How to Combine Artificial Intelligence and High Touch Improved Outcomes with Gaspard de Dreuzy, Co-founder and President, Pager
Episode 167

Gaspard de Dreuzy, Co-founder and President

How to Combine Artificial Intelligence and High Touch Improved Outcome

Aiming to improve the quality of user experience

How to Combine Artificial Intelligence and High Touch Improved Outcomes with Gaspard de Dreuzy, Co-founder and President, Pager

Episode 167

How to Combine Artificial Intelligence and High Touch Improved Outcomes with Gaspard de Dreuzy, Co-founder and President, Pager

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 outcomesrocket.health/conference. For more details on how to attend that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference and you’ll be able to get all the info that you need on this amazing health care thinkathon. That’s outcomesrocket.health/conference.

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I really thank you for tuning in. And I welcome you to go to outcomes raket health. Slash reviews where you could leave a rating and review for today’s guest because he is an outstanding contributor to Healthcare, an entrepreneur and a man that wears many hats. His name is Gaspard de Dreuzy. He is an outstanding leader at Pager. He’s a co-founder and ex-CEO currently still president on the board of directors. He’s done many other things in other companies including being the co-founder and director of trade it. It’s trading tickets incorporated as well as co-founder and CEO of capital and the list goes on and on. This gentleman has done a lot for healthcare and what I want to do is welcome him to the podcast to really cover some of the topics and exciting things that are going on at his latest company which is called Pager. So without further ado, Gaspard welcome, my friend.

Thank you and thank you for having me.

It’s a pleasure it’s a pleasure. So what is it that got you into health care, Gaspard?

Well I mean as you kind of said in your in your intro, you know I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. And I really love going into new industries and new adventures and really with an angle of you know how can I help innovate and disrupt the industry either through technology or through user experience and design. So I think that’s the real story about Pagers that I’m french and I grew up in France and colleagues. As I was growing up we had these service called SOX medecine means doctor in French. And SOX was media and very important service in the healthcare landscape in find that having doctors to your door. So basically a household system that managers really all the urgent services in France and you know today they do maybe six or seven million visits a year just in France which is pretty outstanding. And I realized that we didn’t have that kind of services here in the US. Atleast not on the major scale. And we decided along with my two cofounders. One of them was one of the founding members at Uber, so he apply that knowledge to healthcare and really tried to in a way come up with you know what it is today for healthcare on demand. So that’s where we’re definitely a big inspiration for the early days of pager and then obviously it’s often the case when you sell the company within for developing you know a more refined vision then they will go over time.

Now that’s super interesting and you definitely have a strong leadership team there you’ve got Walter Jean, Oscar Salazar and Philip Eytan. I mean you guys are moving and shaken baby.

Thank you. Really happy about the team and yeah, Walter who joined the company about a year ago it is more than a year ago it really came as a great addition to the team because at the time we were really looking for someone with more healthcare and more healthcare experience.


Oscar and Phillip and myself we’ve all been technologists and entrepreneurs that none of it came from the healthcare industry. My experience was more and initially in the video gaming industry and then in industry. Oscar, you know technology is coming from you know Uber that is just before before Pagers and Phillip was more on the financial side you know with experience that companies that are Gozal Morgan Stanley. So we all have own background but it was great to see words are coming and joining us to really bring some more of this is a health care DNA to the team.

Now that’s really awesome man and you know the thing about health care is that every industry touches healthcare so whether it be Uber, hey we got over health now right or whether it be the finances behind it, it all touches it. And I think the great pool of experience that you guys have will contribute in a big way to the success that you guys have. Yeah.

I mean I definitely agree with you and I would say that you know the alternate view is that industries like transportation or finance or and obviously healthcare are very large industries and very heavily regulated industry. And that’s the way to innovate in those industries is that all point of view and that’s our angle is to try to improve the quality of the user experience. I think Uber is a great example on how make it more simple and make it more easy and fast to get transportation on demand and everything that I’ve tried to do the same thing in finance and now in healthcare. So those industries have that in common that they are big they are difficult to move but to come in with a real design centric and user experience driven vision you have a chance to really take them to the next level and really disrupt them.

Now it’s such a great point. Gaspard and it’s just here’s an example of a group of folks you and your team that have gotten together to become the digital Davids so to speak in an industry with huge Goliath’s and so I’m excited to see what you guys do in that in the next coming years. What would you say is a hot topic that should be on every medical leaders agenda today?

I mean there are a lot of topics but obviously for us and this is the one topic we’re always talking about and kind of trying to bring top of mind with all industry leaders whether they are providers of payers and obviously the consumers. Is that you know they sort of are the consumers what we see on the consumer stand point. Health care is very confusing and very fragmented. People I’m sure you and I are the same. You know we have a lot of different providers different kinds of needs depending on how we are and where we are and what kind of conditions we have. There are a lot of options in terms of care. Available are there you know from urgent care to ER, to primary care, specialty care, to virtual care and on and on. So I think that’s the main topic. The one that we are very much passionate about is how do you take that very kind of extended and therefore choosing and usually fragmented healthcare ecosystem and make it more easy for consumers to access it and to navigate it. And that’s really what we’re very much as I said passionate about and trying to solve this page.

