Tyler Suiters                      

Hey everybody. We're the Consumer Technology Association. I'm Tyler Suiters. We are the owners and the producers of CES, the largest, the most influential tech event on the planet. We are here to help you get CES ready. The show's January 7th through the 10th 2020, as always, in Las Vegas.

Tyler Suiters                      

And today we're talking about a key emerging technology, digital health. Yes, a big broad topic. Remote monitoring, diagnostics solutions, digital therapeutics, predictive analytics. It's all there. And CES is the only venue where this entire digital health ecosystem comes together in just one place. And oh yeah, healthcare professionals, you can earn continuing medical education credits by attending our conference programming there at CES. But that may be for another day.

Tyler Suiters                      

Today we're talking with two exciting voices at very different ends of the digital health spectrum, at least in one sense, we are talking to the CEO and co-founder of NEOFECT. You may not know the company's name now, but there is a very compelling story behind this founder's reason for being in the digital health space. It's a story that you will find personal. And I get the feeling you're going to be Googling NEOFECT soon to check out exactly what they're all about.

Tyler Suiters                      

Also, we're talking to a leading health and well-being company. This is a major brand that you will recognize, and a relatively newly created position. This started just last year. We are talking to their chief digital health and analytics officer. All of that is coming up on this edition of CES Tech Talk.

Tyler Suiters                      

Heather Cox is joining us now from Humana. She is chief digital health and analytics officer. Heather, welcome. Glad to have you here in studio with us.

Heather Cox                      

Well, thank you. I appreciate it. I'm excited to be here.

Tyler Suiters                      

So this is still a relatively new role for you, so I don't think it's too late to say congratulations.

Heather Cox                      

Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

Tyler Suiters                      

A good indication of Humana's growing emphasis on data-driven digital health benefits.

Heather Cox                      

Yes, exactly. And I joined Humana just almost a year ago, not quite yet. But the idea here was to really take a focus around true digital and data and analytics, and really putting an emphasis on not only the experience, but analytics driving the experience. And I really appreciate the way Bruce Broussard, our CEO, really thought about this along with the management team. Really not only saying digital's important, but actually attaching the deep analytics along with it. Really focusing on this like a health tech company would. And when you peel this thing back, when you look at my organization, it really is like a startup, a health tech startup.

Tyler Suiters                      

See, that's an interesting tack to take, especially for a CES-related audience, right? Let's back out for a moment then Heather, and talk about Humana overall. Some of the key language I know that your company uses to describe itself in this space, supporting an integrated care delivery model, ongoing work to develop differentiated healthcare experiences. Now we can parse all those words together, but the summation is Humana sees the benefits and the potential for the possibilities of tech and healthcare, digital health.

Heather Cox                      

Yeah, it's important. People think of Humana as an insurance company, but we actually really feel that we're more about integrated healthcare, and we're really trying to make the pivot as we want to be a health partner. And we want to be a technology company delivering healthcare. And insurance is an important part of what we do, but it's the financing vehicle behind it all. And we want to be here, in a world of aging and longevity, we want to be that partner who can help you live a better, healthier life.

Heather Cox                      

And we see technology is the vehicle helping us deliver that. And so what are we going to do to help you find those insights to help you be there to dance at your granddaughter's wedding. And what are we going to do to help you show up at that baseball game next spring? And we are focused on helping seniors. We're in the Medicare Advantage business. And so taking care of what could be a very vulnerable population if we're not careful, is really important to us.

Heather Cox                      

And so helping you through the use of teaching you how to use technology to help you find better ways to live, it's a really exciting place to be. And so things like what we call telehealth, and remote monitoring, and wellness and being, is really important to us. And technology, and those digital signals that can exist in different ways is what we're all about. And so digital health is the next frontier for us. And Studio H, which we founded up, and our first location is up in Boston, and what we're building up there is a really important part of our future.

Tyler Suiters                      

Well, let's dive into that. Studio H sounds like a YouTube channel, right? To some degree. But Humana Studio H was announced just last year, a center for digital health and analytics. And this is a place where, again, that startup feel, Heather really seems to be tangible where you're pioneering new products and new services. Where are you one year in, and what is the Humana Studio H stand for in your mind?

