Welcome to The Healthcare Cure podcast, a podcast dedicated to the bold mission of fixing healthcare. Now, here’s your host, healthcare futurist, best selling author and adjunct professor Nick Webb.

Hi, and welcome to another episode of The Healthcare Cure. Today I’m going to talk about what I like to call the C19. Economy. Now, I’m sure everybody can agree that we’re all tired of hearing the term the new normal and the post-COVID-19 economy. And you know, the truth of the matter is, it’s not the post-19 economy and it’s not the new normal. There’s absolutely nothing normal about what’s going on right now. And it will never be normal, meaning what it used to be and it’s when we use the terms like the post-COVID-19 economy or reality. It suggests that there is some lack of permanency which of course, is dead wrong, this, this is a new economy. And that’s why I hereby branded the C19 economy. Now, the C19 economy has some very well known. We don’t know all of them yet. But we know most of the anatomical features of this new economy. And I think that’s important because as it relates to healthcare, if we can understand these features, then we can take a look at those features in contrast to our organization strategies, and we can decide how we really change the way in which we see our future so that we can build relevancy and maybe more importantly, future readiness. And so I’m going to talk about the C19 economy a lot over the next few weeks. But it’s such a big thing that I’m going to break it into bite sized chunks that with a goal that you can take these insights and really apply them in your enterprise, no matter If you’re a pharmaceutical company, a device company an organization that delivers direct patient care, such as hospitals and clinics, and so on. So, here are the four that I think we should start with.

The first one is we are living in a Zoom economy, meaning that all of a sudden, everybody is comfortable with the two dimensionality of a computer screen and a computer screen and a web camera. So that’s unusual because we didn’t really have that many people on board with regular usage of, of platforms like Zoom. And what we’re doing right now is retraining people to use this two dimensional interface but more importantly, we are normalizing communicating via our cell phone with camera and screen and our laptops and our desktops. So the two dimensionality that is our computers and our smartphones. As a two way communication is become normalized. That’s interesting because it really wasn’t before that now, many of us participate in WebEx and Zoom calls and Skype calls all the time. But for the average person, maybe not so much. So, the Zoom economy has done something very, very interesting. It has weaponized telemedicine and and by that, I mean you know, a lot of people saw telemedicine as less than, and now that they’re having experiences dialoguing with their caregivers via a range of telemarketing resources, they’re going wow, this is actually pretty cool. I press a button, I schedule an appointment with my doctor and in a very short period of time, I’m having a good thoughtful one on one non distracted communication with my caregiver, which isn’t the case oftentimes in clinical settings. They’ve got traffic lights in their room they’ve got they’ve got a real sense of patient flow management, you just don’t get that usually in a good telemedicine environment. So, what we’re going to see in the C19 economy is an explosion in telemedicine, but telemedicine just as a means of communicating with a human face, and with a voice is going to give way to telemedicine 2.0. And that consists of two interesting things.

One is the increased richness of the connectivity of diagnostics. And by that I mean, today we can turn a webcam into a means of scanning patients faces to determine their mood state. We can also possibly identify some neural pathology, we can possibly identify drug usage or lucidity or stress and so as the algorithms and the data gets better and better on facial analysis, we’re going to be able to layer in a completely new area of telemedicine leveraging a standard camera. Now in my lab, we have developed several interesting technologies. We’ve recently filed three patents on this around the way in which we look at human head movement. And what can we learn from head movement? Well, it turns out that head gesturing, head positioning, head movement can tell us a lot about many, many interesting things. And we’re just now starting to understand what we like to call head movement AI. So we’ve got facial AI, we’ve got head movement AI, and these are easily layered in without adding any additional technology.

Now, the next one, which is a no brainer, we’re gonna have to use the microphone Now the microphone is a way that we communicate to a caregiver. But in telemedicine 2.0. That microphone now is another diagnostic tool. Because we can change our perception of a patient through AI through the analysis will be now called voice AI to understand all kinds of things potentially about that patient just by listening to inflection, modulation, volume, pauses, and many, many other things including slurred speech, right? But the a lot of this is the splurge that’s ironic. A lot of the slurred speech actually is a little bit hard to detect human language. But the AI can look at it from a graphic perspective or digital perspective and understand, really the, the anatomical features of that waveform to find out if potentially that patient is intoxicated using drugs, depressed, sleep deprived or has some other form of neural pathology.

