Interoperability, APIs and Connectivity in Healthcare
Episode 401

Geof Auchinleck, CEO Claris Healthcare Inc.

Interoperability, APIs and Connectivity in Healthcare

Tools We Use and Recommend

Save time, Make a Bigger Impact

Check them out

Get The Latest In Your Inbox

SUBSCRIBE

Interoperability, APIs and Connectivity in Healthcare

Episode 401

Recommended Book:

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Best Way to Contact Geof:

Linkedin

Mentioned Link:

Claris Healthcare

 

Interoperability, APIs and Connectivity in Healthcare with Geof Auchinleck, CEO Claris Healthcare Inc. transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Interoperability, APIs and Connectivity in Healthcare with Geof Auchinleck, CEO Claris Healthcare Inc. was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

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:
Welcome back to the podcast. Today, I have the privilege of hosting Geof Auchinleck. He is a serial entrepreneur and an outstanding contributor in healthcare, co-founder and CEO of Claris Healthcare. At Claris Companion, there are an accessible communications platform that delivers healthcare into the home. It's offered for three kinds of care; social care, chronic care and acute care. Claris Companion Social Care connects isolated seniors with family members to share photos, videos, messages and video chat while providing peace of mind to family caregivers. We'll dive into some of the other features and abilities of what they do. I don't want to spill the beans all here at the front of the intro, but what I do want to say is that he's been a contributor in health care across many different areas. Specifically technology and so with true privilege, I want to welcome Geof to the podcast. Welcome.

Geof Auchinleck:
Good morning. Thank you, Saul. I really appreciate being on your podcast. It's always a lot of fun to tell a story. I just want to add one little thing to my bio that I find very amusing in this day and age. In 1984, as part of a team that broke the first robot ever specifically designed to do assistant surgery, which we used…

Saul Marquez:
Alright.

Geof Auchinleck:
Two hundred and fifty surgical procedures and that kind of got me launched in the last 35 years of making weird and wonderful medical devices, the latest of which being Claris Companion product that you talked about a few minutes ago.

Saul Marquez:
Well, fascinating. You've been at it for a long time.

Geof Auchinleck:
I have, yeah. I'm starting to feel very old. You know how it is.

Saul Marquez:
So what got you into the healthcare to begin with?

Geof Auchinleck:
Do you want the truth or the business story? The business story is actually the philosophical story is…

Saul Marquez:
Alright.

Geof Auchinleck:
One of my early mentors said, "you know, you should find your career where you can do well by doing good." And healthcare is one of those marvelous careers where you can actually look back on it and say, "not only that, I have a good life and or money and do well, I actually left things better that I arrived. I did good things for people." So that's that's why healthcare is such a good choice for anyone to pursue. The truth is, when I was in university, I met a girl who went to medical school. So I felt something in the medicine field would be a cool idea for an engineer. And I end up becoming a biomedical engineer. As a result, she's not my wife.

Saul Marquez:
Good choice. That's awesome. Hey, my wife is a biomedical engineer.

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, well, good choice, I should say.

Saul Marquez:
That's right. That's right. And so, wow, some fascinating that as early as 1984, you were already working on robotics.

Geof Auchinleck:
That's right.

Saul Marquez:
Today, that's hot. So hot.

Geof Auchinleck:
It is hot. Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
So tell me a little bit more about that and how you got started with that. And yeah just share some of some of your story.

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, you know, we were young and stupid and didn't know that it was impossible. But I think looking back on it now, I mean, we must have been insane to try and do what we're doing. But yeah, it was the team leader that put this group together, decided that trying to apply automation, robotics technology to healthcare was a thing that we should pursue. So we built this robot to move a patient's leg around under voice control for first offered surgery, as the surgeon could say, you know, elevate the leg, flex the knee, whatever of the poison control system. And I'm looking back on it now. I mean, it was outrageously ahead of its time.

Saul Marquez:
Outrageously ahead of its time.

Geof Auchinleck:
So, you know, and of course, it was not a commercial success at all. Twenty five years too late. But, you know, it was an amazing demonstration of the possibility when you got a bunch of young engineers together who haven't been told you really shouldn't do this, you know. So we went ahead and did it. A lot of fun.

Saul Marquez:
Wow, amazing. And so today, voice and robotics are the thing. Tell me something that you personally are focused on, a hot topic that you feel should be on other leaders agendas.

