilitator to bring together practices that are all looking for ways to reduce wait time or better serve a population of diabetics as they're looking for innovations we can bring them together to collaborate in a new and efficient digital way to be able to learn from each other and be able to make decisions with input from people that they know and trust. And you know we as a small company don't have the resources to be able to reach all those audiences. But clearly an organization like the AMAA that is already a trusted partner for these practices and physicians really gives us an opportunity to significantly scale the power of what we're doing so that's one of the more exciting things that we're working on right now because I think it takes the benefits of what we're doing and really scales it in a very big way.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:57] Bruce is so exciting congratulations on that partnership. I think it will definitely add value to those physician practices and help Lucro get a foothold of the market I think that is so exciting congrats on that.

Bruce Brandes: [00:18:10] Thank you.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:11] So let's pretend Bruce that you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine today. It's the 101 course or the ABC of Bruce Brandes. That's our syllabus. I've got four lightning round questions for you and then we'll finish with a book that you recommend to the listeners you ready.

Bruce Brandes: [00:18:31] Let's go.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:32] Awesome. What's the best way to improve healthcare outcomes.

Bruce Brandes: [00:18:36] I believe by empowering the consumer. And notice I say consumer not patient but empowering the consumer to be able to be in control of the decisions for their health care.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:46] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Bruce Brandes: [00:18:49] Misaligned financial incentives. I think have been the single most biggest distraction to us as an industry being able to do the right thing.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:58] How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change.

Bruce Brandes: [00:19:03] Listen and think more than you talk.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:05] What is one area of focus that should drive all else in your organization.

Bruce Brandes: [00:19:09] I believe having a common passion that the healthcare industry can do much better than we do today in terms of cost quality outcomes. I have always believed that you need to put your mother your wife your daughter's face on the person in need of care and make it very personal and let that fuel your passion.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:29] I love that Bruce what book would you recommend to the listeners.

Bruce Brandes: [00:19:32] There are a lot of really great business books that I would get a snippet from. Here they are. As I reflected on that there's one in particular that stands out to me over the last 10 years as being very helpful that I refer back to quite commonly and it's a book called insanely simple my Ken Segall and he was one of the marketing executives that was involved with Apple in the early days. And it's a book about what makes Apple different than all the other companies that built similar products to what they had built. I'm particularly looking back over the last 10 or 15 years and what he describes is their obsession with getting past complexity and going the extra mile to make something very simple. So if you think about it why does the iPhone or the iPad just have one button instead of three. Why is it so intuitive that a two year old or a 90 year old can just pick it up and know how to use it. And so there are a lot of great lessons there not only in product design but also in how you build a business to make things simple. And as I reflect on everything that we do in business and everything that I appreciate in my life it's things that are more simple. But a key tenet of that is that simplicity is much more difficult to achieve and complexity.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:46] And it's such a great recommendation. Haven't read it but will definitely be going on my list. Insanely Simple and for that listeners friends you want to go to B-R-U-C-E. And you'll be able to get all of the show notes a summary of what we've discussed the syllabus that we just put together and that links to this book as well as links to Bruce's profile and Lucro. Bruce, thank you so much. Before we conclude I'd just like for you to share one closing thought to the listeners. And then the best place where they could get a hold of you.

Bruce Brandes: [00:21:22] Great. I'm just so optimistic about what can be achieved in the next generation of what healthcare can be and whether you're a healthcare leader at a health care organization or your healthcare solutions provider. I would say that together we have a real opportunity to make a meaningful difference in this industry. And so I would just encourage people not to get so caught up in the legacy of we've always done it this way but to look with an open mind and be part of developing that new solution and to engage. If you're interested whether you're a health care organization or a health care vendor I would invite you to go to and you can sign up and engage in Luchino. There's no cost. If we've built it right and designed it right there's no real implementation or training required. But feel free to reach out to me with any questions. My email address is and I would welcome the opportunity to together help to change the industry are our businesses based on predicated on achieving network effects. And so now that we've built the platform we're inviting every healthcare organization that might want to be part of this. Every vendor that might benefit from being part of efforts to join us now and help us to build a better health care together.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:43] Bruce I love it and I'm so certain that you guys will do it and you'll partner in a very meaningful way. So glad that you're able to join us to share the insights that you guys have been building over there and excited to stay in touch. Bruce thanks so much for being on the podcast.

Bruce Brandes: [00:22:58] Saul thank you for the opportunity.

: [00:23:03] Thanks for listening to the outcomes Rockett podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success

The Best Way To Contact Bruce:

Mentioned Link/s:

Episode Sponsors:

Healthcare Podcast

Outcomes Rocket Podcast - Bruce Brandes

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Outcomes Rocket Podcast

Data Transparency with Vincent Keunen, CEO at Andaman7

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the outcomes rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes Rocket listeners welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders. I want to welcome you to go to That's where you can leave a rating and review for today's show or any show in particular if you like. Let us now give us some feedback. We're always looking for ways to make the show more productive to help you improve outcomes and reduce inefficiency. Without further ado I want to introduce our outstanding guest and a good friend of mine. Vincent Keunen, he's the founder and CEO at Andaman7. They're focused on using software to improve health care by providing innovative technologies. That's going to help really bring together the decision making support for the development of drugs as well as decision making support in the hospitals and so I want to introduce you guys to this wonderful man. He's been founder of several different startups. He's a serial entrepreneur very passionate healthcare. And so I want to open up the mic to you Vincent to fill in any of the gaps in that introduction that I may have missed. Welcome to the podcast.

Vincent Keunen: [00:01:28] Thank you. It's so great to talk to you. Yes I've been I'm a on engineer and I've been in the health sector for 20 years. I'm here in Benjamin Europe. So we did quite a few large scale projects here in Belgium around medical records around the secure exchange of medical information. And yet following problems with health in the family I decided to focus more on this and the months of the project which is both a social goal for patients and that we still need the revenues. It's been a big project and that's going to be revenue from the to be so pharma companies from hospitals and other actors in the health sector are.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:13] Fantastic. And and so why did you decide to get into healthcare to begin with.

Vincent Keunen: [00:02:18] Well when I was 18 and I had to decide between engineer oral medicine I finally chose to be a software engineer and buy some kind of we are turned around the life of or was developed for the medical service so connecting the dots as well. Guy you know.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:37] Absolutely. And you know Vincent one of the cool things that I love about just talking to leaders like you is that it's those philosophical beliefs that you have. And it's a decision that hey you know what. You could choose one or the other or you could choose both. And you know a lot of times people just say you've got to pick one or the other. But the true leaders in health care say you know I don't have to compromise. I choose both. And you chose both engineering and medicine and kudos to you for doing that.

Vincent Keunen: [00:03:05] Thank you very much.

Saul Marquez: [00:03:07] Absolutely. So tell us Vincent you've been through many ventures. You've done a lot for health care on the software side for medicine. What do you think every healthcare leader today should be thinking about and how's Andaman7 addressing this.