Heather Cox                      

So we were very intentional in the naming and what it's all about. It's the next evolution of Humana. And it's Studio H, underscore H, kind of that compute language. But it's not too far from our brand because we want to be connected to Humana, but we also want to show a stake in the ground for the next evolution of Humana. And Boston, it was a very deliberate choice in that it's also an important part of the future of medicine and the future of health. And when you look at Boston and the academia, the investment, and the medicine and healthcare, and what all they represent in kind of the future of health in the US, I think it's a really important stake in the ground for our company.

Tyler Suiters                      

And a real talent pool there as well.

Heather Cox                      

Yeah. No question. And we have ramped up our talent very quickly there since we announced last August. We are close to 70 new hires up in Boston. And so we're super excited about that. We're moving into our new space in Seaport, September 3. So a beautiful new space. And so for any engineers, software engineers, data scientists, designers, we would welcome you to join us. But we are going to hire up to 350 people there in Seaport over the next few years. So we're super excited.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right, that was a recruiting pitch alert, if you're not paying close enough—

Heather Cox                      

I had to make it.

Tyler Suiters                      

—attention—

Heather Cox                      

I had to do it.

Tyler Suiters                      

—to everyone. No, with good reason. Talk about this transition if you would, Heather, about becoming a health company and insurance company, but also a technology company. We love to say it, and everyone could sing along with me, every company today is or needs to be a technology company, right?

Heather Cox                      

Yep.

Tyler Suiters                      

So how is it that Humana's embracing that in a tangible way beyond just this cutting-edge studio in Boston? I mean it's a corporate transition, I'd imagine, starting at the top.

Heather Cox                      

Yeah. So I can kind of point to a few tangible things, right? So if you were to ask me what is my number one priority, how about AI, AI, AI? So artificial intelligence, and the real commercial application of it at scale. So what's behind that? Then it's data, data, data. Well, what else behind that? We are a cloud first company. And so, making that real transition, it's a tough transition in that we are a healthcare company. When you start talking about PHI, right, we have to really be careful about how we handle people's personal health information.

Heather Cox                      

And there are real ramifications. I come from financial services. I understand that, right? We have really sensitive data that we're working with. But we're going to take care of that data, and we're going to do amazing things because we want to get to a place where we can not only bring to you personalized contextualized experiences, but we can also create better health outcomes.

Heather Cox                      

And in order to do that, we have got to get to a place where we can have that commercial application of artificial intelligence because those predictive outcomes are going to save lives. And they're going to prevent the decline of the health outcomes. And this is a really important pivot in where we're headed. And if we're going to have that opportunity to let you dance at your granddaughter's wedding, we've got to get to a place where if you've been diagnosed with a pretty tough situation, we've got to find ways to help you. And getting to the cloud where we can have that compute power, where we can create the machine learning models that can help you live at your home longer, live with your family in a healthier way. We got to get there.

Tyler Suiters                      

Yeah. Let's walk down that road a little bit, and we'll start by taking a look at the big old sign post that's sitting right here. In AI, in healthcare, and the predictive analytics aspect of it, where are we today? Just with within your scope, Heather, what is AI giving you and giving Humana right now.

Heather Cox                      

So we have, at smaller scale, we've been able to implement some great applications more in where I would call it the consumer application. So call it in our contact centers, call it in the application of applications, and in the acquisition of customers, and how we manage the interactions. Less so in where we've been able to actually apply it in health outcomes.

Tyler Suiters                      

So more efficiencies internally, right?

Heather Cox                      

You got it. And so the robotics aspects, so that's great, now we got to apply it in health outcomes, and so we've got a ways to go.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right, let's go to the next intersection. I'm going to beat this analogy to death. I apologize.

Heather Cox                      

Please.

Tyler Suiters                      

Going a little further down, let's say three to five years. Very hard to predict something that's evolving as exponentially quickly as AI, but what are you hoping for at that point? Let's say it's 2025.

Heather Cox                      

2025, what I am hoping for, how about this, how about my big hairy audacious goal? I'm hoping for everyone of our interactions with our members are driven by their longitudinal record. And that we have that longitudinal record populated with all types of data, whether it's their clinical data, their member data, their interaction data. So call that their image, their voice interactions there, everything. I want that longitudinal record to exist across every type of interaction they've had, clinical or otherwise.

