Category: Well Being

Looking up Home Remedies Has Never Been Easier with Serena Oppenheim, Founder at Good Zing

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring health leaders. Today I have an outstanding guest for you. Her name is Serena Oppenheim. She's the founder and Good Zing. She's the CEO there as well and what they do. Good Zhing is that there are tech enabled platform democratizing health information. Good Zing gives users access to a greater degree of self care while improving health literacy. The expert and user generated content. The platform brings the world of health and wellness together. Now this topic of wellness continues to come up in the discussions that we have with our guests and in the general health care conversations out there. So this is a podcast that you're going to want to tune into Serena at Good zing won the 2016 business of wellness pitch contest and was voted people choice before it launched in 2017 spring. She's been featured in The Evening Standard the Huffington Post and Virgin. So thought further ado. It's true pleasure to welcome you on the podcast Serena.

Thank you so much for having me. Absolutely. Now did I leave anything out in the intro that you want to share with the listeners.

Not really when it comes to good zing. I'm sort of more I guess from a personal background which is unlike most people who come into the house space. You know I haven't come in as a doctor haven't come. And not from the medical angle I've come in because I know what it's like to lose your health. And you know what you've got into the house gone. So my personal background is that in 2005 when I graduated from college in the U.S. I partied a bit too much and I ended up with viral meningitis which developed into chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia both serious issues but not sort of have any medical not something that a drug can cure. Not something that is life threatening but is life altering. And so when I started this business which is largely by accident is I realized that I'm totally obsessed with the health space because this is what actually has a huge impact on people's lives. Yes there's some great businesses in hotels or in food or in shopping but actually without health you're nothing. So that's why I'm so passionate about this industry and it's great that people like you are doing podcasts like that it's bringing communities together.

Serena, what a great call out and listeners you're healthy. Most likely you're listening to this and you're healthy and maybe you're taking for granted that health and Serena's message here is strong right. I mean without that health wealth is insignificant. It's a basis that we all need to continue building on and keeping strong. It's clear why you got into the business Serena. What about a hot topic that you feel that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda today and how are you guys at Good Zing addressing it?

So I'm pretty much obsessed about this one plan is improving health literacy because if we don't have strong health literacy than all the other things we're doing around it just don't like strong health literacy to have the positive housing health outcomes. So I was doing some research around this a couple of months ago. And I read this report which said that only 12 percent of Americans and I know the figure is roughly similar. And U.K. and central Europe as well can be expected to fully understand the health and the implications. So whether that comes down to navigating health systems understanding what the doctors are telling them understanding what they should eat what they should do is it turns out the top many wonderful things in school and an education but in the way that actually gives people people on Sunday and health literacy were not taught that. And so if my one big bug is that every medical leader and everyone in the house should actually be thinking how do we improve everyone. We're not just talking about the elite and we're not just talking about the poor but everyone's health literacy. So they can actually take a stronger directive to the cost of the road in health. A stronger understanding that you know if they are sick and they get told to take pills why they have to take those pills at that time why they have to eat before that pill why they have to exercise. Because just for my own health experience when a doctor says to me you should exercise more and I guess what they all say. But actually why more impact does it actually have. And it all comes down to health literacy and I'm sorry I'm totally obsessed with the Zarya now.

You know what. It's great to be obsessed with this area and for the providers listening for the med device companies really, pharma companies everybody listening this health literacy is a serious thing. We as healthcare leaders suffer from the curse of knowledge and the curse of knowledge is that we know the topics inside and out. We're at a level 10 and companies like Serena's help us touch our end user our patient our customer at level 2 which is really where we need to be and so many of us are missing the mark. So I'm excited to really dive into some of these things that Serena speaks to us about in particular Serena, I love to hear about an example that you and your company have done to improve outcomes by doing things differently in literacy.

What before I even get to that point I should point out that I'm definitely not at level 10 I'm. So you know I was I did not do well in science at school. My concept basic biology is very low. So what I'm building Good Zing and when we're looking at the platform when we're editing articles that the doctors have written or editing articles that nutritionist writing looking at health tips we always say bring it back to layman's terms that someone says you should eat fiber. Really. I'm pretty educated person. But this isn't my area of expertise. What the hell do they mean by fiber? How much should I be having sup for munch? Should I not? It's breaking it down idiot proof and it's the same in any industry. So I used to work in renewable energy. I remember my first couple of weeks working the space at home with the road jogging to me and you slowly get it. But the bomb in the health space is there a Sermanni job. There's so much jargon. And there's sort of a wonderful thing that doctors are gods because they save our lives which is like the doctors that have saved my life I've had nine operations I've had a whole bunch of other issues that I haven't mentioned I freakin love all my doctors. But at the same time the ones that have had most impact, the ones I've broken it down for me. So I've actually understood what's going on in my own body without having the fear that I'm too stupid to get it or that they know everything when actually you know your own body but going back to your question I guess it's the biggest thing that is when people come to us and say they found a tip on the zing that helped. So there's one story that always makes me smile which is so occasionally we get sort of messages, e-mails, via social media people saying and they found tips that worked. There's one story I've really loved because it was a mother of three young kids based in Amsterdam and she emailed us to say that her 2 or 3 year old daughter had really really bad x mind seen lots of different doctors and a kid had been put on very strong medicines for it.I think it was steroids and she wrote say that she got good zing found a whole bunch different eczema related remedies from the bats and had gone to the doctor and said Hey can I try some of these. And she started putting her kid and a box or something and I turned around and home remedy. Now the kids Eczema is actually dramatically improved. And she had taken some of the nutrition steps and the kid is not actually on drugs anymore for the eczema and they have it under control. I quite frankly thought only happened to one person I believe. OK. We fulfilled it, that the mission of the company. But the fact is that it's happening a lot more. But what's quite interesting is when we started this it was only for common ailments so things like eczema or insomnia and would put up things like fibromyalgia chronic fatigue syndrome because I had those and I knew how hard it was to find that health contents without sort of being a blog space where people were ranting and raving about how terrible they felt. Know I will not call solutions not was the point. But then actually a friend came to me and said I think you should put mental health up there. It was a couple of years ago when we were still in beta still an idea was before mental health become trendy. And that is the area that we're seeing the most results because mental health is still something that people are how to go around saying they've got eczema they don't have it around so they've got embarrassing things like constipation. But it's most of the day to day issues that when it comes to mental health people in the UK and I know from my experience in the U.S. they're not that happy to talk about the fact that they are struggling with panic attacks or anxiety being vulnerable is very hard in our western society. What we're saying is people coming to us saying that they found a great meditation on good zing or they found a psychiatrist talking about why you should see a psychiatrist they've started saying one it has really helped them. So the whole point is that one heals differently. And what we're saying is that people are using good zing very differently to find tips that help. And that makes me very happy.

That's pretty cool. Folks, if you go to you're going to see they have a very easy to navigate site. You can search topics from a to z.

I'm going to push back on that and I apologize if anyone is looking at good zing. It's like one of our biggest screw ups.

I don't think it's bad will cause I think it's pretty straightforward but hey you know we're our own worst critics.

We're an anti bootstraps starters we didn't take a... because if we did a couple of big VCs in New York said they light up. They were and they wanted us to charge people for access to the well-being tips which went against every core belief of why we're starting this which was giving access to people who didn't always have it. So we decided just to bootstrap it. And it's been a great decision on some reasons. But we are currently working on fixing our UXO. Hopefully in the next two months.

Well folks I'll tell you it's not that bad. You go to the website. whatever it is that you're feeling right maybe you have a sore tooth today or a migraine or an ear or whatever you go there you find it and you click on it you click on to take for instance and similar to a blog page where you have all the blog posts on it. You have solutions that pop up for that particular one kind of cool and definitely beats googling and getting a bunch of ads and random things try. Good zing next time. Definitely a fascinating platform to find those solutions to the things that may pop up for you or your kids. Very nice. Very nicely done Serena.

Thank you. The big thing is also that it's user generated so let's say someone out there you have a great tit for eczema just because we were on that topic that your grandmother will buy or that your nurse told you about. Put it and the system is the whole point is user generated content because we all have these great tips on our own hands. Think about all the times you've been sitting around having lunch with friends or at a brunch and someone says I've got a sore throat. You know I can't tell time to be sick. Someone will always come up with a solution. That's the whole thing about it is like let's bring all these solutions into one place and set them all rated and reviewed with all these experts from different backgrounds. Also putting in that helps. So ultimately let's have a top ten list and that's the aim of that.

Love it. Serena you guys are doing a great job. Can you share time with the listeners when you had a setback or something didn't go well besides your UX of course.

Yeah. So we've made so many mistakes on the way

What did you learn from it?

What do we learn from it as is many. But it's basically as an entrepreneur it's about resilience. It's about philosophy and just getting back up. A year ago we sent out an e-mail that wasn't necessarily the quality that should have been. We got on a bit of negative attention from some UK lawyers and it was actually great because it made us take a step back and think actually we've got to be ten times more responsible than we thought this is. This is how content this has health information and lot of incredibly vulnerable young people out there that any knowledge of health or any knowledge of everything is via Google. So we sort of looked around in different ways we could be about content that we came across something good the well-spoken mark which is in the UK and in the U.S. And basically they're looking at is wellbeing contents and wellness content which as we all know you know you only have to flick through Instagram and you have a young beautiful blogger doing an amazing yoga pose on the beach who's giving a whole bunch of health advice but it's probably not qualified to do so. So what we've watched with this company whilst Berrigan is to ensure that our platform is as keen and who's responsible as possible so all these people are well-spoken man of all work in pharma or health and we've just been clearing things up so it certain topics that were not really going into anymore. We're checking absolutely every expert certification. No tip goes live on the site without our approval. You know we're doing all these things just to be as responsible as possible but you know we should have done that from day one but it was a mistake and we've learned from that and we've actually improved the product as a result.

That's awesome and the important thing is that you get out there start something and iterate as you go forward.

Yes and as every startup founder knows no matter what space it is you're constantly learning and you constantly iterating because you think you know what you're building. But actually once people start touching feeling that product, it's a whole different kettle of fish.

Absolutely. And this message has come up a lot listeners. So hopefully you're taking note don't build it fully and expect them to come. You've got to build it somewhat get some feedback and keep iterating. Just like Serena and her team have. Serena, what would you say when are your proudest medical leadership experiences to date is?

You see, I would never put myself in the word medical costs for me medical is all the wonderful doctors, it's the wonderful nurses it's the wonderful people who run the hospitals and run sort of what you do you know within sort of medical devices. For me it's more about wellbeing but I would say one of the proudest things is sort of reaching personal milestones so when we launched in May last year May 2017 you know we had a feeling of where we wanted to be a year later in terms of numbers unique to the site and we blew through the roof in five months and then we blew through the roof of our second year goal and actually at the end of year one says the proud moment is reaching those and knowing that we're reaching so many consumers. But the other aspect is this very proud to see people in the medical community starting to reach out to us speaking at different conferences. Basically the medical community. What makes me proud is when they realize that actually sometimes people like me who were the patient were the consumers that were coming at it from a different angle and that we are generally trying to help people when not trying to innovate in a way to get rid of them we're just trying to be there to help people and sort of when names that I really really respect in the industry have given us the OK that they've liked tarsal they've invited us to speak. That's when I get very proud. But I'll be a proud when 100 million people every month coming to this and finding all that solutions. That's what I'll be proud.

