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Technology’s Growing Role in Dermatology
Episode

Jon Friis, Founder, and CEO of Miiskin

Technology’s Growing Role in Dermatology

In this episode, we are privilege to host the outstanding Jon Friis, Founder, and CEO of Miiskin, a skin tracking app created to bring individual and full-body skin mapping to a place where users can easily make self-examinations a part of their health routine. Jon educates on the need to empower patients even before they go to the dermatologist’s office, the impact of leveraging digital technology in access, the kind of payer model Miiskin is using, and more. He shares his insights on marketing, overcoming challenges, focusing on stakeholders, and more. 

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Technology’s Growing Role in Dermatology

About Jon Friis

Jon is the Founder and CEO of Miiskin. He leads a team of technologists and clinical advisory team members while fulfilling his dream of ending skin cancer by 2040. 

Jon is also the Owner and Consultant at JF Solutions. He also founded Inseeto in 2009 and has worked as an IT Consultant at Gavia Technologies. 

He holds a Master’s of Mathematics and Economy from the University of Copenhagen

Technology’s Growing Role in Dermatology with Jon Friis, Founder, and CEO of Miiskin: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Technology’s Growing Role in Dermatology with Jon Friis, Founder, and CEO of Miiskin: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Hey everyone, welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket, Saul Marquez here. Today, I have the privilege of hosting the outstanding John Friis. He’s the Founder and CEO of Miiskin, a skin tracking app he created out of a desire to better help his partner navigate her high risk for skin cancer. Knowing that paper-based skin mapping was outdated and hard to routinized, John turned to digital health technologies to bring individual and full-body skin mapping to a place where users to place where users can easily make self-examinations a part of their health routine. Jon leads a team of technologists and clinical advisory team members while fulfilling his dream of ending skin cancer by 2040. He holds a master’s of Scientists from the University of Copenhagen, where he is speaking to us from. And so with that, I want to welcome you to the podcast. Jon, thanks for joining us.

Jon Friis:
Thank you very much, Saul. A pleasure to be here.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. And so, John, know the work you’re doing is super important. And so before we dive into Miiskin and how you guys are really adding value to health care, tell us about you. What is it that interests you in health care and why does that light your spark?

Jon Friis:
I shouldn’t take too much time, but it’s basically it’s a personal challenge. Me and my wife and partner Rikke, she had 12 moles removed from her skin, and her dermatologist always kind of saying, I’m kind of good at diagnosing and catching these, and I’m good at assessing them. But at end of the day, you need to be very observant of what is happening on your skin. So you actually need to pay attention, create awareness around this. And I came home and she has like maybe 50 plus moles on the skin. And it’s not trivial to get an overview of what’s happening on the skin. And since I was her closest relative, I got the responsibility. So basically, I come from a master’s degree in mathematics from the university being an I.T. intrapreneur for almost two decades. I knew there were a lot of things you could do in order to make this process efficient, convenient, and supporting people around the world with convenient technology in the hands of the patients or the consumer on the smartphone. So on that behalf, we started the company. And I can also add to that. But I have two parents, both of them are doctors. So I kind of knew health care. And I also knew that it was really interesting because a lot of people deploy technology for clinicians, for the health care industry. And in this time, what we actually did, we deployed some technology to the patients so that they become the best version of themselves.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Yeah, it’s critical. And, you know, dermatology is one of those practices that, for example, if you’re in a rural area, you know, it’s difficult to get access to these types of things. Their appointments are I mean, you try to get on a dermatologist’s office, forget about it. It’s two, three months. And so access is a big issue. So tell us a little bit, John, about how your company Miiskin is adding value to the health care consumer.

