Wearables for Health, Fitness and Sports with Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO at Hexoskin
Episode 428

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO at Hexoskin

Wearables for Health, Fitness and Sports

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Wearables for Health, Fitness and Sports with Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO at Hexoskin

Episode 428

Recommended Book:

Eric Topol’s books

Mentioned Link:

Hexoskin

Wearables for Health, Fitness and Sports with Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO at Hexoskin transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Wearables for Health, Fitness and Sports with Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO at Hexoskin 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 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. Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, he's a CEO at Hexoskin, a wearable health sensors and AI company making a difference in health care. He's an entrepreneur, designer, scientist and co-founder of the company, and they basically do wearable body metrics. It's the leading smart clothing and AI company for performance prevention, personal health research and medicine. Since 2006, with Hexoskin, Pierre had the chance to work with professional trainers, doctors, health researchers, sports scientists, space scientists, and many other amazing people to develop wearable health sensors and smart clothing will change the way we take care of our health and the health of the ones we care about. And so with that, I want to just welcome Pierre to share his thoughts on what they're doing with the company where the industry is going on wearables and artificial intelligence. So Pierre, big thanks for joining us today.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez:
So what did I leave out in your intro that maybe you want to share with the listeners?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, I think you set it up. So what makes Hoxiskin does mainly is connecting people, patients with professionals, so that because patients can record what happens with their health when they're not in clinical settings in the lab or the doctor's office, and then share it with the people who help them take care of their health. And we do that in many different ways. I think that one very important problem that we solve is how do you do long term vital signs and monitoring at home or outside of hospital or at work or doing any real life activity and by opposition to the artificial context, that is the doctor office or the hospital.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. You know, it then it seems, Pierre, that we're going into a realm of health care today where monitoring patients at home is becoming more of a thing. So the rise of wearables and how do this monitoring vitals outside of the acute care setting is becoming more and more of a topic. What would you say… Well, firstly, before we dive in further, what got you into the business? You know, health care and wearables?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, it's it's related to what you were just saying is that we we started the company in 2006. And what we saw was that while the population was aging, it is aging. And because of that, there was a huge need for better care at home where costs are lower. And so did the aging of the population brings new challenges to the medical community. By that, I mean that the hospital system is being built mostly for more acute care, for infections, for injuries. And what we have now, the need for medical care is more related to chronic care, diseases related to aging. So things that are not acute and short term, there are more chronic and long term. And for that, well, the hospital system is not well adapted. So we need it. We need new tools. We need to change the way we look at medicine and how we give people access to medical services and technology is part of the solution.

Saul Marquez:
Well, I think it's super important work that you're up to. So what would you say needs is an example. You know, obviously the hot topic is chronic long term, taking care of these patients. What would you say your companies doing differently that's helping solve for this problem?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
We are very patient focused, meaning how do we design monitoring tools that are socially acceptable or convenient to use or simple to use using the product we know the products we developed are as simple to use as a light switch or a toaster or a microwave. You know, these things are very, very simple to use. You can use them even if you don't know how to read. You can use them even if you have bad short term memory. So it shouldn't be like that for medical tools at home as well. So for monitoring tools. So that's what we've done when we've developed the existing smart shirts for vital signs when it's raining. At first it was not the shirt that pretty it was. It looked more like a traditional device that you would find in ahospital with wires and stickers and a big box to record the whole thing. And then we we saw that people would do that, would not wear these devices over the long term, maybe for a few days, but not for a few months or it's never going to be part of a normal life. So we looked at different design options and then it became a smart shirt because we wanted to measure the activity of organs in the upper body. Well, the smart undershirt that you can wear under a dress shirt. Or a tank top for women. That women can wear under their coats, but suddenly the device becomes invisible, becomes part of part of your life. And basically, if the patient knows how to put on a shirt and how to charge your battery, they can use system. I think that's something very important that we do as a company at Hexoskin, designing tools that are that are easy to use for patients and that are socially acceptable and that can fit in a normal life.

Saul Marquez:
Well, I think it's very interesting. And just taking a look at the capabilities of the shirt, monitoring things like ECG, heartbeat, HRV cure as events, heart rate, recovery, breathing rate. You guys are measuring a lot here. And so it'd be interesting to hear from you some of the specifics, maybe maybe a particular example of how the shirt was used by an individual or an organization to improve outcomes.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Yeah. So as with the smart shirts and then the software that we have to collect data and organize it, what we have basically is a remote vital signs monitoring platform and it's being used in many different contexts. I'm going to give you two examples where it was particularly useful. I think one was for a clinical trial for a rare disease that was done in the US. And one of the problems they add is that the disease was so rare that just 12, 20 or 30 participants, they needed to recruit patients across six different sites. So six different cities in the US and these patients. Well, it's a chronic disease. It's a it's a disease that you you have from the time you were born to the end. So how do you monitor people on six different sites and at home and how do you equip them so that they can collect all the data? And we've helped them set up the operations and they could use the system to collect data from all of these people in different locations. I think connected health tools are very well adapted to a situation like that. And it's an example where you can provide monitoring even if people are not in the same manner. Another example is we've ran a study for cardiac patients going through cardiac rehab at home. Cardiac rehabilitation is probably the best thing you can do with a cardiac patient. Post acute care. Well, a lot of people think and I'm among them at 100 percent or almost all patients who have some kind of cardiac intervention should go through a cardiac rehabilitation program. Problem is, 80 percent of the patients don't follow such a program because most of them are implemented within the walls of the hospital or dedicated facility. So it's really hard for older patients especially to get to the facility and follow the program. So the compliance rate is usually not very great. So what we've done is that we've designed a program where the patients had to do exercises at home and they would follow the cardiac rehab program at home. And basically, we had we had a compliance rate that was almost 100 percent among these patients. So almost all of them finished the program, which is a great outcome. And I think this is something we should… That's okay. Now we are we're ready to do that.

