Approaching “Star Trek” Like Medical Technology
Episode Transcript of: Approaching “Star Trek” Like Medical Technology
Welcome back. I’m here today with Joe DeLuca. He’s the founder of healthcare investment vision USA. Joe, welcome to the show.
Thank you. Good to be back.
So for, for the listeners sake, and we really appreciate you coming back and returning actually, you know, in talking about the status of healthcare, what’s happening in the industry. But why don’t you bring yourself today to how you how you got into the position that you’re in today?
Thank you. Well, so I became engaged in the healthcare industry back in undergraduate and graduate school, where I saw an opportunity to take my scientific background and apply it to structured problems in healthcare, specially informatics and data processing problems, and to be able to take and do small efforts that had large consequences in the system.
So one of the things I don’t know if I mentioned last time that it was able to do is to help support something that’s intuitively obvious to us today, helicopter transport for critically ill patients, but using small sets of data to be able to justify that and rationalize it. So that’s been a core of my background was to help improve the basically the lives of people through information technology and healthcare.
You know, it’s interesting is we look at where what’s been happening over the past decades, the advancements in healthcare, and it’s most likely, as required a lot of change within your model. As you see huge changes occurred you, given where we’re at today, do you see a lot more the big data analytics entering into the scene?
Absolutely. And that would say that it is fundamental to the changes that are going on, it will go on in healthcare. And part of that is, is healthcare as a reflection of larger society trends, where we’re using broader datasets and not just analyzing data, when we talk about big data we tend to think about it has, we put all this data together, and then we run some math on it. And that’s certainly important, we try to infer results or discover results from it. And that’s certainly important.
But even more important is to take other aspects of societal processes and analyses, what’s going on in our environment, and try to link them together, put them into an inference set. And that’s very powerful in what’s going on.
So that, for example, when take a look at how millennials are viewing their life goals, their lifestyles, what they would want from the consumer perspective, and that then flows and work environments in which work life balance, and that then flows into the healthcare model, but what kinds of consumer based health care they would want, how they would want to be able to support their children, their parents, as as they grow older.
And that’s different. So that won’t just come out of analyzing data from a spreadsheet perspective that will come out of trying to turn data into information based off of the values of people in society and globally, as well. So it’s a it’s a big impact right now being a big influencer, a lot of money going into it as well. Well,
we see that and, you know, I think one of the drivers of this economy is the aging of the baby boomers. And of course, healthcare is a is a big component of this and how we pay for that. There’s a lot now going into the genetic restructuring, looking at DNA, how realistic is it to think that we can actually change the strands of DNA and modify genetic trends such as cancer trade or something on that? Are we science fiction, or are we reality?
So so so we’re approaching reality on that and just Ironically, one of them so I was a bio geneticists as an undergraduate and use some of the techniques to modify fruit fly genes back then to try to discover different things about them, mainly physical characteristics and traits. So the the core principles around that have been sort of known for a while what we haven’t known is how certain diseases like cancer in cancer tends to be one that there’s a lot of genetic research going on to try to target different therapies for we haven’t known really how cancer Works has been an organism, if you will.
So once we discover that then we can do things such as some of the work that’s going on at Stanford and UCSF, which is to actually allow your system to then be programmed to attack the cancer if you will. based off of new gene at genetic traits, either you get a new gene introduced to you, if you will, or you do something, it’s sort of virus, if you will, that would be I’m oversimplifying, but it would attack the cancer.
So that’s going on right now, that that research continues, it’s actually moving into therapies. For individuals, it’s a long way away from going to the drugstore, and getting something over the counter or even a prescription pill. So it’s so laboratory based analysis, but it’s actually it’s actually very real. What I think is more science fiction in the future is then changing us to be different biologically bend to them basically be a cancer proof organism versus fighting cancer through genetic mechanisms. So I think that ladder what is that is more risky and longer term.
Amazing hearing today with Joe DeLuca. He is the founder of healthcare investment vision USA, Joe, I need to take a quick break. And we’ll be right back after these messages.
Welcome back, I’m here today with Joe DeLuca. He is the founder of healthcare investment visions USA. And Joe before the break, we’re talking about state of health care, the progression that we’ve seen. And you know, as we were sitting there during the break, we got into the Gene Roddenberry’s vision of you know, the future as he wrote it out in in Star Trek and you know, and how real is that the holograph rooms and that, you know, looking at that the healthcare from the standpoint that he portrayed.
So some parts I think are very realistic, they went through some today through some visionary aspects of that. So I remember back in, back in graduate school, my roommate was a medical student who often talked about the tricorder reading and said, Well, you know, someday we will, we will be able to do sensor based physiology without having to do some form of biometrics around you. And we’re we’re moving in that way you can pick up different there are different approaches to try to get at moods, blood pressure, using very minimally invasive technologies, if invasive at all.