That's awesome. You've done a lot and a lot more to go. What would you say right now is an exciting project or focus that you guys are working on?

Something quite excited about. So at the moment we've got four categories: habits, emotions, beauty, and common elements which is the one we Sonson off that. what we're beginning to look at now is what are the other categories we should be looking at. So obviously pregnancy and baby two of the biggest ones but there's so many different topics were that. And so we're starting to look at how we can roll that out in the coming year but with that we've got to find a whole lot more experts say you know we're puting for midwives, nurses, pediatricians, doctors we want a lot more mothers as users on the platform so that they can share their experience as you know from babies, teething or what to do when yout ankles are swollen when you're pregnant. So all those kind of topics and sort of continually adding more content to the platform. That's what I'm excited about.

That is exciting and if you had that category you know I've got a 16 month old I know my wife and I would have been on your good zing constantly. There's always something new.

That we realize. But you know that's a mistake. You know I didn't have kids. And so when I started this I was like well these are the issues I struggle with. My friend came to me saying mental health. And you know so I went with the ones when you brought in a product you go with what you know and that now a lot more of my friends have kids you know my sisters have lots of beautiful children. So now I'm realizing that actually it's the pregnancy and baby category which you know so many people are struggling, struggling with confidence and we used to raise children in a village. So there were always different people you could talk to.


Now we're all living away from our families and it's a small family units. So who do you turn to for sort of what to do for your kids teething when you find that doesn't work but there might be another roots. So yeah that's our next big project which is terrifying.

I love it now. It's super exciting as well. Terrifying and exciting and I know you guys will do well. Serena getting to the end of this here. Let's pretend you and I are building a course on wellness and what it takes to be successful in health. It's the 101 Serena. So we're going to write a syllabus four questions that I'll ask you. Lightning round style followed by a book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready?


All right. What's the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?

Health literacy.

What's the biggest mistake or pitfalls to avoid?

Not trusting your own gut. You know what's best for you.

How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

Constantly innovate.

What's one area of focus that should drive everything in your company?

Content, content, content. I might have talked about the UX but at the end of the day we're a content play and all we want is the best content from a variety of sources that people have the best information available to them.

Amen. I'm right there with his sister. What book would you recommend to the listeners?

There's two one which I'm halfway through at the moment it's called you True North: Describe your authentic leadership by Bill George.

Love that one.

It's so good conscience.

Gosh it's so good. Yeah.

And the other one from the wellbeing space is Why we sleep by Matthew Walker.


Everyone should read this. If you weren't already obsessed with sleep you will be after reading this.

Oh boy.

Even my problem her existed on three or four hours sleep has to change having read this so everyone go and read it.

Love it. Ok. There you go listeners why we sleep. And true north. All of these things that you'll be able to find on our website just go to and you're going to be able to find the transcript, links to those books, link to the website Good zing where you could find trusted ailments from the community that Serena has built. Serena, before we conclude I love if you could just share a closing thought. And then the best place for the listeners can get in touch with you.

So the best place to get in touch with me is either my email or serenopp on social media. I really just want to say thank you because healthcare is really about bringing people together and so often it's quite a siloed industry so every conference I get into is the medical health, or wellness. It's actually in podcasts and groups like this and if we can bring those two together then we can really enact some really exciting change for the next generation when it comes to health. So really like if we can all work together that's where we can have really good impact.

Love it, Serena. This has been a blast. Listeners called the action check out for your next little thing that bothers you. You're going to find some good solutions there. So Serena big thanks to you for making time for us really appreciate it.

And thank you for having me. Stay in touch.

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there's one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That's why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I've been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That's

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Recommended Book:

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Best Way to Contact Serena:
Twitter - serenaopp

Mentioned Link:

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Science and Monks Show That Wellness and Mindfulness Contribute to Healthier Living with Charlie Hartwell, Operating Partner, Bridge Builders Collaborative

Thanks for tuning in to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring health leaders. I want to personally invite you to our first inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It's a conference that the Outcomes Rocket and the IU Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Sciences has teamed up on. We're going to put together silo crushing practices just like we do here on the podcast except it's going to be live with inspiring keynotes and panelists. To set the tone, we're conducting a meeting where you can be part of drafting the blueprint for the future of healthcare. That's right. You could be a founding member of this group of talented industry and practitioner leaders. Join me and 200 other inspiring health leaders for the first Inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It's an event that you're not going to want to miss. And since there's only 200 tickets available you're going to want to act soon. So how do you learn more? Just go to For more details on how to attend that's and you'll be able to get all the info that you need on this amazing healthcare thinkathon. That's

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast. Hey, I'm super excited to welcome today's wonderful guest. His name is Charlie Hartwell. He's a change agent, passionate about using his talents to create innovative, sustainable global change. A Harvard Business School graduate, Charlie's helped use his leadership skills in 14 different industries to help build global movements and industries. He's currently the Operating Partner of Bridge Builders Collaborative, a group of highly successful business people who've been the leading investors in the mine training space for the last seven years. He's led teams organizations and brands to incredible results through collaborative and authentic leadership style that utilizes each person's gifts to attain the stated goals. He uses practical wisdom developed through working in many different industries to bring fresh perspectives and models. And now he's operating within healthcare. So I really want to give Charlie a warm welcome to the podcast and have him fill any of the details there in the bio that I may have missed. Charlie, welcome.

Hey Saul, it's great to be on Outcomes Rocket podcast with you. I don't have anything to fill in from what you said but I look forward to the discussion.

Awesome. Yeah me too. I'm really glad you carved out some time for us. Now tell me Charlie you've played in a lot of different industries. Why did you decide to get into the medical sector?

Actually I'm going to credit my wife for getting me into that sector.


Yeah she's been a she's a social scientist has been involved in integrative health care. She's been practicing meditation yoga for 30 years and she got us involved in something called the Mind and Life Institute. Several years ago and then she introduced me to the Mind and Life community. That community really led a lot of the science behind things like mindfulness and other contemplative practices that the science behind all of that kind of coming into the mainstream. So she introduced me that community and through the connections I made there. I met partners. There were three at the outset who were forming the bridge builders collaborative. But that's where I met them was in that community.

That's pretty cool. And so the Mind and Life Institute sounds pretty interesting. What's the focus there?

So thirty five years ago to land neuroscientist named Francisco Varella, a Stanford MBA. They may at a mangle and the Dalai Lama got together because the Dalai Lama knew that in order to prove what easterners already knew in their hearts is going to have to prove to Westerners through science. And he actually said you know had he not been the Dalai Lama he would have wanted to be a scientist. So he began to encourage people to do research around in their mind printing practices and you know the early years actually a lot of those scientists put their careers on the line studying crazy things like meditation or math. But then after 30 years 35 years you know another hundreds of studies every year. So the Mind and Life Institute is sort of a community of probably more than 10,000 scientists around the world that are studying contemplative practice and ethics and that's where it's got its start.

That is fascinating definitely something that that I'm going to check out Charlie and listeners the times are changing. Back then 30 years ago it was crazy it was like sort of hippy dippy thing to do. But I think now the whole wellness part and meditation has become more common place and maybe thanks to Mind and Life Institute and others doing these types of things. And Charlie it's pretty cool that you met your partners there and now you guys are rocking and rolling with your business. Can you tell us about what you think a hot topic that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda and how you guys are tackling it?

Yeah. So I think that our society has looked at the health care system as a place to go to get solutions that are outside of yourself and what science is proving and what some of the companies that we're involved with are proving that maybe some of the answers are actually inside of yourself and that maybe through changing thoughts and stories and through contemplative practice through different forms of brain training that actually we don't need to look outside of ourselves for medical solutions. There are some things that we can just look inside of ourselves and actually begin to develop skills around mind training that will do things like decrease our stress or help. If we're facing depression symptoms or anxiety or many other types of medical conditions so that I think is something that's still kind of revolutionary to think that some of the answers to our health care problems are inside of ourselves versus outside.

That's pretty interesting and Charlie you know I think at the beginning you highlighted this difference right. You brought about the idea that in the East people believe it in their heart but over here on the west we need to see it in their research. So a lot of that is maybe coming from this belief here is it intuition what is it that brings about these answers?

Well that's a good question. I think the first thing that's kind of what I'd say is sort of the gateway to all this is that in the medical system what I hear reported is that 70 percent of doctors visits really are around stress in the world that we live in where we continuously are bombarded by all different phones and the television and our computers and all of these different devices that actually we never get into a place where we can call our minds. So even you know taking 10 minutes a day and learning to sit in a quiet place and even just observe your thoughts can really help people to get into a place where they feel less stress throughout the day. So I think a lot of people think that's pretty hard but it's actually a pretty simple sort of first step to getting to take more control of your own healthcare situation.

I love it. So you guys are working with a lot of different companies. I think one of the ones that many of the listeners have heard of is news the brain sensing headband but there's also a slew of other ones where you say the common denominator of all the companies that you guys work with is?

I'd say they all are Mind Training Solutions and they they go about it in different ways. So the companies each have their own unique method of trying to help people to connect more deeply to themselves so they can live happier healthier lives. You know we have everything from sort of behavioral health platforms to sort of knowledge memory platform to what I'd call sort of the Spotify of spirituality or consciousness to a company that's gotten a lot of press recently which is Pear therapeutics. First FDA approved software dealing with and helping with addiction sort of software as drugs Behavioral Health platforms mindfulness apps. I mean I can go through them in more detail but we've invested in 10 different companies in this space over the last seven years and the common denominator is mind train.

It's really great. And you know I actually I just started reading this book called Thrive by Arianna Huffington. Not sure if you've had a chance to dive into that one but she dives into sort of the idea of this third metric of success. We've driven so much by the first two metrics which is power and money. But the third one is wellness and she covers a lot of things here that you're covering. Have you had a chance to read that one?

I have the book but I've spent time with Arianna. I just actually wrote a blog post about her commitment to sleep and her new book and the work they're doing at Thrive global. And they've kind of followed and in some ways supported their business since they started because I really appreciate how Arianna has been a champion for this whole space and work with thrive global and kind of coming over from the Post. She's really helping the whole space through her efforts to focus exactly on what you're talking about is to you know really sort of begin to take control of our own wellness.

I think it's powerful you know. And mine's like yours Charlie and Arianna and I remember I was about four years ago. I was at the exponential medicine meeting. It's a yearly meeting where innovation you know they talk a lot about innovation in health care and that was when I first opened up my eyes to meditation. They asked the room how many people in this room meditate and at that point four years ago I was definitely not I was one of those people that thought it was hippy dippy. I'm surrounded by all these super extremely successful people and I see about 85-90 percent of the hands go up Charlie. And I'm like: What am I missing? You know, I'm like there's something here and not that it was. It's all about like hey, success, success, success. But man like fulfillment. Right. And so I had to dig into it deeper and there was a guy that led a meditation session at that meeting and since then it's become a big part of my day to day.