Saul Marquez:
That's excellent and exciting. So is as we think about approaches that we could take to improve health care, to continue monitoring patients, helping them understand past, present, future. This type of technology folks is is something that that you all should consider. So as as you think about the things that haven't worked, Pierre, what would you say is as one that stands out that you guys learn most from?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
I'm going to talk about a specific project we had, but I would say we had the failures sometimes and all of these times it was because we tried with our partner because we always thought projects with our clients or partners. We've tried to start the project too fast without proper planning, training and support. So basically it's like it's like you have an office and people use typewriters and then you you try to throw computers at them and use you think, well, this escape to increase productivity. You know, computers are good, but you don't do proper planning and training and support. Well, it's going to fail. People are going to make mistakes. Some of the people are not going to be able to use the equipment. I think it's the same thing with any new to the to use or any new process. It's not even. It doesn't have to be technology. No. Every time you try to change the way people work, if you don't do it with proper planning, with proper training and support during a project while the. You're setting up yourself for failure.

Saul Marquez:
I think it's a great call out had that preparation is certainly key. Thanks for sharing that, Pierre. What would you say one of the proudest moments you had with the company thus far as?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
We've had many proud moments, like the time when we launch our monetary system to the space station last December.

Saul Marquez:
That's pretty cool.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Was a very fun, fun thing. I think the proudest thing that we've built is that we we've decided early on to open the platform, meaning that we thought, well, if we are going to collect health data about people, this data should be able to flow and people should have access with their own data. So we've built an open that API, we've built features so that people can download data exported to other software for analysis. And because of that, we grew a research community around the platform that is active and publishing paper using the platform. And it's really hard to get published. It's pretty hard to publish papers. It can take years to complete a study and then years to publish. So we're really proud that now we have we have over 70 papers published with the platform and there's a new one almost every week. And there are hundreds of researchers using the tools that exist can provide to do health research in many different fields. So I'm really proud of that because I feel that we're doing something to help the scientific community advance its knowledge of different medical conditions using our platform. And I think this is very important.

Saul Marquez:
That's really neat. It's sort of that. Was that an intended effect factor, a decision, or is that something that you just kind of stumbled into and said, wow, this is a good way to add value?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, we. We thought it was a good idea to be open. But I think the the end survey from the research community exceeded our expectations. There's far more research being done with our tools than we thought. And for things that we didn't think about at all.

Saul Marquez:
That's great. Oftentimes getting in the game. Staying in the game. And it's amazing what happens. The applications that you find to help the people you wanted help sometimes turn into things that you didn't even expect. Right.. But you're you're responding to the market.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Yeah. So I'll give you an example, we're very focused on chronic cardiac disease and correct pulmonary disease on our platform in our foods. But now we've had papers published about people with addiction to alcohol. Papers published on how to better design cities for seniors. So where did they put these shirts on seniors. And they tried to find the places in the city where it was most stressful to them. Yeah. We've had the paper published about the workload of artist at different shows from just today. So you have these poor performers at the switch wearing the shirts under their costumes and the researchers are collecting data about them to better understand how to prevent injuries during their performance.

Saul Marquez:
It's amazing. Oh men. That's so cool. From street display to the space station. Designing cities for seniors. Totally, totally interesting routes that the technology has taken. And so what would you say is the most exciting project you guys are working on today?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, we were pushing and pushing where we've been developing different programs for people with cardiac disease and people with COPD. So chronic pulmonary disease. And I'm particularly excited by what we do with COPD because there are a lot of tools for cardiac monitoring, but there's not many things that were developed to monitor breathing in general and for COPD in particular. And it's a huge problem in COPD. Patients get us to the lines a lot. It makes you disabled. And if it's not well managed, it can go down very fast. So we've been working with different researchers in Canada and the U.S. in the Netherlands. So working with COPD patients, trying to find new digital markers of PD to better understand the progression of the disease and detect and predict acute care events. So, for example, if we if we could predict a few days in advance that COPD patients, a COPD patient, is at risk of being admitted to the hospital. Well, we can do an integration intervention that is less expensive and that would lead to better outcomes for the patient and like for cardiac patients. What we want, ideally is that if the patient needs to come back to the hospital, we'd like him or her to be able to take a cab to go to the ospital and have an appointment instead of taking an ambulance and go to the E.R., so I'm really excited by it. By what we're doing for these patients, but especially for COPD patients, because what we've developed we've takes a skin is basically a Holter monitor for the lungs. And I think it fills a gap. That was very important for the hundreds of millions of patients who have COPD today.

