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Lifestyle as Medicine, Blockbuster Medicine
Episode 675

Harry Kim, Chairman & CEO, inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics

Lifestyle as Medicine, Blockbuster Medicine

In this episode, we interview the excellent Harry Kim, the Chairman and CEO of inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics. Harry discusses how his company helps to bring a better standard of care and helping to break down the wall that existed in the past between wellness and critical care. 

Harry talks about how lifestyle can turn into a serious medicine and unlock the real human potential to prevent and reverse disease. He shares a powerful analogy on fire and medicine as well as amazing insights on leveraging technology to improve customer engagement, the impact of COVID in healthcare, and more. 

This is a great conversation and Harry has brought so many things we definitely need to consider, so please tune in and enjoy!

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Lifestyle as Medicine, Blockbuster Medicine

Episode 675

About Harry Kim

Harry is CEO and Chairman of inHealth. He was SVP and GM at American Well and the Business Lead for Samsung Health. He led strategy, partnerships, and bizdev to connect consumers to clinical care and apply mobile technology into clinical delivery. Before that, Harry grew HP’s Health & Life Sciences from $3B to over $11B, building a 1B+ new service, HP Digital Hospital.

Lifestyle as Medicine, Blockbuster Medicine with Harry Kim, Chairman & CEO, inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Lifestyle as Medicine, Blockbuster Medicine with Harry Kim, Chairman & CEO, inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2021. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, Outcomes Rocket listeners, Saul Marquez here. I get what a phenomenal asset a podcast could be for your business and also how frustrating it is to navigate editing and production, monetization, and achieving the ROI you’re looking for. Technical busywork shouldn’t stop you from getting your genius into the world, though. You should be able to build your brand easily with the professional podcast that gets attention. A patched-up podcast could ruin your business. Let us do the technical busy work behind the scenes while you share your genius on the mic and take the industry stage. Visit SmoothPodcasting.com to learn more. That’s SmoothPodcasting.com to learn more.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket, Saul Marquez here. Today, I have the privilege of hosting the excellent Harry Kim. He’s the chairman and CEO of inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics. They’re doing extraordinary work in the area of preventing and reversing disease. They want to turn lifestyle into serious medicine and unlock the real human potential to prevent and reverse disease. They’re looking to create a new and better standard of care. And Harry is here to talk to us a little bit about the work that they do and how they’re doing it. So, Harry, such a privilege to have you here with us on the podcast today. Thanks for joining.

Harry Kim:
Love it. Thank you, Saul. Happy to be here.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. And so, Harry, before we get into that very interesting work that you guys are up to at inHealth, tell us a little bit about you. What inspires your work in health care?

Harry Kim:
You know, I’ve spent 28 plus years at this sort of convergence between technology, consumer, and sort of health care. I’ve experienced it working at startups as well as Fortune 50 companies. And there’s always this common theme, which is convergence. What does it look like when you bring technology, the consumer experience, and health care services into the same field of view? And my passion has always been focusing around innovation and putting innovation at scale. And in many respects, that really is about the convergence of these things. And that’s where this idea and very powerful idea of turning lifestyle into medicine kind of came into focus for me. And I think it can unlock an amazing opportunity not only for individuals but for societies and entire economies.

Saul Marquez:
You know Harry, I love that. Lifestyle as medicine. And many of us will say, oh, well, it’s hereditary. Like this weekend, my brother came over, you know, he came up with his girlfriend. My cholesterol’s high. You know, dad’s cholesterol is high, too. It’s hereditary, but it’s also a lifestyle right. And so you know there it is.

