Engaging with patients in a genuine and transparent way is tough. Really tough. It’s challenging for all healthcare stakeholders – payers, providers, and industry. From a medtech perspective, we often times get stuck in a certain mindset when trying to engage with patients. Whether it’s a continuous glucose monitor for diabetic patients or a new...[read more]
Engaging with patients in a genuine and transparent way is tough. Really tough. It’s challenging for all healthcare stakeholders – payers, providers, and industry. From a medtech perspective, we often times get stuck in a certain mindset when trying to engage with patients. Whether it’s a continuous glucose monitor for diabetic patients or a new...[read more]
Scott Nelson: 0:08
Welcome to Med Cider, where you can learn from experienced medical device and med tech experts through uncut and unedited interviews. Now here's your host, Scott Nelson. Hey there, ladies and gents, welcome to another edition of Med Cider Radio. If you're new to the program, Med Cider Radio is where we learn from med tech and other health care thought leaders through uncut and unedited interviews. Just a few quick messages before we get started. First. If you've enjoyed these interviews of the last several years, please head on over to iTunes and rate our show. It's pretty simple to d'oh. Once you're in iTunes, just click on the right a review button. You can then check the number of stars, preferably it's all five and write a few sentences if you like it. Trust me when I say the reviews really help. So if you feel up to it, please do us a favor and head on over to iTunes when you get a chance. Second, I sent out a free email newsletter about two times per month, highlighting my favorite med tech and or health care related stories. The ones that I personally get a lot of value from. I don't send the newsletter out very often, but when I do, I really try to make sure it's valuable. Sir, if you're interested, head on over to med cider dot com and enter your email address as a bonus, I'll send you a free digital e book that I think you'll find pretty interesting. And lastly, for those of you that subscribe to that email newsletter I just mentioned, you're probably already aware of this. But I recently joined the MedTech practice of W. C. G, a fully integrated marketing agency. So if you're looking for some marketing help, there's a few reasons you might want to consider our firm first were entirely focused on Med Tech. That's all we d'oh a second. Our wheelhouse is analytics, which drives all of our marketing recommendations, and third were fully integrated, which means you don't have to source capabilities from another shop. So if you have a project in mind that you'd like to discuss, hit me up at Scott at med cider dot com again that Scott at med center dot com S e o t t at any d s i d e r dot com. Okay, wanted it onto. Ah, today's episode engaging with patients in a genuine and transparent way is tough, really tough. It's challenging for all health care stakeholders, payers, providers, industry et cetera. Now, from a med tech perspective, we oftentimes get stuck in a certain mindset. Whether it's a continuous glucose monitor for diabetic patients or a new hip implant for orthopedic patients, we gravitate towards communicating the features and benefits of our particular product. For example, this may sound kind of familiar Joe Patient. You should consider Arnie implant because it has a greater arc than competitor X. But is this really the right approach? If are in goal? Is for a patient to take action? Is this the best way to engage with them? To answer that question, I invited Neil Sophie into the program. He's currently the VP of engagement and innovation at vivacity of a subsidiary of Premera Blue Cross. Neil is recognized internationally for his work in population, health management and behavioral change. Here are some of the topics we're gonna cover in this interview. What does patient person is late? Personalization really mean and why messaging around life and context is so important? Why do so many life science companies fail to effectively personalize their messages to patients. What technologies can actually support effective patient engagement? Examples of companies that have been successful at patient personal personalization. How to overcome some of the legal challenges associated with patient engagement and the top two things that MedTech or biotech company should do right now to improve their patient engagement initiatives. Of course, there's a lot more that recovering this interview. But without further ado, let's jump right in. Neil. Welcome to the program.
Neal Sofian: 3:58
Well, glad to be here.
Scott Nelson: 4:00
Yeah, thanks for taking time for the med cider audience. So we're gonna we're gonna talk all things patient engagement here. Uh, here today, especially as it relates to how medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, et cetera, should really how they should really think about engaging with patients in a in a meaningful and transparent way. So let's let's start with with that in mind and the first maybe question I'd liketo liketo topic I'd like to discuss is the fact that it patient engagement is so challenging. Right? Um uh, certainly pharmaceutical companies that way see their ads most most often that even medical device companies in our our most are starting to think about it or trying to incorporate patient engagement in a in a larger way. But it is challenging for everyone, right? It's not just not just on the industry side, it's it's payers. It's providers, et cetera. Um, so when we think about that, let's start with personalization and personalization to to the the the Impatient. So what does that really mean? In your opinion, you'll
Neal Sofian: 5:08
means a couple of things. One is, um, we are, actually people were not patients. We spend a lot of time, you know? I know in your field the great deal of the work is focusing on the patient. I think too much of what happened in health care in general is that when we looked at people, we've tended to look at their risk, their disease, their condition, the current costs or circumstance. I'm impatient or I'm on this drug, and we forget that for the most part, we spend most of our lives not being patients, but being people and that were motivated by all sorts of things, and that health, other than when you don't have your health, is not particularly motivational Most people don't get up in the morning and say, What can I do to be healthy today? They do all sorts of things around. What can I do to make my life better? How can I do well at work? What can I do for my family? You know, What can I do for you? I'm going to get together with a friend. Those sorts of things. We have purpose, but rarely is health at the top of that list. And yet most of what we're doing is we spend our time personalizing by telling people were being personal by talking about your risk as opposed to. Instead of giving you general information, we at least acknowledge you have diabetes or you're in for a specific surgical procedure, and we call that personalization. And I would say that that is better than stick in the eye. But it's not exactly what I would consider personal, because it's really just conditional, as in focused on the condition.