So, there you go, that’s what’s going to happen with telemedicine very, very quickly. We’re going to use existing technologies and telemedicine to enrich the telemedicine experience using facial, head movement and voice AI. Those are the low hanging fruit. Now, we’ll also of course be using adjunct technologies. Our lab is working on a Swiss Army Knife if you will, an inexpensive $15 device that can be used when somebody signs up for their health insurance, they get this device it’s a USB device and it can work as a dermascope, an ophthalmoscope, it can work as a means of being able to acoustically listen to the heart and to breathe in it can be used for pulse oximetry and blood pressure and all kinds of stuff and we’ll get there very quickly to where we have adjunct solutions that are super inexpensive, that provides an amazing level of richness to a telemedicine console. In fact, I would argue that within the next five years, the telemedicine console in combination with facial AI, with head movement AI, with voice AI, with adjunct diagnostic tools will provide far, far more data to a caregiver than what they would have in a traditional clinical setting, better data, better diagnoses. So now of course, ultimately, we will be moving concurrently with with continuous patient monitoring, which will make much of this less necessary but these pathways will will be concurrent, they’ll be they’ll be the rapid move to insane levels of telemedicine sophistication, well, a concurrent pathway of building some really, really cool wearable technologies that include continuous patient monitoring.

Now before I leave telemedicine, there is a there is another thing that is exciting at at our university of Western University of Health Sciences. Our amazing educators have realized that there’s an opportunity to do two things in the way in which caregivers engage patients using digital engagement through telemedicine one is, is really being able to train medical students to understand some interesting things about that engagement that interrogative with a patient in a digital setting that can help them understand things to look for, what can we look for the way in which their faces look in this environment? What about circles around the eyes? What about eye movement? What about head movement? Are there things that we can identify, understanding the psychodynamics of potential manifestations of disease processes, that we can add richness to that consult, where our where our students can learn how to read the face. Sounds crazy, but it’s based on good science and I believe everyone will ultimately be going in that direction. Now there was one more thing before I leave telemedicine that I must say and it’s gonna sound arcane and maybe not even that important, but it is and that is CX. Customer experience. It turns out that as we rapidly mature, these telemedicine situations, these consults and these business models that are providing telemedicine solutions and they’re going to explode today or already are then the battle will be not so much about clinical efficacy because we all know the patient has no bloody idea how to determine clinical efficacy for the most part, they’re going to judge us based on the human experience.

But you know, it’s interesting to me as a person who wrote the number one best selling or one of the number one best selling books and customer experience that we don’t train caregivers how to deliver a good human experience. And if you survey most caregivers, they go I know how to deliver good customer service. Well just like healthcare and just like the science of diagnosis, and treatment, customer experience is the body of proven practices. And if you haven’t been trained those methods, you’re not going to deliver a good customer experience plain and simple. Why is that important? Healthcare is the subject of hyper consumerization patients see your engagement and the entire platform as a, as a commercial experience as a consumer experience it’s either good or bad, plain and simple. And if you take a look at a lot of the telemedicine solutions out there, they’re already putting in hyper influential rating systems, in other words, social rating system. So at the end of the telemedicine console, there’s a quick survey and that survey determines how many star ratings that caregiver gets, right. So if you have a telemedicine platform and all your caregivers are giving a two and three star experience, it will have a 30 or 40% impact on revenue or your ability to serve patients in this amazing environment. Your patients are judging you, based on the experience, not based on where you went to medical school are based on the quality of your clinical efficacy. Now, that’s not to suggest that’s not important. I mean, that’s principally important. But unfortunately, in the rock ’em sock ’em, superficial world that we live in, you will be judged by the experience. And if your organization is not formally baking in sophisticated CX design, you will fail in this platform because of the cool kids are doing that.