Harry Kim:
Yeah, when you sort of zoom the lens back and you think about an individual sort of health condition, it really boils down to four factors. It boils down to the lifestyle that you lead, the environment in which you live, the genes that you’re born with, and then the care that you receive. Now, those are the four factors, but they’re not all weighted equally. We live in a really interesting and almost backward world where the 10 percent lever is driving all of the focus. What I mean by that is the care that we receive actually only drives 10 percent of our outcome. So you’re like, oh my gosh, that’s where all of the pharmaceutical energy, that’s where the building, our hospitals, new diagnostics, medical equipment, surgeries, paying physician salaries, it’s all focused on this 10 percent lever. And essentially that’s sick care. So the question is, what is the impact of all of those other levers? Lifestyle represents 50 percent of an individual’s health outcomes. And we know this to be totally self-evident. We make two hundred decisions every single day that directly affect our health. Do we take the elevators or take the stairs? Do we eat the bagel or eat the fruit? Or do we take a moment to breathe? These are decisions that we make every single day. And the interesting thing is the industry looks at diseases and they call them chronic diseases. But what they really are, they are lifestyle diseases. These lifestyle diseases have the name of type two diabetes or hypertension or high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease. But if you sort of zoom the lens back and you say it’s actually largely lifestyle disease that manifests itself into these clinical terms, and that’s why it’s so powerful to think about what if lifestyle could be medicine? What if we think about lifestyle not as the driver of disease, but the medicine of disease? That is the very, very powerful idea behind inHealth.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I love the idea. In fact, the first time I’ve heard it, I’ve heard food as medicine, but lifestyle as medicine is a new spin. I love it. And so I love to take the opportunity right now to ask you more about how you guys are doing it. So talk to us about how you’re you’re adding value to the health care ecosystem.

Harry Kim:
So there’s a human potential in all of us, and it’s much stronger than any medicine that we can take. And there’s also this layer of technology that brings these new forms and new services to individuals. And when you think about unlocking and lifestyle as medicine, what’s really doing is it’s breaking down this traditional wall of wellness versus clinical. These used to be two sort of separate world with this high wall in between, and it’s like the clinicians don’t deal with wellness and wellness is not clinical. What inHealth and our program of lifestyle therapeutics does is it breaks down that wall and it makes wellness and it makes lifestyle a clinical service. And the job of our company is to engage with patients who are struggling with multiple conditions, who are largely disengaged. And what we are finding is where are the intrinsic motivations to improve their health? It’s amazing that you can tell somebody all day long, don’t eat French fries and take your meds. But if you find out that this individual has a daughter that’s getting married next year and made a promise to his daughter to walk down the aisle, and this individual may have Type two diabetes and is at risk of really some bad things happening and is struggling, walking, all of a sudden you latch onto something very, very powerful and it’s not don’t eat French fries and take your metformin. It’s how are we going to partner with you to achieve your goals? And what our coaches do is really use their intrinsic motivations as the engine for change. But at the same time, we are bringing in clinical measurements, clinical expertise into their journey. And so that’s really the sitting on the fence between wellness and their journey and clinical and bringing that expertise to the table. It is about converging the art of behavior change and the science of medical care into a single program.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Yeah, makes a lot of sense. It’s those things that actually matter to us most that are going to create the levers for change. And as you think about that wedding that that guy has to walk his daughter down the aisle for, I mean, it creates a compelling reason to drive certain types of behavior. What would you say makes how you and your team do that different than what’s available today?

Harry Kim:
So at the end of the day, there’s an entire explosion of digital health out there right now. And by and large, the digitizing sort of sick care. And they’re sort of optimizing a broken equation and they’re chasing disease. We do not chase the disease. There are many programs out there that say, hey, I see you as diabetic, you’re on the freeway of diabetes progression. My job is to put on guardrails and the guardrails are I’m going to measure you. I’m going to see whether your hypo or hyper I’m going to send you a ping, a ding and a nudge and I’m going to manage you. But the entire experience is through the lens of your a diabetic. The disease is still progressing. It’s you may be able to slow it down. You may be able, but you’re very, very focused on chasing that disease.

Harry Kim:
That’s not what we do. What we do is we understand that people know they’re diabetic. That’s not what we are trying to figure out. Is your diabetic yes or no and you’re measuring it? What we’re trying to find out is why? What are the underlying things in your behaviors, in your lifestyle that trigger that?

Harry Kim:
And so the awareness side is that I’m diabetic. The awareness side is, oh, my gosh, I didn’t realize that this certain environment triggers me to behave in a certain way that actually promotes my diabetes progression. And so that’s what we’re doing, is we focus and treat the whole person, not the disease. So I think that’s number one, the probably the biggest thing that we do that’s different. It is a clinical service, meaning doctors prescribe lifestyle therapeutics to their patients. So it’s not this hokey. Hey, so nice to have Jenny Craig program. Good luck with it. It is a physician-prescribed program. We are an extension of their care, not only an extension of their care, but it’s actually a reimbursable service.

