Now You Can Travel Care-Free with Diabetes, Thanks to This Manufacturer of Happiness with Uwe Diegel, CEO at LifeInA
Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez
: Welcome back once again the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders. I invite you to go to outcomesrocket.health/reviews where you could rate and review our guest because he is an unbelievable and amazing contributor in healthcare. His name is Uwe Diegel. He's the official manufacturer of happiness attrite happiness working on secret diabetes project. Keynote speaker the CEO of LifeInA and a venture capitalist located in Paris France. This gentleman is doing a lot to improve what the way that smartphone applications are used in health and beyond. And so when I want to do is open up the microphone to this wonderful man and have him round out the introduction of a welcome to the podcast.
: Thank you very much. I'm so happy to see you. It's a wonderful introduction. I didn't expect so much from you but it's great. And it's quite strange because I've been calling myself people who've been calling me the unofficial manufacturer of happiness because for the last 50 years I've been making medical devices designing medical well mostly actually sickness devices. I was having a hypertension diabetes multiple sclerosis. Then a few years back we had the bright idea of connecting either of us to a smartphone and suddenly we became cool because suddenly we were no longer sending sickness we were sending help. And that was an amazing shift in the business because suddenly we realized that health was 100 percent of the people where sickness only touches sick people that put an entire new spin on the business and it really is working with Apple has also pushed me to really sell the concept as much of the product what I call the wow factor that people get a product. The thing I'm so happy to have the product.
: What kind of phone do you have if I may ask you.
: I've got an iPhone.
: What a big surprise for the iPhone as well.
: Yeah pretty much.
: I mean under this system anything I buy the new iPhone as it comes out not because I have to have it but because I want it. And if you want something because you have the wow factor it becomes much more attractive and if you sell medical devices that I end for sick people the only people who buy them are sick people will buy it because they have to buy it. If he said if for healthy people buy because they want to buy it and it puts an entire new shift on how you're going to sell the products.
: That's a very interesting take on it Uwe and one that that our digital health friends perhaps are digesting and have been working on and you're sort of have a really unique perspective where you came from the devices world and then took a shift and focused mainly on digital. So can you give us an example of what you believe a hot topic that should be on medical leaders agendas today.
Absolutely. I think that there's a slight misconception today in terms of connection. You know everybody now is telling the digital world and connection as if it was the new nirvana for business. I've never really considered the connection to be an invention. I was making devices connection arrived added the connection to make my devices better as an extra service and to open up a new field. But today especially in the world the VC is very very important because everybody is in fact now everybody is scared of hardware. Everybody is scared of investing in companies making devices for the wrong reasons because everybody wants to invest in the next Facebook or the next Google what with what they really should be looking for is investing in the next Apple because there's a certain intrinsic value to having material that beautifully built and then using that material as a platform for digital services. I think the big message with this Passant is that there's nothing shameful about making material money is becoming more and more difficult. Well for one particular reason is that sorry I didn't mean to sound offensive now because I've been making medically graded devices for the last fifty years that are all based on clinical culture and clinical validations and in many ways the shift the barrier to entry has become too low. What I mean is that today any moron was a good idea and fix that. And Kickstarter Indiegogo. Sorry I didn't mean any offense designed to.
: Speak your mind brother.
: Said said every two days you have a new metric probably that comes out that promises incredible things. But in reality it is kind of gadget of the industry because we know that 80 percent of these products are not going to be real products and they are just gadgets which means that we're basically drowning the real technology in perception of technology and this is kind of gadget of the industry in the eyes of the doctor the doctor doesn't actually think of Connected Health. He thinks of connected gadgets. His unconscious when you talk about connected health to a doctor he is thinking of that electric force that's going to give you an electric shock if you eat too fast. That's validated by the investigation Institute of Barcelona. And you know bring that all these wonderful things that are basically just gadgets that I've made a lot of products in my life that were all based on true need. I mean on diseases that were trying to find a solution for that. In fact the best businesses are driven by personal needs best business ideas. And at the moment the CEO of a new company called LifeInA. And I promise you that this isn't absolutely accidental company. It is purely an accident because.
: Tell us a little bit more about it. What is the focus there what are you guys up to.