Vincent Keunen: [00:03:21] Well I think everybody in the health care should just think about the patients right because that's the only reason we're doing all of what we're doing to give a better health to everybody. And this by the way why the mission we chose Andaman7 so when the article 25 of the Human Rights Declaration which is that everybody has the right to good health and well-being for themselves and their family but I think that should be what everybody is doing it has scare me. On discovering new and drives being on and on caring for patients or being developing tools for doctors and patients which is what we're doing so and then Andaman7 we decided to build this tool which is free for every patient and it allows it to collect all of the health data on their smartphones. Right. Because the smartphone is the platform on the future. And you can do everything with your smartphone today except your medical information is up there. So that's the first go. We do we have to collect the data for the patients on the smartphone. And that is free and will always be free. But as the social part of the project but to be sustainable we want to have revenue and the revenues will come from hospitals doing homecare projects continuity of care but also pharma or research institutions that want to develop new drugs and that need to have to reach to the patients especially today with the cost of drugs going up with the cost of healthcare going up. So everybody needs to reduce the cost and the good way to do that is to prove real outcomes from the patients. More and more a lot going on before there is a need to get outcomes from the patients so you hear about terms like Real World Evidence patient reported outcomes. And that's exactly where we focus. So Andaman wants to be the broker to the patients and we do this with a very strict respect on the private and security you know we been in Europe. So privacy is very important here. And there's the big G.D.P. are coming up in May of the mixture giving back more power to the patients and to the citizens actually to know where is my data are being used for who is using it who is using it. So yes that's very privacy minded to with elements of it. There is no medical data stored in the cloud. Everything in the smartphone and all the smartphones of the people you trust. That's the core of the project out of it.

Saul Marquez: [00:05:51] Yeah and there's you know there's definitely a big need Vincent for just finding ways to use these devices and health care and had some recent conversations with a couple health systems and the thought here is that innovation in health care is really not only just innovation it's actually implementation. And so how do the businesses of today and tomorrow like yours implement these smart technologies in a way that is useful and scalable. You know like the things that you're doing are really interesting. Can you give us an example of how maybe early on you guys have created some outcomes improvement with what you're doing.

Vincent Keunen: [00:06:30] Yeah just just as a patient or helping a patient like my son who was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago said I've spent a lot of time in the hospitals and it was always very difficult for me to answer the questions from the doctors or to correctly write down what they were telling to me telling me. So the use of Andaman and now it makes that very easy. So read them I received permission I wore it and that meant either for me or for my children. And all of that information is shared with the people I trust. So obviously for my children the to shared with my wife. So she has a complete copy of the medical record of children. And every time she goes to the doctor she can end up with information and I will receive a copy of that. So we both have a copy of the whole information. And there was also shared with our doctors. So our our family doctor and our specialist they all have a copy of the full information from for example my child's has. So that's that's already a pretty big benefit having all of you and being able to share it. You're right. It's already to improve the outcome. Now there's also cost the patients way depending on where you live right in the U.S. yes private insurance in Europe it's more about the Social Security but the problems are the same. Because the cost of going up and there's a big need to reduce costs and a few months ago whether I was in a doctor's office because I be hired. I wanted to see that everything was OK. And the doctor told me you need to have a blood shots to be sure of your blood. And I said well I just had one month ago because my mom had leukemia and I am long been controlled every three months. She said yes. OK. Give it here. And I said yes it's in my smartphone. And I showed my smartphone with the doctor. I went through with a lot. That's when she's perfect. I can already tell you that it's good. You have no problem with your. And you don't need to have another blood shot. So that's good. Think for the instance of insurance first. And as a patient I was just having the results immediately without going to a blood test and then coming back to the doctor. Right. Which will take a few weeks at least there in 15 minutes side the results of all of their diagnostic. So that's very concrete very easy and very very good both for me and for the Social Security.

Saul Marquez: [00:08:59] I think that's really great. And you avoided an unnecessary test. You're able to form the doctor and become very very involved in your care.

Vincent Keunen: [00:09:07] Yes exactly. Patient empowerment is I think one of the great need of today especially because more and more people talk about health consumers right versus patients and of course it's it's a bit annoying maybe for doctors just patients coming in into a well I read on Wikipedia and I read on Google about this. So of course there is there's something wrong or not too very precise information on the Web. But for me it also shows that the patients really do care about a health of a lot more than before so that they want to know. So the search for the information you know about all that organic food focus for many people you know about that fitness focus that truly shows that patients want to take care of themselves well that they're really becoming healthy consumers. This as if patients.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:58] Now that's cool you know and Vinson one of the things that comes to mind too is you know some of the differences. There's a lot of similarities but also a lot of differences between health care in the states and then in Europe and in the States. It seems like many times there's not. You can't get your medical records right won't release it to you. And so it sounds like in Europe you're actually able to get your medical records.

Vincent Keunen: [00:10:21] Well yes and no or you know there's theory and practice that I'll get. I know that in the in the U.S. there is the constraint that goes to the meaningful use especially meaningful use 3 which which really put the patient in the center and the care providers do have to give the data to the patients according to meaningful use. 3 In Europe we also have European legislation that says that the data is the property of the patient so that patients can get their data they can correct it. They can ask a doctor to delete it even if they don't want to be related to that doctor anymore so that's very in favor of the patient. It's quite similar to the U.S. but this law in Europe has been there since 2002 to 15 years. But today in practice there are still a lot of resistance from some doctors or hospitals or other actors to give away the information because it takes time maybe because they don't have maybe down some fears also there. Transparency is good for the patient but sometimes it will be frightening for other factors. So I don't think there's a big difference between the U.S. and Europe. They both have very clear legislations but in practice it's difficult for both. Both areas I believe unfortunately.

Saul Marquez: [00:11:42] Yeah it is. And you know I'm I've spoken to people and you know I've seen different stories and posts about the difficulty and it'll be interesting to see how a platform like yours. You know maybe through the creation of demand make some change in the way of action right because of the laws there but how can we get the actions to follow what the law is saying should be done.

Vincent Keunen: [00:12:06] Yeah I agree. And I also believe that the pressure from patients will help. Hopefully it will have. And what I want to say also is that there are different kinds of doctors right. Some doctors are afraid of change and to be afraid of losing some kind of power. So there's some paternalism for some doctors but there's also a large number of doctors which are on the opposite side which are very open to the patient and really focus on the patients health and they know that the patient needs that they have empathy. And then when when they see them themselves as if I was the patient if I were a patient I would have made my day. I would want my days are there the stand. And there's also clinical studies today and research that proves that there is much much better outcomes to treatments when the patients are empowered when they know about their condition when they have all the details when they have their data. So it's now becoming even something that's necessary for doctors to do that if they want to cure their patients better than before. And I'm not even talking about personalized medicine because you know that for example up to that for a medication to be considered successful is to be effective. More than 30 percent of the patients right the placebo left when they were said to be better than a placebo. But nobody knows that if this medication which is only good for 25 percent which is too low maybe just 25 percent it's effective for 95 percent of people with that specific profile genetic profile or others. So I think we're missing a lot of treatments today because we don't go personalized enough. So that's the second big trend. First one I was mentioning earlier it has consumers. And the second one is specialized meeting and for that to be more personalized. Of course you need to have the genetic profile of the patients that you accept to a lot more information about the patient. So contacting the patient and exchanging data with a patient and collaborating with the patient will be more and more important. I love that in the past. So yeah I think that the patient role is getting more and more important especially for personalized needs to be effective.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:20] I think it's a great call out and your app would definitely help the patient be more proactive and put their data and own their data and be a part of the decision making and a part of the information flow. I think that's really cool. So Vincent tell us you've got obviously and I'm on seven is your current project and you're you're all in on that. You've had other projects in the past as well. Can you think back and all the way up to now an example of maybe a setback. You had a failure and what you learned from that.