Heather Cox                      

That is an insane goal, but we're going for it. And I think it's possible. And I want that to drive interactions for them, for their providers, for their clinicians, for their care teams. And if they give authorization, for their caregivers. And so if they have their children, they want to give access to their data, and to allow them to give them access to their care, then great. I want it to, that same record, to give different views to different populations to provide the right kind of access to the right moment.

Tyler Suiters                      

Let's then go, I'm going to put just a thumbnail sketch on it, 15 to 20 years from now. So let's say 2040, around there. We are all in self-driving vehicles, right? So highway deaths have plummeted. Cities are smarter, maybe entirely smart. So much more efficient use of lighting and resources and flow of traffic. Voice integration may be everywhere. Who knows what else? What other benefits AI is going to bring as far as making our lives more efficient. But again, where is Humana and the services that you provide, and also the way the business runs in terms of artificial intelligence in 2040?

Heather Cox                      

I'm hoping precision medicine is at its best, right? So that it's truly personalized medicine at that point. And it's really hard to say where we're going to be, but I hope that we all have, right, that genomic medicine is at its best, and that we actually understand down to an individual well before we even get to the point of being sick, that we know what path we're on if we so choose. Right?

Heather Cox                      

I think some people will choose to know what path you're on, and some will say, I don't want to know anything, and I'm going to choose to be the unbeknownst. And I think it's going to be possible for you to be able to understand at age 20 what your future looks like, and be able to manage your own path. But I think some people will choose not to know. And I think that's going to be perfectly fine as well. But I also think we're going to be on a path by then to also understand that you're going to live to be 150. So you're going to have to manage your whole finances and everything else a whole lot differently.

Tyler Suiters                      

Wow, yes.

Heather Cox                      

So I think that's a little scarier proposition.

Tyler Suiters                      

Yeah, putting a lot more power in the consumer's hands as well. So I began with a welcome. I should have delivered it a little less literally too. Because we at CTA, the Consumer Technology Association, we're also welcoming you, Humana, into the folds. So great to have you as a member. What are you looking for? How did this decision come about for you?

Heather Cox                      

Well our mission at Humana is to take the health of our members at the center of everything that we do, and the health of their communities that they live in. And so we believe technology is the key to unlocking the focus of their health and the focus of their communities. And so it makes sense. I think it's a good match for us to be matched with the Consumer Technology Association. And we're excited to be a member. And I think the companies that in your membership are good companies to be colleagues with. And so I think we are hanging in good company, and I think it's going to be a good experience for us.

Tyler Suiters                      

Maybe that's the new tagline we'll get, hanging in good company. I like that a lot. Although you're new to CTA, Heather, you are not new to CES. You've been to a number of shows both in the recent past and the less recent past, we'll say, in your various positions. And what a resume, by the way. That's a personal aside. What are you expecting from CES 2020 through this new lens with your focus on digital health with your focus in and of Humana?

Heather Cox                      

First of all, I'm always awe inspired when you hit the various kind of floors of CES, and it opens your eyes to just how rapidly the world is moving every year. You're just kind of just amazed at what leaps have just happened in the past 12 months. And what was really fun for me was when I hit in 2017, just had been a few years since I'd been. And just the gasp you take of just how much you've missed in the last few years of not being there.

Tyler Suiters                      

Well said.

Heather Cox                      

But I think for me now having a view through the lens of healthcare, just what can we do to really press our industry to go even further. And when I talk about that it's we as payers need to press harder and harder to take the lens of what can we do more for consumers. And how do we take health and the well-being of our membership even further and keep it at the core of everything that we do.

Heather Cox                      

I think Humana has done a beautiful job over the last several years of keeping their member at the center of every decision they make. And how do we take that even further, and take it to the next level. And I think CES is just a bellwether of the companies that show up there. That's what they excel at. They're taking the consumer centric view of the world, and taking it to the next level. And we'll be excited to be there. We are aiming, my team is aiming, to show up and to have product on the floor to show off as well.

Tyler Suiters                      

Excellent.

Heather Cox                      

Just a little preview.

Tyler Suiters                      

Yeah. That's one foot out from beneath the curtain.

Heather Cox                      

Yeah.

Tyler Suiters                      

Many months out.

Heather Cox                      

Show a little leg there, right? But we're excited. We hope to have something very exciting to be talking about ourselves.

