Leveraging the Cloud, Machine Learning and Mobile for Value-Based Care
Episode 364

Donald Brown, CEO at LifeOmic

Leveraging the Cloud, Machine Learning and Mobile for Value-Based Care

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Leveraging the Cloud, Machine Learning and Mobile for Value-Based Care

Episode 364

Recommended Book:

David Copperfield

Exponential Organizations

Best Way to Contact Don

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Mentioned Links:

Website

LifeOmic Apps

 

 

Leveraging the Cloud, Machine Learning and Mobile for Value-Based Care with Donald Brown, CEO at LifeOmic | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix

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

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. Today I have the privilege of hosting Don Brown. He's the CEO of LifeOmic his first company was acquired by EDS in 1986. He founded a software artistry in 1988 which became the software company in India – the first one to ever go public and was later acquired by IBM for two hundred million dollars. Don then founded and served as CEO of Interactive Intelligence which went public in '99 and was acquired by Genesis telecommunications laboratories in 2016 for one point four billion dollars. He's an active technology and business advisor investor and philanthropist. In 2016, Dan donated 30 million dollars for the establishment of the rown Immunotherapy Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He received a Bachelor's in Physics from Indiana University in 78. A master's in computer science in 82 and also an MD from Indiana University in '85 and a Master's in Biotech from the Johns Hopkins University. Don, apart from being an amazing entrepreneur and business leader and philanthropist is an outdoorsman who loves hiking, rock climbing, skiing and snowshoeing with his eight children especially in and around Park City, Utah. He was named as Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels in 2012. I'm excited to dive into his thoughts and ideas today. And with that I want to open up the microphone to Don to fill in any of the blanks for the intro that I may have missed. Welcome, Don.

Don Brown:
Nice to be here, Saul. Thanks for that very gracious introduction.

Saul Marquez:
Don, how do you do it all.

Don Brown:
Oh it sounds more impressive than it really is. I think it sets a lifetime's worth of work a lot of it and very little sleep, maybe.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. So tell me about what you're up to today and firstly why you get into the medical sector?

Don Brown:
Well I was accepted into an NDP Ph.D. program after undergrad and it wasn't because I was interested in medicine it was the most convenient way to stay in school as long as possible. So I really figured I'd end up being a medical researcher but started a little software company as I was finishing med school and took an unexpected direction off into the software industry.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating. And so you took that direction you went forth with it. You've created a lot of interesting companies that are doing a lot of good. But what do you think today is a hot topic that needs to be on leaders agendas and how are you approaching that?

Don Brown:
Well when my most recent company was sold about three years or so ago it gave me a chance to do something that I had wanted to for a long time and that's to get back into the life sciences into something having to do with health care. But I have to say that what I did I was shocked at how primitive the technology infrastructure was badly out of date. I had spent the last 30 years helping companies make the transition to the cloud consolidate a bunch of ancient legacy systems really move into the future in terms of process automation and it has been shocking to see how antiquated the infrastructure is in healthcare.

Saul Marquez:
It definitely is, Don. So are you having some plans to change that?

Don Brown:
Well you know we're we're taking our shot. I initially thought when I started the company that we would do some sort of genetic testing service but very quickly we gravitated to doing what my team knew best which was building a cloud platform and a platform with a capital P where that implies that there's an open restful API extreme scalability, security, reliability, extensibility. So fortunately we found some fertile ground for that sort of technology platform at my alma mater at the University School of Medicine and their precision health initiative that involves a number of cancer teams.

Saul Marquez:
Well that's really exciting. And I think for the listeners sake I mean when would you want to share a little bit more about that?

Don Brown:
Yeah. A few years ago IU had announced that they were going to focus on an area called precision medicine. Yes they had the idea of taking what we know about your use specifically your DNA sequence you were born with you know other kind of low level attributes and tailoring your health care experience based on that very personal information as opposed to. Traditional kind of trial and error there were often reduced to in health. So I you had visualized this future especially in cancer treatment where you would use these sources of data to tailor treatments but they really did have a technology infrastructure for it a place where they could aggregate all this information they had conceptualized it as something they called a data commons. And it's exactly what we were building. So it ended up being a very nice partnership.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. That's fantastic. Yeah. You know last year Don I teamed up with some of the folks at IU with their Center for implementation and we did a conference together the Healthcare Thinkathon. They're doing it again this year on their own. And wow I was just impressed with the people that I met and got to connect with that IU. some forward thinkers and a little mini Silicon Valley happening there for sure.