All right now now that we’re leaving telemedicine I before I run out of time, I want to hit a couple more key trends here that live within the C19 economy. The cool thing about I hate to say it that way. But you know, the the good news about the C19. Economy and there is always a, you know, a silver lining is that we’ve raised the openness, the discussion that does it make sense to do continuous patient monitoring? I mean, we know that we have the conspiratorial theorists that talk about the so called surveillance economy and, and so on, and there’s a small amount of truth to some of their concerns. But you know, the truth of the matter is, there isn’t some giant monster looking to gather people’s private medical data. I think most people would be bored to death looking at it, what they what we really need to realize is, is that we can secure patient data using blockchain and other technologies while enjoying the benefits of continuous monitoring. Now, just remember, you heard it here first, and I talk about it in detail in great detail in my book, The Healthcare Mandate, which is available in bookstores worldwide on September 9. I will tell you that there, we will get to continuous monitoring, we will get to continuous monitoring. If you want affordable health insurance you will be required to be monitored. What does that monitoring look like? I believe it’ll come in a deep in ear monitoring very non invasive in ear monitoring device that allows the system to be able to look at core body temperature, blood pressure, EEG data. It will also be able to look at a head movement data. It’ll even be able to listen to you talk and it’ll be able to use voice AI. Advanced units may even use breath AI, which actually with the nanoparticles in the breath can be a good diagnostic source. Of course, it’ll hook to adjunct technologies like transdermal continuous blood monitoring, and the list goes on and on. Why is that important? Well, 80% of all healthcare costs is caused by self inflicted chronic disease. And if we can get people early on in the disease process, we can do two really cool things. One is we can significantly reduce costs, because we’re getting them at a lower cost point of contact.

The second thing is, you know, we can reduce human suffering and pain and make people better. And thirdly, but not least, lastly and, or leastly, it will happen, but it’ll happen over a longer period of time, we will also use these to to include social engagement and gamification, so that we can start to change behaviors because that’s the the mothership. And the reason is going to live in the ear, by the way is that the future operating system for computers is not the next Mac OS. It’s the operating system of the human voice. Right. That’s why Alexa is embedded in televisions and cars and your home, we’re going to get to the point where the idea of typing something to a computer is really really old fashioned and arcane. So if that’s the case, then any wearable technology we use obviously has to connect to a way to be able to communicate to the human voice. The future, continuous patient monitoring without a doubt. Take a look at COVID-19 we could have immediately identified spread areas, extinguish those spread areas saved 10s of thousands of lives, and really created a digital solution. That is incredible. And by the way, the the future solutions for epidemics will not be in the form of vaccines and even treatment interventions, we’re not going to do it through therapeutics and through vaccines, we’re going to do it through through digital solutions. There’s really no doubt about that in my mind. You know, the other thing is, that’s all going to be weaponized by another of the C19. anatomical features, which is a cultural shift. a cultural shift is like, you know, if this can save my bacon and I won’t die, then you know, I think maybe I would be willing to be monitored.

And, you know, all the time. I think that the privacy shift is something else that people will get their head around over the next few years because it wasn’t too long ago that every financial analyst and every market analyst was saying that Amazon was going to be a guaranteed failure because nobody in their right mind would ever put their credit card on the internet. And it worked out for them okay, I think so there you go. The weaponization of telemedicine through the Zoom economy, the layerization of value of telemedicine through leveraging the camera and the microphone to get additional diagnostic data, the use of multifunctional adjuncts that are low cost and readily available, the cultural shift and the privacy shift. Those are some of the things I’d like you to think about as you’re thinking about how you build your resurrection strategy. You know, the good news is, is that this is all good news. This has actually cleared the table and gave us the opportunity to start having a different discussion about healthcare, how we can use technology, how we can have a focus on prevention and wellness and anticipation and prediction over gratuitous utilization. We got to go there, the current model is not affordable. Hey listen, thanks so much for listening to this week’s program. I hope you enjoyed it. Please don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube or the the Spotify or the whatever channel that you happen to be listening to this on. I’d love to be able to share some ideas with you every week. I’ll promise to try to keep it succinct and germane and, and give you a lot of high level content density. Thanks again. Stay safe out there.