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  • StartUp Health

A Simple Equation for Creating Magical Experiences in Healthcare : Curiosity x Assistance x Now

For Jim Lecinski, innovating in healthcare is about a lot more than new products and services. For the former VP of Sales at Google, it’s about a healthcare experience. Specifically, it’s about embracing our digital age to create a sense of magic.

Here we’ve distilled Lecinski’s strategies (taken from his address at the 2018 StartUp Health Festival) into three lessons — and a simple equation — on how to add a bit of “Google Magic” into your company’s product experience.

Lesson #1: Take a step back and look at the emerging internet landscape. How do current search trends apply to Magical Experiences?

Lecinski: Over the past couple of years we are seeing in Google search, searches for “best” and searches for “now” up four x and three x. What do I mean by that? These kinds of queries that include “best” or include “now” are rapidly, rapidly increasing. That’s the set of expectations that the consumer base, the population, the patient base that you’re all working with, are experiencing and bringing, when they’re looking for magic from you, this is the set of expectations that they’re bringing when they come to see you and your products.

Queries for best hospital. Up the past two years, one hundred and fifty six percent. Best health insurance. Best diet. Best physician. It’s not just general. It’s specific things, like best RA drug, up a hundred and twenty four percent over the past couple of years. On the wellness side. Best fitness app. Double. Hundred and one percent up. So these are the kinds of behaviors and curious questions that these patients are now bringing forward as a mindset. That’s on the best side of things. On the instant, right here, right now, side of things.

“Near me” searches in the healthcare and wellness space are up 60x over the past five years. “Pharmacy near me.” “Hospital near me.” “Dentists near me.” You see those things radically increasing.

I know that we always have to be careful about talking about the consumerism of healthcare. Looking for a drug isn’t the same as buying a new carpet. I don’t want to confuse or conflate the two. But this instant, personalized, relevant, near me, and now, is happening in healthcare.

Lesson #2: Curiosity x Assistance x Now

Lecinski: In order to create magical experiences, we want to minimizing friction (F). To do that, it’s a function of C x A x N. “C” is satisfying patient curiosity.

“A” is you delivering patient assistance, and “N” is solving for now. Let’s unpack those briefly a little bit and maybe that can give you some thoughts on how to build magic into your startups and in your projects.

Let’s start with satisfying curiosity ©. People are searching for your magic. They’re curious. Do you know for your project, for your startup, for innovation, what’s the “how” that your prospective patients, target audience or customers are looking for? Know your how. That’s the first element to create magic. In the healthcare space, 86% of users have a ‘how’ when it comes to symptoms. They go online. They ask questions. How do I address this? How do I care for that? What’s the how in your space? Because knowing that how is the first key element to creating magic. It’s the “C” in curiosity. And patient satisfaction plummets when that how isn’t satisfied.

Next, let’s look at “A”, assistance. Now that you have an element of how and curiosity © how do you provide assistance to these folks? Well, 84% of research treatment options actually happen online after an initial diagnosis. So when we look at search volume across the patient pathway, it’s not before seeing a healthcare professional that there’s the most search volume. It’s actually following that first interaction or that first visit, when perhaps a diagnosis, a hypothesis, a treatment direction has been given. Your patients, your target audience then, go to learn more. They want further assistance than they were able to get in that brief interaction with a healthcare professional.

And then lastly, don’t forget that element of now (N). A study was done a couple of years ago that said the human attention span is 12 seconds. That’s scary, but of course a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds, and that’s even scarier. Even scarier was the fact that this study was just updated and the human attention span is now down to just 8 seconds. But this is just reinforcing that we need the information, we need your assistance, and we need the curiosity satisfied from you now. Not later, not overtime, not maybe, but now. And it’s mobile, of course, that’s driving this. Now more than half, 55%, of all searches that we see on and the healthcare related space are mobile-related searches. That somebody on mobile is someone who wants instant answer, now. If you do not satisfy their curiosity now, if you take 3 seconds, 4 seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds, you will see your conversion rate, satisfaction of people on your mobile site, drop precipitously after 2.4 seconds.

Lesson #3: Want magic? Inspiration is already in the market

Lecinski: Dr. Jessica Mega talked about the continuous glucose monitoring contact lens. For those with diabetes this is practical magic, right? This is changing the course of lives.