Don Brown:
Yeah. Well we've got some great people. A lot of smart people of course. Indianapolis is also home to Lilly and Roche.

Saul Marquez:
Right.

Don Brown:
So there's a very significant health care industry. There are a lot of knowledge.

Saul Marquez:
That's for sure. Now tell us have you guys gotten any results have you done work that you could speak to and how you've done it differently to improve outcomes?

Don Brown:
Yeah. You know our initial work has been as I said with some cancer disease teams. There's a team there that has done a lot of work in triple negative breast cancer have Brian or the names of the clinical researchers just brilliant, great guys. And so they're working on a number of findings that they've been investigating using our platform but they bloated terabytes of data on I think it's roughly a thousand women with breast cancer trying to understand why some will respond well to therapy and others not. And we know the answers in the data there but it's a matter of finding it.

Saul Marquez:
So what would you say your proudest leadership experience has been now that you're back in healthcare?

Don Brown:
Well it was humbling and very gratifying to announce the immunotherapy center. That was something that meant a lot to me. Just recently I'd gone through the biotech program at Johns Hopkins and was blown away by the advancements in immunotherapy for cancer treatment. And so it was really wonderful just to be able to contribute to that. To be able to fund a immunotherapy Center at the School of Medicine and hopefully to do some cool things with it notably saved people's lives.

Saul Marquez:
And that's very meaningful, Don. And so if you think about today and you know all the things that you have going on what would you say is the one project that you're most excited about?

Don Brown:
Well you know unexpectedly given what I've talked about so far the thing that I'm excited about is kind of a mobile dimension to what we're doing. It's something we didn't imagine at all in the beginning we thought we would be concentrating on what I've described to you that a cloud platform where mainly researchers could aggregate information but we're coming to realize that there's another important source of information that needed in health care and that's obviously the patient. Yes. And increasingly as patients as people we're walking around with telemetry you know we for one thing we always have our mobile devices with us. But now some of those mobile devices are able to monitor our heart rates and our heart rate variability or glucose our oxygen saturation. So we came to really believe that that mobile dimension was important. And so it's kind of opened up a new arm of our whole effort where we initially built a little mobile app to tie into our platform that was focused on something that I'm a big fan of which is intermittent fasting. And we thought we would have you know two or three thousand fried the app. I last week we passed 350000 user.

Saul Marquez:
Is that right.

Don Brown:
It's one of the top 100 health and fitness apps in apples app store. It's unbelievable.

Saul Marquez:
So the focus on it is intermittent fasting.

Don Brown:
Yeah it's something I had really gotten into I read it during my graduate program probably a hundred papers on the underlying molecular basis of interventions like intermittent fasting. So we did this app. We've just blown up on us. And so now we're kind of doubling down. We're building. A second generation app that we're calling life instead that uses our platform it is a kind of game of fives practices that are known to improve health outcomes. You know it's it's not rocket science anymore. We know that eating a lot of plant based material makes you healthier, exercising moving you but makes you healthier, getting enough sleep. Trying to take steps to distress your life or your day and then metabolic interventions like either time restricted eating where you just eat within a certain window or intermittent fasting where you periodically just skip a meal. We know that those improve insulin since sensitivity they reduce risk of cancer, of diabetes of all sorts of other diseases. And so we're building this app. We'll be rolling it out this summer like our fasting app. It'll be a free app that you can just go in search of the App Store under LifeOmic but we're really excited about it and using that with our cloud platform. And maybe she learning the A.I. capabilities we have to be able to really deliver on the promise of personalized or precision medicine.

Saul Marquez:
That's fabulous. And the opportunity that's there is just enormous with the cost of care going through the roof. Employers struggling to keep up with that. I mean this sounds like some it would be a very good tool.

Don Brown:
We think so. I'm as excited about it as anything I've done in my career. So that's I. Yeah I'm getting up in the middle of the night writing feature documents I'm doing daily the progress I think my team is getting sick of me. But we're we're having a lot of fun and we really do think that we can do something that helps people that helps bend the curve.