Now that's great. So you do it on a daily basis or you do it like every morning or afternoon.

So typically what I do Charlie is in the mornings or at night whenever I can I don't do both. I do one and I do anywhere between five and ten minutes of meditation.

OK. That's great.

Yeah. It's not long but what I tell people is that it's long as you do it for a little bit and you get your mind just to relax and you breathe.

Yes. Pretty basic. Just focus on your breath. We do it like 27000 times a day or something and we do it without any awareness.

It's amazing right. And we do it so often without awareness. And you know what. Actually Charlie you know we're putting together a meeting in September and it's called the healthcare thinkathon. And one of the things that I think would be cool is to actually get somebody to kickoff the meeting with a meditation session. Not sure anybody from the companies that you work with maybe interested in but that might be something that would be great to connect with you off line about.

I'm happy to do that. And you know what I've started doing so in my work I actually love going to conferences and leading panels and Google moderator for panels. Really what I've started doing is that every conference regardless of what the subject is, is asking the audience for permission to take a minute of silence to get into a zone. What I find

I love that.

Is that when we do that and when you're asked permission and then people just kind of get more centered on the chair and they are more attentive their backs up straight and going through that minute. However each of them experiences it individually the whole hour changes or an hour and a half because people don't go right back to their phones. They're much more present in the room. The questions get better ,that people are engaged. So I have just started asking permission every time I lead a panel.

Charlie, I love that man. So I'm going to be going, I have a meeting in Philadelphia in a couple of days and I'll be speaking there. I'm going to take this practice if you give me the green light.

It's not my green light to give.

Listen, I'll go and I will. I'm going to give you credit because I think it's such a wonderful way to kick it off and and just to reach Sanner and I love what you said. You know people don't go to their phones because they actually you gave them this gift of pausing.

Correct. That's what I find. And they're not even aware of it and they're so accustomed to just sitting. If you want to be on your phone that's totally fine. It's cool. Leave the room and go do what you need to do and focus on that but just sit and be focused on two different things you're not giving either one of those things the attention that it deserves.

Love it man. Now that's so great. And it's a big thing that we do here on the Outcomes Rocket, Charlie. You know we talk best practices and I think this is one that I'm going to take. But also the listeners, hey when's the next time you have a group to address? Take Charlie's practice and share it with the people that you're out to influence, that you're out to share with. And I think it's one that will create a ripple effect of positive in your life and in the life of the people that that you lead here in care and beyond. Charlie in your journey your business journey your life journey, tell us about a setback that you've had and what you learned from that setback that maybe the listeners could get some pearls from.

So in 1998 I met the first woman who ever skied to the North Pole and the only woman who had skied to both the north and south poles. Her name was Anne Bancroft and she had a vision of being the first woman across the continent of Antarctica. She'd always done it as a non-profit model and spent years paying off debts as she went in and educated. You know some school kids you know through these expeditions and I met her and you know part of my background is as a consumer goods marketer. And when I heard her story and she wanted to go across Antarctica like it was one of the most emotionally professional moments of my career where I knew I wanted to support this through starting a business and marketing and helping people around the world through this metaphor of crossing Antarctica for a five foot four woman pulling 250 pound sleds for 7500 miles. Climbing sea level to 10000 feet you know crevasses and minus 20 degree below weather and she actually did it with a Norwegian woman named Liv Anderson. So the metaphor that I wanted to create was to empower girls and women around the world.


So I formed the first for profit expedition company in U.S. history to create a global campaign around this expedition and I formed an amazing team and the expeditions launched and the media started covering it and we were you know on CNN 14 times and on David Letterman and on the Today show I mean we got three billion media impressions and when they got back the business side of me said OK so you were called into the expedition. Now let's do something more so I tried to build an education company from what we were doing. The mistake that I made was really not understanding what my calling was which was to make this expedition a very powerful global media campaign. And then I should have just gotten out. Instead I tried to push it to a place that I wanted it to go and we ended up the end of the women wanted to ski together to the north pole which is a very expensive endeavor and we're trying to build an education company and a leadership company. And you couldn't do two things at the same time so we shut the company down and really my experience of learning which was not an easy one as the company was shutting down was really listen to what your calling is and then get out of the way and don't let your ego get involved and I think now that I've done that I know I need to push it here so I don't know. That's probably one of my great learning moments in business.

Now that's pretty interesting. So how do you tell right. Because it's hard to tell when you're in the moment that you've taken it to where it is. Is it a gut feel? Is it something that you write out your exit strategy that you just commit to? How would you define that, Charlie?

Well probably different people experience it differently because we're all built a little bit differently. For me if I just would have sat down and sort of said what is effortless and flowing which wasn't building you know the leadership company and really reflecting back on what I was called to do I just didn't take that time and really I never asked myself the question if this is what I had been called to do. So if I would have gone to that place I could have dealt dug into my just intuitive sense and said you know what you did what you were called to do. Now it's time to do the next thing.

Gotcha. I get that. I get that. Yeah. Just being able to go back to your guiding principles ensuring that it's in line with that and not going beyond.

Correct. You know and I had I looked at this if I look back at my first healthcare experience it was I started a nonprofit in the slums of Nairobi in Nairobi Kenya in 1988

That's pretty cool.

And we built this organization and it became a health care organization. The first maternity wards ever I think in any slum that I know of in Africa had the first ambulance, the first doctors or dentists. We built this organization I think in the last 30 years it is served about 3-4 million people. But in the end there I knew that I was starting something and nine years after I started I turned it completely then my partner that I started with and I turned it completely over to the Kenyans. And I had no responsibilities. I just knew that it was theirs, not mine and they needed to take it where the medicos had actually been successful at doing this before I just let my ego get involved with the other business.

That's awesome. What a great example and great contrast there, Charlie to another experience that you had that worked more in line with the way that you would have liked the previous one to go and and a great pearl of wisdom that you shared with us. How about the other side of the coin, Charlie? What's one of your proudest health care leadership experiences that you've had to date?

So for me the work I'm doing in supporting my investment partners and doing this work with bridge builders and supporting the 10 investments that we've made I feel as though maximizing my gifts. I'm passionate about creating impact and building global movements so I'm able to do that. I think that the work that we've done has been sort of provided a bedrock in some senses for a whole new industry that's cropping up that is going to have massive medical implications for the whole planet. And I'm just doing my part in the whole thing you know to co-lead this movement with a lot of other people and I think that we're going to find that there's some revolutions that happen that you know in health care and then the way organizations are run because of the work that the companies that we invest in are doing.

That's awesome man. Definitely a lot to be proud of there and just centered and listeners, one of the things that you've probably gotten from Charlie at this point if you haven't already is that he's so centered and he's in line with his mission and his why. And it's something that I think is important for all of us to do as leaders in health care and leaders in general just be centered and take some time to understand why it is that you do what you do. And I think it's just so key for us to make sure we keep that at the center. How about an exciting project that you're working on today, Charlie I know you guys have invested in several companies. Anything in particular that sticks out as super exciting out of all the things that you're working on.

Well since I'm a nonconformist I'm going to answer with a couple of them. So we support a company called happify health which is started by two former mill Israeli military guys whom I absolutely love together built a casual games company. Several years ago they built it. It was like POP3 casual games company in the world they sold it. They ask themselves what the heck did we just get people addicted to. Somebody told them about the science of positive psychology, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy and they didn't believe the science but they started researching it and they then got themselves convinced that that science was worthwhile to pursue. So they started a company called happify which was really to take their skills of building an engagement platform and taking the work of the leaders in those three areas and building a platform that's a customized experience for people which is called Happify so they're building a platform not to get people addicted to technology but really so that they are beginning to prove as an engagement platform that if you come to happify for 14 minutes a day three times a week over an eight week period you can see pretty significant results in multiple conditions and I'll just take one being for people with mild or moderate depression like your depressive symptoms go down. So if you have moderate you might go down to a mild in eight weeks or if you're mild you might get out of your depressive states. And this is to me really exciting because this is just your mind helping you to get out of that state. Another project that I am really excited about which was one of our most recent investments is called Insight Timer. Insight timer's a platform. If you take a look at the meditation apps in the world today. There's no meditation app that has as much meditation done on a daily basis as insight timer.


Million people download it. They have something like 260000 people using it every day a million two a month.

Why do you think that is?

Why do you think that it's grown like that. Yeah because what they've done that I'm really intrigued about is they brought the wisdom leaders of the world they have 1900 teachers on their platform so you can go on the platform and just meditate using their timer. They have a great timer but then they have 1900 teachers that have provided content. If you look at all the meditation apps in the world most of them you know you get maybe 10 meditations and then you have to start paying for it on insight timer. You have 9000 free pieces of content and meditation you can use. They're going to monetize through they just launched today, they launched courses by some of the leading experts in the world and you can rent or buy those and you know like Spotify you can get advanced features if you want to pay to 99 or 499 a month. But this content is always going to be free. And it's global and the teachers are teaching in their language. So it's a platform that really can spread globally through teaching locally. And you feel like you're in a community of people because you get on there and you can see everyone in the world that's meditating at the same time. And you can see people in your local area and you can see friends that you make on the platform and so I'm really excited to support that business and I love supporting all of our businesses. But those are two that I'm having a lot of fun with at the moment.

Super interesting Charlie. Glad you brought those up and listeners if you're curious about the companies that Charlie and his team over at bridge builders collaborative are working on. Check them out. The website is as in bridge builders and you could check out their companies there. I think you'll be very intrigued at the selection that they've made in these very impressive companies. Check them out. That's Charlie, this has been fun getting close to the end here of our interview. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in healthcare business. It's the 101 of Charlie Hartwell. So we've got four questions here for you lightning round style followed by a favorite book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready?

I think so. Feel like I'm on a game show, right

And the first question.

There we go.

What's the best way to improve health care outcomes?

Having compassion for patients and encouraging them to look for answers inside of themselves.

How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

If you're always listening to your end users and your customers if you're b2b2c you're going to do just fine. If you listen to what they need and build according to what they need I think you're going to be great.

What's one area of focus that should drive everything in an organization?

I just wrote a piece on this in today's world understanding what the mission of the organization is the vision of the organization and holding the leaders of the organization and yourself accountable to living by that mission and vision assuming that you agree with the mission and the vision or else you shouldn't be there. I think that is incredibly important in today's world.

Think that's a wonderful message. What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Probably not listening. I'm talking about this from sort of building companies in this space. Absolutely not listening to where the market is.

Wonderful. Yeah you know I reshared a report that showed that the number one reason startups and companies fail is because there's a lack of market need.

Yeah they just think they know. I see that over time.