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, this is really important point to the realization I came to 2010, 2012 was that we're facing a massive change over in the way healthcare is delivered. We can no longer afford to base everything on institutional care. There has to be a way to move as much as possible other institutional settings back into the community and primarily back into the home. And of course, I'm talking about an aging population. I'm talking about more and more people with one or more chronic conditions that need to be managed. And I would say that your whole healthcare system was designed around the young, generally healthy baby boomer who goes up to the ski hill, breaks the leg, pop 'em, you know, operating room, put a plate and send them home and they're good. You know, so it's all based around acute interventions and acute conditions needing to be managed. That's just not the case anymore. It's now older population, chronic conditions that need to be managed. And we cannot do that in institutional setting. We can't afford it. And it is the worst possible thing for the patients to put them in into a care home or something. Too early. Obviously, the place for that was. But it's just this is coming at us like a freight train. I think that around 70% of what's currently done in institutional settings has to move into the community in the home. So that's what I think the big thing everyone should be thinking about is.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, it's fascinating. So it's a good opportunity to dive into Claris and some of the work that you guys are doing. Give us an example of how you're improving outcomes and improving results by doing and thinking differently.

Geof Auchinleck:
Yeah. So as you mentioned, the overall idea of the Claris product line is to deliver healthcare into the home setting out of the institutional setting. So I mean, obviously, given what I've just said, that's the purpose behind the product lines where we've had the biggest impact on outcomes as in the acute care setting. And what we're doing there is we provide a dedicated tablet and appropriate sensors to a patient in their own home before and after an acute intervention. So let's say a knee replacement surgery and we coach them to be prepared for the surgery and then we coach them through the recovery afterward. What we're trying to do is give him the confidence that they can manage this on their own, in their own home, that they're doing the right things, that they're making progress. They have quick access to caregivers, professional care if they need it. But by and large, just telling them that they're doing okay and telling them what they need to do next has a huge impact. And we've seen a 30% reduction in the number of physical therapy visits required to get a patient back, the full range of motion. We're getting it done in about 20% less time. We're definitely having an impact on outcomes. The satisfaction of the patients using this kind of in-home coaching and in-home timely information provision.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you know, it's fascinating to think that these types of care management solutions are available today. Tell us a little bit about, you know, a story maybe of how it's helped.

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, I can do one that's very, very personal. And my mom lived on her own in her own home until age 96. This product, the social care platform, was designed very much with her in mind. She hates computers. She thinks my iPhone is the stupidest invention ever. Technology to her is like a TV remote control is just like, why am I bothering? Just give me a knob I can turn. Okay, so you get this picture of an older non-technical person. So my challenge was to connect her to her children and grandchildren, email, text messaging, video chat, all of the things we take for granted in an Internet connected world. How do we do that? How do we make it accessible? So that was the underlying design of the Claris Competitive product was something my mom would use. So she did. She had this thing on her kitchen table. She used it every day. And then one day she didn't. Nine o'clock in the morning, I didn't see the notice that she'd taken the medications. I didn't see or read any messages or look at any pictures. So we went and checked on her and she was at the bottom of the basement stairs with a broken hip on.

Saul Marquez:
Oh no.

Geof Auchinleck:
Now, that's exactly what we were afraid of. She would not wear one of these personal emergency response buttons. She did not have a telephone that she carried with her. You know, it was absolutely the classic end story for our senior living at home. Happy to say, she said. Now, just about ninety nine is still strong, but not living on her own every Martin to. But that was the whole point, was that we were able to very quickly intervene because we knew that something had gone wrong. We had an indication that she was suddenly not in communication in a way it should regularly was. Anyway, that's one example and obviously a very personal.

Saul Marquez:
Now for sure. It's definitely personal and glad you shared it. It's a challenge you now. And when we when we think about technology and how we could use it to benefit, there's applications and then there's areas where it won't work. So maybe you could share with us a time when you guys had a setback, maybe on the business model, maybe on the technology itself and what you learned from it that's made you better?

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, I found a long history of products that didn't quite work. That's very funny. This one actually has been pretty good because I think after many, many times to take this the wrong way and the right way. And the underlying lesson there is that, as I said, I'd like to support your idea, although interesting, is irrelevant. The only idea that matters is that of a paid customer… try to sell your ideas all you want. But if you don't have any customers who are willing to buy it and use it. You don't really have anything. So examples of setbacks in the again, coming back to the Claris thing. You know, when we first started talking about what was needed to move care into the home, you know, our natural reaction as a younger generation who were iPhones and tablets and things. That was all well, just put a Right. I pad into a patient's home. We have news face time to talk to their doctor and then we actually tried that. And that's quite a setback because, for example, touchscreens are very sensitive things. They work extremely well with young fingers. They don't work very well with older fingers. They're not that sensitive. And so we had innumerable cases of seniors banging their fingers against touchscreens because they're getting no response. Then the next thing that would happen was we had like just touched this button to move to the next one. Well, they touch it and the button would jiggle from side to side. What's going on? Well, they have hand tremor and the iPod is madly saying, oh, this is a swipe gesture. I want to swipe over to the other half. But, you know, it was just driving them nuts because the device would not respond in the way that it was expected to respond to a younger person's touch. And I'm just I mean, that's an example of a fundamental thing that we can miss when we're looking at it through the eyes of a different generation or a different view of the world.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that's a I think great call out Geof. And so how about the opposite side of that coin? What's one of your proudest moments in your long history of healthcare.

