Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Guidewell Interviews Iodine’s Thomas Goetz at Singularity University’s Exponential University

This week, the GuideWell Insight Lounge was at the Singularity UniversityExponential Medicine conference. Jessica DaMassa of GuideWell interviewed Thomas Goetz of Iodine.

Jessica posed questions about his experience with engaging consumers, what providers think and need from apps that serve patients, and what thinks has the most potential to impact the consumer experience moving forward.

Here's a transcript of the interview from GuideWell's channel for the Exponential Medicine event:


Jessica DaMassa: Hi this is Jessica DaMassa; I'm here at the Guidewell Insights Lounge at Singularity University in Exponential Medicine. I'm joined by Thomas Goetz; he's the CEO of Iodine. So Thomas, tell me a little bit about Iodine. What is that?

Thomas Goetz: Well thanks for having me. Iodine is a consumer technology company. We develop tools, for both web and mobile, for people to make better decisions about their medications; find out what's going to work for them better. Kind of like a Yelp for medicine.

Jessica DaMassa: Yelp for medicine. I love that. That's a great little buzz phrase.

Thomas Goetz: Time magazine said that, not me.

Jessica DaMassa: Really. Well there you go. So what are you seeing so far in terms of consumer engagement with the technology? Are you having good uptake?

Thomas Goetz: Yeah so the whole the whole trick or riddle for us is: how can we get people to share their experience of different medications, right? Because, you know, what we know about medications is really based on randomized control trials; clinical trials which are highly artificial, highly kind of managed. And then, the drugs going to the real world and the effect of them can be quite different. So we wanted to understand what happens to real people in the real world of medicines and how do we use that data to provide more guidance for other people.

Well in order to make that happen, you need people to share. So getting, building tools and resources that people not only find useful but are willing to donate and and basically share their own experience is really the trick of the trade.

Jessica DaMassa: So we've been hearing a lot about obviously data here I mean collection of big data and the opportunity for it. From a patient engagement standpoint, can you talk a little bit about maybe some of the challenges that you guys are having getting patients to engage, to contribute their data. I know security is an issue and all those things so talk a little bit about what you're encountering.

Thomas Goetz: Yeah so it definitely is the main challenge and I think one of the things that the healthcare industry in general is not very good at understanding is who the end user of consumer technology is; the end user being the patient. But it's really difficult to get that person, that patient to really contribute, to share, to participate in these patient engagement programs that are patient portals, it’s all, honestly it's not some very well designed in terms of human experience. So we really try...

Jessica DaMassa: To make it better!

Thomas Goetz: Yeah, exactly. What, well first of all, designing it as consumer software instead of healthcare software. That was really the first insight that we had. So my co-founder is a developer from Google and we really put a lot of emphasis on things like speed; how quickly can somebody get through a process; how can you develop meaningful insights from the least amount of data. So it's really understanding what consumer technology has spent years and billions of dollars getting right and bringing that to healthcare.

Jessica DaMassa: How does your solution interact with the traditional health system? How's the update going?

Thomas Goetz: Yeah so our mobile strategy, basically, is to have people use a mobile app that, when they started medication, they use the app and they're able to check in, share their experience. But out of that data, we start to create a loop or what we generate a progress report. And those reports can be really powerful for not just the person in understanding their experience on the medication but also for the doctor.

Jessica DaMassa: Sure

Thomas Goetz: Because oftentimes the patient is largely chronic care outpatient setting so the person leaves the doctor's office with a prescription and the doctor has no sense of whether it's working or not, for months. So we basically create a real-time awareness of what's happening with that patient.

Jessica DaMassa: And what kind of feedback are you getting from providers?

Thomas Goetz: So we thought - actually it's been very positive - we thought it was going to be more suspicious; more concerned that we were in effect replicating what the doctor is supposed to be doing. But frankly, doctors are outmatched in the amount of expectations that we have around what they're doing and how closely they’re monitoring patients. And so building software that can actually automate those processes that are typically manual, that's what software is for.

Jessica DaMassa: Right. So as far as some of these other exponential technologies that we are seeing, you know, and talking about here xMed, what do you think has the most potential to impact the consumer experience moving forward?

Thomas Goetz: So the thing that I think is cool about what, I mean it's all very cool, but for many years I've talked about the future of medicine and the third feature medicine but what I think is actually changing and very promising is the ideas around artificial intelligence, machine learning and bringing, basically, some sense of predictive intelligence to help guide patient, the patient journey so to speak.

What is the best course of action for a patient? And I think that's a lot of what you see, is thinking about okay what is the layer of artificial intelligence that we can bring into care that makes for not only more informed patient but also a faster kind of movement through the trial-and-error process.

Jessica DaMassa: So what, in your opinion, what area of health care needs to be disrupted next?

Thomas Goetz: Oh…goodness. Well, all of it. Ok I'm excited about the changes that are coming to the insurance industry. I mean not what we're doing but I'm just excited about it generally. I think the insurance, you know, there's some pressure from the ACA that is moving from top-down systems but also some bottom-up innovation that I think would be really dynamic and really changed what we expect as people as consumers out of our insurer relationship.

Providers, I think providers are going to have more. They need more time there. I mean that the rate of physician burnout is exorbitant.

Jessica DaMassa: You hear a lot about that.

Thomas Goetz: Yeah. So creating tools that not only make them more efficient but also more happy and fulfilled in the care that they provide; I think that's going to be a huge. There's basically, it's aligning incentives, right? We want better care. But unless you get physicians to want to use a new tool and something that works into the workflow and benefits them in a day-to-day basis, you're not going to kind of foist the tool on them. So those are, those are kind of the tricks of disruption in health care and medicine - are unique.

Jessica DaMassa: Excellent! Thomas, thank you so much for joining and...

Thomas Goetz: Yeah, yeah it was fun.

Jessica DaMassa: We appreciate your input especially on the consumer engagement side of things and hearing how technology is really making a difference in that experience for the patient. This is Jessica Demassa reporting from the Guidewell Insights Lounge.

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