It's unbelievable man. I mean I see this and I'm just thinking to myself man and then I've been guilty of it and I learned the hard way. And I think a lot of people do. But it's just amazing how easy it is for us to fall in love with our own ideas and Charlie you hit the nail on the head twice one what they have to do is listen to the market and the end user. And the mistake you need to avoid listeners is just listen to the market.

And I'm going to go different than that.


I'm going to change my answers.

Let's change it

Listening to what the people need not just listening to the market. But what is the need. Because a lot of things if you listen the market you wouldn't necessarily know that something can be created because the market wouldn't tell you that it needs to be created. But if you listen to what the need is of the end user then you can build something really spectacular around that.

And so how do you differentiate between the market and the end user, the need.

I think the market is kind of you have to understand how the market works to bring your product and solution then. But if you're listening deeply to the needs of the consumers and then say Okay I understand the needs and that's not being met. So let's create something that and for most people that I work with it's a personal thing that they this is kind of their life's calling. These are the CEOs and start these companies that say you know I think that what I'm really passionate about meets what I'm hearing is an unmet need of consumers today.

Gotcha. Catch a good distinction, a very good distinction. Wonderful responses here on the syllabus. Charlie what would you say the favorite book that you recommend to the listeners as part of the syllabus is?

So I recommend that people read a book by a woman named Sharon Salzberg called Real Love. Sharon just came out with this book. She's one of the leading leading wisdom teachers in the world. The book really talks about the importance of self-love. And I bring that up actually as a thing that I think is important for medicine. I know through my own experience that the more that you can come to love yourself, love all parts of yourself actually the healthier and happier you're going to be in your life and the more fulfilled you're going to be. And Sharon is an expert at that and a good friend. So that's my book that I'm recommending.

Wonderful. What a great recommendation. Listeners don't worry about writing any of this down. You could check out all of the show notes as well as a transcript of our discussion today just go to that's bridge as in bridge builders collaborative and you could find all that including links to the book that Charlie recommended I link to Charlie's company and all the companies that he's working with. Charlie, this has been fun. I really appreciate the discussion before we conclude. I'd love if you could just share a closing thought with the listeners and then the best place where they could follow you or reach out to you.

Yes so I just started a medium blog about three or four months ago. So I do kind of a weekly blog post at Charlie Hartwell on medium just writing my insights into the what's happening in the industry and I guess a closing thought for listeners is that if you just take the time and begin to set the intention around just spending more time connecting to yourself I think you'll be amazed. And when you need it seek outside help along that journey. But in my own experience going down there and having the courage to do that which is hard to do in our society sometimes pays remarkable dividends to creating a better life.

What a great message Charlie and again this encouragement to our listeners to spend more time with themselves, loving themselves and being more mindful has been really welcomed discussion so I really want to thank you for spending time with us today and looking forward to following you and the things that you're up to.

Well I'm looking forward to getting a note from you as to how the meditation goes as you leads at the conference.

Hey you'll definitely hear back. So I appreciate you man.

All right Saul, thanks.


Thanks for tuning in to the outcomes rocket podcast. If you want the show notes, inspiration, transcripts and everything that we talk about on this episode just go to And again don't forget to check out the amazing healthcare thinkathon where we could get together to form the blueprint for the future of healthcare. You can find more information on that and how to get involved in our theme which is implementation is innovation. Just go to that's Be one of the 200 that will participate. Looking forward to seeing you there.

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Outcomes Rocket - Amy Li

How Dancing, Community and Little A.I. Saved This Woman's Life and What She's Doing to Save the Lives of Others with Amy Li, Founder at Dance4Healing

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

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring health leaders. I want to welcome you go to where you could rate and review today's podcast because she is an amazing woman and an amazing contributor to the health industry. Her name is Amy Li. She's the founder at dance for healing a graduate of the Singularity University program of health entrepreneurs. She's done so many things at dance for healing. They used technology and behavior designed to build a telehealth platform for music and dance. Her story as a cancer conqueror has created just a platform for others to be able to overcome adversity in their health conditions. Some of the things that they've done is they've been a top 5 semifinalist for Pfizer's Aves advancing care for MBC patients challenge. She's done second prize finish for partners connected health fit mind challenge Stanford Medicine x healthcare design. She got an award there so the list is long of awards that she's done here with this company but she's also a board of directors at humanity plus it's an international fiber Wannsee non-profit dedicated to developing knowledge about science tech and social changes. She's very very interested in influencing health and I want to open up the microphone to Amy to fill out any of the gaps that I missed in the intro. Amy what a pleasure to have you on the podcast today.

Thank you. Yeah no I think you did a great job at introducing me. The only thing may make me sound a little bit nerdy is actually graduate from Zener A.D. city which is Social Entrepreneurship Program in Nassa. For those who are curious about space and astronauts and aliens.

Well you know what I think there's definitely an interest across many of those. The listener base and folks I've had a chance to connect with Amy and she's definitely nerdy but nerdy in a really cool way. And so Amy you know one of the things that I like to ask our guests is what got you in the medical sector to begin.

Yeah. Life is crazy. I never thought I will had cancer changed my life. I have stage 4 cancer halfway through this program I just mention NASA and so I had a very successful corporate career. And at one point I started to realize that I was making way too much money for large corporations and not be fulfilling. And so I decided to apply for this social entrepreneurship welcome in NASA Off-Road full scholarship I should say yeah I'm going to go I changed the world. So I got to NASA and but it was to lay that of stress that I suffered from there Corporate stress from my last job which is a pretty abusive boss and his personal relationships falling off in all kinds of dimensions just in life just really can take a huge toll in my health. So you know I made it to Nassa finally. It was still let me so I was excited that I finally was spending time with people from 36 countries and inspiring entrepreneurs and leaders who want to change the world. Then I got very sick and I literally was so good at being given no choices I in able to survive and make good difference in this area that I really feel I can share it with my patients story.

Thank you for sharing that Amy and it sounds like just the stress and the turmoil and just kind of got you out of corporate world and just as you were making a transition. It's when you've got cancer you defeated it though. And from that you've developed the springboard for others to do the same. And I had a chance to see the program that she has listeners it's dance for healing where you dance and she's got some algorithms in there that see how how your mood is and it's just a really cool program that you put together a very innovative Amy as you work to reach out to people to adopt your technology in general what would you say. Every health leader needs to be thinking about today.

I would say the first thing is the empathy and understand who the users are really putting yourself into their shoes and understand what's their motivation not yours. What color the day to day journey. What kind of struggles do you have to do are trying to go from one side to the other and really cannot get into what they are dealing with. And we'll probably trying to solve for them and it was you understand the journey. And then you can provide a bit of intervention whatever you want to make a difference you know which part of the journey.

That's a really great topic Amy and what is it that your patients this feeling and think of it in terms of their perspective. I think that's how Amy put together her current offering at dance for healing. Maybe Amy you know obviously you showed me the program I'd love if you could just share with the listeners what dance for healing is and how it works and how you've been able to improve outcomes with it.

Yeah sure. So Dance for healing is in AI powered tele-exercise platform designed to bring exercise fitness music things in our most importantly is the community support to your house where patients like myself who oftentimes struggle with isolation loneliness you know due to chronic conditions or aging. We are a Behavior Intervention company. And what's unique about ours is we combining AI in behavior design. So we get the most relevant data that will help you cultivate healthy behavior change. And we also match you through a buddy. How many for patients and why that we match you to is base on all kinds of imitations of data that we got. Is your preference data as was compatible personality types and we also truckle real time emotions and basal emotions. We can recommend instant interventions of the music and bands that will make a difference.

And it's super interesting. So Amy talked about tracking emotions and as you move in front of this camera which is basically your camera on your laptop and there's this little tracker that follows your face and then it can tell if you're sad or if you're happy and you know I tried competing against Amy on this thing and there's no I don't. I've never met anybody as happy as she is.

I know I was having a hard time to make sassy go go.

And so yeah we had a blast there. But yeah what a great way to help intervene and give patients a dance routine a social environment to do better and with the platform. I understand you're just beginning to do some pretty amazing things and you're also working on some different projects to right. Putting together a new online magazine.

Yes. So Saul did you know creative arts improve quality of life for cancer patients by by 50%?

I did not know.

And decrease pain by 59 percent.


Yes. And actually dancing also reduce dementia by 76 percent.


Yes. Yeah. Which all time was eventually gonna cost one in three dollars in Medicare money. And then the other research data indicating a forty eight thousand patients study in Australia is dancing also reduce cardiovascular death by 46 percent.



Insane statistics Amy.

Yeah it's crazy that 21 year study indicating that the dancing reduce dementia was a study publishing The New England Journal of Medicine actually tracks walking, biking, golf, tennis, singing, listen to music, solving puzzles, reading and writing. And then it turns out dancing is the only physical activity shows the result dementia in the highest by 76 percent.

I wonder does it say why.

Yeah. So can you guess why or do you want me to tell you.

Yeah why don't you tell me. That's something I'm definitely wondering about it. I'm not sure why.

Yeah. So they said it's a tribute to Robert. Yes. So you're left side of brain. Your logical side is doing mathematic calculation of the musical beats and 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 in a split second you have to transfer their signal with your hands your fingers. Every single part of the body and you need to use your body counting the same mathematical beats and expressing your own whatever Gangnam Style. Yeah exactly. So that means that amount of decision making on the fly yet is so much fun. The thing is you thinking so are you just you.

And there's even the other side of your brain right your left side where you are. You got to be creative and change it.

Exactly. So stimulate both your left side and the right side brain.

Super interesting and you know so my wife and I did salsa lessons for a year and after our lessons Amy just to your point we'd be dancing but I would feel my brain like I feel like I was working out my brain too.

Yeah. Well in addition to the brain benefits it also you know release oxytocin so oxytocins love chemicals try to build it all day. So dacing have validating results to improve relationships among couples


Yeah. One time I was an exponential medicine. We were in the demo booth. And my neighbor is a Indian engineer who's typical little bit nerdy wearing glasses. Yeah and during the break he came by and he was like know this works because me and my wife been married for five years and the first year we took a dance classes together. And I think that make a huge difference.

There you go. Yeah it's really interesting and what's fascinating is the statistics behind it. You know it's very very interesting to know that it's so beneficial.

Yeah yeah. So this is why I decided to opt. Finally after five years I decided to tell my last five year creative writing into a book. The title is Stage IV it and I'm also launching a magazine to educate the public about these medical research. And we also want to feature inspiring stories from patients like me as well as caregivers and then we want to offer healthy living tips and tools and the to publish in medical research and also innovative solutions.

Wow supercool. Amy you're so giving. You've done so much with dance for healing and now you're just taking your learnings and your packaging in a different way that will help reach even more people. What would you say your biggest and proudest moment to date is so far.

Wow. That's how into us. I don't know. I came across normal as probably luckily that our first launch party is thanksgiving launch party we do a lot of bonding exercise flawlessly and much patience of buddies like the exercise we do is a love plate exercise where people play in the back of people's shirts and then you just walk and talk to someone in few minutes and write something being nice about them in my room right now. I had this love plate. We have these little nice clothes and my patient wrote. We like what you do will really change my life. And then you're such inspiring person and I really appreciate kindness. You know in all these things that just really makes me happy. There's good days and is always down days right. I have this luck place straight me. Actually it was really interesting is it a point in my life where this is 2016 where I have scared cancer might have returned.