: What happened is I was I was running a massive big international company called I helped with making connected healthcare devices and then a couple of years ago I had a visit from my brother in New Zealand who came to visit me in Paris and he doesn't speak a word of French. And contrary to what you might believe not all innkeeper's speak English in France. And my brother is a type 1 insulin diabetic and he went to the south of France to visit some shutters because he was a tourist. And when he arrived in this hotel there was no fridges in his room to police the incident. I don't know if you know that basically people with diabetes had to travel because the Internet has to be kept in the fridge at all and they're basically prisoners of the medication yeah but my brother is a habitual traveller so no biggie just went down to reception and he asked the person behind the counter to put incident in the fridge in the kitchen. Except that when he came down at 11 o'clock at night to get his Internet somebody stuck it in the freezer and now which made it impossible to use. And the incident is not like I'll take a little bit more tomorrow. If you don't have it you die. Yes it's a black and white situation but luckily we were in France and in France there's always some kind of fantastic medical system. So they called the police and they opened the night pharmacy. Twenty minutes later you had some fresh insulin and the problem was resolved. We came back to Paris and he told me about the more on it. He was really angry he was frozen in the instant and there were more on.
: I'm sure, I'm sure.
: Virtually just for fun while we were drinking a bottle of wine and having dinner we drew on a piece of paper. The idea of a little portable fridge the size of a motorola those original little phones yeah Labrecque and on paper it worked. So it literally just for fun I made a prototype but really with all the crap I had lying in my office I stole the best fruit from us and you get it okay to make the credit that it was just a handmade product that I made just for him to use. And it worked quite well. The battery lasted for five six hours and for me it wasn't a commercial product that was just purely a utilitarian thing that I made. We passed it off to the weekend know and I had less stuff to worry about. I was running a huge big multimillion dollar company.
: That's right.
: But every time my brother I saw my brother he would tell me that everybody would who are over this incredible little fridge.
: Because he was using it right. He was using a little fridge.
: Brilliant and he found it very useful. And then I started doing some research and I found that this incredible terrible thing is that basically five percent of the population is using medication that has to be kept in the fridge at all costs about multiple sclerosis arthritis cancer vaccines diabetes and these people are basically prisoners of their medication. But the biggest hidden side effect of this is that everybody's ashamed of the chronic diseases. I mean a chronic disease is basically a disease that you will have for the rest of your life.
: Now there is no cure for chronic disease. So by definition if you have a chronic disease you are defined by your lifestyle. Anything that makes you have quote unquote normal life becomes essential for somebody who suffers from multiple sclerosis. And the result of this is that people who suffer from multiple sclerosis that do not take the medication to work you know want to take your medication and put in extra sandwiches in the fridge in the kitchen. Right. Everybody knew that you think there's no respect for privacy. So the result is that they leave the medication at home which means that they take the dosage late which means that they suffer from what is called the yoyo effect in health management because every day they're taking medication at different times and non adherence or non-compliance to medication schedules. It costs a whopping 350 billion dollars in the US a pot of money. It's 10 per cent of the healthcare budget that is just pissed away on an non-compliance.
: It's about something else.
: France which is obviously a much smaller country and non-compliance is the holy grail for any Medicare system health insurance system anybody who who's charged to actually involved in institutional healthcare. On the one hand we have the problem of people not being able to travel with the medication. The other one was that they actually couldn't manage their medication on time.
: So we got together and we now say I have to be the glory shut down last night that I made this little fridge that you can carry. And inside this is what I called a big model you can put enough medication inside for one month with the medication. So that's a big model. That's the big model life in a box. Then OPCO of course have a really developed life in a tube which is a single pen literally a fridge that you can put in the pocket of your jacket. And that's for when you go out at night. The idea being that not only people not travel with the medication take it to work with them you can of course lock it at a distance with a smartphone or with a remote control and keep it private. But it's also connected to an app and it sounds stupid to connect the fridge. I mean it works.
: You just want to know if it's cold or if it's not as cold. Right.
: Yes of course but that's so basic I mean.
: You get something more advanced for me.
: Of course. Yes. I love my job.