It’s a great opportunity and listeners were faced with archaic processes and archaic ways of doing things. If we do not change, then others will and Gaspard and his team over a pager, they’re finding ways to become more efficient and lean. So it’s really the onus is on us as leaders of the healthcare system to take action and make corrections and think outside the box. I love that you brought your experiences and ideas from France over here and just apply them in such a way that would help us get better health care so I love that you have that inspiration from Europe.

Thank you. And I think you know the French shopgirls ecosystem I know if it’s better or worse than American system I think. I think it’s not black and white or something things better or something has a way worse. But again as a consumer in France you know growing up there it was very more easy and quick to access the healthcare system and it was a good starting points for us as a company and also to help us to build a vision. But what is really amazing in the U.S. is that we come up with that vision in the US market and then from there we just evolved a lot and I think that actually I was very pleasantly surprised that the healthcare industry and the healthcare ecosystem in the U.S. seems to be very open and very in a way very eager to innovate. And you can see that with the evolution of Pager. As a company we really started a little bit like I told you with the French vision around kind of care delivered on demand right. How do you get providers in people’s home to really make it more kind of consumer centric to access urgent care on an on demand basis. And from there we realized that actually the biggest of opportunity was really to provide better access and better navigation to really help people, to help guide people through the complex healthcare ecosystem because if you look at the healthcare ecosystem in the US is very rich. You have so many options available for consumers and we think it’s a it’s a great strength. And the problem was all those options available is that it’s just very difficult for consumers to know where and when to use what options. And so we realize that our DNA of the day really care on demand and being very consumer centric, what the right DNA but that’s the way we’re doing that through housecalls and the that that was not enough. So we decided to really gonna become you know more of a kind of a single entry point letter form door into your healthcare or the U.S. you know use Pager to actually ask questions and get some help and get guidance to the WidePoint of care. So we see the DNA but I think that being in America allowed us to be extremely flexible in terms of evolving our vision and evolving how we would execute on our vision and I think that’s the big strength here compared to France where things are way more you know a little bit more heavy and less flexible in the way people just innovate and start companies.

I think that’s so great. Gas Bardin and listeners I want you to just take a nugget of wisdom here for a second and just kind of soak it in because we oftentimes are held back by our own false beliefs and I believe that one of the false beliefs that exists in health care in the United States is that it’s inflexible and when in reality it’s not. You just got to find the right people to help with whatever you’re trying to do and Gaspard and his team have done this, Gaspard. You bring up a really great point right. I mean you were surprised with how flexible things were.

Yeah and you’re actually right I think you know a lot of people in the industry are thinking about the challenge of accessing care and I think we think that that’s not necessary the challenge led to your point people have a lot of options available. There’s a lot of activity in the system and urgent care to your primary care doctor to ERs. A lot of things are available. What is more kind of challenging is the fact that these industries extremely fragmented so no one except sometimes your primary care doctor is going to be acting as your kind of your guide or your front door into that ecosystem. And the fact is that all those options are available. And the fact that you have all this flexibility means that it sometimes gets really confusing don’t know if you’re sick so you’ll just go on google and do your kind of your self care so you call your primary care doctor who usually very busy and not easily available to you on the way. So you go online and try to find another doctor and get your appointment who you go to and your to go to an urgent care center to try to talk to the doctor to pull or chat. I mean just so many things the problem is…

So many things.

People are not just kind of qualified to make those decisions. And I think that you have companies, life into who were trying to fill that gap right. Trying to just guide consumers through that complex confusing because flexible paper system.

Well said my friend well sad and health care is not something that unless you have chronic disease right you’re consistently in and out of the hospital. And that’s one thing but the majority of people don’t interface with health care until they need it. And so it’s kind of like I go to Denver a lot. So whenever I go there I don’t know it very well. But I always go to my concierge and he lets me know where I can go for a run. He lets me know where I can go get some food. And he always points me in the right direction and the service of a concierge and healthcare doesn’t really exist. I like that you that you brought up the fact that your primary care would be the closest thing to that and it’s really cool that you guys thought about this and made the shift from a point of care solution to something broader.

And I like actually the word concierge and you know content in health care is a little bit risky to take concierge because you know health care is horrible. But to your point you know we’re trying to offer a wholesales like experience to the patients and to the consumers and work for them to be here when consumers need us. But that’s what we’re trying to do and what we will be trying to do for the next phase is to also be there when people don’t know they need us. How can we at some point offer a more proactive and a more personalized experience to the consumers because at the end of the day you probably always need to interface with healthcare except that people will initially do it because they don’t literally know that anything to interferes with healthcare and also they don’t literally live who interface with healthcare right.