Oh my gosh.

Yeah cause I had a Faour focus in his my when they millimeter. It took them a long time to see how it was in returning and while I was going to all these different tests scans and scans and different things and one day in the middle of the night was walking in my kitchen and then I was just I was really sad really just lay down. Now I'm all set and just hits me like wow. If I die I actually could probably say I did change a few people's lives.


Yeah it just hits me like oh.


I could claim that

Yeah and what did that make you feel.

That makes me feel it's very meaningful what I do and I know probably my heart's. And we had awesome patients videos. And whenever I saw the video and I see how happy they are it we might see a grounds me you know as entrepreneurs especially when you have a focus on social impact. It's not easy and trying to be in their last year aquatic healthcare system. It's not the easiest thing to do especially for someone like me who's almost the track in innovation in internet technology. It's very different. So there'll be big days there will be down days. My patients are really the one that keeps me going. Yeah.

I love it. That's a great story. Me love plate and the you know listeners think about what Amy just said. You know she she was at the pits of her experience and she found that light that fire when she thought about the lives that she changed and it's that impact that we can have as contributors and leaders in health that makes it all worth it. And putting this love plate where it's visible. This is a great technique that you can do to listeners. Whether it be a love plate or something that remind you about your purpose. Put it in front of you don't keep it in a binder or don't just keep it in your head. Put it front and center because when you need it most it's going to be there to remind you why you're here and what you're doing. Really appreciate you sharing that.

Yeah and what's nice about exercise is mainly for patients attended this program and so everybody go. We will love play. We can save it if only while we're there really once and all the time they've they have something to feed them up a little bit.

I think it's great. And as leaders in health we got to do more to love on ourselves. We do a lot for loving others. If we are running with an empty tank. There's no way we could love others so this is a great message from Amy listeners. Leaders love yourself and you'll be more full to be able to love on others to make this health system even better. Would you agree Amy.

Yeah that's so beautifully said.

Thank You. I love it. And so right now you're focused on building out this new book this content. What would you say one of the key areas of that work that you're doing now is that gets you most excited is.

One of the key areas about the book the magazine.

Either one if you pick one.

Well sell the book in the magazine would serve as the educational component of my company. And not only raise awareness of the power behind creative arts the be and also establish our expertise you know and create a brand Selebi. I wanted to create a web space where when people are curious how oh what's created was that would be it's not so scouter right now like you know we have to take a lot to get it. If our research papers but there's a dedicated space with the publishing medical research not only the experts voice but also stories give us stories and then they'll put them into coqui healthy living tips and tools where people can practice a weekday you know remind them to be in my feelings about their bodies and a law without just talking about right. In a lot of sense you know the essence of music don't get the same smile all these are a huge part of your self care. Yes. So I'm hoping the magazine we're able to service her breasts as I so often happens is you know and when I ask how many people like music I tend to be like 90 percent or something like only like dance O'Berry is a bit like 50 to 70 and depends on audience and it's like it's you know like you know if I throw out one of the day that's the whole room is silent always silent. Yeah. So you see there's a huge gap in the medium that the funds that raise awareness and then the other one obviously is provides the solutions that we built audience were hearing you know we just like the real perform that 24/7 available to individual users. We got to sell air in our location. You know Tom they can against anybody anyone anywhere. We provide a body matching and they can also do it themselves and such just wanted to increase the quality of writing these pre-recorded video and the buddy matching we follow B.J. Fox Lotto. So this is one way we can increase the ability and the other component to emphasize is put hot chick in and motivate people. And so all we do is you know we don't put in motivation to people. We did the empathies study to understand what the motivations are. So a patient line wanted to like I want to see my kids growing up. I want to go travel with my husband. So my Hail and gets artist publishing market research you know you can actually see all kids going there you can actually spend more time with your husband. That way we help them bridging the gaps. You know we help them see how they can get to them motivation and we bring in the most effective behavior cheekier which is human support in the teens. We have two classes folks in prison right. And you more likely accomplishable but you really only have a buddy and that's where that the beauty of body matching comes in. We do patient a patient match. He'll give us the code that will match and also indigenous facial matching.

I think that's super cool and just keep doing what you're doing. You're playing in a space that is outside of the four walls of of health care and and really it's the wellness space and I think it's just a great opportunity for you to continue to pump out the great things that you're putting together. And it'll be a good funnel to give value to people and show them the way to dance for healing which is which I think will be the ultimate way to stay healthy and get healthier way.

And so one of the things I also like to share as part of our effort to raise awareness of the medical research behind query was the lobby I recently share my story at a conference. And this gentleman came up to me and he said I'm a producer for PBS show American Health channel which is longest health show on TV. I've been asked to do for documentary a year and I'm really touched by a story I like to a documentary about your story. And so we are currently looking for underwriters who can back from eight minutes of air time to 170 million audience worldwide and some will be in these 21 months. And if you know any accretions of philanthropy foundations or individual in a philanthropist share of the story. And also help us raise awareness of the power of creative arts. Bellambi so it can really are in healthcares the artist will be starving. Patients can benefit. Healthcare costs will be reduced and everybody you know can benefit from it.

I love it. And so listeners if you happen to be somebody interested in that you can reach out to Amy she'll provide her info at the end here but you can also check her stuff out at and you'll find links to the things that she's up to as well as our contact form there. But getting here to the end. Amy what I want to do is build a leadership course on what it takes to be successful and health today. The 101 of Amy Li and I've got four questions followed by a book in a podcast that you recommend to the listeners. You ready.


OK. What's the best way to improve health outcomes.

The empathy.

What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Trying to build things out of your head or out of your little organizations who live inside without talking to the users.

How do you stay relevant as an organization in health despite constant change.

You do need to have a whole landscape. The big picture right not only including our stakeholders like you know patients policy makers and also trying to understand how to innovate. That's all come with bold dimensions.

Love it. And finally what's one area of focus that should drive everything in your organization.

I will say Human Centered Design Behavior strategy is also very important. Is you know all guiding principles and I think it should be for many organizations.

Awesome. Amy what book and what podcast would you recommend to the listeners.

I'm a fan of Ted Radio Hour. Nice. Yeah I'm a regular NPR listener. And then the books I really love the work. We wanted to learn how to increase productivity and also given that tape. Adam Green is the great book for leaderships.

Excellent deep work by Cal Newport. So Amy this is really great listeners don't worry about writing any of this down. Just go to That's Amy's last name - li and you're going to find all the show notes as well as links to the books that she recommended her company and all the other things that we've discussed Amy. Before we conclude I love if you could just share a closing thought and then the best place that the listeners can get a hold of you.

Yeah sure. So it dance4healing we are actively looking for partnerships to help us scale. So this year our focus is funding itself. See you feel there's potential collaboration opportunities or what you do out of people are organizations that you know that might be a good partner for us. Please let us know. And then for the web magazine we are setting up an Expo's voice into Yossarian's and so we don't know anybody who could tell a story and any of the four sections or conference please let me know. We are also looking for requirements as you are already you know have it for us in this every year and half the company that you like to koshary please contact me. We will link it back to your site and how we are promoting your account Qin's as well as will be our mission align what we wanted to promote and then please you know anybody you know make my story to him come to PBS is my favorite station so I can have my stories shared to PBS and I think we can really make a huge difference and raise awareness of the power creative arts that will be a lot of benefit. My email is fairly easy it's ins for heating back home. You can also fight for heating in most of the social media. The only thing that is Facebook is safe or because Facebook does not allow for whatever reason. Yeah everything else is dance4healing

Really great stuff Amy. This has been a lot of fun. I think the listeners will definitely be inspired by what you just shared today and we're looking for to just keep up with you and see the amazing things that you continue to improve patient lives. So much for making the time to be with us.

Thank you.

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.

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Recommended Book and Podcast:

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Ted Radio Hour

Best Way to Contact Amy: 

Mentioned Links:

Twitter - Dance4Healing

Facebook - Dance4Healing

Episode Sponsor:

Outcomes Rocket Podcast
Outcomes Rocket - Jon Mertz

Connecting the Dots Between Data and People to Grow Your Organizational Impact with John Mertz, Founder at Thin Difference

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

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 the show once again and I invite you to go to where you could rate and review today's podcast because we have an outstanding individual and contributor to the health world. His name is Jon Mertz. He has a wealth of experience in health. He was previously the vice president of marketing at corepoint health out of Dallas Fort Worth area. He's also the owner and blogger at Thin Difference where he helps leaders find common ground. The cross generational differences between previous generations current generations will dive into a little bit more about that. But Jon also had a good impact across the different areas of health including having chaired the Himm's social media Task Force and growing several double digit growth businesses into a really good place. So I wanted to welcome him to the podcast today to cover some of the aspects of just caregiving and the challenges associated with that and the cross generational divide. So Jon really want to extend a warm welcome to you.

Thank you, Saul. So glad to be here and appreciate your great work.

Thank you so much sir. I really appreciate that. And so you know you've been around the block several times. You're in the process of making another transition but the one thing that you've done so well is you've helped people grow and you've helped people think outside of normal convention. What would you say today is what's driving you to stay in health care.

A lot of it is I think most people to some degree it starts with personal experiences things that you go through personally as it relates to your health as well as you know if you have aging parents or or even children issues that always makes health care relevant and centered in a lot of that what we do. You know depending on the time of a lot of those care issues or transitions we get more involved.

Yeah you know there's no doubt that all of us has a stake in health and personal family children. And so was there something in particular that was a catalyst for you to get you into it.

Well from a company standpoint you know I had been involved with a few startups in Austin Texas earlier in my career. And when a friend of mine got involved in corporate health as a CEO there was kind of a natural connection at that point. And I had been I had spent probably. I don't even remember now but 10 or 15 years and kind of general I.T. infrastructure and corepoint. Health that was obviously health care I.T. and infrastructure so you know looking at how the data flow works within a hospital or between two healthcare entities. And so there is a natural fit. But I've got to say to just by being involved with corporate health for over 10 years it really did heightened my awareness to some of the challenges that exist for providers as well as for patients like me.

And that's really interesting and appreciate you sharing that inspirational story sort of just navigated through a relationship with a friend. But you've stay I mean being there for 10 years is definitely a testament to your dedication to the area. And so through those years John what would you say. Flash forward to today is a hot topic that should be on every health leaders agenda.

Well I think I would say probably two or three things. I think one thing is just the whole in my opinion kind of maybe a shift in mindset from health care to wellness. And I think whether you're a 20 something or a 50 something focused more focused on your wellness. I think that's something more activating to that term than healthcare. To me health care is a little more passive. So that idea of wellness I think is very important. I think another areas just kind of where the digital wellness marketplace will go and how we'll have better experiences as patients I think is another key area and then a third one I think is really a big generational shift that are obviously getting older. So millennials and Jency are going to be passed or have a responsibility to care for their parents. And there's going to be a number of challenges as that kind of shift happens as well.