Scott Nelson: 6:44
But I loved your comparison of better than a stick in the eye. Uh, I'm not sure that's the bar we want a major ourselves upon, but I agree with you.
Neal Sofian: 6:53
Low Bar But then again, I think in our field we are bars is, sadly, extremely low. We do not use technologies that almost every other industry, every other industry vertical and in the economy uses to personalize on we use almost none of that were still to the most part in the health care industry using 1995 technology in a 16 4017 world.
Scott Nelson: 7:19
I couldn't agree with you more on that comment. I still find it amazing. I liketo somewhat pride myself on on and trying to be on the leading edge of of ah of how How you know, especially sas cos that really do it well and how they market and message to ah ah to they're to consumers right there. Consumer audience. And it's amazing how far healthcare is is behind its Ah, uh, it's ah, you know, quite laughable. But ah, comment. You made about about personalization with your patients, and I guess the end message would be we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the average patient and treat them as a human versus a patient. But on that note, why do you think so many? Not just Cos. But other other organizations as well, you know, payers, providers, et cetera. But more specifically, what do you think most companies failed to do that?
Neal Sofian: 8:11
Um, I think there's a paradigm problem in a laziness problem and illegal problem. We are more focused on trying to change people's behavior by simply telling them what they should do with the kind of the presumption that if I provide you enough information, you'll do the right thing, and that's simply not true. It's information can be an important, um, motivator. It can be an important precursor to behavior change, but rarely is information sufficient. And yet, if you think about it from our world with with legal issues with hip issues with things like that were more focused from, you know, from a payer perspective on employer perspective, well, let's just make sure whatever we tell you is accurate, and if it's accurate, you can't sue me. And if you can't sue me, then at least I've checked off that bar or from the health plan, I can say G. I sent out materials, and that meets a requirement around heated We're star ratings, so I can say I I I accomplished that goal. What my goal in those cases are organizational or institutional goals. They're really not about changing people's behavior. More than that, it's there they're not focused on. From what I would view is a public health perspective, which is my goal is not simply to change a person. My goal was to change the prevalence, so that if if I have a population of 1,000,000 people who have diabetes, you know it's not just enough that I want to help one person. I need to say, How do I change the prevalence of that 1,000,000 people? How do I get it down to where all 1,000,000 of these people are being treated now? The paradox of that is, of course, I have to do it one person at a time, which means I need to understand them. So I need almost the public health prevalent view and then a highly personal strategy at a tactical you to make it happen. I
Scott Nelson: 10:03
got it, and then and certainly it's somewhat easy to grasp. I think you know, from an intellectual standpoint, but I think much, much easier, much, much more difficult or challenging to execute on that kind of combining of those two different paradigms, that sort of that macro strategy or population health mindset vs, you know, drilling all the way down to the individual person and messaging accordingly. So let's let's talk a little bit more about that. Um so So, in essence, I guess, just to kind of, you know, put a put a pig into that. That topic the goal again, viewing things from the lenses of industry or a company we shouldn't really need to be. We shouldn't be communicating, you know, X y Z health problem. Or to use your example, you know that the problem of type two or type one diabetes we really need to be talking about, you know, context in life of that, that particular patient correct? Yep, absolutely
Neal Sofian: 10:59
give you an example. It's not about a disease, but it's about weight. So when is one of the highest times of the year people lose weight? Well, one is New Year's. We do We always say that another is when people are going to have a wedding, you know, So those were very specific times. But what's interesting is that one of the other most fascinating times people lose weight before their 10th and 20th high school reunions.
Scott Nelson: 11:25
Neal Sofian: 11:26
why, you know, and let me assure you it's got nothing to do with health. You know that there's no this is a group of people that you haven't seen in 10 or 20 years in many cases. So what's really going on is you want your wanting to let people see you, who you haven't seen in a long time, maybe show what they missed or show him how you've changed. Or maybe there's somebody there that you're wondering if hey, I wonder if they're available. In other words, this is all about relationships and sex. It's got nothing to do with health. And yet it's a huge motivator to get people to take action, you know? So that's an example of context. Where were something that seems totally unrelated can make a massive difference in getting people to do something because you're keying into something that's meaningful to that person. A bad moment in their life. I
Scott Nelson: 12:14
got it. That makes a ton of sense. Thio. You know that example that you shared? Do you have one? That's that's maybe a little bit more specific to how um, how an organization would would, uh, would be could do better in terms of communicating this to the end to the impatient.