Vincent Keunen: [00:14:51] Yes of course. One very clear to me was when I was doing that project about exchanging information medical information between people and doctors that was 15 years ago right. There was barely the beginning of internet or anything interesting here. And the obvious thing when you have several hospitals that are OK to this and then you have family doctors that use various types of software the obvious thing to do when you're a software engineer is they agree on a standard right for strangling the information. How do we call the information and then we discussed for about two years what the letter will be with us more this I want this one no this is an American and if not to the Europeans you know we don't use this one and it's been just terribly discussion until the day we decided as a company. OK let's have that discussion. You use whatever format you want as long as it's morning. And so we chose it between five and 10 core standards and. Then suddenly that project went home because of the post that uses the stand that they wanted and then suddenly doctors or so and then suddenly everything was the information was flowing with the way the cost to that because of the company we had to do the change of format ourselves. And we did that for the most popular form formats. But yes this is a good example where in theory it is very obvious that you should choose one the one single standard. But in practice it's unfortunately better if you just use some kind of a chaotic situation in the situation that is so that just one example that there's the others do not.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:32] That's great. Thanks for sharing that and CNN listeners you always have to keep your mind open. Oftentimes in fact I think most of the time the things that you try first are not going to work. You're going to have to keep an open mind and leave idealism to the side and get practical and what Vincent and his team did was they got practical and even though meant more work. It meant adoption and in order for your project to succeed you need it to be adopted. And so Vincent that's amazing lesson that you learned them and now I really appreciate you sharing that with them. So Vincent you've obviously had that and then maybe you could tell us a little bit more about an exciting focus or project that you're working on.

Vincent Keunen: [00:17:13] Well yes well the protests are the most exciting one is the global Andaman7 project because when when my I was lucky to sell my previous company and got people like that. I was wondering where will be by my next project. And then I decided to do this and then project. And I wanted it to be big or nothing. So it's really ambitious. Right. And the goal is to really build a platform to give access to patients to as actors so be them. Hospitals doctors on the cure side but also also nurses of course. And then on the research side pharma companies or institutions all of those actors need more and more access to patients today because there is no unique standard. We were talking a bit earlier but because those smartphones are becoming ubiquitous so there's quite a number of deep changes in the landscape meaning that now there is a way I believe to have every patient strongly empowered with a smartphone or they're accessible to them and then we can then provide services on top of that Vandeman is not like it may it may seem from the outside. The simple app it's actually a combination of a map of course for both smartphone Andrroid and Apple but also tablets. But more importantly maybe what we call hip and hip for us is the health intermediation platform. It's a way to exchange data either between them and to then users or through API open API which we publish on our Web site to have an exchange of data between patients and the hospitals. Pharma company will see our role in clinical research immunizations or any kind of actor in the ad sector with a specific focus or yell with one very important thing for us is that the patient is in control the patient has access to their data and they're deciding what to do with it. And I think they're going to be treated well because the regulations both in Europe and in the U.S. always put constraints on everybody that is using data from somebody else. Right. So if you're a hospital or a doctor and there is or Hamma or research institutes you as constraints because you're using the data from patients. But as a patient you have access to all of your data and you can do whatever you want. And then it will be a good idea. But if you want you can put your hands together on the page. Nobody can prevent you from inside. They may not the best idea you have it right. So what that means is that the regulation is impeding most of the actors but when the patient is even the opposite the regulation is has been the patient has been deficient get access to their data and being in control of their data. But that's what we decided to do is to go through the patients. It's more difficult of course to convince millions of patients than to go to a few hundred hospitals. It's more difficult but it I think is the right way to do and it's the way that most people will be comfortable with because they decide to share the data and not all of the data that can decide what they share and they want to know why this year. And there's been studies. Right. With patients that were the one to show you if it's for specific research for kind of medication that would be useful. Yes of course I went to thing 85 percent of patients do that for me or so that's very clear. I'm very I insist a lot on my privacy and I'm not I'm not read that anybody with you and me or my medical data but if somebody is even a pharma company is it me. Would you share your desire for a new pill that we're working on that it's like cure leukemia which is the leukemi. I have. Of course I would be. I would agree to share. Right. Same for my son. Wait. As coma bone cancer but some company. We would like to have you want to feed the research on a new medication for that kind of condition that we shouldn't be. Right. Right. Right. You know why you share. I think patients who are ready to share and do good actually.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:29] Now I think that's really great. You know and what comes to mind is the you know like the 23 and me when you get the test they got the 23 and we and it's that sharing platform. Yeah I think that's when you know that it's going for a good cause. I think the majority like you said would say yes. Exactly. Now that's really interesting. So Vincent let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful today. It's the one on the ABC of Vincent. And so we're going to write out a syllabus. There's four questions. It's going to be lightning round style say you know give me some quick responses to these and then we're going to finish with your all time favorite book for the listeners. You ready.

Vincent Keunen: [00:22:12] Well time to rethink how we think about it and should ask me anything to prepare.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:18] And maybe maybe it will be just an applicable book for the syllabus that we're creating here.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:24] Ok. So what is the best way to improve health care outcomes.

Vincent Keunen: [00:22:29] Patients. There.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:31] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Vincent Keunen: [00:22:34] Only focus on the financial aspects has aspects has to come first and then the financial aspect.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:40] How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.

Vincent Keunen: [00:22:44] Well change also you need to improve. You need to innovate you need to look at what others do and then keep on working to build new things.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:52] What is one area of focus that should drive everything in the organization.

Vincent Keunen: [00:22:57] If were talking about the health sector I think it's important that the patients wellness and patients health.

Saul Marquez: [00:23:03] Awesome. And finally Vincent What would you say the book that you add to the syllabus for the listeners.

Vincent Keunen: [00:23:09] Well the book you would mention is maybe the bit unusual it's not a bit of a battle of the choices or how to succeed or saw. I read a book about the heart from the Heart Institute about Project Viren and the proposal by that. Because it's a book that tells you the science between stress and pain and new ways to fight stress like meditation if you want. Are you worried about mindfulness. So the cardiac coherence and the heart laugh Institute has published that book that I think is the theory. It has been useful for me to control my stress during my period because I'm sitting here not a piece of cake usually right. And so yeah it wasn't very practical and at the same time it was very focused on well-being. And there was some science behind it. So I like the combination of these three.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:08] And what's the name of the book, Vincent.

Vincent Keunen: [00:24:09] So I think in English heart intelligence by the Heartmath Institute.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:15] Okay Heart Intelligence. No, it sounds great. we'll do is we'll dive into it get the actual book in link and so listeners don't worry about writing it down. Just go to outcomes rocket dot com slash Vincent and you're going to be able to find all of the show notes as well as the syllabus that we created for you right now and the book that was just recommended. Vincent, time flies when you're having fun. We're here to the end. And so I wanted to just ask that you share one closing thought with the listeners and then the best place where they could get hold of you.