Yeah that's a pretty cool analysis of sort of the things that are brewing across the health industry and I was sitting over a lunch yesterday with a colleague and he asked me you know what do you think the impact of Amazon and JPMorgan and not these folks getting into health and really around the areas that you're discussing you know it's wellness it's being able to make the experience better. Definitely not seeing a disruption in an FDA approved devices short term but the areas that you just covered especially the area of caring for your loved one that may be going through some health issues I think is a key component. That's going to come with these different organizations joining the health space. Any thoughts on that.

Yeah I think there's a couple thoughts I guess in a one is because I've gone through this personally but who is my mom and dad today. Families are more dispersed so you know we're not living in the same cities or even necessarily in the same states. And when you are come into the role of helping your parents figure out kind of what's next as well as just some of the care and end of life considerations. It gets a lot more challenging from a distance you travel and you obviously are there as much as you can be. But I think looking at platforms or are ways to stay better connected into their unfolding care and how some of those decisions how you can be more involved in those decisions I think are going to be interesting and hopefully some good developments over time around that. And then I think you know the other side of it is is that I know there's a lot or individuals that bring in their parents into their homes and take care of them for a lot of lot of reasons and some of the same issues will come into play as far as how to manage their health how to make sure their you have access to the records how you can make the best decisions with them as as well as with the care providers. So I think there's a lot of work to be done. I think to make that a more supportive process. But I think there's a lot of opportunity especially in a demographic shifts. You know there's going to be a greater need for that as well.

And John I think it's a really good point as we talk about generational shifts and your focus. So listeners. John has a blog it's called the thin difference actually will provide that in the show nutsy can access it. But in this blog he focuses a lot on closing the gap between generations and as we talk about taking care of our loved ones that are experiencing health conditions I think it's a hot topic that needs to be focused on. What are your thoughts here on on this generational difference. You speak a lot about millenials and making sure that this gap doesn't widen with Generation Z. What's the shift that needs to happen there.

I think it's a mindset and mindset shift that needs to happen. You know I don't know you know because what the I'm not sure what caused some older generations to be a little bit more margin as it relates to younger generations. But to state it simply they just need to stop it. I've never seen there's always been little nitpicking about the younger generations through the years so there's strength there but it definitely seems to have intensified with millennials and I'm not quite sure why we should always be supportive of the next generation. You know we should always try to leave the place that we work in a real live in a little bit better than before. I mean that's been our history. So older generations have a responsibility to do that and to pass the baton well and the younger generations have a responsibility to pick up the baton and make the most out of it. And there's a lot of encouraging things in my opinion about the millennials and the next generation as well. They're much more focused on purpose I think than ever I was when I was 20 something and we shouldn't be encouraging that rather than trying to tear some of that down. You know if you want to put it up from a personal or self-interest standpoint you're going to depend on millennials to be successful because as old generations retire or need to rely on them for their care you want the next generation to be successful. So anyway I think there needs to be a mindset shift there needs to be where we can sit down and the younger generations learn from the older ones and the older ones learn from the younger ones. I've learned a lot from Millennials and Gen Z and I hope I continue to do that and to be the other way as well.

Yeah I think that's really interesting and especially in this area of health that we have to find a way to find this common ground. Jon you focus a lot on common ground. Even have a term an identity that you've created through the community at thin difference it's called the common grounder. Can you talk just a little bit about the common ground or the philosophy and what this is all about.

Yeah it's really again about not kicking problems down the road. So we need a really encouraging generation of problem solvers and solution crafters because if you want to ding the older generations I think we've kicked too many problems down the road whether it be our health care system our federal deficits and debt whatever you want to throw in that bucket. There's our public infrastructure. I mean there's a lot of things that need to be more proactively addressed. And so what the philosophy around common ground are is really let's share the diverse perspectives that are diverse opinions. But then let's with respect and civility begin to craft those solutions that are going to leave our place better than where we found it. So that's really the idea behind common grounders.

Yeah and I think listeners in the perspective of health what can we do to take this philosophy of taking a look at the common ground that we have with others and to resolve the problems that we all share. Rather than creating a divide between whether it be generations and even between health systems. Right what are the common ground that you share with health systems in your area or companies in your area. And what can you do to leverage those common ground things to make it better for patients as well as as your own business. Maybe I'd love to hear one of the things that you've experienced in your life in your business John that you would like to share as it relates to a setback or a failure and what you learned from it.

Well I've been lucky in life I guess in the sense that I've really had the experience of working with good people for the most part throughout my career. And that makes a big difference. You know I think there's always going to be setbacks. I mean probably one of the more challenging times I experienced in business life was a startup back in the late 90s. You remember in the late 90s that's when the first dotcom boom happened. So yes there was a ton of money flowing flowing into high tech. At the time I was working for IBM. I mean we were literally in our division. We probably had 30 40 going away parties every Friday so much the outflow to startups was happening and obviously caught that bug. It went and did that but we had the experience of ramping up and then unfortunately we also had the experience of ramping down. So in the dotcom boom you know the blue. And we had to adjust and we were in the fortunate companies where we survived but it was with a lot of toil and really you know discouragement through kind of through the process. But you learn to persevere. You learn to figure out how to put the pieces back together and stay focused and you know kind of start that rebuilding process and other side really from a challenging perspective. Fortunately I was able to stay on the company kind of through this process and you know there was a lot of trials and tribulations with that but it wasn't half as bad as what happened. You know we had to lay off a lot of over half the company. See how it impacts personal lives and how they need to also put the pieces back together and find to track in a very challenging economic time. And so you know I guess for a lot reasons that's probably one of the more challenging times for me in my business life. But it also really I think put the more personal focus on you know what really business the impact it has on personal lives and I think we need to be more aware of that. And I think that's where you know if you shift that to health care it's encouraging to see a lot of companies kind of take on more wellness type programs within their companies. A couple of years ago Aetna started mindfulness practices within their company whether you know setting aside time premeditation for yoga for other types of activities to take try to care for the whole person within their company and there's others that are doing that as well and I think that's a very encouraging trend.

Yeah Jon I love your thoughts on wellness versus just healthcare because a lot of folks are healthy. And what can we do as employers. Right. If you're leader listening to this and you have your employees what can you do to help them with their wellness rather than their health care. And there's a lot of things you could do. So think about that as a differentiator for you and your business what you can do for your employees. So for this topic here I love to just ask a couple of questions for you through a lightning round. We do a course quick syllabus here. And so this is the ABCs of Jon Mertz in healthcare. Okay. So I got four questions for you here John followed by a book and a podcast that you recommend to the listeners. You ready.

I'm ready.

Awesome. What is the best way to improve health outcomes.

The best way to improve health comes I think to me it starts with individuals so I think we have a responsibility to embrace our wellness and figure out a program that works for us to stay healthy. So exercise I think is an important part of that diet obviously as a part of that and communities are an important part of that. And so I think the best way to improve outcomes is for as an individual figure out what works for you and grab somebody to join that community of wellness and lifestyle.

What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

I think letting things slide. I mean I think it's easy to say oh exercise another day or all or I'll just take the doctor's prescription and not think twice about it. I think we need to be more proactive. You know just a personal example. You know I have bone issues so I have osteopenia and so my doctor said you know you can take this pill to help build your bone strength. You know don't worry about what it says on the Internet. It's overblown but that's an option or kind of. I was in and through our conversations like to start lifting weights. Yes. So I had a choice. You know I could have taken the easy road right which is just take the pill or I could take heart a road which was start weight training and I decided I didn't want to take a pill. So you know I've been training I've been by not my bone issues always going to be there but it's stabilized it's not deteriorating. And as you get older in particular putting weights into your exercise routines is very important. So you know I guess the point is is that listen to your doctor there's nothing wrong with that. But then think it through do some research have a more intense conversation with the position and figure out what's going to be best.

Yeah I love that John. You know I was at dinner with some customers the other day and at one point it just let's just be honest I love meat. I enjoy eating. And just like several months ago I looked and I saw my cholesterol I took my exam and I noticed that it was above 200 and I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. And so I ended up going on to Atlanta based diet for two solid months and after that I went from like 230 to 101. And I was sharing this story with a friend of mine at dinner and he told me that. So he's he's in his 60s and same thing happened to him and his doctor recommended a pill and he went with the plant based diet and it worked too. So to your point listeners it's important that we consider the alternatives as it relates to things that we could do with exercise in our diet before we take a pill. In medicine definitely has its role but I definitely love that you mention that John and just think proactively.

Well in a lot of ways food is medicine too. You know it's you right. And I think this is funny that you're a chef because I don't know if you received the I think it's on that plus whatever Forks Over Knives. I mean it's a book too. It's very interesting to listen to these researchers two researchers I came together and kind of came to the same conclusion separately but diet is a very important element and can have a very positive impact on your health.

Yeah I totally agree. And same with exercise right. That could be a prescription.


Exactly. I love it. And I'm glad you caught that and now you're doing your weights. How often are you doing them.

At least twice a week.

I love it. And you got to keep it realistic to me. Can't tell yourself I'm going to do two hours a day five days a week because then you just you'll Drop it.

Exactly. I think it's I've always joked that going into a gym which I hadn't done really up until probably in my maybe early 50s going into a gym you have to have a good sense of humor. And I got to have a good sense of humility and have those two things you can do anything.

I love that Jon. Great message. How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change.

Read it's not just reading what's on the Internet. We are definitely in an information overload society I think and I think a way to stay relevant is to read newspapers and select the few magazines and probably you know mix those up every now and then so you don't get stale in that perspective. And then the other thing is dive into some good books. You can't just go with what's current. I think you have to take a look back and read some history some Bogra fee and mix in some fiction literature that keeps your MA in sharp and keeps you focused on the importance of story in life.

I love that what's one area of focus that should drive everything in a health organization.

Well I would say wellness. I think just again that shift to being more active in the way you look at yourself and delivering care to others. I think wellness as a different puts a different wrapper around what you do. And I think also a key part of that is within wellness. There's usually a good sense of community and through that type of attitude we get out together exercise together learn together and be healthy individuals. Through that wellness mindset.

Wellness listeners make wellness the center of what you focus on at your company and see what happens to your employees and to your patients. What book would you recommend to the listeners and what podcasts would you recommend.

Reading a book right now. I think I've actually read it a number of years ago but I think from a leadership perspective it's very relevant and it's called heroic leadership by Chris Maloney shows the importance of self reflection and self-awareness and also just looking at some history elements of how good companies were built and last that the sense of the test of time. So that will be a book I guess I would recommend and at this point in time and I'm a big Theodore Roosevelt fan so any biography or book on Theodore Roosevelt I would add that awesome.

And how about a podcast that's interesting. So there I mean I have big podcasts fan so there are a couple that I think there are that I find interesting.

One is recode which is looks at the media space. I find it very interesting.