Neal Sofian: 12:33
Sure, So let's let's start by what information do we need on you to make this happen? You know, because, you know, So I'll kind of start in the basement. The foundation. The first thing I need to know is how to contact you. Amazingly of, of all the major industry verticals, we know less ways to get a hold of you than anybody else. I mean, it's been a bugaboo in the whole industry, whether you're at the provider level, whether you're the payer level, not as much of the employer level, but that we don't even know how. We don't even have your phone number with. You know, your text. We can't texture. We don't even know your email. So it's hard to be consumer centric if you don't actually have some basic information. I can't call
Scott Nelson: 13:14
Neal Sofian: 13:15
know if we were to find you. That's first. The second is we need to start thinking about a different kind of data right now. The data we tend to collect on people's claims we might have biometrics. We might have risk data. If it's employer population, we will have cost data. Will have claims data. We will have. Ah, risk data. You know, because we can risk rate you based upon what? Your your your pharmacy, your pharmacy, utilization your diagnostic codes and your costs. I'd like to suggest that you are more than your cost in your diet and your diagnoses, but that you actually have values. Uh, that you have purpose that you have other things going on in your life that are important. For example, are you a caregiver? How are your relationships? How are your finances, those sorts of things? And if I understand that, which means I have to have a tool that begins to acquire that data, and I can do that in two ways. First, a lot of this date is purchase a ble. Um, you want to buy a psycho demographic profile on a population of people? You can do it. There are any number of companies out in the marketplace whether it's, uh, futures company or others that will sell you that data on hundreds of millions of people and for pennies for a person. If you're buying a large population of people so I can actually find demographic profiles on people I confined purchasing profiles on people. Are these people folks who buy sporting goods or they have pets or they their value shoppers at the grocery store or there They tend to be shopping high end and based upon all that, I can either use that to ah Suma psycho demographic profile. Or I might even goto predict what their hobbies are, Which one of the things that motivate them to do things so I can get that kind of data and then lastly, Besides what I can purchase, I can do an old fashioned thing, assuming I can connect with people because I can ask him what they care about. Um, surprisingly, we don't do that. We we might ask them in a health assessment. Um, you know about their health behaviors, you know? Do you smoke? Do you drink? Do you wear a seat belt? Did your mother have breast cancer things like that and then give you a score as though it scores somehow useful. But we don't ask them things like how? Just sleep. How's your energy level today? How do you feel about what you ate? Did you move? Ah, and how do you know what your stress level today and then a company that with some simple questions that says, What do you value in life, his career more important than relationships or family or health or finances? Let's force rank those. Let's get that information about you and then find out how you're spending your time in relation to that. Let's ask you a simple question. How do you feel about your relationships? How do you feel about your finances? Are you a caregiver? And if so, who are you a caregiver for? And how you feeling about that and maybe even things like introversion, extra version scales. And if I put that together, I now have that between the person. If I could take the data, I tend to accumulate from being a provider or ah pair. If I can take from the context of Con Converse information, I gather from third parties, and then I asked, and then the questions I ask, I can build a composite profile on a person that surprisingly robust and meaningful, Um, and that's based on that. I can make some assumptions of who you are, so that when I begin to reach out and build content for you, I can build it based on who I think you are. And then, actually, Taylor that content very precisely. And I don't mean like you'll get the diabetes brochure versus the asthma brochure. But I mean Taylor down two words within sentences that speak to your values to your circumstances and to what sort of things that you might want to do to address your issues. And if I do that by through high of personalization of both the words, the images and the offers, I can really significantly change the level of behavior changes. I'm a get out of that one individual diabetic who currently is impatient for some sort of maybe retinopathy or some other issue or neuropathy. Um, and then how we then can continue to have a conversation with that person on going Lee
Scott Nelson: 17:33
God, that makes sense. So just to kind of kind of summarize, because that was, ah, a lot of really good information. But to summarize and again, I'm gonna put back on my my my med tech hat, viewing things kind of front from the industry perspective, Presuming I've got a valuable solution that I want to promote to a certain subset of patients first and foremost, I've gotta figure out how to best communicate them, communicate to them, I should say and granted, most medical device companies or biotech companies aren't probably gonna have you no cell phone numbers and ah, and email addresses. But the concept still applies. Is that what is the best channel to communicate our message to this? You know, this particular subset or cohort of patients? Uh, and the second item was was really in regards to creating ah, persona about the impatient right? And, you know, a patient avatar, so to speak. And in what you're saying, Neil, if I understand you correctly, is that that avatars got to be more robust than claims data and risk data risk risk matrix data, etcetera. It's got to be a lot more. It's gonna involve a lot more than just health issues, I guess. To put it plainly, you're talking about, you know, involving psychedelic your psycho, uh, cycle analysis, demographic analysis, um, and in utilizing other, I guess other data sets to build out a really robust you know, patient, patient profile. That's not just about health, that I could summarize that. Yeah, absolutely.