Vincent Keunen: [00:24:49] Okay well thank you for the interview so to contact me go to Andaman7 website or you can send me an email on feel free to contact me. And yes my closing would be just Article 25 of the Human Rights Declaration. Everyone has a right to good health andwell-beingg for themselves and their family.

Saul Marquez: [00:25:13] That's outstanding. Vince and I know that you guys are going to do a phenomenal job with this platform and I'm just looking forward to staying in touch with you.

Vincent Keunen: [00:25:21] Thank you, Saul, thank you for your time and thank you for interviewing me. Thank you.

: [00:25:29] Thanks for listening to the outcomes Rockett podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart

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Outcomes Rocket Podcast - Dr. Clarence Lee

How Including All Care Stakeholders Improves Workman's Comp Outcomes with Dr. Clarence Lee, M.D., M.B.A., CMLEEJR Companies, LLC

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes Rocket listeners, welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today's most interesting and inspiring health care leaders. I really want to thank you for tuning in again and I invite you to good outcomes rocket dot com slash reviews where you could take a look at our Apple podcast and leave a rating in review. I love hearing from you all. And so take your time take a minute leave us a note about what you thought about the show today and I always will promise to make sure that you have any ideas, we'll make sure to implement them that's what outcomes improvements all about it's about listening and doing your best to make sure you deliver to your customer, which is the patient. And so without further ado I want to introduce an outstanding guest today. His name is Dr. Clarence Lee Jr. Dr. Clarence Lee Jr. is a physician consultant. He is the founder and CEO of CMLeeJunior companies. He is also an author of a book called persists how to beat things that make us quit. An amazing gentleman that does also practice in health care. And so what I want to do right now is open up the mike to Dr. Lee and have him fill in any of the gaps in the intro. Dr. Lee welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:01:32] Thank you. Thank you for having me on. Yeah that's great great kind of overview of some of the things I've been able to do do some work in the personal development space and that's where the book kind of came from. And I just enjoy working with employers trying to help them get their workers comp costs down.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:48] And it's a critical initiative. Dr. Lee to bring those costs down because they can often be one of the largest line items aside from labor for employers. And so I think it's really interesting that you focus there.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:02:00] Yeah unbelievable line item depending on the structure of the organization. Yes I'm just straight pay cash for everything and just deal with a third party to handle their claims. But just what I've found is sometimes with the employer there's a disconnect with how the case is being managed and so you know I bring my experience as occupational medicine physician just trying to help the employer work with employee engagement and health and wellness as well as if there is a claim you know how do you compress that claim get the employee. Taken care of with proper care and in back to work as soon as possible.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:35] Man that's so cool and so Dr. Lee tell us something what got you into medicine to begin with. What's the genesis of it all for you.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:02:42] Yes my mom's a nurse so she introduced me into medicine very very early on. I'll try to keep this short story brief but one night so much she started off nursing. She was working the night shift and I don't know how exactly she negotiated this but one night I was at work with her single mom and I was going to do a good job to me work with her. And I had the opportunity to see what it was like she worked in the NICU to the neonatal intensive care unit so she worked in there took care of the really really small babies. So what made me make the decision. I saw a physician come in saw neonatologist come in one night and something hadn't been done for the baby. And this doctor was very very upset. So one in my life I had seen anger used in a positive way I had never seen anger used to do good. So this comes in and she's upset with something that didn't happen. And you could just see the passion in her eyes of how passionate she was about doing right by this patient. And so I just when she came in it's like hey this will get done this can be done this can get done. Oh let's just make sure we take care of this and focus on why we're here. But it gave me a perfect example how you can be very passionate about something and you can do good with it. And so that's the reason I said hey you know that looks like something I want to do. I can fight for a good cause and make some positive change in health care. So that was kind of the the main kind of catalyst that made me decide I think I was the physician.

Saul Marquez: [00:04:14] And that's so cool you're in this department. Nick you where you know things are so frail and gentle the patients the kids are there and you have this woman that walks in and just shows that you could use anger constructively and all of a sudden you're just the next thing you know years later you're doing some pretty amazing things. Dr. Lee and I love it you know. Appreciate you sharing that story.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:04:36] Yes absolutely. I think everybody has you know has a low catalyst but for me. You know that was the catalyst. And so I try to take that with me as I practice and as I consult with just understanding that hey the patient is let's not forget about the patient. I know I know there's numbers. No there's no know there's work schedules but at the end of the day that the patient is the number one thing. So I just try to practice with that with that kind of example in mind for sure.

Saul Marquez: [00:05:04] And so Dr. Lee you know you work with workman's comp and these segments. What do you think a hot topic that should be on every medical leaders agenda today should be and how are you and the organizations you work with approaching it?.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:05:18] I'd probably say at the top of my list from my advantage point is employee health and wellness. So I think in the market space there's a lot of chatter about how much are you getting pay what your compensation package what your benefits package things like that but what kind of gets missed a lot of times is the health and wellness promotional piece that a employer can do for their employee. And so we all kind of know in general if something's going on with the employee and they engage Miss not their profitability is going to be hit almost immediately productivity and profitability. Those are both things that are going to suffer and at the end of the day your customer as well. So if if your employee is not engaged that trickle down effect it happens on a lot of different levels so I think at the at the top of my list would be the health and wellness for employee.