Geof Auchinleck:
Oh, yeah. Not that this was at a company prior to Claris healthcare that probably the proudest moment of our life. We built a system for managing blood for transfusion in acute care hospitals. Essentially, it was a computerized inventory system that made sure the right blood got to the right patient at the right time in the right way. Always kind of interest managing that full flow. And I'll never forget the day we got a phone call from a hospital in England where the head of the blood bank phoned us in Vancouver from England and said, "we just thought you'd like to know that a blood unit got all the way to the patient's bedside and your system stopped this from transfusing it because it was the wrong blood type. You just saved a patient's life." So, yeah, that kind of makes my day. That's kind of one of those red letter days, you know, that you kind of look for and again, doing well by doing good. That's one where we all went on and said, "not only do we get a paycheck today, we made a difference."

Saul Marquez:
I love it. I love it. It's a great story. And yeah, when you can make an impact like that, it's rewarding. What's something exciting that you're working on today?

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, in-home coaching thing has turned out to be incredibly powerful, as I said, and we've already done it in knee replacement surgery and see a huge impact. And now we're discovering that we can have a similar impact in post cardiac surgery care, various other forms of surgery, even in chronic care. Coaching is really a big thing. It has a phenomenal impact. And we're now rolling out different configurations. So it's the same product, different configurations for different disease states. And seeing that it has a really wonderful impact on patients lives in their own home. And we believe we're going to demonstrate that it keeps them healthier, happier, longer in their own environment about needing to be put into care. That's for me that's the why behind our company. That's why we're doing this.

Saul Marquez:
I think it's great. And so in Canada, the way that things are deployed, you go through and every… is everything paid for by the government?

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, in general, it's a challenge. The Canadian public's perception of healthcare is that it's free and everything to do with healthcare should be free, which is incorrect, of course, because it cost us this vast amount of money that we pay through our taxes. And it's a bit of a challenge. I think the reason I enjoy doing work in the United States is there's a very clear connection between the value you deliver and somebody is willing to pay for it. You know, it's a very simple formula if you demonstrate to me that I'm going to get better patients at less cost. Let's talk.

Saul Marquez:
Yes.

Geof Auchinleck:
Whereas in Canada, so well, you demonstrated you can get better patients. That's great. Let's put it to the committee and maybe somebody will get up to the Ministry of Health. It can be very frustrating.

Saul Marquez:
So it's even slower.

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, in that sense, yeah. I mean, the adoption is…

Saul Marquez:
We're slow here in the US.

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, it's true. And I was going to say, if you if you're a technology person who wants to move things quickly and go from zero to a billion dollars in two years, do not try to go into healthcare. Health care is very slow, is very expensive. It's quite understandable because, you know, let's say you're the patient. The surgeon says, "I have this new fangled new surgical procedure. I like to try it on you for the first time." No, thanks. No thanks. You know so necessarily, you know, people in healthcare tend to take steps very, very methodically, very carefully based on evidence. You know, nobody is going to dive in and radically change the way they do things. In healthcare, this doesn't happen. So expected to take three times as long as would be reasonable if you're selling a new computer gizmo.

Saul Marquez:
Good message. So now getting into the mini syllabus, lightning round, I've got a couple questions for you, you ready?

Geof Auchinleck:
Okay, sure.

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

Geof Auchinleck:
Oh, I would say the most important thing is timely, actionable data. You need real world data to act upon. You can't be guessing. And one of the things that has surprised me as we develop sensors and, you know, various ways of monitoring patients is that often there's no way to know what patients are actually doing. It's quite amazing. How can you make decisions on treatment and care if you're done with the patients actually doing when they're home? So, yeah. Data. That's the key thing there.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. What's the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Geof Auchinleck:
Oh, I would say right now the biggest pitfall would be assuming that you can stop the tide being King Canute here and saying, oh, no, we're going it's going to keep doing things the way we do them in the institutional setting. You're going to get overwhelmed by a wave of older people and the whole system sort of break down. It has to change. I just talked about how slow it is to change. I get it. But we cannot keep doing what we're doing. So the biggest pitfall is saying how well, just this work before. We'll keep doing it again. We have to be receptive to change. And we're really pushing on implementing new ways of thinking that are quite radically different from what we've done today.