Neal Sofian: 19:04
And you know what that allows for is instead of doing segmentation, which is what we do today that's considered the kind of the gold standard of segment your population and you'll make a difference while segmentation is better than general just unset minted population conversations. But instead of thinking of segments like You're a diabetic or you're depressed diabetic, which is a more refined segment, and I build messages around that specific each of those things, whether it's your psycho demographic profile, your medical condition, your need for, ah, medical device, any of these become attributes of a profile of who you are. And then those attributes come gathered together. And then on the fly, you can build messages that acknowledge those different attributes that make a difference for you. So I'm trying to think of an example we might pull together, so you need a knee replacement or a hip replacement. But I also realize that you're caring for both Children, and you have an elderly parent staying in your home when your finances are strapped. That changes the conversation about What do you think you can afford or not afford to do in terms of surgical procedure? And it's not the money necessary. You maybe insurance covered. But you've also got a 92 year old mother upstairs in your house. And if I don't help you manage her, you're gonna not do that surgery however much pain you're in because you can't afford the time to rehab yourself. And so I need to understand the context of your life if I expect you to one, have that procedure done and to help you be successful in your outcome. Because I have to understand your whole life circumstance because that's important. You're obviously you're letting apparent live with you. That's a That's an incredibly important thing. And then I would actually cut. If you're deciding on that, that was Should I have the procedure done won? The message should be focused on How can I better take care of my mom because you're gonna be more mobile after this surgery, and two, we're gonna help you be able to get through the transition that becomes a very different conversation than saying clinically, your hip joint is had it and you need You're gonna need a hip replacement.
Scott Nelson: 21:19
God, that makes a ton of sense, because if you e I think that's that example that you just shared is is really easy for everyone to understand, regardless, if they've ever had. You know, you need pain issues or hip pain issues, and they're considering a you know, ah, joint replacement. But to your to your point, the overarching issue and that person's life is going to be taking care of their 92 year old mother or father, right? It's not going to be all. For all they know, they just they're hip hurts, right? Or the knee hurts and, you know, their doctor and their friends and family have said that probably needs to be replaced. But that person's thinking, well, how how How is this even gonna be possible to have my knee replaced my hip replaced and then still take care of my mother, father and whatnot? So that makes a lot of sense where, you know, from a device company perspective, if you're ah in orthopedic company, um, and and that that persona makes up a significant percentage of the patients that you want to message Thio that you should begin to incorporate. Maybe, you know, content that aligns with that a little bit better. Is that
Neal Sofian: 22:23
both content? Who knows? You might even rethink your product saying that in, you know, that's a vice level or the care level that part of your your care. You know, if you're thinking of a bundled care product, that maybe that comes with three dead forms of decision, additional help and you might say, I don't need help for me. I need help for Ah, because I'm a caregiver and I need to get three days or a week's worth of support for I parent. And maybe that gets bundled into the product. Um, you know, which is why I realized bit off the reservation from what? How we think about these things today. But that's just kind of an out of the box example of, uh, that might really make a difference to somebody who's, You know all this. Um, who's the generation who's getting all these replacements is actually my my generation, the boomer's who are sandwiched. We have both kids, and we have parents, in many cases still alive, and our considerations around care go beyond the care itself. It goes around the kind of the swirl of life that's going on around us. And don't just support me with the device. Support me with some multiple choices on how I can manage around that device in that incident so I can manage my life better.
Scott Nelson: 23:35
Yeah, that makes that makes a ton of sense. Now, Now, when you think about collecting a lot of these, you know, these these different data points in order to help build out that maybe that more robust. Uh, you know, uh, patient persona, so to speak. Are there are there technologies that you utilize or that you are aware of that That help in that in that endeavor?