: I can tell my friend I can tell
: Now honestly I wake up in the morning and I can't wait to get to work because now every day we're discovering new things. And you said but not the use of the connection. Yes the connection will of course monitor in real time the temperature the medication and the duration of the battery which today incidentally is up to 36 hours of battery life but it will also send you reminders. I saw last time you took your medication was at 3:00. Is it not time for you to take your medication because especially now you've got it with you in your pocket now carriage. So to actually improve that here your treatment to make people use the medication better. And this has really been a huge thing for us. Now I'm actually on and I'm thinking of doing illegal stuff was application which is accurate. The number that I've had the idea I basically have to do it even if I know and. What I want to do is I want to actually link up the app Geagea localization system on the fridge so that when they imagine your mother that's using let's say Adrenaline for and I can never say that with anaphylaxis shako you know when somebody's or cooking it is not yet and I'm. And the problem is when you have that shock that energy shock you never have your medication with you. It's always in the fridge. We've all seen Pulp Fiction we know how it's used. So imagine if you could just say well look there's a guy who's going to get medicine. It's just about 50 meters away and we go ask him for the medication which is of course completely illegal because you're not allowed to share prescription medication. But even if it's illegal and you can save the life of a child. Right. You know one way or another. So there's all kinds of really fiction. And as I said you know I wake up in the morning and I can't wait to get to work. Now I'm about to embark on the manufacturing program of this life and a box and literally at the beginning of the year I redesigned the power because of Donald Trump. Not as much. KING No because now in the US had just went to Vegas last. Yes. Oh yes and I got searched twice on the way in. And on the way out because I had suitcases filled with electronic samples and you know when you arrive at the airport we you hear that ominous stepping of the rubber gloves for way out of body cavity. So arrive there. Because since Donald Trump has become president there's this obsession with the terrorism and at the beginning of the year I heard that you were going to in the U.S. they might actually eventually ban let props on airplanes because of the lithium batteries on them.
: I haven't heard of that one but that's interesting. I wouldn't surprise me if it came up in the discussions though.
: The city were discussing at the beginning of the year. It was a hot topic and I figured at the end when I did my first design for life in a box the batteries were integrated inside the product. So when I heard about this I actually took the batteries out and made them as a clip on battery pack. They can actually carry the battery separate which is a lot easier for customers. And at the same time I redesigned the entire product that it's basically assembled like a Lego syst kleptocracies. Can you just assemble the pieces and then having the entire thing assembled by handicapped people in France which is totally cool. And.
: I love it. Now that.
: It cost three or four dollars more to do it that way. But we give jobs to people who need it a lot more than you and me. And we do it because we can. People don't really mind. I mean if you know why you're spending a little bit more money you know that you don't get it. And there will be some people who will say it's just for marketing. And so what we're still giving jobs to people we need it more than you and me. And that's right for put all the dots on all the i's to make this absolutely beautiful. If a company with beautiful packaging and beautiful ethos and social responsibility. I'm very very proud of what we're doing in life and.
: You know what that's so cool. And I appreciate you sharing that process. You know we recently had a couple of gas actually one Dana Lewis who is the head of the APS movement. Right. The open apx the artificial pancreas and just the stories that she shared as a diabetic and the difficulty you know like your brother the things that your brother went through this type of solution is just such a wonderful solution and you've been so thoughtful from the why you're manufacturing all the way through the how your manufacturing and whose manufacturing at that you definitely know how to dot the I's. Your attention to detail is just always awesome.
: Well the thing is I think that the best products are sold when they're designed by people who need them. For people who need them people who really understand the problem not just people who are thinking oh here's a problem and how can I make money from this problem. But really making products. Of course I need to make money. That's not a question I need to run successful companies. I need to make big companies not because I need them and not because I want to buy a new car but I need the money to continue doing our Indy and continue developing. You have better solutions and the patients understand this. In fact at the moment we have this huge big brouhaha worldwide about data safety and sharing data and everybody's shaking the ghost of that safety. But in reality the only people are concerned about data safety are people who are not concern myself. I have never once met a patient that was not prepared to share his data. If he knew why he was showing his data that we can't have had this problem in the digital health industry where we ask you if I asked you this and are you scared that I'm going to take your data and set it to the insurance company to make you pay more money. Basically you're going to say yes.
: If I ask you. Would you accept to share your anonymous blood pressure data with the Heart Foundation to logical research. Of course they use force but it's a question of we ask questions that ask for a negative answer reality. I know you know that if you ask a person what if they can use a doctor to make a better world to make. It's not they're not necessarily looking for financial reward or monetary or if you can just give them a better relationship a better understanding. Everybody's happy to share their data and I believe that once everything is connected is going to make. We're going to be able to tell the difference with what is important data and not important. That's why today I'm still struggling with this first question this ethical question of whether I can use the GPA as data to allow people to see who else is on medication. At the moment I'll have to ask people to share the information willingly but I'm pretty convinced that you ask anybody who's got medication and there's a sick child. And I'm pretty sure that we have the medication to this child. I know I would.