Saul Marquez: [00:06:12] Such a key topic there you know and especially with the amount of health care deductibles being shouldered by employees. Yes what it is a company to do with this dynamic and incomes the idea of of oh, healthcare consumerism now. The actual employer has to start thinking about where they spend their healthcare dollars. What are your thoughts on that yet.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:06:33] Yes and you know depending on the state structure and you know your employer you're going to be paying it you know somewhere the poor are going to be paying about half of what that benefits package is for the employee. And I know at least in my experience a lot of the employees they don't know all the benefits that come with a lot of the programs that they pick or the the plans that they pick. And so you know I think from an engagement standpoint obviously education will be a piece of it but just letting the employee really understand what they're paid for and what they get with that and what comes along with it from a health and wellness standpoint because it's you know honestly medicine and medical insurance it is very reactionary right. All right. Something happening at all. What do I do. What do I do now or what's my plan now. But I think on the health and wellness piece focus and more on prevention obviously and then education on hey this is what your benefits are. You know I think those are huge huge ways like low hanging fruit on how you can decrease healthcare costs.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:40] That's interesting that you've always obviously been down this road many times and give us an example of how you and your organization have improved outcomes by focusing on this particular area.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:07:54] So I'd probably say it's very very very simple. Just getting all the stakeholders at the table and having a conversation. So just give me a example work with an employer. And depending on the company's structure you know they may have a national medical director or a consultant that they're working with that kind of communicates with the treating physician on how to manage the case and so many times you've got there's a bunch of players right. So you've got the insurance company you've got maybe a nurse case manager you might have a medical consultant then you've got the treating physician right then you've got the employee and you've got the employer. So many times people are operating in silos and when I say many I'm talking almost 90 percent of the time everybody's working and nobody at the table talking together. And so I just think a big piece of it is getting people in understanding what everybody's role is in having everybody on the same page about what we're going to do for the case. But yeah very very simple. And I found that when say your data adjuster is working an insurance company you've got a Trudel physician that wants to get something approved with everybody operating in silo you know it might be months or weeks before something gets approved and it's the right thing for the patient. What I found when you open those doors communication and get everybody at the table I can get things done very very fast for the patient when I've got a buy in from all the stakeholders. It makes sense.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:22] It does make sense. And so putting these these stakeholders together and just in a way that's going to help them make decisions quickly to help the patient in the end improve outcomes. You know Dr. Lee that's part of the reason why why I started outcomes rocket is because coming from med device for over 10 years I saw that a lot of people aren't talking to each other. There's a lot of silos in healthcare in general and you know you said 90 percent. I mean that's the truth. Right. And so you were dealing with numbers this high. It's imperative that folks like yourself Dr. Lee take the first steps in creating it. How do we make this siloed structure the methods that you have in a place how do we scale this Dr. Lee. How do we make this available across the board.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:10:04] That's a that's a big big question. But I would probably say that in the beginning stages is education and I know we all have our computer based learning and we've all got our thing. We've got to do our modules on and learn about. But I think in many cases people don't know what everybody else is doing. I think that the big problem though it might be a few people that understand the connection. But most folks don't know how many players that actually are there. And so I just think you know education on the overall process would be helpful. And it's funny because I was eating at a California Risk Assessment Conference a few months ago in my in my breakout session I was talking to a lot of risk managers and safety officers organizations and I said well how many of you guys have an actual education system where you educate the employee on the process of the worker's comp claim like what's going to happen. You're going to get a nurse case manager you're going to have a treating physician. This now works when you get things authorized. This is how charism will be rendered. And 75 percent had no no no education in place at all. It's like oh yeah we give them the packet. We say hey read this 4000 paid manual here.

Saul Marquez: [00:11:29] Oh you know what happens to the package.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:11:31] Yeah yeah. We'll check in with you in a couple months and see how you doing. Well that's going to lead to bad outcomes because the patient doesn't understand that and they think you're not on their team and you're not you're not trying to take care of them. And again with customer satisfaction so with employers employees not satisfied then that leads to litigation at least the longer cases right. But if you if you educate on the front end hey this is the system this is how it works. These are the stakeholders. This is who they have taken with you regularly the case gets compressed significantly and costs go down big time. So you know I would just say education if from a worker's injury you know employee injury perspective if you're an employer what is your system on educating that patient. Greeno for me about educating the patient on what's the process in the clinic.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:17] That's a great great call out there Dr. Lee and yeah you know it's as simple as understanding getting out of the trench and understanding that bird's eye view of what your treatments looking like so they know how to manage it. That's awesome. I know it's simple but not a lot of people are doing it. Let's let's get this attention to the bird's eye view and educate the patient. The patient wants to be involve outcomes listeners the patient is a person and you know we want to make sure that he has a patient I want to know exactly where do I need to go if something is stuck. So I think this is really really awesome that just tidbits that you've shared. Dr. Lee thank you for sharing that.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:12:52] Absolutely yes. And we want to get you know you want to get the patient taken care of as quickly as possible so I can avoid hurdles. That's what I want to do. But I can tell you the majority of people when they're dealing either with their insurance just in general just not understanding the process and feeling like the machine isn't working for them. And so I think you know here we do have a responsibility as an organization you have or possibly as organization to do your due diligence and make sure you are handling your finances appropriately. So I get that. And that's the line item piece. But there's also the patient side. Right. And so sometimes there's a conflict between the two on the care in say the line item how much something is going to cost and I just think as you open those doors of communication and the other piece I would say also is the treating physician needs to be rolled into this. So that's another thing that treating Doug. So does he get considering those conversations as well. But yeah it's we've got we've got a lot of work to do. But you know I'm dedicated to helping folks and sharing the knowledge that I have to help both speed speed care up and get cost down.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:06] Dr. Lee, that's so cool. And so give us an example of a time when you had a setback in this space and what you learned about it.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:14:14] Let me see. You know I saw that question before I was like Which one. There's been so many. You're learning every day. But yeah I would probably say it would be along the lines of what I'm preaching about communication. You know I had a case where a patient had had a fracture we needed to move quickly on it had reached out to the employer and tried to get to claim you know sped up and get the adjuster on board. But the adjuster. And so I punnet so I'll tell you that the the mistake that I had is that I punted it to who was handling the claim at the employer and long story short. It ended up taking weeks for the patient to get what they needed because we couldn't get the authorizations through. And so what I learned from that is the exact thing that I'm preaching now and I learned from it was all of the stakeholders were not in the conversation. And so it wasn't enough for me to just do who who was managing the claim with the employer needed to pull in the insurance company also needed to pull land the claims adjuster and a nurse case manager because there's a lot of stop gates along the way. So you know it was yeah just me kind of thinking stuff was going to happen without without me like buyers are there everybody good every value included and the patient ended up suffering at the end of the day. So that was the huge huge huge mistake on my part going on as a this is something I can learn from. Get the stakeholders at the table upfront. Wow

Saul Marquez: [00:15:47] And so this is sort of what became the start to your platform right. I mean you basically felt the pain and you saw it happen and now I guess just said hey never again I'm not going to let this happen.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:16:00] Yeah. It's you know this is personal. You know personal philosophy that I have it's like hey I believe everything happens for a reason and hey I need to learn the lesson even this is something that I need to learn the lesson from this and then try to do everything I can to make sure this doesn't happen again. So that's how I kind of started doing more consulting with employers. And hey let's make sure that this doesn't repeat with yours or hey what's your system like in place you know what was the system that you do have in place and say something did happen really quickly and you needed something to go quickly. How would you handle it.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:32] And you handled it really well. Dr. Lee and listeners this is the reason why there's questions here. The reason why we ask this to all of our guests is that in your biggest challenges and your biggest setbacks if you look at it with the right perspective you're going to find your biggest opportunities and. And Dr. Lee obviously did that and what he's done is now created a ripple effect of positive change in the healthcare system. What can you take a look at now. You know if you're going through something right now what can you do to change the perspective and see the challenge that you have in hands as an opportunity. What comes out of there is up to you but it could be pretty amazing. Dr. Lee give us an example of one of your proudest leadership moments in medicine today.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:17:14] Now switch gears slightly but from a leadership perspective I believe that everybody that you're working with it is important for you to know their goals and aspirations outside of their current role. So I say that because in the organizational structure where I work in the clinic it's like hey I've got medical assistance I've got back office I've got chiropractor I've got physical therapists I've got nurses I've got all these folks. But for me I always want to be interested and show my interest in what independent of their role what dreams and aspiration does that person have. And so the story I'll tell is having the way that I currently work with and been working with for two years. And when we first met kind of go through this hey what are you into. What are your dreams what are your what are your aspirations. What do you want to do with you. What are you going to do with your life. I to start that right. Oh my God they're just about to go. Were you. You know the question the most story short you kind of voiced her interest that she was interested in becoming a nurse at the time. And you know that was her dream. So every day just kind of asking Hey what's your plan what are you going to do and you have enrolled in school and how are you going to do this. And just kind of talking and about two year timeframe she is in her last year good very start her nursing program and she was full time. She is now doing part time in a finish up her nursing degree. Less than a year. So that's the type of stuff that really liked me from a leadership perspective if you're leading people they need to understand that you care about them not just their role not just the organizations benefit from having them there but show that you are genuinely interested in them being successful in life. And as a person and you got to know their dreams and aspirations to do that. So when she or she came in and said hey I'm going to go part time I want to finish my degree I'm less than a year out but just wear my heart up with joy that I was able to just continue to encourage her and give her that confidence that she can do that she can figure this out.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:28] That's so awesome. Yeah that's and that's a good reminder Dr. Lee you know we work with people and are not just robots in a factory and it's just it's so important to line up to other people's needs wants and desires and dreams.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:19:41] Because once you have once you have their body and once they know that you're interested in them and not just their role or their profit line that they're associated with they're more engaged in the workplace that they're more engaged in the workplace because they know that you have now aligned yourself with their goals as well. Not not is it just the employers goals. If that fence you're now aligned with their personal goals and that's that's the ultimate level of engagement there.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:08] Powerful yeah I totally totally agree. Dr. Lee getting close to the end here. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine today. It's the 101 course or the ABC of Dr. Lee. And so we're going to write out the syllabus here. I've got four lightning round questions for you we'll answer those quickly and then we'll finish up the syllabus with the book that you recommend to the listeners are you ready.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:33] Yup, ready.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:34] Awesome. What's the biggest and best way to improve healthcare outcomes.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:39] I would say man I was already for. I would say I would say education. Yeah I would say education.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:44] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:46] Not communicating operate in silos. What are they. Well we've been talking about it.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:52] How do you stay relevant as an organization.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:20:54] Despite constant change say no cutting edge always looking for the next thing in anticipating or expecting it. Instead of optimizing what's working right now always be looking toward what's up becoming.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:07] What is one area of focus that should drive all else in your organization.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:21:11] I say employee engagement you know how engaged are they how aligned are the organization's goals with that person's individual goals.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:19] And finally Dr. Lee what is your all time favorite book that you'd recommend to the listeners on the syllabus.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:21:26] That will be a tough one. But I'd probably say of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I think it's a brilliant brilliant book and an excellent framework for activeness.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:37] Outstanding. Listeners, you don't have to write any of this down go to That's Dr. Lee. And you'll be able to find all the show notes that we've discussed as well as the syllabus that was just created for you and your success as well as links to the book as well as the links to all the things that Dr. Lee is up to visit that You'll be able to find that there. Dr. Lee, before we conclude I'd just like to ask you to share one closing thought to the listeners and then the best place where they could get a hold of you.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:14] So I always kind of endless and personal development stuff but I would just say hey if you have a vision get a vision for your life or your organization just to keep pushing out there and continue to optimize and do not give up too early and the best place to connect with me is you can just visit me on the web my Web site. It's

Saul Marquez: [00:22:37] Fantastic Dr. Lee. Thank you so much and listeners. Be sure to persist like Dr. Lee talks about and beat those things that make us quit. And Dr. Lee again just want to extend a big warm thank you to you and on behalf of the listeners and myself for being on the show today.

Dr. Clarence Lee: [00:22:53] Thanks for having me on. I had a great time.

: [00:22:59] Thanks for listening to the outcomes rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes,, resources inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

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Outcomes Rocket Podcas

Why HCA Invested in Precision Health Initiatives with Mick Correll, President at Genospace

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Outcomes Rocket listeners welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring health care leaders. Really want to thank you for tuning in again and I invite you to go to to give us a rating and review and let us know what you thought about the show. Love hearing from our listeners. And today I have an amazing guest for you. His name is Mick Correll. He's president at Genospace. Mick has done a fabulous amount of work in the space that he's currently in. He's held several different roles. I want to do is give Mick a warm welcome and have him as the expert dive into what they do at this amazing company. Welcome to the podcast.

Mick Correll: [00:01:07] Thank you Saul, it's all a real pleasure to talk to you today and you know thanks again for invite me also.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:13] Absolutely Mick. So maybe we can walk through a little bit of what you guys are up to at Genospace for the listeners.

Mick Correll: [00:01:20] Yeah sure. So you know you space is a software company we're based in Cambridge Massachusetts and it's really what we focus on is the application of Nomex in medical care. So we're kind of two parts what we do on the one hand. We're trying to help make gnomic information useful to doctors and nurses and patients at the point of care. So powerful technology complicated. How do we use these resources to help the individual involved to make better treatment decisions. That's one part of it. At the same time though we really recognize that this is kind of a special opportunity that we shouldn't think about Nomex just like any other laboratory test and we're really trying to capture that detail so as we as we applied to Nomex in mainstream medicine how do we actually enable them to fuel more of a learning healthcare system. How do we capture the details from this routine practice to help build an aggregate better data that can drive future research development and application.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:28] It's really interesting. You guys have done some really cool things matching patients to trials. Population analytics. I mean you guys are really diving into some pretty cool things and even getting deep into like molecular pathology reporting. I mean super fascinating. I want to take it back to the genesis of it all to why Mick is in medicine what is it that got you into this field.

Mick Correll: [00:02:52] You know it's been an evolution over time. I started out you know pretty early in life I was really drawn to biology and a lot of ways it really wasn't even much of a question for me. You know I thought about the different things that I could study and apply myself to the science of life was incredibly attractive to me. I mean I've always come out to think about the big questions you know who we are why we're here kind of midway through my education I stumble into computational biology and I was blown away like this is going to change the world moved out of Cambridge she started working at a startup company and in the Maxfield and this was more on the research side of things. So it was more oriented towards the pharmaceutical target identification development. It was cool it was really interesting but it was also a little bit abstract to me. So this was drawn more towards the clinical application side of things it really all that sort of jelled together when I when I started working at Dana Farber I can tell you. I mean you know when I'm coming to work every day the fiber had kind of come to the third floor and I walk past the Jimmy Fund Clinic which is the pediatric oncology unit and we've work in a place like that you never question why you're coming to work every day. You know I've always I've always loved the science but kind of having that that feeling of kind of more direct connectivity to how and why what you're doing is actually helping to you know impact you know individual people's lives has sort of been brought into it.

Saul Marquez: [00:04:18] I think that's so cool. And you know you came from the science background and research and then you get to the point where you're constantly reminded you know when you have a clinic right there every time you walk into work you're reminded of why you're doing what you do. And fast forward to today with this amazing solution that you guys have built. I'm just curious what do you think in the array of different things that are out there for leaders to focus on. Should be that one thing that leaders should be focused on today in improving outcomes.