One that we’re working on that I particularly like is the Liftware project. That for patients that are affected by diseases or conditions that have tremors, Parkinson’s, etc, the ability to stabilize the utensils is magic. To be able to actually feed yourself “normally,” Is practical magic that changes patients lives, and we’re proud to have a hand in that one as well.

This is our Dexcom partnership that you’ve heard about. This is for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but it’s a coin size sensor that, hopefully, will come to market here shortly as a first of a couple of phases that we, collectively with Dexcom, have imagined and envisioned. But again, for patients with diabetes, to be able to do continuous glucose monitoring without having to any finger pricking, blood testing, was magic, right? For those of you who have yourselves, or friends, or family, or neighbors, afflicted with diabetes, this will be a magically improved outcome to help improve lives.

Another project that we’re working on that I think has a magic application to it as well is our so-called project debug. Now, normally, in the world of Google when we talk about debug, that means debugging software or finding errors in software lines of code. But in this case we’re working with the mosquito abatement district up in the city of Fresno to think about how can we reduce mosquito-borne infectious diseases and ailments. Mosquitoes carry disease that, unfortunately, has morbidity. Kills over a million people worldwide, globally, and for those that it doesn’t kill, if you think about Zika and some of those kinds of things, there’s millions more afflicted by mosquito-borne illnesses beyond that. What would be a magic way to think about changing lives and changing patient outcomes for mosquito-borne illnesses? Project debug is actually doing this where we are working to release a million male mosquitoes into Fresno with the mosquito abatement district there. A million a week over the course of 20 weeks. So 20 million male mosquitoes who we have given a bacterial condition that sterilizes them. That’s naturally-occurring, this is not genetically modified, that’s a naturally occurring affliction that happens to male mosquitoes in the wild, but not in the Fresno Valley. The idea then is that those sterile mosquitoes will mate with female mosquitoes and greatly reduce the afflicted population and then the ability to carry mosquito-borne disease in Fresno. If this works that could radically change lives and bring magic to parts of the world like Puerto Rico, like Cuba, like the Bahamas, like Brazil, where mosquito-borne illnesses are highly prevalent.

Another magic project that we’re working on is identifying early-stage diabetic retinopathy. Now diabetic retinopathy is one of the fastest-growing causes of blindness, but it’s preventable if caught early. The problem is in many parts of the world people who have this in an early stage don’t have the ability, the access, to visit advanced healthcare clinics and well-trained ophthalmologists. So here, what we did was feed about seventy-five thousand training images into an artificial intelligence and m/l system that then was able to identify at the stage equivalent to board-certified ophthalmologists in the US, these retina photos, so that way people in other parts of the world or even other parts of the US that don’t have the ability, the access, the means to get the same health care treatment from ophthalmologists like you or I do here, will now have the ability to get this disease recognized early and be prevented from blindness. Which, again, is a magical outcome. Something that we’re proud to be working on.

This is another interesting one that we’re working on with the International Rescue Committee and Pfizer as a joint project. You know, in many parts of the world, for some, I don’t know, three to four billion people out of the seven or eight billion in the world, they don’t have a physical address. Like, if you ask me what my address is, I can read it right back to you. But there’s billions of people that don’t have that and in many cases that hampers the ability for health care workers to be able to go to a place, to your home, to your address, and deliver a health care outcome. And so, we’re working on something here that you might think of as Bitly for your lat and long, right? So, for folks in Somalia, in this case, they’re given a short access code, an open source, an open location, that shorthands the latitude and longitude into something that might look like a zip code or a UK postal code. Eight digits or so, which they can then tell health care workers this is my domicile, this is where I live. And so, we’re doing an early pilot, actually in Somalia, to help deliver both vaccinations and family planning to people, based on this short code address. So, we’ll see where that one goes, but boy, would that be magic then for billions of people around the world to be able to receive health care workers, because they now have a place to tell the health care workers where to come deliver the health care.

Parting words of wisdom

Lecinski: Go create magical experiences. Experiences that deliver magic to patients in that moment when they want to know something. Deliver magic in that moment when they want to compare something. Deliver magic in that key moment when they want to do something. Or deliver magic in that key moment when they want to buy something. Figure out what your magic moment is. Where you can apply practical magic. And then, remember. Magic happens when you know your patient better, when you assist them everywhere, and of course, when you help them faster. Speed really matters in this area. So with that, I wish you good luck and the Star Trek apologies, please go forth and reduce friction. Go forth and create magic.

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