So I think some parts of it are moving very well, some parts of it are obviously theoretical, but I just completed reading a listening to an audio book about the future, the mind that was talking about holographic technology, his way of mind extension, and its potential to solve space travel problems, where you could basically send the holograph out into the future out into space, and then transport the human, if you will, through a holographic technique to then basically experience the environment do direct observations.
So these were very, very reasoned, experimental approaches that I think we’ll be there in the not too distant but there’s still a lot. That’s pretty, I don’t think we right now have some of the reconstructive capabilities there that are out there in the future, per gene,
as they’re living through this, you know, I guess on everyone’s mind, is there, the transition of healthcare providers and the Affordable Health Care Act? And I want to I want to turn this back to a dose of reality from looking so far out in the future. But as as, as you see things today with the current system, and we see a lot of people moving out into the future, in you know, healthcare is going to become a bigger issue. Do you feel that that we have the fundamentals in place right now to keep this movement sustainable? The current insurance system
in the current insurance system? No, the the incentives are inverted to what they should be, were still paying more and more for volume of services rather than the quality of the services or in the industry right now. It’s called, you know, pay for value or change from volume to value. And what that really means is that instead of just treating me when I’m ill, or periodically along episodes, you’ll take care of me with a whole list. stick approach and in more for life. So so our insurance model and our cost model are broken relative to that.
And unfortunately, it is overshadowing the great capabilities we have, especially in the Western healthcare system to be able to go after different diseases and to be able to sustain health, because it’s focusing the resources on more of those types of things rather than good preventive care, good lifestyle activities, and it’s in I’m being a little bit polar about it. But so there was a recent article headline about half of the world is now considered obese, that would be a good example.
We know that obesity drives, so many other comorbidities, so drives diabetes, heart disease, potential for stroke, depression, sedimentary activities that are related to that. So if that were more in the, we’re going to cure this with healthcare insurance dollars, we would save a lot of dollars downstream. But the system really has not worked that way. And their models work does. So So I think relative to the Affordable Care Act, I mentioned this last time that I think I went far too short in dealing with cost structure and insurance reimbursement issues.
And we’re now starting to see some of the major insurance companies back off of their ACA plans because of costs and coverage issues. Some of those coverage issues are we can’t get enough physicians into the system. And we haven’t adopted alternative provider approaches, allowing, for example, small example nurses, to be able to establish their own independently licensed practices, we do that in some states, Alaska is a good example, where we’ve had physician shortages for a long time.
In Europe, if you were to become ill, you can often go to the pharmacist and get an antibiotic for a stomach infection or some GI type problem that we don’t we don’t allow those peer yet. So we’re still very much physician dominant in the practice. And and that’s, that’s a rate limiting constraint than a system. So I don’t I don’t think so we still have some ways to go on this one.
Joe, I need to take a quick break. Busy here today with Joe DeLuca. He is the founder of healthcare best and visions USA, we’ll be right back after these messages.
Welcome back, I’ve been visiting here today with Joe DeLuca. He is the founder of healthcare investment visions USA. And, and Joe, we’ve been talking about the industry as a whole.
But I want to touch on a topic that I believe is is you know, so often we don’t hear about in the news all the breakings to the healthcare information databases, or target or Home Depot does. You know we’re seeing but but in the in this day and age of information, are there more security risks coming for healthcare industry as a whole, and maybe if you can give some examples of things that are not necessarily hitting the five o’clock news, but what’s really going on, so
sure be happy to. So I think the more that we consolidate information into an electronic format, and that information is perceived to or in reality has value to someone else that will become a target. And when you look at our electronic healthcare record database as your my databases, records that are out there, it’s going to contain information about us, it’s also going to contain information about our credit cards, our social security numbers, just the information that’s normally collected there.
And there’s also you know, a growing use of this to use goes back a little bit to the to the cost Trump problems that we talked about in the previous segment goes to creating healthcare identity fraud, where someone basically picks up enough of your information to then create a different identity and it gets used by someone in a different area of the country to get access to services that they might not have otherwise been able to do it to get access to so so there’s a number of dimensions on this and it’s following the this sort of glow One national trends about cybersecurity issues.
So it is very real, there are exposures that occur, my family was part of a insurance company breached that, you know, as resulted in a notice that our insurance records, health care insurance records where, where compromise, and that, you know, especially for when you have young family members can be concerned, because they’re, they’re open to really exploitation from this perspective, because there’s no history on them. So someone can create a history for them.
And you know, as an individual, we can collectively then go in and do measures to try to safeguard our records, put credit checks or credit stops on your record. So this is happening happens every day, in our client environments, our hospitals and health systems. There are large cybersecurity programs that are set up to protect that. But it’s similar to everything else that’s going on in our industries, and our General General industries. Right now sad to say that now,
there’s a there’s a flip side to all this. And one side, you want secure data protected data. The big data side says you want analytics so that you can find the future cures? And how do you how do you navigate through protection and the security versus transparency?