Saul Marquez:
I think it's fascinating and outstanding that you guys have developed this. And so, folks, you want to get some more information on the folks at Hexoskin. Go to Texas skin dot com. That's where they keep all the info on their shirts, the things that they've been up to, their research, astro skin and the things that that they're up to. But definitely a fascinating place to get the info that you want on them. And we'll also put their link in our show. So Pierre, this part of the podcast. We're almost at the end here. We're gonna do a lightning round. I got a couple questions for you that you'll respond with some quick answers and then a place where you could recommend a book to listeners. You ready?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
OK.

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

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, I think it's education and Right. Population education. Educate the kids is the key. You should start program that school and start education programs for older people as well.

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

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
I think it's medical practice so complex. I think it's to never, never stop learning and always be curious about people who think differently about what you should be doing with patients. I think it's what you should do.

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

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
I would say look for best practices as where I think there's a lot of good knowledge and good experiences in health care that are not being reproduced. And I think that's a that's a low hanging fruit for most organizations to just look what's happening in other other organization within the same country or in other countries and try to find ways to improve care and learn from other people's experience.

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

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, I think it's putting the patient first. Always think about the patient and I always think about the people who work with the patient and know how can how can we help the family, help the patient with his or her condition? How can we help providers, help the patient? But it's always about taking care of that person, that very special person that is at the middle of everything that we do.

Saul Marquez:
Love that. And these next two are more personal note, Pierre. What is your number one health habit?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
That's a good question. Very simple. It's trying to sleep well, eat well, stay active. And it doesn't have to be intense training. It's just make sure every day that you you watch, you move. So I think health is very, very simple. It's doing these normal things. So sleeping normally, eating normally.

Saul Marquez:
Love that. Do you wear a Hexoskin shirt?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, not every day. But I've go forward tonight because I have said more than seven years of vital signs of regular vital signs data. If something happens to me, I can look back at the data and understand where the problems start.

Saul Marquez:
Irregularity happen. Right. Fascinating. That's cool. And how about your number one success habit?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Well, it's a good question. I think it's it's related to health. And on one side, like sleeping well, eating well. So, no. Making sure you have time for family, time for friends. It's these very, very simple things. I think it's time for yourself too.

Saul Marquez:
That's some key love that easy to lose track of time. And then before you know it, you haven't done anything for yourself. Right. So what book would you recommend to the listeners?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Yeah, that's a tough one because there are so many books and I love to read. But if you're looking at innovation in health care, I would say any book from Dr. Eric Topol is relevant. Probably the last ones are more relevant. Or the books about connected health from Joe that are at the Partners Health Care. These books were very insightful to me because they do tell you a lot about different experiences that were done with digital health and connected health. And it's not just about the successes. It's about also the various outcomes that you get when you implement these things differently.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Some great recommendations. You could get all of the show notes. A full transcript of our discussion with Pierre Alexandre Fournier on outcomesrocket.health. Just go to the website and type in Hexoskin and you'll be able to find it there. So before we conclude love if you could just share a closing thought and the best place for the listeners could continue the conversation with you.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
I think one thing that we should be thinking about today to improve access to health care and to control costs is to we should think about how how can we keep patients empowered? How can we transfer the knowledge they need and be empowered and and redirect them to the right resources to understand what's going on with their health. And it can be very hard now because people have access to Google and sometimes sometimes they get great dedication online and sometimes they go to these weird websites that make them believe things that are really, really wrong. So how do we keep patients knowledgeable and empowered? How can we involve families and care to keep patients at home and healthier as much as possible? I think these are great questions that we should all be asking ourselves. And technology is part of the solution, but it's the whole thing. I think it's mostly education and I think if you do both, so if you use education and counselling and the right way and then you use the technology tools to support that, I think you can really improve the way people have access to healthcare.

Saul Marquez:
It's a great, great call out there. And so with that, I just want to give you a big thanks. And if the folks want to continue the conversation, Hexoskin.com, anywhere else, you would invite them to reach out or is at the place?

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
That's the place. And they can write us an email contact@hexoskin.com. And we have a whole team of people ready to support them with their projects and help them with different research protocols or care protocols.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding. Well, Pierre, thanks for spending time with us. Definitely an insightful review of what's happening on wearables and non acute vital signs monitoring and really, really appreciate the time that you spent with us today. Thank you.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier:
Thanks for having me.

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.

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