On a Mission to Save 250,000 Lives
Episode 414

Erik De Heus, CEO at SkinVision BV

On a Mission to Save 250,000 Lives

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On a Mission to Save 250,000 Lives

Episode 414

Best Way to Contact Erik:

erik.deheus@skinvision.com

Mentioned Link:

SkinVision

On a Mission to Save 250,000 Lives with Erik De Heus, CEO at SkinVision BV transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

On a Mission to Save 250,000 Lives with Erik De Heus, CEO at SkinVision BV 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 speaking with Erik De Heus. He’s the CEO at Skin Vision BV and partner at Personal Health Solutions Capital. At Skin Vision, every day is a new opportunity to make a difference. They are on a mission to save the lives of two hundred and fifty thousand people in the next decade. Eric started his career with Hewlett Packard in different sales and general management roles in the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US. After that, he was CEO of Oxxio, a growing company from the inception to almost 800000 customers through a buy and built strategy. Oxxio was acquired in 2005 by Centrica. After that, Erik founded several businesses for Philips Assets, Grip and within Personal Health Solutions, where Erik is a partner. He studied business economics at the Free University in Amsterdam, is an active golfer, is married with two sons and is making an impact on health care. That’s why we wanted to have him on the podcast today. So from the Netherlands, Erik, I just want to give you a warm welcome here in Chicago.

Erik De Heus:
Thank you very much. So thanks for having me on the on the podcast.

Saul Marquez:
It’s a privilege. And so, Erik, I just wanted to ask you, what got you into health care?

Erik De Heus:
Actually, I already very early in my my career, even at university, I had the choice to go into economics or health care. And many people around me at the time advised me to go into business and to make to do an MBA. And I had to sit at the back of my mind every job I did, I was still thinking one day I need to go do something in healthcare and that’s where I am today.

Saul Marquez:
So you just always had this drive like it was just like magnetically pulling you to health care. And finally, you did it.

Erik De Heus:
Exactly. Yes. In my career, I worked in different industries and all of those industries had to do something with disruption, innovation, creating new business model and starting something new in HP. At the time that computers were still very important. Starting out with different businesses was in was in Europe. And later on and on a global level, everything to do with leasing their stock management then I moved into the renewable energy fields within offshore where the liberalisation of the European energy market was a driver to start something totally new. And at Philips, after my career in renewable energy, I was pulled into preventative health actually at the crossroads of lifestyle, which is very at the time was very large within Philips and health care. On that crossroads, Philips decided to launch a product that I was happy to to lead for them in the US market, similar to Fitbit activity management. And that’s why first step into the preventative health care. And after that, I’ve been working relentlessly on creating new opportunities within the adult care system, both for conversion for other companies that I’m involved with, as well as for health care and what else I choose to do as a whole. And one of the big sort of trends in this career was every time I was involved in these businesses, I was looking to innovate and disrupt industries around the needs of the individual involved. So being at it, the technology side, how can we help customers to reduce the cost of ownership, to improve their usage to renewable energy, of course, saving both money in terms of but also saving the planet. And in the 2000s, that was actually quite early and there were no books written at the time about global warming and stuff like that. It was all very early. And then, of course, within health care, we also also worked around putting the center, the individual at the center of the forefront of the new technology that can be deployed in the health care side as well.

Saul Marquez:
Now, that’s interesting, Eric. And so you definitely have taken a disruptors approach, very focused on consumerism and health care. So what would you say is the problem you’re solving for at the company you’re with today? Skin care?

Erik De Heus:
Yeah. In the we we for one big problem, which is that most skin cancers are found by people themselves. And then this, of course, it’s just purely a coincidence if if the finding is in time and no issues are in the meantime raised. And of course, this is unique or this is not unique for skin cancer. It’s official cancers. But here people do not really know what to look for. And the whole topic of skin cancer is is totally not presented well in most markets. So what we basically did is to find a way that we can support individuals to take care of their own skin, because nowadays people want to become more active in their own health and they’re looking for opportunities to become more active. And with conviction, we’ve first of all make people aware of the fact that they can be active themselves on taking care of their skin and keeping their skin healthy. And then we provide them the tools to actually do that. And that’s how how we bring the solution to the hands of many.

Saul Marquez:
Well, I think it’s fascinating. In today’s world, where consumers are really more responsible for taking care of themselves, and if you’re going to have better outcomes, obviously it starts from wellness and wellness routines are key, from eating well to sleeping well to exercising. And folks, that includes doing your yearly exam, but also the care for your skin, especially if you live in more sunny areas that could lead to finding these skin cancers that maybe would have gone past you. So fascinating work that you guys are up to there. Erik, what would you say is an example of a result that you had early on and how you’re improving outcomes by doing the things you’re doing?