Mick Correll: [00:04:49] You know I'll give you it's probably a little bit of all of a long winded answer here. And obviously I think to Nomex and understanding the molecular basis of disease is a big deal. I mean I think this is going to change the entire practice of medicine at the same time you know I think there's something bigger going on as well in a lot of ways it can be best captured under the umbrella of synthetic biology. You know I think you combine the capabilities of genomic and I use that term broadly that's giving us this incredible microscope to really understand what's happening in ourselves at a molecular level. But observation isn't enough necessarily right. I think what gets me so excited about synthetic biology is in the past we had these really crude tools for manipulating biological systems and synthetic biology is a game changer in the sense that now we have these really precise ways to manipulate these biological molecules. And the reason I think it's so important is that it's moving biology away from being simply an observational science to more of an engineering discipline that now we can we can take this machine apart and put it back together again. The reason it is so important is I think this is going to be an incredible source of innovation. I don't think that I think we're already starting to see some of this hitting the clinics. And you think about Karti therapies and the resurgence of gene therapy. When I look ahead I think we're going to have one new treatment capabilities that are fueled by the US and I think of how this intersects with the healthcare system that is I don't think innovation going to be our challenge. I think it's going to be how do we disseminate that innovation and how do we actually get a better understanding of how to use these tools how and when and where they actually are effective because trials are going to get you there. It doesn't. Even our biggest and our best trials they're pretty effective at understanding safety profile and establishing that something has efficacy. But the reality is most drugs don't work in most people and I think we need a system wide perspective to get much better at measuring and tracking what's working where so that we can become much more focused and targeted about. This is why the implication. You know I think there's a lot of capability out there some can be expensive. We get to give a lot more about how and when and where to use these kind of tools.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:27] I love your passion. You are a gentleman that really understands this stuff and you're so passionate about it from the firsthand we connected to now I just I love it. Man every time we talk I get energized and I think you sort of nailed it on the hand here with the thought that innovation is not going to be the problem. It's implementing this innovation and disseminating this stuff that's going to be the challenge of this century and how we're going to push forward our our health care system. As a leader Mac what do you do. You know as a as a leader provider as a leader payer as a leader let's just say Medtech space or manned device space. How do you digest this what do you do with these capabilities that are going to flood in.

Mick Correll: [00:08:10] I think across the board I really think it comes down to being much more purposeful about what is success look like and how we didn't know when we see it right and then we can talk about improving outcomes. What are we actually mean by that. How are we measuring that. And then I think getting across the board both an individual perspective. You know I think there's a ton of potential in wearables and devices that people themselves can get involved with the systems themselves. Me I think you know I think every stakeholder has a role to play here. But I think that like you said to me I think it's going to be an implementation and the dissemination. But I think the key is going to be how are we going to longitudinally track and measure the factors that we're trying to optimize around from the moment you know from the medtech software side of things it's a clear area for innovation. Doctors don't you know we've turned some of the most valuable actors in the whole system and turn them into data coders and capture them see that they don't like it. No they don't like it at all.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:14] It's a problem.

Mick Correll: [00:09:15] You know the more the more poor job with them we play it. I think you know I think more electronic medical record systems for the clinical work was I think you know there's a lot of different ways to come about it but I think being more purposeful about really thinking about what the endpoint we're trying to optimize around and then how do we capture them so that we can have millions or to grow this but you don't understand understand trying to optimize on most your models are going to be pretty weak.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:44] I love that Mick and it just really is the basics right blocking and tackling. Understand what you're going after.

Mick Correll: [00:09:51] You do have the right and it's you know a lot of it can really revolves around billing optimization of billing system not around health outcomes.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:59] And then the other thing too right. So based on that topic make these big health EMR HHR systems are big billing tools. They're not really outcome tools. And so what are we doing to optimize these technologies to help improve outcomes. I think shifting that measurement from billing to outcomes improvement is going to be key. Would you agree.

Mick Correll: [00:10:22] Absolutely. I think at that point of care I mean you know being able to understand why did someone come to a doctor. What did we do. And how did it work. Just those basic elements are something that we don't capture very well. I mean you know the only other other layer on top of that is we've got to be able to exchange that data in a pretty precise way. We've got a really fragmented healthcare system not about you but you know when I think about even like getting my medical records I don't know where I'd start. So we have different doctors and hospitals across well I've got to remember how well they are may not even exist. So this is like people are just staying in a single system their whole lives. I think they're moving around between lots of different sources so I think you know we've certainly seen that there's a lot of power at an individual level that people can be a real force of change here that the natural aggregator of your medical history is you. But but but that's going to depend on the systems having captured Reliable data in the first place and then having mechanisms that they can exchange it and make it accessible to each other and back to the individuals themselves.

Saul Marquez: [00:11:35] Yeah I think that's such a great point. Mac can you dive into let's zoom into the genospace activities and can you share with the listeners a way that you guys have helped improve outcomes.

Mick Correll: [00:11:47] I think some of them are really really clear and direct. I can tell you one of the things that really gets the team here really jazzed and proud of the work we do is when we get these stories back from the clinics. So from the work we're doing with our molecular pathology partners a lot of those there are those who dared to say listen I had a tough case come in had you know really interesting you know set of you know molecular characteristics I was seen in that tumor Alamosa were most produce in cancer you know say you know using your tool. Came across a drug or a clinical trial that had been recently approved who was associate with those mutations and you know I are still to come back and give that doctor that patient option that you know without you might not have ever found. So those are really clear examples of just where the tool is helping to use this rich information source to help inform some of the profit might be. I think on the other on the other side the harder to measure some of the research aspects of things. I think with our tools so we've done a lot in making making the information more actionable and commutable key thing for us is thinking a lot about data models. You know one of the one of our real differentiators is how we structure information of what and what we can do with it. And I think you've taken a pretty innovative approach there. So being able to make those kind of bring those insights into clinic but then on an ongoing way capturing in a much deeper way and rendering that body of facts to drive researchers to sort of be the other and that I think could take more time I think that up to a fully mature but we're seeing some early signs of that.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:29] It's really interesting. And now you guys are really taking a detailed very interesting approach in how you guys formulate these data sets. It's pretty interesting to see your company and your team really dive into the details of this because it will make a difference. And I am curious you know you've done a lot of really great things. Tell us about a time when when something didn't go the way you wanted to and what you took from that.

Mick Correll: [00:13:54] Well I mean there have been plenty of mistakes along the way.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:00] We all make them and I think that's when we learn the most.

Mick Correll: [00:14:04] Yeah you know I mean I think there is one instance that really stands out in my mind. So there was a point in the development of our company in the not in the not too distant past when there was a pretty significant change around the reimbursement of these oncology tests to these molecular tests and oncology. And at the time I got a call from from one of our customers. It was also a close relationship and they become you know a friend of mine and he called me he said you know I don't know if you saw this or not but this is a big deal. This is going to be something that's going to have a big impact on us and I think on YouTube and sort of registered a little bit of time. But it's hard to really see like sort of how a change in one part of the system is going to directly impact what you're doing. And I think to a large extent I mean a lot of our philosophy has been that your own ability to execute is far and away going to be the most important factor of success. Right. So it's not just having a good idea it's it's the execution had to do it. Right. And so to some extent we were kind of like heads down like yeah. Wasn't that the change. It feels like it's so far away from us that isn't really going to impact us. So oh we going just continue on the course but we kind of like double down. We like really accelerated our efforts in that space. And sure enough four or five months later it was a really challenging place to be working in. It was a it was just a strong headwind as a small company and I look back on it was like, listen I miss the signal. You know it was there somebody actually called me and delivered it.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:43] And when it happened Mick did they just cut reimbursement for those tests or what exactly happened there.