I think that the next kind of the next challenge down the line with Pager now that we’re here when people need us is to be here when people don’t know or don’t think they need us and try to be their companion or the host shares in a more consistent way. That’s going to be a challenge for us and we already have so much. We’re also the company that is dedicated to address that. That’s pretty exciting so.

That’s super exciting. And so with the changes that we have coming in increased sharing right we’ve got the laws coming into effect in 2019 requiring these big EHR, EMR systems to have and sort of like an export using fire or whatever else they could use. A patient could upload their information to you and maybe you guys could give them some insights that they didn’t expect.

Yeah I think that’s a long term vision not a hundred percent agree with you. I think that before it becomes a reality the question is where can we find the data off sooner or earlier. And I think that one of the answers is work with the providers and worst of payers life. That’s one of the reasons where we started as a kind of a direct to consumer company here in New York and then over time we’ve evolved as our model was evolving. We also evolved in terms of focusing more on payers and providers today that’s really our focus. We be working with partner mostly with payers and also with providers. And one of the reasons why we do that is because by doing so we can integrate with our system and thus integrating with their systems. We had access to data and power. I was talking about this more a proactive and personalized care engine because of you know the data can do whatever technology you all and God knows that I figure we’re dedicating so much resources when it comes to artificial intelligence and kill management for example. But without the data nothing can happen. So what we have we decided to do was to work with. As I said payers and providers and tried to have them could open up. So that we can have access to some of the data and use that that are to train our AI engine to care for patients in a more proactive and more personalized way moving forward.

I think that’s cool, Gaspard and you know I’ll you just right now. I believe that that healthcare providers are really wanting to know how to use the technologies that exist out there and with partners like yourself at Pager. I think it’s going to be a solution that a lot of people are clamoring for and the opportunity for pilots that could grow into a bigger things could be very exciting. And so I think it’s it’s a really great focus that you guys have.

Well thank you and I think that we’ve started the process you know we have many partnerships in the works. The most interesting for now for us is big strategy property that we have with Horizon BlueCross BlueShield of New Jersey which is a very important partner to us and we’re learning so much with them and hopefully vice versa. And I think that a lot of negative in a lot of providers and payers needs to understand better what are the existing solutions are there to help deliver a better user experience to their patients that are members. And I think that for your audience and you know in a good way to kind of understand what the difference between pager and other solution is the that are really our focus is to deliver the kind of to your point cochairs life experience and the way to do it is by building technology but combining technology with actual humans we believe that automating the entire care navigation and ordination process with technology is not the right way to do things today because technology has a tendency to be very intimidating to consumers. In healthcare you know this is the house where there are usually very skeptical about and sometimes care about technology. So what we decided to do it was really to put nurses on the interface between us and them and really build technology to empower to enhance the powers of those nurses so they can better serve the consumers. So I think that that’s really talking about total solutions on the market. The specificity of pager is that if that we’re a services company in the way that we have a command center with a lot of nurses working and we really caring for the patients and for the consumers and that older technology that we’ve built is to actually empower the nurses to treat or should I say to try to assist those patients in a better and faster way. So I think that would be a good kind of edge for you or just understand about pager.

That’s definitely a great distinction because part and had I think anybody listening to this can relate that if you call in and whatever it be right you call that 1 800 number and you get a machine that asks you for different prompts. There’s nothing more frustrating than that especially if you’re going to be wanting to deal with your health. It’s nice to have that human touch and it sounds like you guys are keeping that care and health care and not just mechanizing the whole thing.

Yeah. And I think hundred percent absolutely agree with you and I think that you know machines are. And we love machines that major because we just want things that are good for interacting too much to the consumers. And also we believe by the way that most care decisions whether you should go to an Yarm should an urgent care or to go to yes or care like a FaceTime consultation with your daughter. All those decisions to be human. We don’t think that machines have proved yet that they are better than humans to make some of the public services. So I think that the level of comfort for consumers to interact with a licensed nurse and knowing that the technology actually makes the nurse better. That’s what we think is the right model for the foreseeable future 10 20 years from now. We shall see. Right. But what we believe is that today it’s really the combination of human and machine with humans needs to be first in line the mission is to be working in the background to enhance the human powers.

I love it. I think that’s such a great point. Gaspard talked to us about a story a time when you had a setback or a failure and what you learned from that?