Harry Kim:
So physicians can actually receive revenue both from Medicaid and commercial plans. We leverage all of the trends that you see today with telehealth and R.P.M. or remote patient monitoring. And so that’s why is a clinical service, we don’t chase the disease. And it’s really sad for me when I think about the physicians, because they’re the front line workers and God bless them all. But if they have minutes with patients and they will often see a patient once, maybe a quarter, maybe once a year, 15 minutes, seven minutes back turn because they’re in their EMR system, where is their support for that patient for the other 99.998 percent of that other support when they are at home looking in their fridge when they are stressed out when they’re trying to figure. You know what they can do to promote and improve their health condition, what they can do to support their family and their health condition. That’s where we come in. Our program has apps and Web-based services and video visits and medical devices to measure things. We are wrapping ourselves around that patient’s journey.

Saul Marquez:
Excellent. Yeah. And so that’s the care that that is needed. The thing that I find most intriguing is, operationally, it sounds like you guys have tackled the biggest problem. The problem of reimbursement, the problem of you call it the here’s your Jenny Craig. Good luck. You’ve actually compartmentalized this lifestyle concept into what works today and how it’s operationalized. Talk to us a little bit more about how that works.

Harry Kim:
So when you think about value in health care services, you have to think about it in sort of two domains. And so we’re really, really happy. We figured it out in terms of demonstrating real clinical outcomes that are more than blockbuster medicine, doing the reimbursement, getting the billing, getting it prescribable. And we spent a lot of energy. And I call that sort of the quality of the clinical sort of side of the program. But when you think about value, it is really the measurement of two parts, the strength of the quality of the clinical program, again, including not just the outcomes, but being able to deliver it and get it prescribed and reimbursed. But the other side, which is the messy, ugly side, is unless you get engagement, it doesn’t matter. And there is a sea of dead bodies both yesterday and coming in the digital health world, which is all about lack of not a good idea, but lack of engagement and engagement is what will determine. So that is the other factor of it. When we build our business, we do it optimizing the quality and the strength of our clinical outcomes and our clinical efficacy, as well as the quality of our engagement. So while we’re super proud and humbled, if you will, by what we’ve been able to unlock on the clinical side, I think we stand apart when we think about the quality of engagement.

Harry Kim:
Imagine getting a new Apple Watch or Samsung Watch for Christmas. And I used to work for Samsung, so I know what the clips look like in terms of engagement. And after six months, it’s in the back of the drawer and less than 10 percent of the people are still wearing it. It’s not because it’s not a great watch and it’s not because it doesn’t have great features. It’s because there’s something about that service that is lacking this engagement. So you’re just throwing data at them, it’s not enough. Because our program is very personal, because we have shared accountability with our patients, we drive high engagement. We’re talking about 60 percent compliance to a fairly intensive program where you have video visits and you’re being measured with these digital tools, 60 percent engagement at six months. And we’re not talking about clicking out counts as engagement. We’re talking about compliant with a face to face coach and going through your journey. It’s an amazing sort of capability, if you will, that we’ve unlocked. But it’s always been there. People have been looking for it. So there’s been this sort of pent up unmet need. And I think our service is really it’s something that’s been out there for a while.

Saul Marquez:
You know what? That’s a great distinction. And that that engagement is critical to long term adoption. And for a lot of people, it’s difficult. You know, it’s not an easy thing to do. So I’m sure you’re drawing from your experiences with Samsung, with American. Well, but really, all the things that you’ve done, Harry, to make this such a powerful platform, what would you say has been one of the biggest setbacks you’ve experienced and a key learning that’s come out of it?

Harry Kim:
I think the biggest one is good ideas are not enough, right And when you think especially in health care and this industry that we’re in, I’ve worked in large scale technology companies and seen the transformation and the role of both technology and the Internet and mobile into almost every single industry. There are really only two industries that have been largely not fundamentally changed by technology, and that is government and health care. Now we see parts of it. You see elements of it, but by and large, the end to end experience and the delivery of care and adopting technology and mobile is still we still haven’t fully hit that tipping point.

Harry Kim:
So good ideas are not enough. The other sad reality in learning here is it’s not me. This comes from academia and others. There’s a 17-year innovation cycle in health. To go from a proven piece of innovation, a proven compound, a proven idea, and taking that into a better standard of care in this new and established standard of care, that’s a 17-year cycle. Now, when I worked at Samsung, we used to create a new platform, a new chipset, a new firmware, new hardware, a new capability, a new product for three hundred sixty-five million people around the world and do it every nine months. To live in an environment and be so frustrated to see innovation that’s in your hand, innovation that’s ready to scale, but dealing with this innovation cycle that is so slow to move.