Correct. And it's kind of out of my industry but I think it is by looking at other industries like media and I think you learn more about relationships and different business models. And so it's been interesting you know the one that kind of goes in seasons revisionist history and fascinating.

Gladwell right.

Yep yep.

I haven't. You know I've seen it I haven't heard it though. You recommend it.


What do you like about it.

Well it just it takes a look back at a series of events and there's always these things that maybe you didn't know or unfold a little bit differently than or could have unfolded differently than you would have expected to. So I don't know. I think it kind of Spurs your mind to revisit history and look at how events came together.

I think that's a great recommendation. Gladwell does such a great job of making you rethink things that listeners don't worry about writing any of that down. Just go to that's John's last name. M E R T Z. And you can find all the show notes as well as links to his blog links to the books he recommended as well as the podcasts that he recommended. Jon this has been a ton of fun. Before we conclude I'd love if you could just share a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could get a hold of you.

Yeah so my closing thought would be is to take the word activate and figure out how you can make that more come alive in your life. And it's only within your family life your business life and I think equally important to those two is within your community like we need more people engaged in all levels of those three areas as well as at times taking a step back because when you get out to nature you become more activated in your and your community your family and business life.

A great message John. And and what would you say the best place for the listeners to get in touch with your value is.

Sure. So as you mentioned the difference is definitely a key place. I'm also on Twitter @jonmertz and as well as at thin difference.

Outstanding. Jon I just want to say thank you once again. We really had fun with you and learn a lot from the things that you shared with us and looking forward to having you on the podcast again soon.

I really appreciate it Saul. Thank you so much.

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.

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Recommended Books and Podcast:

Theodore Roosevelt

Best Way to Contact Jon:
Mentioned Link:
Episode Sponsor:
Outcomes Rocket Podcast
Outcomes Rocket - Rajiv Kumar

Why Dr. Kumar is Changing The Wellness Game and Why Richard Branson Bought his Company with Dr. Rajiv Kumar, President & Chief Medical Officer at Virgin Pulse

: [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] Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders. I really want to thank you for tuning in again and I welcome you to go to where you could rate and review today's podcast because he is one outstanding individual in healthcare. His name is Dr. Rajiv Kumar. He's the president and chief medical officer at Virgin Pulse during medical school. He realized that many of the worse health problems we face as a nation diabetes heart disease cancer hypertension etc. are related to the collective unhealthy lifestyle. And so he has pledged to make a difference in this industry. He's done and as a frontline physician and now for various different companies is doing some amazing things and so what I want to do is open up the microphone to Rajiv to fill in any of the gaps of the introduction and then so we could get into the podcast. Rajiv welcome to the podcast.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:01:18] Thanks, Sual. Glad to be here.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:19] So Rajiv what would you fill in your intro that I that I left out.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:01:24] I think that was a pretty comprehensive. It's just a little bit about Virgin Pulse. You know I think that may not be a familiar name to a lot of folks on your that are listening to your podcast. We are an employee wellbeing company. We work with large employers all around the world. And our goal is to help them activate their employees to lead healthier lifestyles. We try to kind of go around the healthcare system a little bit and go direct to the employee and figure out ways to motivate them to inspire them and to help them sustain behavior change over time and it's not just about health care cost reduction. It really is about how do we help people be healthier happier and more productive at work and in their personal lives. So that's really what our mission is.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:04] That's beautiful and listeners for those of you who haven't connected the dots Virgin Pulse it's one of Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Group companies so you know with a gentlemen like that behind something like this. And Rajiv and as part of the executive leadership team you can imagine some great things are happening.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:02:22] It's an exciting time for us. We definitely are inspired by Sir Richard Branson leadership. You know his philosophy is if you take care of your employees they'll take care of your business. So we're trying to empower employers to take better care of their employees.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:35] So strong. And you know Rajiv it's really interesting that you guys are tackling this employer perspective of the entire health care equation because costs are soaring. And aside from labor costs it seems like health care cost is oftentimes double digits on that front. What are your thoughts on what should be on every medical leaders have done that today.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:02:56] Well you know I'm biased but I think it has to be behavior change too often looking for a magic pill or a magic device or something to kind of stem the tide of rising obesity and diabetes and heart disease in our country and at the end of the day there's so much we can do to actually change people's behavior. A lot of what we're facing as a result of our diet our physical activity or lack thereof the stress that we have in our lives is just how we how we treat ourselves and how we don't take care of ourselves. And so I think it's not necessarily a hot topic. I think it should be. And I wish there was more focus on it. It's the perennial idea that if we can change behavior we can prevent a lot of disease and we can produce significantly greater outcomes.

Saul Marquez: [00:03:38] And Rajiv what would you say right now. And you know at at Virgin Pulse is an example of how you guys are improving health outcomes.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:03:46] Well I think we've really tried to think outside of the box. I think traditional health interventions and health and wellbeing platforms have largely been ineffective and they've been around for decades. So we sat around and we said what if we took a different approach rather than making people feel like they're failures and rather than telling them that they're sick. What if we actually make them feel successful. What if we make them feel good about themselves right off the bat. What would that do for their self-esteem for their motivation and for their ability to change. Most of what we see in our industry is heavy focus on screening and so employers us their employees to take health risk assessments and do biometric screenings and so forth. And the problem with that is they take a health risk assessment and tells them you're sick. You know you have high risk your unhealthy. You need to do more to change your lifestyle. You get your biometric screening results and you may have high blood pressure. You may not like the results you get back and that can be very demotivating. And so what we've said is is there a scientist out there is there a behavior change model that focuses on success. And we found a scientist by the name of Dr. B.J. Fogg out of Stanford University and Dr. Fogg is sort of a new guru of behavior change and he's come up with a behavior change model that he calls the fog behavior change model and it's very simple as model is a formula. It is called B equals M A T behavior equals motivation times ability times a trigger. And so what he means by that is it gets somebody to do a behavior that we want them to do or they want to do. First of all they have to have the motivation to do it. Second is they have to have the ability to do it. And the third is you have to trigger them or remind them to prompt them to do that you're too often in the kind of behavior change space. We ask people to do things that require either too much motivation or too much ability. So we say something like go to the gym four times a week and exercise for 60 minutes each time you go that takes a lot of motivation. And some people may not even have the ability or really know how to do that. Where to get started and so forth. So Dr. PHOG says Well motivation is hard to change right. You maybe your motivation waxes and wanes on a daily basis on an hourly basis. You can't really change somebody's motivation that easily. What you can do is change the behavior you're asking them to do to make it easier. You can change the ability to perform the action. And so the idea is if you take a behavior like flossing your teeth and you break it down to the smallest tiniest thing that somebody could possibly do. Like floss one tooth and you ask them to do that they can actually do that very easily it doesn't take a lot of motivation. It's very quick to do. And if they do that and you celebrate the fact that they did it you can help them build what we call success momentum and then they're going to feel better about going to the next step and trying something harder. And so in our entire kind of approach to behavior change we break behaviors down into their simplest most basic action. We ask people to do that we trigger them and then when they do it we reward them we make them feel successful we give them social status they might get some kind of points or some kind of reward and then we ask them to do something harder the next time around. It's a feedback loop that builds up momentum and it changed behavior in a very sustainable way in a very habitual way which is really the key to behavior changes is creating habits.

Saul Marquez: [00:06:43] Yeah Rajiv this is a really interesting model and the science behind it. So I have used your application and I have found it to be really really cool and good to see the science behind it. Now I appreciate the little wins and then you give badges and then on the back. And so listeners if you're an employer I think you'll really like to learn that the way that they structure this is in such a way that they help the employee be healthier. So part of the carrot is they use more carrots and sticks in the software they'll give you or your employer will give you a discount in your insurance if you can achieve certain metrics and along the way you get badges there's social sharing within the platform. So as a user of it pretty cool and now to put together the science Rajiv is really fascinating to see how you guys put this together.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:07:32] Yeah we're very excited about it and the best part is that we have demonstrably results over years. We've been at this for about 15 years now and we've been able to show some pretty compelling and sustainable behavior change over 5 6 7 years with participants so it really does work well.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:46] This year I went to the dentist one more time because of you guys.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:07:50] There you go.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:51] Rajiv what would you say a time within the last 15 years that the organization that you guys had a setback and what you learned from it.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:08:01] As you may know in entrepreneurship there are setbacks every single day as it's it's a crazy rollercoaster. You know I started this company precursor to this company which was called Shape Up When I was in medical school. He's 23 years old and I got very kind of passionate about behavior change and how to prevent obesity or how to reverse diabetes. And I actually dropped out of medical school for three years to build the company. Eventually finished my degree and I decided that I wanted to focus on health promotion and using technology to scale interventions across large populations. So after medical school said of going to do residency actually went back to the company and continue to invest and grow. And then two years ago we were acquired by Virgin Pulse and I've stayed on as chief medical officer so as you can imagine as a 23 year old starting a company I knew nothing about how to build an organization. I knew nothing about how to build a technology platform I learned through the school of hard knocks along the way and made a lot of mistakes. I think when I look back rather than sort of kind of picking on one particular event I think one of the biggest mistakes that we made in our company was we started to drink our own kool aid. We started the company on the idea that social support is critical to behavior change that the Millbury will be truly successful at changing their behavior and sustaining that over time unless they modify their social networks that the people around them are supportive and encouraging and catching them when they fall and sort of being conducive to their healthy lifestyle. Because so often we go into the workplace and our co-workers are having muffin Monday and bagel Tuesday and doughnut Friday and you know in a way which sort of sabotage each other in that way you know that happens at home as well right. So you need that kind of social support. That's sort of where a lot of motivation comes in we saw other companies including our competitor Virgin Pulse focusing quite a bit on extrinsic motivation really kind of financial reward. So paying people to change their behavior. And I think we were very purist about our intrinsic motivation the social you know social incentives versus financial incentives. We worked really hard at that for many years and in it it does work and it does create sustainable and affordable behavior change. But I think because we were so fixated on our own idea we fail to see that the market was evolving and people's ideas were evolving and in fact the research was evolving. So you know answer is not so cut and dry. It's not really one or the other. And in fact if you blend the two intrinsic plus extrinsic motivation you could actually have an even greater impact on people and on their behavior. And so you know it's funny that we ended up joining forces with Virgin Pulse and I think we both sort of moved to the center of that spectrum. You know they came from the extrinsic side we came from the Intrinsa side and we met in the middle. And now our approach is to do both. So I think it was a mistake we made and really kind of just believing that we were right and we were sort of ideological about it and we failed to realize that maybe there were other people out there that were doing things that were valuable as well. We learned that and we really started to thrive when we embraced that sort of broader thinking.