Erik De Heus:
I think that it’s amazing. We have results every day, which is enormously motivating. The way the conditions service works is that people can download the service in the app store or play store with their smartphone. They can download the application. They can create an account and they still can. They start making photos of their skin and with sensory settings, they get feedback as to if this is a high risk photo or a low risk. And if there’s a high risk. But of course, the advice is to go to a doctor to see local medical support. So with this, we have a global reach. We are everywhere in the world available except in the US. And I’m happy to announce that we are trying to get into the U.S. market in this year 2019, and that will be inclusive of all countries in the world. So this is available for everybody. And the way it works, it works through machine learning networks that actually detects science and make people aware of something that needs attention from their local health care professional. And this is how we allow people to become active, just like to go to the dentist buy year or you go check out certain things on a regular basis. And beforehand, it was something of a privilege to go to a dermatologist every year or every two years. And we believe that in the hands of everybody, everybody could be and should be taking care of their skin maybe three or four times per year. Just check different spots on your skin, make a photo, get the outcome and take action if it’s required to do so. And this is how we actually do get a response. So what we you’re seen in the meantime, we have found about 27000 skin different types of skin cancer around the world, mainly in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and Germany, where we are active in those markets. And it’s still growing. And many people are telling us that that’s a word of mouth. But in the last 18 months, we also actively work now as insurance companies because we see a major trend in the health insurance landscape where they take and they start to take care of the health of their customers and before they have more of less the charter to have to be the administrator of an orchestrator or of the whole health system. But now they feel more empowered to also actually take care of the health system as such. And it’s very obvious why these reasons are because when people are getting older, demand for care is growing rapidly. So the cost is increasing rapidly. The premiums can only increase modestly because of political reasons, but also social economic reasons. And so this only really demands changed and the change is only facilitated by active use of technology. So it’s not anymore a luxury or something like interesting or innovation. Let’s go do something different. This is an absolute necessity and this is now by now known and it’s people taking action on this. And we are happy that we work with the largest insurers in the world to bring salvation to their customers, preferably be as part of the health care system as a whole, so reimbursed through the different systems. And of course, is this a bit different by country. And these are the successes that you made on the individual level, which comes first and then to make this sustainably viable, available in a way that is part of the health system. So an inclusive approach to the whole health system is through deployments, through the insurance companies, to their to their customers.

Saul Marquez:
Well, Erik, I think it’s fascinating work that you’re up to. Another application yet again of artificial intelligence and machine learning making a difference in health care. So, folks, to give you some some context. Erik and his team at Skin Vision, again, as he mentioned they’re in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand and much of Europe. They’ve raised about 13 million dollars thus far and not in the US yet, but very soon as I understand it, Erik, your goal is to be in the US market this year in 2019.

Erik De Heus:
Yes, that will be our ultimate plan for. So the next step for success would be some part of the US market, because in the US there are about five from cancer cases every year involving about three and a half million people every hour. Somebody unfortunately dies of skin cancer or even more than one per hour. So this is the sort of numbers that we need to we can bring this to the market and support the U.S. system as well and make sure that people stay stay healthy.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you guys are definitely making an impact, Erik. And, you know, we’ve had several discussions with things such as having access, you know, and the thing about what you and your team are doing is increasing access, especially when you get to the more remote areas of the states where people will have to drive two hours and wait in a waiting room, take a day off, work for a dermatologist, visit the same thing goes for eye exams on diabetic patients. What are you going to do with an eye exam? You’ve got to go to your physician. Then you get a recommendation to the ophthalmologist. And so you guys are really increasing the access. And I’m excited to get you guys here in the US.

Erik De Heus:
Thank you. We are working diligently to make that happen. And we believe because there is access, for example, if we are not that far from where we are here in the Netherlands and Amsterdam in the UK, we see also challenges with with access to little dermatologist, to med and too much demand, too long waiting lists. So health system is overstretched already today could bring enormous cost. And that actually brings people in danger. And even though there’s a phrase, though, it’s a socialistic approach to health care. So basically everybody pays the same cost or price for that, which is a bit different types of them in the US.

Saul Marquez:
Right.

Erik De Heus:
Here, there’s a waiting list for six to 12 months, which of course, if you are in the melanoma or other more severe cases of skin cancer is actually just not acceptable. So we are working with the NHS accelerator to deploy our service in the UK. So it’s which of course is so great. So it’s a stepping stone. Also, provide this into the US where there are different challenges in terms of remote pricing. So it just cost internationally for I think we’re around 50 dollars per year for unlimited access to skin vision.

Saul Marquez:
Which is like in health care dollars is like a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a penny.

Erik De Heus:
Yes. If a 50 dollars for your unlimited access is 50, 60, 65 days a year. This is where I was today in the comfort of your own home at the level of dermatology in terms of getting a first assessment. So you do not provide the diagnosis. You provide an assessment of risk that allows you to be at your local doctor a time, which, of course, is for a lot of people, a major, major relief could be a time that the doctor came in to stay healthy.

Saul Marquez:
Now, it’s it’s it’s highly impactful. And one of the things that I definitely want to bring up and I know in some people’s minds and I’m a firm believer that AI stands for not only artificial but augmented. And so, you know, the mindset of folks, when technologies like this come up to help read x rays or to read rednapic eye disease, etcetera, is like, OK, my job’s going to go away. But the point is, you’re actually a fundamental feature of when something gets detected as a high risk lesion. This goes to a dermatologist, right?

Erik De Heus:
Yes. So we are totally complementary. So especially skin cancer, this was growing 6 to 7 percent per year. So the cases of that need to be treated is growing anyway. There is a shortage of dermatologists already today and there is an overstretched way too expensive health care system that is unaffordable going forward. And that’s continue to be unaffordable, even more unaffordable. So there’s not such a thing as this is a risk for somebody. I do believe that technology is to support like it is, and it should prove that it is a support for the health care system. It should not be something else. It is one system. It is the health care journey or the health journey of a patient or a customer as we see it, or a consumer or individual that turns into a patient. Maybe over time or maybe not. Just one journey and the end results. And we follow our customers up until they have received the treatments through the feedback of the treatment, how it went. Also inclusive of the proposed two year feedback. Of course, we make sure that customers are being seen by local health systems tend to be full of folks out with our customer. So the whole journey is going to change a bit, but the physical treatment is being done exactly the same. It was done yesterday and years, before, but now the pathologist can focus on those customers that really need to care in a timely way. And together, we can save lives. So this is how we position ourselves. So together we care about the individual to make sure that they stay healthy and being seen on time and get the right care when they need it.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Erik, if you had to think of a time that you had a setback as you’ve been building skin vision, what would you say that setback was and would you learn from it?

Erik De Heus:
You said it was only a half an hour. That, of course, part of the story is it’s everyday hard work. And setback, of course, is exactly what you just mentioned, is what is this technology up to? Is it gonna steal away my job? It’s going to hurt me financially. So those are those things that are that need to be overcome. And these are emotions that take time. It takes time to understand that. It takes time to accept also change. And those things have been in the last six years that we are working on this now up to 7. This has taken some time. And of course, the balance that we’ve seen is that we can save those lives today. And so on one side. We understand that that takes time. But on the other side, we can’t wait. So there’s a there’s a push on this side to actually make sure that we help those customers that we see every day that we can help and we can help more if we are given the opportunity to do so. So that’s one area. That is the other area is that in health care, especially in the early days. Now it’s getting better. The investment climate was not that easy, but nowhere. Lonely times in two in adoption, uncertain health systems that may act, let’s say not rational. So there were a couple of let’s say even the machine learning AI technology as such has been on one side, embrace them, talked about that. Now you put it in real life. It’s a bit like, OK, we love to talk about it, but now it’s working. So, OK, what is it doing? Is it something that has the right level of quality, etc.? So how are we containing this? How are we making sure that people get the right service, the right to meet with the right assessment? So these are all very logic, time consuming exercises where there’s a lot of time needed also for getting the evidence on the table to demonstrate that it does what it’s supposed to be doing. And for now, we are in a very good shape where it does what it’s supposed to be do. And people they may not like it, but they can’t say they it’s not working.

Saul Marquez:
For sure.

Erik De Heus:
In the beginning, of course, this was a bit different than the last part is. It’s around the sense of urgency of the system. So when everybody’s talking about all those things and if you talk about the, let’s say, the management side of the system, the stakeholders, there is a certain momentum of operation. Then when you are lacks vision very close to your customer. So you talk reef, live together with your customers every day. That is very difficult to connect to each other. And we would love to make and give also our colleagues with different disease areas and solutions and different diseases. Bring the customers into the equation and is making a lot of difference. So because otherwise the momentum can go far away and stakeholders can prolong discussions and learnings and dialogues and seminars and talks for God knows how long. And in the meantime, those customers are not being heard. So this is what we strive to do is to bring a lot of testimonials to people in newspapers, in videos. And so in order to let the voice of the customer being heard.

Saul Marquez:
Well, this is great work. And there’s no doubt in my mind that when you hit the U.S. market, you’ll definitely see traction and we’ll be able to help a lot of people. So, you know, great work on and the progress we’ve made in Europe and Australia, New Zealand, and just keep up the the outstanding work that you and your team are up to. I love if you could just leave us with a closing thought and then the best place for the listeners can learn more about you and your company.

Erik De Heus:
The closing thought is it’s like with all new businesses is it’s a journey. And what we tried to do here. If innovation is to make the journey as much exciting as possible and of course, working with and with our customers helps for sure doing that and also celebrate successes, small or bigger ones. So these are the ones that the message that I would like to talk to all the other innovators and new projects and initiatives that are going on. It’s definitely hard work that the results are there and it’s going to be very nice to see the impact that that has been made. People can talk and and write me on my email address is erik.deheus@skinvision.com. And skinvision.com is our website. We have lots of blogs and lots of background information on what we do and every inputs, thoughts, ideas more than welcome. And hopefully we meet everybody that is listening to this book anytime soon. I hope you enjoyed the service and become my happy customer.

Saul Marquez:
Thank you, Erik. And again, folks, reach out to Eric. He’s doing some great stuff and so is his team. Go to outcomesrocket.health in the search bar type in the name of his company, which is skin vision. When you type in skin vision, you’ll see the link to connect him, his email, a link to his company, as well as a full transcript of our discussion. So go to outcomesrocket.health in a search bar, type in skin vision. And we’re really excited to have you come to the states, Erik. Keep up the great work.

Erik De Heus:
Thank you very much. Look forward to it.

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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