Episode #72 – “A New Era” in Consumer-Centric Healthcare – with Dr. Jennifer Schneider

Colleagues & Friends,

Chronic disease management has become the predominant healthcare issue of our time. The vast majority of medical encounters and healthcare dollars are spent on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of chronic disease.  Despite the staggering negative impact, we continue to treat chronic disease within an episodic, reactive, generic and largely ineffectual care model. It’s a reflection of a healthcare delivery approach that is simply out-dated and poorly aligned with the societal and healthcare consumer needs at hand.

Our guest this week, Dr. Jennifer Schneider, and her colleagues at Livongo, are ushering in a “new era” in healthcare delivery. Livongo is a healthcare start-up with cutting-edge digital and machine-learning technology whose mission is to “empower people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives.”  Dr. Jennifer Schneider is the President of Livongo and previously served as the company’s Chief Medical Officer. Prior to Livongo, she held several key leadership roles at Castlight Health, including as its Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Schneider is also the author of the recently published book, Decoding Health Signals: Silicon Valley’s Consumer-First Approach to a New Era of Health, which explores how companies are using big data analytics and artificial intelligence to reinvent care delivery for people with chronic conditions.  Dr. Schneider has a Doctor of Medicine degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in Health Services Research from Stanford University.

In this interview, you’ll hear about:

  • Applied Health Signals – the new category of chronic condition management Livongo has pioneered – which uses data-driven, machine-learning algorithms to deliver continuous, real-time, actionable, and personalized clinical insights.
  • Dr. Schneider’s perspective on this new era of “human-first experience”  and “whole person” care in which the locus of chronic condition management is shifting from the provider’s exam room to the healthcare consumer’s life.
  • How Livongo is reducing the “noise” in healthcare delivery – that is, reducing the frustration, friction and complexity of the patient care experience.
  • Some of the clinical efficacy outcomes that Livongo has demonstrated in peer-reviewed publications.

What I especially appreciate about Jennifer’s perspective and Livongo’s human-centered, consumer-oriented philosophy is the understanding that the primary goal of clinical care is not in deploying technical wizardry, but in solving the ‘pain points’ for individuals with chronic disease. Livongo’s focus is on understanding people’s unique needs, preferences and goals, as well as continuously ‘machine-learning’ how to customize communication in order to optimize engagement and motivate healthful behaviors.

Once you hear about Livongo’ s model, I suspect it will become clear that this approach to chronic condition management is far superior to anything offered in our current medical models. The simple fact that Livongo’s technology stack is collecting multiple points of health-related data throughout the day, aggregating and interpreting that information, and then using it to communicate in real-time and in a personalized way, is so far ahead of where we are today in clinical practice.

Livongo is creating and deploying a major reframe of healthcare delivery – humanizing healthcare, by unleashing the profound value of the patient as the most pivotal member of the healthcare team.  From a provider’s perspective, I firmly believe that this is a welcome enhancement of the role that physicians and other providers play in the chronic disease management ecosystem. As Dr. Schneider, who has managed her own Type I diabetes for the past 30 years, puts it, “The idea that the doctor or any other healthcare provider is in charge is really erroneous. It’s really the individual person living with that chronic condition, and great doctors understand that!

Until Next Time, Be Well!

Zeev Neuwirth, MD