Harry Kim:
Now, I will say that the founders of this company have been at it for a long time. This is not a new idea. They’ve proven it in the brick and mortar environment and it’s slowly moved to an all-virtual service. There is a better standard of care and that better standard of care will layer in lifestyle therapeutics the same way that if you get a knee or hip surgery, you’re leaving the hospital with a physical therapy script. If you are a patient who have multiple comorbidities and is disengaged and is struggling, you need to leave with a script for lifestyle therapeutics. And this is where we are going and this is where we are positioned is when that better standard of care is out there. I think the other sort of learning here is not everyone moves in this industry. At the same time, we have the concept, what we call lighthouse accounts.

Harry Kim:
Lighthouse accounts are where we focus our innovation and business model development with some really forward-leaning organizations and prove it as a lighthouse to the rest of the industry. We’ve done this on the provider side. We’ve done this on the medical device side. We’ve done this on the health plan side. We are so absolutely privileged to be able to partner with folks like Silens, folks like Anthem, and their live health online. These are services that are in the market. These are services and relationships that have taken two, three, four years. So that is the painful part, is a very small company doing the dance with a very large company in an industry that just moves so damn slow. And we live in highlit ISL. Everyone is happy to do — and we get stuck. And this is what’s crushing out so many innovation companies and startup companies. Getting stuck in these sales cycles and this pilot ities mode and not being able to deliver your service at scale. That is the absolute biggest struggle in this industry.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more, man. It’s challenging. And what’s been your perspective around COVID? There’s been more willingness to jump in. And have you seen that?

Harry Kim:
Absolutely. COVID is on so many levels, has really reset the table in health care. It’s reset the table in families and communities is reset the table on all fronts. And while no one would ever trade COVID for any advancements in technology adoption, that has been one of the side effects. Pprivate practices and physicians and doctors have to close down their business and could not see their patients. Many were flat-footed in not having telehealth that I think overnight shifted. Telehealth became a not a nice to have. It became a must-have, and I think the regulatory environment loosened up to support it. Besides all of that, though, what I’m broken about is what it has meant for the frontline workers. I think about the physicians and the clinicians and really chasing this disease and doing the best they can. What it’s opened up is really the need for us to think about what are the biggest risks around COVID and that really are these lifestyle diseases. These are the comorbidities. These are the chronic illnesses. So, yes, we are in a position where we have to deal with the aftermath of it. But it also opens up the reality that how do we bring a preventative form of medicine and we shouldn’t be scared of this virus.

Harry Kim:
But at the same time, not being scared also means taking care of ourselves. Not being scared means understanding that we have a role to play to protect ourselves before that virus hits us. Lifestyle therapeutics is a very, very powerful way to do it. It complements the providers who are struggling on the front line. They have the ability to offer this to their patients so they’re better positioned to deal with COVID and other viruses. And I think about all these shutdowns and these closures. I’m in California right now and my heart is broken when I see restaurants and gyms getting all closed. Here is the really crazy part of it. You have a whole bunch of gym workers, fitness instructors, you may have really good people, skilled bartenders and waitresses and waiters, and they are all displaced right now. I’m not going on a tangent here. What I’m offering is we have actually built an accreditation program. This is an accreditation program that takes wellness coaches, it takes fitness coaches, and we can actually make them and accredit them to become clinical coaches. Imagine a displaced workforce struggling with how they’re going to pay rent and what’s next for them. And we are graduating our first class, and pretty soon we’re going to be launching what we call LTA, which is the Lifestyle Therapeutics Coaching Academy. And imagine that this displaced workforce can work virtually become accredited to become a clinical coach. And by the way, this being accredited allows them to receive reimbursement from health plans because this is a clinical service. So it’s not a cash pay while there is a cash component. They can become clinical coaches receiving reimbursable clinical services.

Harry Kim:
And that is what we’re super excited about, because it’s not just the demand side of helping patients. There’s a supply side of this equation between the physicians and the new breed of clinicians. And with our accreditation program super excited about where that can go and how that can help our communities.

Saul Marquez:
That’s fantastic. Yeah, and you’re looking at both sides of the equation and all three sides of the equation in this matter and really addressing it in a powerful way. What are you most excited about?

Harry Kim:
So this idea of sort of maybe an analogy here, there’s fires burning all over the place. Some are at a national level, some are at community levels. But sickness, there’s a fire burning at an individual level. And when an individual is dealing with that fire and it’s burning out of control today, largely feel like they have one hose and that one hose is the medicine that I get from my doctor and or the surgery they’re offering me. There are 10 hoses available. And because the other nine hoses is found in there, how they think about lifestyle. That’s five hoses or 50 percent of their health condition.

Harry Kim:
There are a couple more hoses in the environment in which they’re living in a couple more hoses in terms of sort of their genetics and their genetic sort of predispositions and the idea of fighting fire with more than one hose and fire that’s going out of control and not being a victim to their condition and finding a way to empower themselves to really not only reverse their condition, but prevent others. That, to me, is super exciting, is there is a human element that has been untapped. Our entire culture and society is about the human story. It’s about great feats of achievements under extraordinary circumstances. That same mindset should be applied to our sickness, to our conditions. And yet we have largely sat back and let those sicknesses consume us. And, you know, oftentimes it just takes a little bit of support, just a little bit of support to unlock very, very big changes. And that’s really what Lifestyle tTherapeutics is about, is how do we unlock the human potential to prevent and reverse disease. And we are super excited about it because that human potential is better than any blockbuster medicine that’s available in the market.

Saul Marquez:
Well said, Harry. Man gave me goosebumps and you gave me goosebumps because it’s so true. And I definitely think that you guys are onto something here. And for everybody listening, that’s looking to know more and learn more. Harry will definitely give you a great place to find him and his team. So, Harry, why don’t we do that? Give us a closing thought. What should we be thinking about? And then what’s the best place for the audience here, the listeners, to reach out to you and your team?

Harry Kim:
Yeah. Technology offers an amazing promise to change the direction of care, to change the direction of economies. Unfortunately, most digital health today is seeking to optimize a broken equation. It is seeking to optimize and chase sickness, and it is not going to fundamentally change the equation. Consumers are patients. They’re demanding more and they’re ready to do more. And the families that support them are ready to support them to do more. Lifestyle Therapeutics is a better standard of care. It doesn’t displace the great care and the great clinicians that are out there today, but those clinicians and those providers and those health plans need a complimentary service to really unlock a different opportunity and value proposition. That’s what we are unbelievably excited about, is helping to bring a better standard of care, helping to layer in Lifestyle Therapeutics to how care is delivered today, helping to break down the wall that has existed in the past between wellness and clinical care, between funky soft art and hard science. This is medicine and this is a blockbuster medicine and it’s ready to go.

Harry Kim:
So we are super excited to partner with the industry. We’re super excited to bring this new form of medicine through providers, through health plans, to patients and to consumers. And most excited about just being humble in the pursuit of everyone’s personal journey because it’s all about them at the end of the day. We don’t want inHealth to take the glory for any of this stuff. We are Sherpa’s. We are humble warriors in helping them achieve their life goals.

Harry Kim:
When we do that for individuals, it impacts families. When we impact families, we impact communities. When we impact communities, we can impact entire economies. And so I think while small today, I think the idea is a spark and I think the spark can really take hold and do some very meaningful for our nation.

Saul Marquez:
I love it, Harry. Yeah, great closing thought there. And if the listeners wanted to learn more or reach out to you and your team, what can they do?

Harry Kim:
So it’s super simple. InHealth online. Come find us. There are ways to engage with us. Easy to find me on LinkedIn. If you want to have a conversation, just ping me. We live in a world where we see ourselves as part of the ecosystem. That’s it. We’re not trying to compete against it. We see ourselves as complementing all of the great innovation that’s out there, all of the workers that are out there. Our job is to complement it. So we are very, very open. We’re bold in our mission. We’re humble in our approach. We’re super dedicated to this and we want to do it.

Saul Marquez:
Love it, Harry. appreciate the multiple ways to get in touch and the inspiring message and certainly rooting for you guys here in 2021 and beyond.

Harry Kim:
All my best to you and your family and to everything you touched, many blessings. Thank you, Saul. I really appreciated this.

Saul Marquez:
My pleasure.

Saul Marquez:
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Things You’ll Learn 

  • Lifestyle represents 50 percent of an individual’s health outcomes.
  • We make many decisions every single day that directly affect our health.
  • Good ideas are not enough.
  • There’s a 17-year innovation cycle in the healthcare industry.
  • Not everyone moves in this industry at the same time. 
  • Technology offers an amazing promise to change the direction of care, to change the direction of economies. 
  • Focus and treat the whole person, not the disease. 

 

Resources 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-kim-2399825/

https://www.inhealthonline.com/