Neal Sofian: 23:57
Um, sure. Now I think the bigger is, you know, there are a number of well for purchasing data. Um, you know, there's all kinds of sources for purchasing the data payers also clearly have the claims and pharmacy data. The E s eyes or the other PBM have that sort of data. Um, so you can you can get that in terms of building out those kind of questions. Um, that's actually some work we're doing is looking at how do we build out that kind of different form of health assessment and integrating it into a than a learning system for messaging and on the back into that something we're actually doing it pro Mira. But there have been some other folks who are doing similar sorts of work. There's a little company called Jule Jool up, a kind of an outgrowth of the University of Michigan that's looking at How can we gather data around life, purpose and energy developed by a gentleman named Dr Vick Strecker, which is pretty cool technology? Um, he was the founder of Health Media in the past, and he's a full professor at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. So I think that's uninterested in capability. There's a company called to Zach. He used Z a G. I dig into zag that's really looking at building out the tailoring capabilities, um, to take all that data and then create highly tailored messages, offers and images to people on the fly they're even getting down to. Can they can they push tailored video so that on the fly you get can compile different little snippets of video together into a complete video for a person that that is relevant to their circumstance, which could be very interesting if we're having to build, um, if we know enough five or six key items about you and let's say you need a hip replacement. Um, wouldn't it be great if you could get a three minute video that was totally customized to your needs and your circumstances that would speak to your issues? No one might even speak to them in a style in language pertinent to your circumstance that that kind of technology has worked, that people like to Zach you're doing. And then I think companies like ELISA, which is a company out of Boston, is looking at at the kind of research it takes. Still, look at those underlying issues around what are enablers and inhibitors of health around caregiving and relationships and depression and finances that that do and don't drive health and that there they've built assessments that can help with that sort of thing. So there's a lot going on in the space there, but for the most part they're pretty new companies because it's the major shift is a paradigm shift, moving away from thinking medically and thinking more life oriented and finding are there. What are the kind of what's the why behind all the what's in people's lives?
Scott Nelson: 26:52
Sure, that makes it That makes ah, ah lot of sense and I I can appreciate. Well, I should say that technologies that you just mentioned are very cool. But but to your point, you know that this is a complete paradigm. Shifts. I I would think that is Maur As more organizations, whether you're a payer provider industry, et cetera can shift that paradigm. There's probably gonna be even more more activity around best ways to sort of, ah only collect data, but but, you know, message message accordingly, Thio to the to the right patient at the right time. So on that note, in your experience, you know, I mean, you're you're sort of I mean, I would consider you are kind of on the leading edge of this paradigm shift. Are there any We've talked a lot about examples. Are there any, um, you know, really use cases that you can share that would give us ah, better idea for who's doing who is doing this right? Or maybe on the flip side of it's easier. Maybe who's doing this wrong or example? Set? You bet you've seen where you know organizations aren't doing doing this the right way.
Neal Sofian: 27:52
I think those who's doing it wrong is most everybody. So that's a long
Scott Nelson: 27:55
Neal Sofian: 27:57
was once taught that the way you tell that and this may be an apocryphal story, so I don't I won't can't swear it's the truth, but I kind of liked the story. So I assume it's true
Scott Nelson: 28:08
that when Treasury
Neal Sofian: 28:09
agents are taught how to tell, what is counterfeit money from what is, uh, forgeries? They don't spend most of their time looking at forgeries. They actually look mostly. What they do is look a real money, and what they try and do is really, really, really become familiar with what really money should look like. And if you really know what true North looks like, it's easy to tell when it's not. Um, I like that notion of saying Let's focus on where we want to go and what looks right, because we have tons of examples of what's wrong, because the whole industry has just been very slow with this.
Scott Nelson: 28:48
Neal Sofian: 28:48
So if you look at an example outside the industry. Pretty good vendor for this is called Amazon mean the ability to personalize on Don't even Taylor down at the word level. But they certainly Taylor at the offer level in terms of offering you highly resident and relevant choice. I think that the work that we're doing with they assessment called Track, is an example of how we can do that and then use that data. Either push messages to you that can be then tied to whatever your need is or could become a dashboard of information that I care coordinator could use because that way they understand just having all that kind of information we're talking about. When a care coordinators talking about your rehab in your choices around care, if they understand those are issues for you, they can even just become data for them to use when talking to you. So it becomes a back office capability. Um, I think like I mentioned, I think Jule is doing some very interesting things around that some of the bigger companies who are trying to do that sort of thing are I've seen companies like Jeff J. E. F F on well talk are trying to do. That sort of work company called Every Move is trying to do a little bit of that work. So I think there are now beginning to be examples of all that. And then I think the other thing, which they're all doing besides the data, I'm talking about collecting men. Then they're also building data relationships with the places where they send you. That way they can see if you actually went or not. And because those become new data points in to see, You know, if I sent you out to get some sort of a rehab after the joint replacement and I have a Lincoln, I send you someplace I need to see if you win. And then if you went, did you take use of Maybe there's video support that could be done there. Did you go sign up for it? Did you use it because, based on whether you used it or not, that's a data point that I can use to continue to refine my messaging to you.