Jon Friis:
You already started. It’s a pleasure for me to do because I had so many interviews with dermatologists. And what you’re saying it is takes to some areas two to four months to get an appointment and in the worst parts of the globe, it’s over 12 months. So basically, if you put in more jobs, more things that the dermatologists should do at the office, you simply don’t have the time. But if you could see the patients with the highest need, if the patient comes more educated, if the patient has the opportunity to look after themselves in a different way so that when they come and see them and he sees the patient at the right time, they should be put in the hands and the effort and the investment that in time that somebody has to do in order to create images and take images and convince me if you would put that in the hands of the patients, the patient becomes more clever, the patient becomes more creative, more awareness about their own skin, and they take more objective, good decision based on objective information instead of subjective feelings.

Jon Friis:
And that integrates into health care. If you share these images with health care, both in telecommunications, in a telehealth mode, you can amplify and bolster the outcome of the conditions here. But at the same time, the majority of the task, the time-consuming part of the task is with the patients at home in between consultations to actually improve outcomes when you see the condition.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, no, I think that’s very well said, John. And one of the things that we struggle with is the way that that the health system is is structured. And so when a patient or a person, when we have this technology in our hands, it enables us to be more educated about our health and we don’t have to wait for those three to four to five months, 12 months. I didn’t even know that 12 months in some areas. So talk to us a little bit about how this data, now that you have it and its objective through Miiskin, like tell us a little bit about how that can help them care for themselves and maybe an example of how you’ve been able to improve outcomes with that.

Jon Friis:
We have plenty of users coming back. I must say that this we don’t just to be sure that everybody understand. We don’t do any diagnostic. You do don’t do assessments on images. But we are basically supporting people with the images and the structure of the information so that people can look for these changes themselves. It’s not trivial to kind of capture the information. One of our features is placing the phone on the table and you stand in front of it, it takes automatically all the images you need to have so you can see how things is changing all the time. And this way you take control. So we had users reaching out to us just saying because you should basically use the technology to get together with the clinician for the best outcome. So they use these images to come in and talk to the DA to say, have you seen this change I’ve had on my ear or on my back? And the doctor has immediately some of the users reached out to us. It just basically said, I’ve never had the capability to see these changes. And as soon as it came to the doctor, he looked at the image and said, is that how it has progressed over the last six months? And he cut it off because you need a biopsy because he was concerned about the development of this lesion. So that way you take control on your side of the responsibility, but you should use this technology together with the commission, but all the time. And the end of the day, I think that’s what this has really come to. It is going to make health care more cost-effective, hopefully leaving some resources for the conditions in the dermatologists.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, Jon, I love that. You know, and it goes back to that, you know, so. So the doctor sees you for 15 minutes, but you live in your own skin. And so you know.

Jon Friis:
Exactly.

Saul Marquez:
If you can show up to your 15-minute appointment. I don’t know. Is that is that the same in Denmark? Are the appointments short?

Jon Friis:
Are they I would say they are more optimal. As I say, normally between five to eight minutes per patient, because we have national health care systems in Denmark. And that’s really optimized.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, same challenge. And so now you’re showing up and you’re educating your physician so that they could better help you. And I think that’s a powerful thing. And maybe even something that you think about health care, you really have to think about where the money flows and who cares. And I and, you know, from my perspective and I’d love to hear from you, Jon, it seems like it’s something that insurance companies and in the case of Denmark, the government, employers, people footing the bill want to maybe support. So who pays for this and how does it all work?

Jon Friis:
Currently, the most success we have had is two sides. Here we have a technology that the consumer, the patient can download themselves in order to educate themselves and create their own awareness because basically, if you’re living in you know that you live with the skin cancer issue might have taken to using tanning beds and you use your blonde have already a lot of moles. And since you have it on a high risk of developing skin cancer. Remember, one in five will develop skin cancer during the lifetime. So these people, they find us and they basically buy the premium version of the product, the most advanced features in it. But at the same time, in October, November, we launched the Miiskin Pro version for professionals and clinicians now, because they want to engage with the patient on a more structured level based on the patient data.