So good question. So it’s somewhat depends on for example, in the Big Data Discovery side, about how much personal identity you have to have in that data to be able to make it useful from a discovery approach. So it’s fairly common that for large research databases and big data efforts, we will lift the data D identify it from an individual perspective, put a unique key on it. So that if a researcher at some point want to say you know that Joe to Lucas got a lot of really weird, unique stuff going on, we’d like to talk to them, you have a process to be able to break the glass on that.
So that lifts it up to to sort of a larger level. But what you lose the ability to do is then to start to relate other components of information such as here’s my Stanford record are my UCSF record. And now I want to merge it in with my CBS Records, which are kept on a different system. And they’re going to have to be merged use in some form of identification information. So when you do deputize identities, you lose the ability to kind of pull a lot of different information together, where lifestyle information or where I lived.
So what might be more where I grew up. So what might be related to two different factors. So it’s, it’s a real balancing act in in the ability to do that,
when we’re looking at the way that we receive healthcare today. Five years into the future, you see radical changes coming down.
Not radical, but important in subtle ways. So I see in five years, it will somewhat depend on where you’re at if you’re sort of the baby boomer who’s aged out, or you’re sort of mid midlife, if you will, 30s 40s. So I think there will be more and more direct access to I’ll call it an alternative provider first, rather than your physician or your health network first. So that might be if I’m having an orthopedic problem. Rather than go to my physician, first, I might go to a orthopedic specialist, not in the traditional medical sense.
But an organization that focuses on looking at my athletics capabilities. Were there I’m trying to golf and I shouldn’t be, as well as some of the traditional orthopedic side to that we’re seeing that this already in areas like cancer, where you might go to a non traditional cancer specialist first. And I think the millenniums and younger younger generations are certainly much more open to this. So be a little bit more holistic in the approach, but that will thread into different business models that will be there.
Let’s go back to the orthopedic model. So that might mean that I would then subscribe to a service where I might be wearing a device if it’s critical enough that would monitor that and give me a flag that, you know, Jerry, you ran an extra half mile today, you shouldn’t have done that you stretched your knees out. So there’s a belief in the healthcare systems that rather than become in a healthcare system, you have to become a health care organization, health care company that would include and be able to encompass, sort of more broader views thought that
I want to spend some time on the business model of health care. What has helped your business to grow since inception to get where you are today?
Interesting question, because we were just reflecting on that recently, which I think obviously something every company or business needs to do almost every day, but on a structured basis, very periodically. So when I look back, I think part of it is, is putting in a framework that you understand about your business that you can be very candid with yourself about.
So in our case, if you go back to the work of Michael Porter, who was a Harvard business strategist, and he had some different models about competitive advantage, and one of the things we said that we were in a client service business, and our key, and we did this decades ago was going to focus on customer intimacy, that we are going to know our customer know their needs, satisfy them towards those needs.
And that would then drive towards a price point that would be able to support a business and we’ve morphed that over time, but at the end of the day, that’s been our enduring business model. So we could have picked other ones might have been, or let’s be a low cost producer of the services, but we didn’t think that that really felt right for us. So you know, it’s a framework or frameworks are going to be imperfect. But if you get one you like it, you, you test it in your market, and then you move move forward with it. So that’s, that’s been really core to us, I think,
now, and for the aspiring entrepreneur today, okay, based on what you know, and looking at your organization growth over the air wet, what advice would you give them? How do you achieve sustainable growth over the years in an industry that continually reinvents itself?
Right. So being nimble, so we use a lot of, there’s a software development technique called Agile, we apply that to to business problems, which is basically say, you know, how, how are we going to in 30 days, think through this business or this capacity or this pricing issue, and then execute on it within another 30 days. So I think speed, agility, crucial for that. Everyone talks about passion, and I think that’s, that’s appropriate.
You need to be really engaged in what you’re doing that will drive it, I haven’t found that passion to be the necessarily the only ingredient that the necessary and critical success factors. Certainly certainly important though, so I think it’s agility, you know, commitment, and just really rethinking it every time, then, of course, there’s capital. So without capital, you can’t grow your company. So figuring out how you get to capital, how you cashflow your business, and what your growth curves are.
So we’ve seen a lot of very good businesses and healthcare in particular, come to certain tears of growth. They haven’t planned ahead for what the needs are, and then they get outpaced by their competition.
Such Oh, no organization that wants to come engage your services, how would they reach you?
So here’s on the website, and I believe that students should be doing LinkedIn. Contact me to LinkedIn, JM DeLuca, LinkedIn or Joseph DeLuca.
Joe, thanks for being on today’s show. Always a pleasure.
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This transcript was generated by software and may not accurately reflect exactly what was said.
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About Joseph DeLuca
Joseph DeLuca has more than thirty years of management, research, and advisory experience in health care, with a focus on enterprise performance management and affecting change through IT strategy and services. He is the founder of Healthcare Investment Vision USA, a company that provides analytics, research and investment services catering to the healthcare industry.
Mr. DeLuca also provides interim leadership, consulting and research services where he directly influences and drives results from initiatives as a team contributor, provides personal coach-mentor services, and advise companies that share his same vision and goals.