Scott Nelson: 30:50
Neal Sofian: 30:51
was like, well, talker, doing those sorts of things Now I think there's a lot of those of the kind of things we're exploring right now with track, So there's a lot of lot of that is emerging. I wouldn't say any of that is totally mainstream yet, but I
Scott Nelson: 31:09
think it's gonna
Neal Sofian: 31:10
be adopted quicker than we might
Scott Nelson: 31:11
think, because I think
Neal Sofian: 31:13
it is resident people kind of kind of cool from And healthcare is becoming more consumer oriented,
Scott Nelson: 31:20
right? Yeah, there's there's no doubt, especially as wearables continue to ah, uh, sort of that the wearable trend and it becomes less of a trend in more of a, uh, more of a mainstay s, so to speak. But on that note you mentioned, you know Amazon, right? And I think most people that would listen to this interview or maybe listen to you present on this topic your message probably resonates right, Just like, you know, similar to what? You know, When I first came across your you know, your work, everything resonated. I can I use the Amazon on a frequent basis. I could, you know, sort of, you know, see how they you know, the sort of ah tactics, or are things that they dio in orderto message. Appropriately, to me, everything makes sense but to play devil's advocate, you know, some some, you know, especially, you know, you know, industry on the on the industry side. No, I guess not necessarily Just on the industry side. But you know, pretty much anywhere. You're dealing with large organizations that, you know, feel that they have a target on their back. From a legal standpoint, are going to say, Well, well, Neil, some of these things that you're mentioning are gonna be too hard to overcome from a legal standpoint, right? So how how do you answer that? That question at that point,
Neal Sofian: 32:28
I think Ah, actually, I don't. I think we think it's a legal issue more than it is. Do we have to be careful? Sure. Do we need people's permission? As we started getting more personal with him, Absolutely. But people will provide permission if you offer them value. Um, I think privacy is a huge issue, but we've made it more insurmountable than it needs to be. People don't tend to get as distressed by their privacy being invaded if they think they're getting something of value in return. Um, now some people clearly don't want this kind of process happening with them and We have to absolutely respect that. At the same time. If we were more valuable to people, they wouldn't us is a nuisance, and we could become The more valuable you come, the more trusted we become. The more trust that we become, the more value they're gonna be willing to let us share with them and the more personal that let us become with them. So I think it's kind of how do we move from a doom oop toe virtuous circle? And it's, uh, it doesn't happen all at once, But I think it's I think it's just a starting inch by inch to do those things, you know? And so you have to be careful in how personally you get, how quickly. But I think it's gonna be surprising it. People are just hungry for something that's meaningful to them, as opposed to two. Often our industry just sends them stuff that meets our requirements, but it doesn't meet their need.
Scott Nelson: 33:56
Sure, maybe that maybe that's the point and
Neal Sofian: 33:59
the other is the other way. I before I forget, it just popped in my head. Another way to share data is consumers share data with each other so, especially as you get into it. Didn't you know, recovering from from any kind of a procedure, You know, our but even a broken bone I've had I know that no one wants to have a It is gonna goto many websites to share information with each other about recovering from ah, ankle fracture. However, if you say I'm a avid tennis player, I'd love to know other tennis players who have had a hip replacement, and I'd like to know what they did to recover more effectively. So they get back to tennis. Well, now you've just got a whole community of people who are probably waiting to share. Um, uh, not it's not objective data, but it's that subjective knowledge that they've gathered in terms of what they've done and how they've learned, you know, and that that tangential data is huge and that can come in and appears in appear model. And so and that's a place where everyone there is choosing to give up their day, their personal data to each other because they found a community of trust you might get with. We used to refer to it as a micro culture of meaning or a mom on M o M on that, you know, people will listen to their mom. So because they learned through the experience of other people they identify with, um you know, the old days that was called a, um you know, I'm an alcoholic. You're an alcoholic. But now we can
Scott Nelson: 35:38
do that in ever
Neal Sofian: 35:39
increasing detail around a lot of these sorts of things. On another real place to start is by not asking people to share with you, but to share with other people they care about. Are they identify with?
Scott Nelson: 35:50
Sure. Yeah, that that that makes that makes sense. It just to circle back around and regarding the legal, uh, to the topic of legal ramifications or the fear around, you know, legal implications with, you know, moving moving towards this sort of. Ah, this paradigm changes. I think oftentimes and maybe maybe you'd agree with this. Is that legal? Is a cop out? Right? You come mentioned at the at the beginning of this conversation, how you mentioned laziness and legal and kind of in the same sentence that I'm not sure if you give in to do it that way, But I don't
Neal Sofian: 36:23
think so. I think the legal folks were very vigilant, and I think their job is to prevent It's a reduced risk, and that's highly appropriate. But at the same time, I think it's our job. If we want to change behavior, to push against, um, push back and say, Look, we absolutely have to stay on the right side of anything that's legal. But how close can we come up to that edge to be appropriate with all the right safeguards and at the same time, don't presume just cause we haven't done it before. We can't do it now. And I think a lot of that is like with anything in the consumer space. The critical issue is being transparent and asking permission. And if you get the right permissions from people, you could do a lot, and you're more likely to get the right permissions from people if you offer things of value. Um, and I think too often we've assumed that people don't give us permission and they just don't like us or trust us. But that's probably because we haven't been offering anything that's worth their while, so we just have to get better and then we're gonna have to do it inch by inch so that we do not get their permission. Once you have people's permission, you could do a lot. And, of course, they also the right to revoke that permission at any time. So you better keep being right on because they can always say, Don't send us to me anymore. Let me out. Don't ever don't ever talk to me again. You know, they can cut you off. So we have to stay on the right side of the value equation as well as illegal equation doing that.