Jon Friis:
So they actually have technology where they can share these images in between the clinician and the patient so that it’s basically a two-sided payer model. Either the patient themselves or the clinics or hospitals that gives this to the patients. So they have a bit of support for the clinical outcomes, the clinical decision making, the need to do it.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. John, appreciate you highlighting that. And we were moving away. And for those that aren’t, you know, if you’re not thinking about how to move your practice, your business away from just those small points of care with platforms like Miiskin, you’re going to get left behind. There are a lot of companies now focused like Miiskin on helping bridge that gap between appointments. You know, and it’s not just with chronic conditions, it’s across the board. And so think about it. Get some inspiration from John and the work he’s doing for how you could get your game up if you’re in dermatology, maybe this is the app for you and your patients or your system. So as you have built the company, John, what’s been one of your biggest setbacks and a key learning that you got out of that?

Jon Friis:
Oh, yeah, I don’t know. The biggest setbacks, like the Corona situation has been challenging for all of us. But I think one of our challenges, I would say, has been kind of focusing on a market because analyzing the health care stakeholders in each market is a complexity. Now, we are extremely focused on the US. We have been approved and been clinically validated to be a part of NHS Appstore in the UK, which is the national health care system. A lot of traction from the patients in the US now and now have more and more traction from US providers.

Jon Friis:
So dermatologist, cancer centers, and hospitals have been reaching out to us because the end of the day they said, yeah, if you had had a patient and, you know, you have maybe treated them for skin cancer, you know, end of the day when they leave the hospital, they’re still in the high risk of skin cancer. So I think one of the hardest challenges in health care is analyzing the stakeholder environment and the payer system. And we are slowly tapping into this. And we haven’t even looked at how insurance companies, health insurers are I would say influencing this whole system, but have been focused on the two key important stakeholders, the patient and the clinician because this is where the majority of the value is, is brought into these two stakeholders.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now, I appreciate you sharing that, John. And yeah. So there’s an opportunity here. It sounds like you guys are starting to get some really great traction in the States here in the US. So kudos to you guys. I mean, any opportunity to elevate the level of care for all is always appreciated. And so, as you consider some of the milestones or things that you’ve done, what are you most excited about today?

Jon Friis:
I’m excited that we help people all over the world. It’s always it is not it’s always affecting you. When people come back and say how much support they’ve got from our technology. We currently think we have approximately six hundred thousand downloads from patients all over the world. We have approximately 160 hospitals and clinics that recommend our product to their patients in between the clinical face-to-face control situations. So I’m extremely proud of that. And I think now we basically all should be building the provider network up in the US and that is a challenge. But it’s extremely exciting. The job we are doing currently and gets a lot of traction right now.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s really exciting and it’s not easy to do. So kudos for the growth and the downloads. I mean, that’s just fantastic down. I’m sure your team, when the patient stories come in, they’re probably just like, wow, this is great, let’s keep going. Right.

Jon Friis:
It is. I think especially you hear these stories from frustrated patients that use this technology proactively with respect to their own health. But also, I think one of the largest wins, so to speak, or at least the big surprise is that the providers, the doctors, they are so supportive of this. And I think one of the key things here is because we basically not trying to take in any more of that time. We actually want the patient to use the time within their own health care and manage this themselves. And then when time they share their findings, share their observations with well-documented information of images taken all the time. So you can see how development on the skin has to be has changed.

Saul Marquez:
I think that’s so great, John. Well, listen, we’re certainly excited for the platform and what you guys are enabling for the health of people as far as their skin goes. Why don’t you leave us with the closing thought and just give the listeners the best place that they could learn more about you and the company?

Jon Friis:
Thank you. I think go to Miiskin.com and Miiskin is spelled as Miiskin.com and you can read from a provider perspective or you can read about it from a patient consumer perspective and see the amazing AI and machine learning capabilities that we provided to this technology so. So people can use this at home. Thank you very much.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding. Thank you, John. And certainly looking forward to keeping up with you guys as you grow here in the States. Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
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Things You’ll Learn

  • Dermatology clinics can be difficult to access especially in rural areas. 
  • One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime so you need to help patients be more aware of their skin. 
  • You should use technology with the clinician for the best outcome.

 

Resources

Website: https://miiskin.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonfriis/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/miiskin/