Mick Correll: [00:15:48] Yeah I mean the change was you know prior to that was sort of a stopgap mechanism that was what this code staffing approach. But the real change to me was on the one hand it was positive in the sense that they were recognizing the validity of these multi gene panel techs and actually giving it a code. So it's good I mean this is you know basically accepting the clinical utility of the tests at the same time the reimbursement rate got set for it was really low and it was just going to be in that clinical sequencing is kind of a linchpin for what we do. Right. And so it just introduced I think the economic headwind that immediately you know it was a couple of hops away from us. But you know you play that for four or five months and it had you know a challenging effect on the landscape.

Saul Marquez: [00:16:39] So what did you learn from this. How did you guys pivot. Where are you guys now.

Mick Correll: [00:16:42] So I mean what I learned from it was you know I think I do believe there's merit to that heads down execution approach at the same time it really impressed upon me the importance of how that needs to be modulated by the macro trends in your industry. I think healthcare especially is one that is subject to pretty wild swings based on you know intervention and regulation. I think you don't see him coming out right now. Right and I think you know government and other actors can loosen heavily influence the way the whole marketplace works. I think especially when you're growing enterprise about deep pockets. You got to be paying attention to that stuff. You need to modulate what you're doing based on some of those larger factors was an important learning from me. I mean I think what divorce is. I mean it did force the company to make some more of a pivot that you know I think we had always kind of preserve option out of what we were doing. We tracked adopt point we saw that the clinical lab space was going to be challenging and we tracked hard towards the health systems and went all in on that. And listen we got to be tough with the play we got to we have to think about how our tools can be applied in other parts of the system. And we went after the health networks in a big way and you know ultimately that was going after those groups that in the acquisition of a company.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:02] That's really cool and make I really love this story that you told because there is merit like you said to putting your head down and just grinding and staying focused on your goals. But in this space that we're all in listeners this space of healthcare it is so important to realize that these macro trends these changes in policy these decisions that get made can truly impact our business models in a big way. Take this pearl from Mick and make sure that you take into consideration these changes don't just ignore them. So the acquisition that Mick is talking about is that they pivoted. They refocused and they were acquired recently. How long ago was it to January of this year. January of this year. So you guys were acquired by hospital HCA right.

Mick Correll: [00:18:53] Yep. It was Sarah Canning which is the cancer institute crêpes. Yes.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:57] Amazing. So something that was so challenging for you make you and your team turned around and started focusing on these larger networks which are not easy to get into but you guys pivoted went for it. They saw the value of it and acquired you.

Mick Correll: [00:19:14] It was an exciting time a company. I mean I think we have been Serkin was a group that we had been involved in discussions with for many years. And just at the point where you know things are starting to get challenging in the lab space meant opportunity came up to kind of get back in discussions with them and I think most people would say we made it we went all in on base. We stopped work on everything else in the company said we've got to win them. This is where we have to win right now and we put everything we had into really proving to them that we had the capabilities and technology to really significantly impact where they were going and how they can get there.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:51] Mick I think that what you did that decision of saying OK I'm going to stop working at everything else because I see this as a priority. I see this as a strategic place to focus is a skill that is so valuable in a leader and for the listeners running's health systems and companies and you know insurance plans. What is your focus and having the ability to turn everything else off and focus on that one or two things is going to be pivotal to your success make such an exciting time. And kudos to you for being able to say all right this is where it's at. I'm going to focus. Was there any fear behind your decision.

Mick Correll: [00:20:34] Yeah. Yes.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:37] What was the view would be a better question.

Mick Correll: [00:20:39] I mean I think the whole you know the whole experience of running a startup is it's an emotional roller coaster and I mean it can be terrifying sometimes.

Mick Correll: [00:20:47] I mean we like you don't know playbook you don't know at the time if you make of the word decision or not. So yeah there's a lot of line. I think you know you've built these relationships with your customers and they're depending on you you've got all the people that work there. They're putting their heart and soul into it every day. Sometimes it's as a leader sometimes you have to make those tough calls. And as you know you get a lot of people depending on you and you don't want them out now for sure.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:14] Now it's a big one and you got to have the courage to say no. I see I see this I hear the music and I know this is where it's going. And then just going for it not hesitating just making a decision. Mick, I wish we had more time we're going to have to keep moving here. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine today. It's the 101 or the ABC of Mick Chorale. And so let's write a syllabus together. I'm going to ask for lightning round questions and then finish it up with a book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready?.

Mick Correll: [00:21:48] Yup.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:48] What's the best way to improve health care outcomes.

Mick Correll: [00:21:51] The system that we measure and track and wanted to know.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:55] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Mick Correll: [00:21:57] Got to understand clinical implementation and economics. Going to use your product and why. And understand the flow of dollars. It's not easy to do in health care but if you don't understand that it's going to be a real uphill battle.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:12] Love that one. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.

Mick Correll: [00:22:16] To solve the hardest problems or at least try to.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:19] What is one area of focus that should drive all else in your organization.

Mick Correll: [00:22:24] For us, keeping science at the center has been important. It's been one of the defining characteristics of our culture that we attract and retain our people being passionate about the domain of the love that is why they're here. And you know being data driven and disciplined about what we do is at the center of it.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:41] Finally Mick, what is that favorite book that you would recommend for the listeners and put on the syllabus.

Mick Correll: [00:22:48] Those are the hardest questions. You know I love to read. I don't read out of business books but I like to read books for fun. So not on the syllabus. But you know my favorite book of all time my desert island book Infinite Jest. It is almost 20 you know Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. And that's one of the most good boys about a lot of different things. The big sprawling complex. But in terms of kind of understanding what it means to be a citizen of this country both time and place in history. I feel like it just brings so much perspective. I love it. You know my favorite book that is awesome.

Saul Marquez: [00:23:25] Well listeners I will definitely have to pick that one up I encourage you to do it as well. Go to That's M I C K and you're gonna get all of the show notes to everything that we just discussed today. Details and also links to Mick's company the things that they're up to as well as this book that he just mentioned. Mick, really wanna thank you for being on. Before we part, I want to ask you to just share one closing thought and then the best place where the listeners can get a hold of you.

Mick Correll: [00:23:57] You know my closing thought is kind of where I started. Synthetic Biology. I think I would encourage all the listeners to think for a few minutes about what it's going to mean when when we gain mastery of the molecules of life. I think and have ethical considerations way beyond health care. I think it will decide we've got to start having dialogue. So think about it. The best way to find me you know info@genospace.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:22] Outstanding Mick,. Listen I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and the words of wisdom you've shared and the stories. I know that it's going to resonate with the listeners and and I really will be keeping track of what you guys are up to because it's so exciting. And definitely be thinking about synthetic biology so Mick, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the podcast today.

Mick Correll: [00:24:47] Thank you. My pleasure.

: [00:24:52] Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

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