Saul Marquez:
Well you guys certainly are making a difference, Don and it's exciting to think what the future holds with folks like you and your team. You know the experience that you have with cloud technology and and knowing what is possible and challenging us in healthcare to go to what is possible is really an exciting prospect. So kudos to you and your team for that.

Don Brown:
Well thank you. We're we're having a lot of fun. There is a lot of work to be done. But there's tremendous opportunity.

Saul Marquez:
So let's get to the lightning round part of this of this episode, Don.

Don Brown:
OK.

Saul Marquez:
Couple of questions for you followed by a book you recommend to the listeners. You ready?

Don Brown:
Sure.

Saul Marquez:
All right. How do you improve outcomes, what's the best way?

Don Brown:
Man I think that's what I've spent the last 20 minutes giving my opinion. I think it starts with having a simple common information infrastructure a platform that every other industry has. It's just so blindingly obvious. I know there are a lot of religious and political issues in trying to resolve it.

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

Don Brown:
Not thinking big. Trying to make incremental adjustments or improvements to a flawed system is just crazy.

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

Don Brown:
You roll that change, you use that change. I mean that's that's what we're hoping to do we're leveraging that change. We want to be that change.

Saul Marquez:
Love that. And what is the one area of focus that drives everything and life.

Don Brown:
We're a tech company so you know we're always adopting the latest technologies, the latest Machine Learning Services. We're really excited about graphical machine learning techniques that we're starting to adopt in our large datasets. So that's that's the big focus for us.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. So I've got two new ones here that I've been asking done. The first one is what is your number one health habit?

Don Brown:
Intermittent fasting.

Saul Marquez:
So when do you do it and how do you do it?

Don Brown:
You know at its simplest level it's just giving yourself a break from whenever you finish dinner to whenever you finish breakfast. So I haven't had breakfast yet today I'm roughly about 16 hours from dinner till when I'll have breakfast and that's a nice fast. So I tried to do that most days of the week.

Saul Marquez:
Very cool. So a 16 hour gap between the end of dinner and breakfast.

Don Brown:
Yeah. It comes down to that.

Saul Marquez:
And you read how many papers on this?

Don Brown:
At least a hundred.

Saul Marquez:
Oh my gosh. That's so interesting. Listeners something to think about a little intermittent fasting may help you. And if you by the time you listen to this podcast that shownnotes will be available. We'll have links to the apps that Don has shared with us the intermittent fasting app and also life extend. So you can extend your life and obviously the work that he's doing with his team at life. What is your number one success habit?

Don Brown:
Oh just learning you know I'm always reading something, I'm always learning I just have a sensitive patience that there's a lot I want to do in my life and I'm just always kind of on the edge of my seat looking for something new to learn.

Saul Marquez:
That's wonderful. That's a fantastic quality, Don. And I definitely share that with you. It's important to stay plugged in. Always learning. So incredible. It's exciting what you guys are up to. Thrilling to know what the prospect of your work is gonna do for your patients and people in our country and across the world. Before we conclude I'd love to hear what your favorite book is.

Don Brown:
Well my favorite general book is David Copperfield. That's the greatest book of all time. But in terms of business Exponential Organizations is just a wonderful book that really explains kind of the problems that most organizations have in adopting innovation.

Saul Marquez:
Love that great recommendation, Don. And what would your closing thought be for our listeners today and the best place for them to learn more about what you're up to?

Don Brown:
Well I think collectively for us in health care we've just got to recognize that we've got a broken system. We've got an impasse. And as I said earlier we're not going to increment our way out of that mess. We've got to think big. Come up with kind of an interstate highway project for health care that provides a common sense funding that would be so easy to build. So to the extent listeners are interested in LifeOmic they can certainly go to our website, there's plenty of information up there. But I do suggest that you check out intermittent fasting and consider our app as a vehicle for you.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding Don. Listen it's been a pleasure speaking with the end and learning about the things that you guys are up to. Thank you so much for. For carving out the time and we're definitely rooting for you and your team to continue making the big changes that you want to make in health care.

Don Brown:
Well thanks, Saul. We appreciate it.

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

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