Guest: Ron Gutman
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Ron Gutman is the Founder and CEO of HealthTap. HealthTap’s technology allows users all over the world to tap into immediate, personalized healthcare from anywhere – in real-time. Busy individuals can manage their health and their families’ well-being with digital reminders, newsletters, and checklists. HealthTap also offers a comprehensive, secure digital Personal Health Record (PHR) that can be shared with an extended care team. HealthTap’s Dr. A.I. personal Artificial Intelligence-powered “physician” helps route users to doctor-recommended insights and care.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we welcome HealthTap Founder and CEO Ron Gutman here to talk about their recent announcement of expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. They have opened their hub office in Hamilton, New Zealand and will be offering HealthTap Compass to local enterprises to help them promote high quality, efficient, and cost-effective health for their employees. Also, the Waikato District Health Board together with HealthTap launched SmartHealth in 2016 to connect New Zealanders with hospital clinicians and healthcare professionals from smartphones, tablets and personal computers at home or on-the-go. HealthTap is the world’s first Global Health Practice delivering immediate, world-class healthcare 24/7 from query-to-cure. Through video, voice, and text chat on any mobile device or personal computer, HealthTap connects hundreds of millions of people in 174 countries with the most trusted and compassionate health advice from a network of more than 100,000 top doctors.
Wayne Bucklar: You are listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today is Ron Gutman, CEO of HealthTap. Ron joins us today to talk about HealthTap and their recent expansion into the Asia-Pacific. Ron, welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Ron Gutman: Yes. Thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
W: First of all, tell us what it is that HealthTap does and where about you do it?
R: Absolutely. HealthTap is the first global health practice connecting people with the best quality care anytime, anywhere with a network of more than 180,000 physicians in the United States and they have added 2,700 healthcare professionals in New Zealand on our platform. We deliver quality care immediately to people from any mobile device or personal computer 24/7. We basically connect people with doctors, with healthcare professionals for all their health needs.
W: Ron, this is a telehealth service that connects people via phones and the internet?
R: This is more than just telehealth. We know HealthTap is a full global health practice delivering careful, clearly to cure from care, from the information that people need when they have a health issue, to connecting with them with doctors and healthcare professionals to get consultations, all the way to we do a set of engagement tool that help people stay on top over their health and wellbeing and engage in their health and wellbeing – we cover in fact.
W: That’s very interesting because health is an industry that’s in desperate need of better ways of doing things. Who do you see that gets the most benefit from HealthTap?
R: I think the thing about HealthTap as a whole, patients are the one who get the most benefits out of HealthTap and whether it’s a person that cannot commute to a doctor visit, or a hospital, or an individual that doesn’t have the time. This is either a physical ailment, or disability, or just distance taken from a doctor, or if the doctor is close by and very accessible but then sometimes you get so busy, you don’t have time to get it to the card, right to the doctor, the waiting room, working, time, and it’s just when to get them immediate consultation with the doctor right at your fingertips and so it’s convenient, it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s reliable, it’s with doctors that you trust and you know that there are local doctors that you can connect with. It’s high-quality, it’s immediate, it’s affordable and it’s very, very convenient.
W: It does sound like it. Now Ron, a large number of our audience are clinicians of one kind or another, why is this relevant to them? How does it work from the clinician’s point of view?
R: Absolutely. Clinicians, this is a network of more than a 100,000 physicians and now, health professionals as well have joined HealthTap. Basically, participate in the next generation of providing care to people. People now want access to the best physicians in the world via digital channel and all of us are using our phones, using the internet in order to manage our life. Nowadays, people want to do it also in healthcare and health professionals are joining HealthTap so they can provide better care to their patients anytime, anywhere at a lower cost and to make it more convenient for them. It’s a lot easier, you just have a … question you can just do it from anywhere, you are as a healthcare professional. It doesn’t require you to be in a clinic, or to be during a particular hour, you can do it at your convenience, both from a location perspective and a timing perspective and I think that’s great because we know that we have sometimes shortage of physicians and also physicians sometimes want flexibility in their ability to serve their patients, they want to provide high-level of service, but they also want to choose their own time, the location in which they provide care from. We know from the United States that more than 50% of care can be provided virtually and we’ve seen examples in very reputable healthcare institutions like Kaiser Permanente in California for example, wherein Southern California, more than 50% of the care that is provided is now virtual. This is the definitely possible, doable, has been done tens of millions of consultations have been done to date and have proven to be effective, efficient and cost-effective as well. This is great for physicians that are looking for convenience, who are looking for a better way to supplement their income but also a way to provide better care because when your patients have access to you, the time that they’re most convenient for you, you’re also providing better care.
W: Now Ron, I understand you’ve just started your expansion in the Asia-Pacific with an office in Hamilton in New Zealand.
R: Yes we’re very, very excited about the new office in New Zealand about hiring local professionals to join the HealthTap team that is based in Silicon Valley. The reason is because we have a wonderful partnership with their Waikato District Health Board. We are helping the district health board to provide better care at a lower cost to patients everywhere in the district. We have thousands of healthcare professionals engaged, we’re serving a large population, but what’s important for us because we continue to expand the services that we’re providing to people in New Zealand, they also do have own employees on the ground that know the population and … the local culture and the … healthcare in a deeper way and able to engage our technology on the ground to make sure that it gets the best adaption that it gets, the best usage and really add the most value that it can. It’s been extremely exciting for us to join forces with fantastic talents in New Zealand that we identified. We are focused on extending our footprints in New Zealand, deepening our partnership with Waikato District Health Board and other health board and provide better care to millions of people in New Zealand.
W: Ron, will New Zealand the first country that you have an office externally?
R: Yes. That was the first office that we had outside of the United States. We’re also working on an office in the UK in London. That will be another office that we’re working on currently and we will announce more offices as we go forward. We are the in the midst of our global expansion, and there are several countries that we will announce this year.
W: If you just joined us on Health Professional Radio, I’m in conversation with Ron Gutman, the CEO of HealthTap. We’ve been talking about the Asia-Pacific expansion of HealthTap and in particular, the expansion and the opening of an office in New Zealand. Ron, do you find a lot of difference in the health systems between countries that impacts on the way you deliver service?
R: Well I think that fundamentally healthcare is similar everywhere right? The majority of the clinical side of healthcare is similar to different places when it comes to the patients, when it comes to the doctors and deliverer of care. There are definitely nuances in this whole notion of care delivery, how care is paid for the level of actions that people have to care. When some approaches do, some clinical aspects of care differ. But the majority, I would say it’s a 90-10 rule if I think about it. And really like there’s more similarities than differences, but definitely when you do think about the nuances as well. This is why we are keen to start opening offices and presence in the countries where we have partnership, because we want to make sure that even in 10% or so of the differences, we’re very tuned to how care is delivered locally and we make sure that we adjust ourselves, and make sure that we are providing the kind of care that is honed and optimized for their local market.
W: Now Ron, I noticed on your website, you provide a digital personal health record but I also noticed something called, ‘Dr. AI’. Can you explain that for me?
R: Yes. Dr. AI is the project that we launched earlier this year. One of the most exciting things that we’ve done on HealthTap. Basically, Dr. AI is collecting the knowledge of the doctors in our network and then remember over 100,000 physicians are in our network have participated in the past 6 ½ years in building the largest library of Dr. Knowledge in the world, serving more than 5.9 billion doctor answers to date to patients all of over the world. But what we accumulated in this library is an unprecedented training set that can be used in order to train artificial intelligence algorithms to basically find patterns in a way that doctors look at people that share symptoms, understand their symptoms and provide the right kind of direction to the right level of care. Dr. AI is exactly that, it’s a product that’s basically took this knowledge-based, this library, it took the interaction between documentation and used data in order to basically understand given a set of symptoms and circumstances, what are they most likely conditioned and the best course of action for an individual. We took this data, we read it by a set of artificial intelligence algorithms, we gather results, we send the results back to the doctors to validate them, that will be the important part of what we’ve done to not only make sure that the data is accurate, but also the doctors approve it. And then we launch this teacher that enable you to basically input a set of symptoms, interact with the system to refine them and then get to see a subset of potential conditions that have a course of actions that will direct you to the right level of care. Once again, what we’ll doing there is triaging people into the right kind of care that will be more appropriate for them. And then, they can see a doctor and get treated for what they need.
W: It does sound like an exciting step forward in the delivery of healthcare and I congratulate you for getting it out into public arena.
R: Absolutely, it’s a pleasure. HealthTap has been around for almost 7 years right now and one of the most exciting scenes for us is really to partner with doctors everywhere to understand healthcare and to deliver initially to people directly via digital channels but eventually, they are using technology in order to make doctors’ life better and people’s lives better. For example in Dr. AI, I share with you the advantages for patients. But think about the advantages for doctors, when now people input their symptoms into a digital system when they’re still at home or their way to the clinic. And when they see the doctor, the doctor doesn’t need to spend time and energy asking the same mundane questions again and again: When did your headache start? Is it in your left side or the right side? It’s already been done at home and the doctor see the summary, see the data and can really focus on delivering care which is much more delightful experience for the doctor. It’s data-centric, it helps reduce doctor burnout because doctors are going to repeat themselves all they long right, that they have no time to focus on delivering real care. It’s not on the delightful experience for the user, for the patient, but it’s also a fantastic experience for the doctor himself or herself.
W: Ron, it’s been a pleasure talking with you today. For people who want more information, I guess the best place for them to go is to the HealthTap website at www.healthtap.com.
R: Absolutely, or download our app on IOS or android and/or use us on ALexa that’s another opportunity, but definitely healthtap.com is a great place to also learn more about the company.
W: Thank you for your time.
R: Excellent. Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
W: If you just missed my conversation with Ron Gutman, CEO of HealthTap, you missed the first time and discussion about what I think is probably the future of healthcare. In particular, if you’re a New Zealand listener, there are some opportunities now in New Zealand because HealthTap has just opened an office in Hamilton in New Zealand. If you’ve missed the conversation and you’d like to know more, there is an archive of our conversation on SoundCloud or you can read the transcripts of our conversation on our website at www.hpr.fm. My name is Wayne Bucklar and you are listening in the Health Professional Radio.