I think you know as an entrepreneur and millions I’ll tell you how I think I hope I kind of learned and use that figure as an entrepreneur in the past. You know I’ve done by whose companies and it happened to me especially for the first version of our products usually over investing time and money and energy. Building the first iteration of the product. Now so we were launching it and really putting in the hands of users. And I think that that that is extremely dangerous because it’s expensive and in a way you don’t really know if people are going to welcome your product. And so it’s just a very counter-productive way of doing things and I’ve done that in the past. Actually more than once and when we started the pager I’m actually pretty happy because we decided to be way more agile like we weren’t going to market very quickly was kind of this. There was mentioning before the kind of urgent care on demand products which was a very narrow focus on one use care, right. We went direct to consumer because we didn’t want to wait for people to just start testing our products. So we ignored payers, we ignored providers. We did everything ourselves. And we were lucky because we were able to access financing to fund that. Not cheap is actually pretty expensive.


We went there quickly with a product that was not perfect and they said direct to consumer and he told us to learn extremely fast. And that’s why after we were able to evolve and our product or the last we didn’t kind of stay rigid on our initial decision to share products. We were extremely effective all the way the company’s vision and the company’s product and the company’s business model evolved. And I think that’s one of the reasons why the company is successful today and obviously it’s not necessarily easy to do because being so agile actually this time and he cost money and you have investors or partners who are patient enough to support that profit when you are when you can make yourself when you can create an ecosystem of partners and investors who support a process that is usually a winning formula that takes time and healthcare everything that time it is way more powerful to actually launching a product in pulling that process. And I think that as I said you know I did some mistakes in the past because if you don’t follow that with major. We did it and I think that paid back to them.

That’s so great. Gaspard and listeners take this jam and practice it don’t create your products or services in a vacuum. You’ve got to get out there even though it might be a little bit more expensive like Gaspard said to iterate and to shift while you’re going out there getting feedback. It’s even more expensive if your company fails. So definitely a great pearl of wisdom that you share with us. Gaspard thank you for that. So here we go. We’re heading here toward the end in this little section. It’s a lightning round Gaspard so I got four questions for you. It’s the 101 or the ABC is of Gaspard in healthcare. And so we’re going to put a we’re going to put a syllabus here for the listeners and we’re going to follow that with a book and a podcast that you recommend to the listeners you ready.


All right. What’s the best way to improve health outcomes?

The best way to improve how outcomes I would say is to always partner with the provider that you need right. So it’s really key to always find the right providers for what you need.

What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

I think I just mentioned one was isn’t the focus or the biggest mistake is to spend too much time building a product and developing a vision without actually putting it in the hands of of your users and your partners.

It’s powerful. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

Same thing you know being always flexible and not be attached or emotionally attached to your initial or to your old ideas. Always be ready especially as an entrepreneur to people or change or enhance or change your mind. And change is usually a little bit difficult especially for large organizations but also very difficult for small organizations because that means that to change direction you need to retool your team. It is essential business model but change is usually good it’s not bad. So what we really you know look at change, the good thing about thing.

There you go. What’s one area of focus that should drive everything in a health organization?

It depends on the health organization like you know it’s your provider the quality of health and safety of your providers is absolutely key. I would say for an organization like Pager which is early stage which is really about user experience it’s just your manual focus on the quality of the consumer experience they work for us. That’s absolutely the thing that is the most important.

Love it. What book would you recommend and what podcast would you recommend to the listeners?

That’s a good question. The book that I would recommend is a French book called Gaspard de La Nuit which is you know the book of the same name but a book that you know kind of pushed me a lot of interesting lessons when I was younger and comes of having space or adventure and risk which I think is the foundation for being an entrepreneur. And in terms of podcast, you know like a lot is built by NPR podcast by and from them from entrepreneurs who was your ideas about how those very creative and successful entrepreneurs actually built it. So that’s the one that’s I enjoy a lot.

Beautiful. Listeners, don’t worry about writing any of this down. Just go to outcomesrocket.health/Gaspard, you’re gonna find all or shown out there a transcript to everything that we’ve talked about, links to the books and the podcast as well as a link to Pager. Gaspard, this has been a blast. I really enjoyed our time together.

Thank you it’s been fun. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Absolutely. Unless and before we conclude I’d love if you could just share a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners can get in touch to collaborate or follow you.

Very interested to Krassner with new organizations and new people and conforms to our vision and obviously show our product and again make it evolve and make it better all the time. Those are the best way to reach me just a gaspard@pager.com

Outstanding. Well go ahead include that for you listeners in the show notes so be sure to check that out at outcomesrocket.health/gaspard. This has been a pleasure. Really appreciate you taking the time to be with us.

Thank you so much. My pleasure.

Thanks for tuning into the outcomes rocket podcast if you want the show notes, inspiration, transcripts and everything that we talked about on this episode. Just go to outcomesrocket.health. And again don’t forget to check out the amazing Healthcare Thinkathon where we could get together took 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 outcomesrocket.health/conference that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference be one of the 200 that will participate. Looking forward to seeing you there.

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Recommended Book and Podcast:

Gaspard de La Nuit

NPR podcast

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