: Yes. No absolutely would to. Yeah definitely have the moral and the rule based systems that you have to work with and figure out in the process. But yeah I think you're right. The way you phrase the question will definitely determine the answer that you get. And it's negatively phrased you're going to get a negative answer.
: Uwe, you're doing so many good things. I wish we had more time to go through more of the things that you're up to. But what I would like to do is maybe open up discussion before we head into your closing comments and what else you're working on potentially a secret diabetes project that you may want to share.
: Everybody knows an industry that has been working for quite a long time on finding a solution for noninvasive diabetes. But a lot of work because I've worked for three really really big companies in the past and I resign from my post as CEO last year to be able to focus on the real reason. And the thing that I do not suffer from the butterflied circumflex I'm not here to dig wells in Africa and. But at the same time I want to turn around in five years and say Look what I did you know do something that's important. And I felt that in my last post I was becoming more of a plastic salesman and we were selling devices rather than selling solutions. So last year basically I did my fifth year crisis. So lost I resigned from my position I climbed the Kilimanjaro board Harley-Davidson T shirts and left thinking hey I'm 100 percent doing just pure fundamental research. Not technically I know how to do it but I'm also developed the technology to be able to make the technology that will need be there in ten years ago you talked about noninvasive diabetes. I don't know if you know what I mean by non-invasive diabetes but you today have to measure diabetes need to prick the thing you going to break your fingers you take a drop of blood. And if you have I do that three to eight times a day for people with diabetes is not very pleasant.
: It's old. Yeah.
: But I'm trying to find a way to do it completely non-invasive means that there will be no nude prick or blood whatsoever. So we are there. But even if I know how to do it I'm so glad at least another year year and a half of regulatory work just said she'd get it. But it's a fascinating project. I'm also developing other technologies now. Now that I have for life and I've developed this wonderful technology that allows me to produce cold ad nauseum with the energy consumption Thanom looking at different declinations of how I can use this technology. And the next project after that of course the evolution product is going to be part of our whole life and our hearts which is going to be for organ transport. You know every year the U.S. they've got between 1200 2300 people. It's horrible what I'm going to tell you. But a crowd through three people who die every year in the U.S. because when they get an organ when the organ arrives the organ is because it's been badly badly transformed that's for me crazy. I mean it's not just the physical the money costs just that.
: That's crazy. I didn't know that number was so high.
: The social cost for somebody who was going to have a kidney transplant and who doesn't have a kidney because the kidney is rotten with our Foy's was put in direct contact with us. So there's I'm doing OK. I've got a couple of other small part of the two main products that I have now noninvasive diabetes which for me a social challenge as much as anything else because that is surely become the epidemic of the century. You know that today is about 150 million people with diabetes over 400 million in 50 years. That's crazy.
: That is crazy.
: It is the biggest expense for any medical aid worldwide.
: Wow. Well there's no doubt of that you're doing some pretty amazing things. You're having a ton of fun why you do them. I'm inspired whenever we talk and so I just really want to thank you for taking the time to being with us today. If you can just leave the listeners with a closing thought and then the best place where they can get in touch with you or follow you.
: The most important thing is always come back to the things that you have to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to it. 99 percent of the people asked me they hate their job. Their car, their apartment, their wife, their dog or whatever it is and that is where nobody is going to die. None of you we're not we're not going to die of hunger. The system doesn't allow us to. So if you don't like your job go do something else. But what you need is the passion not just the intelligence you need the elimination that things that you just want to do something that for me is the biggest driver for innovation and to contact me I'm actually quite easy to find. I think I'm the only Uwe Diegel in the whole world. It's quite arcane.
: One of a kind.
: You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find me quite easy on LinkedIn.
: Fantastic. Now listeners for all the show notes and links for the things that we discussed like Uwe's company LifeInA or all the other things that we discussed here go to outcomesrocket.health/uwe that's u w e and you'll be able to find his link to his LinkedIn file as well as the contacts that he mentioned here so Uwe, I really want to just thank you for taking the time to be with us. Really had fun day.
: You have to come and visit me in Paris. It's an amazing place and I was home and I have a fine collection of red wine for you to taste.
: I am there tomorrow my friend.
: Have a wonderful evening.
: You do too sir.
: Bye bye.
Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.health for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.
Best Way to Contact Uwe: