Digital Health with Mike McSherry, CEO of Xealth

In this episode of Creating a New Healthcare, Dr. Zeev Neuwirth interviews Mike McSherry, CEO of Xealth.  Mike represents a new breed of highly accomplished digital tech entrepreneurs who have spent the past decade or two reshaping the landscape of digital tech; and who are now entering healthcare, ushering in a new era of healthcare delivery – an era that this interview will offer you a glimpse into. Mike’s amazing portfolio of accomplishments includes Swype.  It’s an application that is embedded in over a billion android smart phones across the globe; allowing user’s to essentially ‘draw’ words rather than ‘tap’ them out – enabling faster, easier text input. The point here is that Michael and his colleagues are not only technologic wizards.  They are clearly world-class experts in user interface (UI) & user experience (UE) – something that is sorely lacking in healthcare!  As you listen to the interview, just imagine what healthcare might look like if there were dozens or even hundreds of similar UI/UE digital experts engaged in healthcare across the country – working collaboratively with clinical colleagues.  Now, that’s a roadmap for Creating a New Healthcare.

In this interview, Mike introduces us to Xealth – an application he and his long-time colleagues have created – that allows any digitally connected app or service to be placed onto a user-friendly platform.  For starters, Xealth is a digital formulary – allowing physicians or other providers to ‘prescribe’ an app or service. Physicians can now decide what digitally connected services & apps they want in this formulary – and just like adding a new medication – a new digital app or service can be added in less than a tenth of the time it traditionally takes.  The types of services on Xealth at the time of this interview includes traditional apps, but also includes transportation services, home devices such as glucometers and CPAP machines, and even food delivery and transportation services.  (Although not discussed in the intervew, keep in mind that, in the literature on ‘social determinants of health’, inadequate food and transportation, along with social isolation, are some of the leading causes of poor health outcomes and avoidably higher costs of care.)  The Xeatlh platform also offers automatic monitoring of patients’ patterns of usage, as well as predictive analytics – keeping track of how often, and in what ways patients are using these apps, as well as guiding the provider to better identify which app or service might work better with a particular patient.  

There are numerous pearls in this podcast.  Among them, Mike shares the best piece of his advice he has ever been given, which has guided the way he works; and has greatly contributed to the tremendous value and success he and his colleagues have created together.  Most importantly, you’ll hear a fresh perspective on how cutting edge thinkers and doers are attempting to augment and leverage the value proposition in the provider/patient relationship.  What we find particularly encouraging from interviews with digital tech gurus like Mike is their unabashed support of physicians and other providers of medical care, and a deep respect for the patient/provider relationship.  We have heard this theme repeatedly in this podcast series.  Far from disrupting that relationship, these digital tools serve to enhance it.

Mike brings an encouraging and inspiring message for providers – a set of support tools that will enhance one’s ability to optimize patient care and augment one’s efficiency. For patients, this should be viewed as healthcare catching up to other industries in terms of customer service, convenience and engagement – making it easier to be healthy.  And for payers and healthcare leaders, this represents the emergence of a new paradigm in patient/customer engagement – a novel approach to realize the triple aim of improved healthcare, improved outcomes & more cost effective care.