Matt Wiggins of Remedy Systems on mHealth Hype
CEO of Remedy Systems Matt Wiggins will join us on stage at Health 2.0 Spring Fling Matchpoint Boston, May 15th, during the Investors & Incubators panel. Remedy Systems creates health care applications for providers to use at the point of care. Matt will speak about his company’s role in commercializing Health 2.0. His interview is part of the Spring Fling: Matchpoint Boston series.
Jennifer: Matt, at Spring Fling: Matchpoint Boston, you’ll be speaking on a panel with
other incubators. What was your aha! moment that led to creating Remedy Systems?
Matt: I spent two years of my college very sick–and got to know a lot of great doctors during that period who loved caring for people but were put off by a system that didn’t make it easy to be a doctor. On top of that, my mom is a naturopathic nurse and my dad is a health care entrepreneur who started as a hospital orderly – so I was raised in an environment of caregivers that instilled in me a desire to execute on ideas that can benefit others.
So, when I found myself running a mobile incubator in the entertainment world–and building mobile application platforms that had reached close to 70 million users–I began to think about how we could leverage our expertise to reverse engineer the health care system from the inside out–starting with the point-of-care. The average person is using their mobile phone about 89 times a day, and we realized that physicians weren’t that much different, and so we began focusing on building products for physicians that played into the paradigm of mobile, and allowed them some of the same freedoms and workflow synergies that people working in other industries have been given by practical technology.
Jennifer: Oh, that’s really interesting. You just mentioned a few health care stakeholders; from your experience, what’s your opinion on which health care faction is expediting the Health 2.0 movement and on the flip side, which faction is blocking the movement’s progress?
Matt: I think there is a lot of hype around mobile health, and I think one of the problems that I see is that when hype gets out of control–like we’re seeing in this current funding bubble–a vacuum develops with no intelligent curation and that just pulls up groups which may not be contributing to the meaningful evolution of health care but are playing the often uninformed media to their advantage. Some start-ups are acting like that person on Facebook who posts all the time to make others feel like their life is so interesting, but in reality life they are kind of uneventful.
It makes it difficult for some of the people who have been working in the space for a long period of time and solving real problems figure their voice or to get their voice heard. I mean, I could point to some companies that should be on the front page of The New York Times every day–but they are just not known because they are quietly working to solve issues like…”how can we prevent our country from defaulting on it’s debt obligations by making Medicare more efficient?” That’s unsexy to a lot of people, but it’s very exciting to me.
One of the things that we like to do is work with large existing health care organizations that have unique distribution platforms. We build them products that can be scaled out through those existing distribution points.
What we found is that there are massively innovative people at the heads of organization that from a public relations standpoint, look as though they are big, old, and not that innovative. This is simply not the case.
Jennifer: I’m glad you brought up innovative platforms and providing access to those platforms, because you once said on stage at Health 2.0 that–and this is quoting you–“Great ideas from the outside percolate and get picked up by strategic insiders then brought to their platforms and distributed through them; that’s our motto.”
So if Remedy Systems is a strategic insider, and doctors are your audience, then what is the platform that makes Remedy Systems so successful?
Matt: We’re connected right now to about 340,000 physicians across our network of applications and what we get excited about is being able to make a process that previously was very confusing, much more clear and focused. We have about nine products at this point and each one of those products is used in different ways.
And so, what I get excited about is being able to have a suite of modules or products that can be used by physicians who are at the point of care and they don’t necessarily have to use all nine products, but they can be using a few of them to better their practice or work more closely with a hospital or a health plan or other physicians.
Jennifer: And for people who might not be familiar with other great products you guys are working on and partnering for, could you give me one example?
Matt: Sure! We built Optum’s mobile VHR, which is their virtual health record. Why we get excited about that is, we built this product which will be scaled to all of Optum’s customers. Optum is the technology arm or was formerly the technology arm of UnitedHealthcare. And so, we don’t get any public credit and we don’t build a brand of Remedy around these products, but we get to see the fruits of our labor used by thousands of physicians, hospitals, and RHIOS who are in some way connected to the Optum brand and the Optum experience.
Jennifer: So you started Remedy just a few years ago, but looking forward now, three years out, what significant shift or changes do you see in health care?
Matt: I think payment reform is going to be a really interesting space and we’re excited to be working with some of the leaders in the private sector and the public sector, thinking through how mobile can be used to leap-frog some of the old stagnant technology that’s currently in place.
Jennifer: Right–good forecast. Thanks so much for the interview, and we’ll see you on the stage at Spring Fling!
Matt: Sure. Thanks so much, Jennifer!