Scott Nelson: 37:56
I got it. And you're that comment reminds me of, ah, Seth Gordon's book Permission Marketing, which, you know he published. Gosh is here. Probably been at least at least 10 years ago, right? You know, uh, but the principle is still very much applies. Absolutely, absolutely. So before we get to our the last three rapid fire questions to sum up this conversation, let's pretend that I'm you know, I'm leading an organization at a medical device company or a biotech company. And, you know, I've only got 30 seconds to kind of hear you hear about what you're doing at premier and some of the things that maybe I should think about incorporating. So maybe you can you sum up, you know, maybe maybe 2 to 3 things that I should I should begin to act on now, with respect, you know, messaging to patients in a more you know, a meaningful way.
Neal Sofian: 38:49
Yep. Number one is Remember that people do Health is a means to an end. So you have to ask yourself, who am I being healthy for? Why am I? What am I being healthy for, What in my life is going to do for me and that whenever we're building messaging, we have to answer those questions for people the what and the why in terms of in the context, is in the y in my life, the what in my life, If you do that, that re helps you think about, um, what messages and not just simply say this is gonna make you healthier. It's to take the Walgreens at the corner of happy and healthy is probably more focusing on the happy. And what does happy mean for an individual and happy? I mean by that what is fulfilling and meaningful supposed to just happy. So just think
Scott Nelson: 39:42
of that that that message if you don't
Neal Sofian: 39:44
understand the why behind the the the issue or the procedure and why that's meaningful to that person and how it will help their life. You're not gonna be effective, however accurate you are. Um, so that be number one. Number two would be Look for the technologies and they're now out there that can help you build those capabilities. And, you know, I think in the past we've just assume that they're not there, and in fact they are. But it means talking to people who may not have been the traditional marketers of the past. And I would say, Think about personalization and tailoring, not segmentation.
Scott Nelson: 40:23
Got it. That's great stuff. So, uh, thanks again for wrapping that up. I appreciate Let's get to the last three rapid fire questions, their rapid fire questions. They don't necessarily have to be rapid fire answers, but this can be so 1st 1 is one of your favorite non. What's that?
Neal Sofian: 40:41
Am I getting in favor now? In trouble now for
Scott Nelson: 40:43
Neal Sofian: 40:44
these kind of questions?
Scott Nelson: 40:45
No, no, not at all. You know the rapid fire just on my end, right? They don't feel like you have to thio answer very, very quickly or abruptly on your end. But if you if you want to know more more than you go right ahead. But first question is what you're at your favorite nonfiction business book.
Neal Sofian: 41:04
It's surprisingly an old book. It's from the eighties. It's a book called Entrepreneur Ing by Guilford Pin Show. Um, and it talks about how do you make change happen within? How do you do innovation within the large corporations? Um, you know, I know we're in a big world of start tech start ups, and everybody wants to be, you know, the next the next, uh, Facebook or Google or something. But once you're in those kind of organizations, how can you facilitate? How can you facilitate change being made? How can you create the skunk works that really create real changes? And then And I think if you look at that, because a lot of the things I'm Wiggins is really about social information and a lot of that grew out of places like Park, um and you know, with Xerox and folks like that. And how did that? You know, really, if you go way back. So I think it's like RC A research and IBM research. And they built these huge capabilities. And now it's How do you actually do that in a more modern world? And how can you facilitate speed within the balls of the peace, so to speak. So I'd really recommend that book. It's fun.
Scott Nelson: 42:15
And that's called intra prin during
Neal Sofian: 42:17
entrepreneur ing with an offering with an I instead of an e. I
Scott Nelson: 42:20
got it. Okay, great old book. Some of the samples
Neal Sofian: 42:24
will sound old, and indeed they are because, you know, some of those brands have come and gone, but the principles make sense.
Scott Nelson: 42:33
Yeah. Yeah, that's Ah, I like it. Um, So second question, Is there a a business leader that you're following right now? Or maybe one that really, uh, you find inspiring,
Neal Sofian: 42:43
um, inspiring to neither of whom are doing anything today. So So I'm an old guy too. So one was. Dave warns who is the CEO of Kaiser. I got to know Dave and I found he was a model of servant leadership. He walked into a room. Everybody was delighted to see him. He had clear vision and yet a huge, warm personality that made people both light. The vision was clear, and the desire to follow is great because he was just, hey, just a warm human being. So he's He's one of the guys I've always emulated. The other is a guy you've never heard of. His name is Richard Catlett and, uh, almost 40 years effect. Goodness. It was 40 years ago. I was this director of a street drug crisis center in central Missouri, and we handled some very strange people in the mid seventies in terms of the kind of people who had been released from from the mental institutions, drug abuse issues, all sorts of things, street people on. He was the president of board of directors and Rich Cat Litter was a Quaker who, uh, when you asked him when he got involved and he was this is the guy at the time I think he was in his eighties, so he's not with us anymore. But at the time, he said, When did you get involved like, for example, in the peace movement? And he would go 1933 and you go, Wow, that's interesting. Um, and you know, it was a conscious objector during the Second World War,
Scott Nelson: 44:17
Neal Sofian: 44:17
is a very rare thing. And and then he ended up opening the health food store in after he got through the war. And, um and just everything he did was principle based. He had clear principles, and yet at the same time, he was an amazingly flexible guy because he would try and say, How can I be effective? How can I help manage circumstances and stay within those kind of the guard rails of my principles, and yet be maximally flexible and warm in the process of meeting those flex those principles? And so those have been two guys. I mean somebody Absolutely. I mean, he actually ended up. He refused to give money to any government that supported war, which, of course, included the United States. And he ended up being put in jail on they put a lien on his they're pulling on his health food store, so he just gave it away. They put him in prison, so he started organizing people in prison. So they got him out of prison as quickly as possible. And then all the prison guards just loved this guy. And what he showed was decades of tenacity tied to principal, tied, tied to humanism. And so I think those kind of things become to me, um, huge ways of thinking about leadership.
Scott Nelson: 45:32
Wow, that's that's amazing. And what was his name again? Dave? What was his last name?
Neal Sofian: 45:35
The first guys Dave Warrants and he
Scott Nelson: 45:37
was launched. And then
Neal Sofian: 45:38
chief executive officer of Kaiser. One time he's retired, and the other is Richard Catlett. Who's Catlett? Uh, yeah, and he was mean. Just go into Health food store in Columbia, Missouri.
Scott Nelson: 45:50
Yeah, that's Ah, that's Ah, that's very quickly. And you knew him personally?
Neal Sofian: 45:54
Oh, yeah, I knew both of them personally.
Scott Nelson: 45:56
Okay, great. Let's see. That's that's good stuff. Um, last question. When thinking about your your career in health care, what's the one piece of advice that you tell your 30 year old self? If we had the option to rewind the clock?
Neal Sofian: 46:11
Mmm. Uh, keep a sense of humor. Keep a sense of vision? Um, a cz. I've looked back on D over all the years. What? There's just a couple of major themes that I have found in in my work and I and I would tell myself, that's the thing to do is find something you care about a great deal, Um, in terms of a vision. And in my case, it's always been around personalization to Dr Population Change. And it's It's manifested itself in all kinds of ways, whether it's helping open clinics at the workplace, because that brings it right to work and makes it convenient, personal or through tailoring technologies. And so I'd say you've gotta have that vision and a sense of humor helps, because that's what helped drive the tenacity. Um, t keep doing this because some of the things I've started, I find taken years and decades before they turn coming to fruition. And that's where the huge the humor help get you through. That's what provides a tenacity. And so I say, a little humor, plus a lot of vision will equal tenacity or the resilience because you understand why you're doing it. There's meaning for you, innit?
Scott Nelson: 47:28
That's that helped
Neal Sofian: 47:28
you through it.
Scott Nelson: 47:30
Yeah, I can really appreciate that I can I can absolutely understand where you're coming from. That's that's great advice. Oh, thanks for telling Neil for taking the time today to share your your insights. You've got a wealth of knowledge when it comes to, you know, engaging, engaging with with with patients and making sure our messaging is is a pro. You know, it's not only appropriate but meets a true need in a way that, yeah, that's that's turned. That's transparent unauthentic. So I appreciate you taking the time. I'll have you hold on the line, um, real quick while I while I I and I end this particular episode, But just two quick messages for the audience. If you're a fan of the med cider podcast, really appreciate it. If you'd, uh, you'd rate us on iTunes. That really helps in terms of increasing the visibility for these these episodes on then, if you If you want to be, you want to stay, stay current on on the latest The latest Met cider interviews. I encourage you to go to med cider dot com and subscribe to the email newsletter. Don't sit it out terribly often, but when I do, I try to make sure it's ah, it's it's meaningful. So, um, with that said, thanks. Thanks again. He'll have you hold on here in a second. And thanks for your you listening to this, uh, this interview. Thanks for your attention.