Saul Marquez: [00:10:57] And that's a great message Rajiv and one of the other things too that that just comes to mind is when you're in that spell because it does become a spell right you get into your head and what is it that you do. Rajiv to get out of it because so many of us do buy into our own ideas. We we do eat our own cooking. How do we break out of it and see a fresh perspective what would you recommend the listeners.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:11:21] I think they actually seek out contrarian points of view and so people who we disagree with we have spent time listening to them and understanding what they're working on what their research says you know where they're coming from. So we spent a lot of time actually listening to learning from our competitors we go to a lot of conferences and we go to things that we might not otherwise go to because they might not confirm our beliefs that might challenge our beliefs and that's where we thrive. And so I think we've just kind of had to remind ourselves consistently that maybe there's a different way. Let's not get stuck in our you know conventional way of thinking and I think it's that constant kind of challenging ourselves and we are putting ourselves in uncomfortable positions that drives us to kind of keep an open mind.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:03] Wow fascinating and a really great tip there for the listeners whether you be an entrepreneur and medicine listening or if you're an established executive provider or leader in an industry facet you really have to think and surround yourself with a contrarian view sometimes even though it's not the comfort zone. It may be what helps you see that blind spot that could potentially be fatal to your business and so really great call out. Rajiv thank you for sharing that sir. What would you say one of your proudest medical leadership experience to date as.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:12:36] Well. So for years I've been working with populations both in employer groups as well as in the community sort of running these kind of behaviour change campaigns fitness challenges and competitions grassroots efforts to help people through their life. And you know I think my proudest moments really when people would come up to me and you know even though I wasn't their primary care physician I still think of them as patients but people would come up to me and they would say things like You saved my life you know not really you but this program saved my life and you know I've gone off my medication. You know I was a diabetic and I've reversed my diabetes and I'm off on medication. You know I lost so much weight that my knees no longer hurt. And I can walk again. You know it took my grandkids to Disneyland for the first time and I was actually able to keep up with them. So it's really those moments and there are hundreds of them in my head. The people that I've met that we've actually had an impact on and using technology and people we never met before. But using technology and using the science and figuring out a way to sort of engage then we were able to help them and empower them to make small changes that led to huge results and I think you know those are the proudest moments. You know I don't know if the leadership or not but that's certainly where we get our excitement from or what gets us out of bed every morning.

Saul Marquez: [00:13:46] Yeah for sure that's definitely leadership. Rajiv and behind the motivations that you do this every day is there any story that you want to share that really got you into this because you have such passion you know behind passion.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:13:58] There's a story there are a ton of stories for me when I was a first year medical student I was shadowing physicians and working in their clinics and seeing a lot of patients and it just struck me that there were so many patients. The majority of them struggling with how do i lose weight. How do I eat healthy. How do I be physically active and how do I if I have a condition like hypertension home or lower my blood pressure how do I lower my cholesterol. We had no tools to help them. We really didn't. Other than just some sort of empty advice right. Go on a diet. Join Adjaye and go check out weight watchers. We were sort of resigned to the fact that they probably weren't going to change their behaviour and ultimately we would put them on medication and that would be sort of the end game and that was frustrating to me because I knew that people had potential to change and we just simply weren't giving them tools and understanding what would work. So I really thought you know how can we prescribe health and wellbeing and is there a resource that we can send people to or a program that we can give them that would be truly successful and I couldn't find one and so I created it and that was you know originally called Shape Up Rhode Island which was our kind of precursor to our company shape up and now Virgin Pulse. So that's sort of what my motivation was was I just didn't want to feel resigned to the fact that we would have to prescribe medication for everybody. I felt like we should really be focusing on prevention. And when I talk to people who did change once in a while we would get a patient that would say you know I lost 20 pounds or you know they would come in and their blood pressure would be down and we would say you know what did you do. And they always said the same thing. I had an exercise buddy. I formed a group of friends and we motivated each other. My family did this together it was always a social thread and that was my sort of inspiration. So you know let's figure out a way to connect people and this was at the dawn of a kind of social media around 2004 2005. And I thought you know maybe we could sort of take a Facebook like approach and kind of bring people together online to support each other offline and that's what we did.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:47] That's so awesome. And listeners dare to be the change you wish to see in the world. And Rajiv found himself in the situation where he just didn't accept the fact that empty promises were going to be what he gave patients and he thought bigger. He saw a couple of things at work and he ran with it. So I think Rajiv embodies that quote is he was the change you wish to see in the health world. And with that has been an amazing ripple effect of better outcomes for patients. Stories that continue to come in to his inbox of people's lives that he's changing. So the question is What can you do. What do you today find unacceptable and health. And what are you going to do about it. Because it's doable. You just got to move it little by little and it'll eventually get there. Rajiv what would you say an exciting project or focus that you guys are working on today.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:16:39] We're spending a lot of time around artificial intelligence. We believe that one of the Keys to Motivating people will be sort of giving them personalized highly relevant recommendations of things that they can do. And so we're trying to use artificial intelligence to learn about people over time and also to learn what makes people successful over time. So we've got millions of people on our software that use our mobile application on average three times a day. We're collecting 7 billion data points every single month everything from biometric results to Health Risk Assessment results interests goals activities healthy habits you name it we're collecting the data through our platform. So what we're trying to do is kind of track who's successful and what are the things that they do in what order do they do them. That helps them succeed in the program and if we can match persona profiles we can kind of put other people on that same track to be successful and it is very hard to program that with rules. And so we're using artificial intelligence so that the platform itself can learn over time and then guide people in a much more successful way. And that's really I think one of the most exciting areas in healthcare technologies the use of A.I. to create highly personalized highly relevant experiences that will drive people towards success.

Saul Marquez: [00:17:51] So in five years if your AI focus works what would you be able to do.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:17:56] What we will be able to say is you know you're a member of our of our platform we would be able to say you know saw other people like you have done this next step and that next step has led them to this result would you like to do that as well. And we don't necessarily as individuals need to know anything about you but the platform does sort of ascertain who you are and what you like to do and what's your health status and your demographics and all about it. Now it's starting to coach you in a very automated way and hopefully we'll be very successful because it will understand what you're likely to gravitate toward and want to participate in. And so the platform will guide you through behaviors through programs and interventions that will provide motivational messaging that will pick you up when you fall down and it will be the sort of coach in your pocket that seems to know you so well and feel like it's sort of part of you. And that's really what I think the dream is.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:46] I love it man. And you know what. Rajiv you've done such a great job just building this and partnering with Virgin and getting it to where it is that I have no doubt that you'll get it there I sort of got goosebumps when you started saying what the vision is in five years and to think it's not too far away. Even with like I was sitting with my wife over the weekend we were going to watch a movie and Netflix does this like match you know 89 percent 90 percent match and sure enough when one of those matches is high without fail we enjoy the movie. Answer You know and like similarly if you're a patient and these guys over at Virgin Pulse are putting this engine together and you are in a certain state or in a certain point in your care and they make a recommendation for you How inspiring is it to know that you have something at your fingertips to be able to to make adjustments in what you're doing and that will make you healthier and happier. And that's inspiring Rajiv. So man keep it up. This is really exciting.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:19:42] We will we will we've got big plans are making a lot of investment in research and development. And I feel like we're just scratching the surface so there's there's a lot more to come.

Saul Marquez: [00:19:50] Love it. So Rajiv getting here to the end my friend. This has been a really great conversation. Let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine. It's the 101 of Dr. Rajiv Kumar and so got four questions lightning round style for you. Followed by a book and a podcast that you recommend to the listeners. You ready.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:20:11] OK.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:12] All right. What's the best way to improve health care outcomes.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:20:15] Focusing sustainable behavior change.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:18] What is the biggest mistake or pitfalls to avoid.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:20:21] Believing in quick fixes change is hard it takes time and requires multiple vectors and multiple approaches over a significant period of time.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:31] How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:20:35] Constantly experiment with new ideas and you embrace failure.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:39] What's the one area of focus that should be driving everything in your organization.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:20:43] Adopting the consumer mindset understanding what people are doing in their personal lives and how healthcare can be more relevant to them and more similar to the types of programs and services and products that they're engaging with on their own time.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:56] And finally what book and what podcast would you recommend to the listeners as part of the syllabus.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:21:01] Well I've got a couple of books that I find that I keep going back to in the course of sort of entrepreneurship and health healthcare technology not necessarily healthcare books but they seem to be so relevant and kind of timeless. The first is crossing the chasm by Jeffrey Moore. It's been around for years. It's not a new book but it's really about kind of high tech entrepreneurship and how do you bridge that gap between the early adopters of an innovative and disruptive solution and the early majority which is sort of where most people are. So the visionaries versus the pragmatist a lot of people can get visionaries to adopt their new way of doing something but they fail and getting sort of the rest of everybody to sort of come along. And I think it's just it's a fascinating book that has ramifications for almost any type of entrepreneurship entrepreneurship whether you have your own company whether you're trying to innovate inside of a larger company. I think it's a really relevant book and we go back to it again and again. Another author that we really kind of embrace here is Patrick Lynch Siani. He's written a lot of books about how companies should operate. The one that that really resonates with us is the Five Dysfunctions of a team you know at the end of the day we can have the best ideas in the world and the best innovations. But a lot comes down to people and how do we get people to work successfully together as a team to execute. And that's kind of a industry across product. It's all about people. So the Five Dysfunctions of a team sort of looks at what are the reasons why teams fail to achieve their maximum potential and why companies and ideas often fail and how you can avoid that. And how do you kind of consilium best in a team and teamwork. And so I think that's a book that I would highly recommend that everybody read.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:38] Wonderful. And what podcasts would you recommend.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:22:40] Well you know I love your podcasts so keep listening listening to your podcast. I think there are so many podcasts out there. There's not one that kind of stands out for me. I keep trying to experiment and I'm just constantly listening to a lot of it for ones. I kind of like the idea of don't pick on podcasts just constantly kind of rotate and you know experiment and try a bunch of different ones and see what you think.

Saul Marquez: [00:23:02] Love it. So there you have listeners the 101 of Dr. Rajiv Kumar Go to That's R A J I V. Ivy you're going to find all the Schoenaerts to our discussion today. Full transcript as well as the syllabus that we put together links to the books that he recommended. And by all means the understanding that he just shared with us is going to make a difference so go back home and relisten. If you found something inspiring. Before I conclude Rajiv I love if you could just share a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could follow you or get in touch with you.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:23:37] My closing thought would be that there is so much opportunity for innovation in this space of behavior change. Lots of people are going after it. There's massive amounts of venture capital and private equity money being invested and we're just scratching the surface of what's possible. Mobile technology wearable technology artificial intelligence all of that is opening up tremendous new opportunities for us to reach people to engage them and to improve their lives so I think digital health and health technology is a very exciting space right now and I hope that you know all your listeners are thinking about how they can leverage that in their own personal work to better achieve their goals and improve health outcomes. Best place to learn more about what we do is which is our Web site and you can also find me on Twitter @rajivkumarmd.

Saul Marquez: [00:24:24] Outstanding Rajiv. Hey just want to say thank you again for sharing your story. Your words of wisdom. And we're excited to keep up with what you and Virgin pulsa are up to. So thanks again from all of us.

Rajiv Kumar: [00:24:35] Thank you.

: [00:24:39] 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:

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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