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

Geof Auchinleck:
I depend on conferences myself. I mean, there's an awful lot of really good information coming out of the various specialty conferences that obviously keeping up in your journals and things like that. That's talking, watching what others are doing. Communication is key. There are obviously lots of accessible resources through the Internet these days, but I still find the face to face discussions with experts in the field are really where the ideas spark off.

Saul Marquez:
What's one area of focus that drives everything at your company?

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, accessibility sort of mentioned this idea that, you know, when we first started trying to use tablets and computers with seniors, we ran into all these bricks. You know, what really struck me is it's kind of unfair. You know, we have all these incredible things that we can do now over the Internet and stuff that was just indistinguishable from magic 20 or 30 years ago.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Geof Auchinleck:
And yet we've got a whole kind of demographic out there, you know, maybe the over 75's. We're kind of being left out of this because the devices don't suit them. The software is confusing. I get really annoyed at lazy programmers who kind of assume that you can figure this out because, you know, you're young and you're smart it's like "Yeah okay." Well, most seniors are old and smart, but they're kind of looking at this and saying, "you know, at my age, I really don't have a lot of time and energy to learn Windows ten point one point to point four, version six. Right. You know, I just did British version five. The number of times I've heard seniors say, "well, I used to use, you know, AOL, but then they changed it" or something like that. You know, it's very, very frustrating. And I blame lazy programmers. It's hard to make something simple. It takes a lot of work to make something.

Saul Marquez:
So it sure does. It sure does. So these next two are a little more personal now. Number one is what is your number one health habit?

Geof Auchinleck:
My number one health habit is running. I don't run enough…

Saul Marquez:
How often do you get out?

Geof Auchinleck:
but I do run to the park, about three times a week, both five year run. And I had to back a bit because I started I had a little twinge of my need, but so far, no serious injuries. But being a West Coast boy, I'm a sailor, hiker, skier and all those kinds of stuff. So I try to keep that going as long as I can.

Saul Marquez:
Good for you. That's awesome. And what is your number one success?

Geof Auchinleck:
Had it number one, success. How about is getting up every morning looking at that big long to do list all alone since I'm there and saying "what one thing can I do today that will move the company forward", that I pick that one thing, I get that done and the rest of the day's details.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. That is so powerful, that is very powerful. So, folks, you can get all of the transcript as well as a short notes to this podcast. Just go to outcomesrocket.health/claris and you'll find it there or just good outcomesrocket.health and in the search bar type in Claris or Geof, you'll find the entire transcript, show notes, as well as links to our discussion with Geof today. What's your favorite book?

Geof Auchinleck:
Oh, that's really interesting. I'll give it a lifetime. A book would be really hard to say because I read thousands of books, but right now my favorite book would be Factfulness by Hans Rosling. One Swedish statistician, unfortunately, passed away last year. This was one of Bill Gates's recommendations. If you want your view of the world to suddenly turn from pessimism to optimism, I recommend that you read this book and really get a sense of how much better the world is today than it was 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 years ago. We're in a marvelous time. This book really underscores how well-off we really are,.

Saul Marquez:
Huh? Factfulness. A great recommendation, Geof. Definitely going on my head. I hadn't heard of it before. Glad you recommend that and folks, check that one out as well. Before we conclude, Geof, let us know a closing thought and then the best place for the listeners could continue following your work or get in touch.

Geof Auchinleck:
Well, I can always be found at clarishealthcare.com. It tells you everything about what we're doing and if your way to contact me if you'd be interested. Terms of a closing thought. Well, I'll go back to the technology thing and beg all my colleagues in the tech space, put the extra effort to make things simple. It's hard. I know it's hard, but make it simple, make it accessible. Make sure that everyone gets to play in this sandbox. There you go.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. What a great message Geof. And a great call to action for all of you designing technology, implementing it. This is a key, key message. So, Geof, I just want to say thank you again for spending time with us today.

Geof Auchinleck:
You bet. Thanks so much.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration, and so much more.

Quickly and accurately convert audio to text with Sonix.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Thousands of researchers and podcasters use Sonix to automatically transcribe their audio files (*.mp3). Easily convert your mp3 file to text or docx to make your media content more accessible to listeners.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2019—it’s fast, easy, and affordable.

If you are looking for a great way to convert your mp3 to text, try Sonix today.