Tyler Suiters                      

Final question, Heather. What about the conversations you have, the people you meet, the business synergy that you find at CES?

Heather Cox                      

Yeah, I think it's always so exciting to find kind of the next business opportunity and partnership for what can we bring to our customer? What is the next new opportunity for an integrated product or service that you just didn't even know existed before? And that's what's so cool. Because it could be somebody just even sitting right next door to you, right next to you. Right? And I think you always find, even if it's not a specific product or service, just the next great idea gets sparked, which is really cool.

Tyler Suiters                      

I'm always surprised how frequently that happens to me in an Uber, or a Lyft, or even a taxi on occasion. Just sharing a ride gets you a lot of insight. And like you said, you never know whom you're going to wind up next to.

Tyler Suiters                      

Heather Cox is chief digital health and analytics officer with Humana. Still somewhat fresh to the job. Heather, fascinating discussion. Will you join us again sometime?

Heather Cox                      

I would love to. Thank you so much.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right. And we will see you at CES 2020 in just a few months.

Heather Cox                      

Fantastic. Thank you.

Tyler Suiters                      

With us now is Scott Kim. He is the CEO and the co-founder of a company called NEOFECT. And Scott, yes, it's great to have you with us. As co-founder, you have an immense amount of responsibility, certainly, but also maybe the strongest vision of anyone in the company as to what NEOFECT is, and what you expect it to be.

Scott Kim                            

Yeah, so our vision, our motto has been the same ever since our foundation of the company. Our motto is we inspire hope. And I mean as [inaudible 00:19:33] as it sounds, as broad as it sounds that has been our vision. And it is our vision. So basically our belief is that there's a lot of people who need more health care, or who just need more caring. But at the same time not everyone can have the similar level of benefit, especially in the United States.

Scott Kim                            

So I don't know, growing up in Korea where health care works a little bit differently, and both Hoyoung, the other founder of the company and me, and the other founder, Young Choi, we all had experience living in the States. And we thought technology can help those who are in need, but who are not getting a lot of help. And healthcare hasn't necessarily been the very first sector that accepts the technology. So we thought that we could actually help those people, using the technology that's available, and that's readily available on our end.

Tyler Suiters                      

Well, let's talk about who these people are in your mind, Scott. I mean, when you say people who could use this, or people who need that, some of these, to speak in in pretty direct terms, are folks that are going through fairly common traumas, right? People recovering from stroke, people with perhaps debilitative diseases. These are not uncommon issues.

Scott Kim                            

Yeah, exactly. I mean our target customers, or patients are stroke survivors. And there's a lot of stats that back this up too, but the majority of people who have a stroke, they end up being staying at a home. And then, just stay on the couch and watch TV, and not do a lot of things for rehabilitating themselves. And according to the survey, and many other things that we experienced firsthand. It's just because some are educational issues. Some people are just not aware of the fact that they can get better. And some are personal issues too.

Scott Kim                            

But we do know that things can get better even after a stroke. And the thing is just because of the neuroplasticity, it's basically the rule of, use it or lose it. And they just need to keep working on their brain so that their brain can start really learning things so that they can engage themselves in day to day activities more easily and then more actively.

Scott Kim                            

So we do want to help these people. And they may not be quite common in our lives, but at the same time, it's pretty common. Their desire for getting better, getting something that means a lot to them, back to their life. This is a pretty serious thing. So we've been targeting these stroke survivors. And what we are doing is for them actually to be in an environment where they can actually engage themselves with the rehabilitation in an easier manner, and more comfortable manner, like in the comfort of home.

Tyler Suiters                      

So paint a picture for everyone who's listening to this, Scott, if you would of exactly what your Smart Glove is. I mean that's primarily the product we're talking about. And I would set it up in that it looks a lot like an exoskeleton, right? It covers all the fingers and the thumb. And goes maybe halfway, or third of the way down the forearm. And I will let you take it from there.

Scott Kim                            

Sure. So Smart Glove is, I mean the description of the glove is pretty accurate. And it's, I don't know how it looks to you, but it's an extremely lightweight device. It's four and half ounces. And it's lighter than your smartphone. And it's not extremely hard to wear too. So we've been really focusing on usability. But the main part is not the hardware itself. It's actually the software.

Scott Kim                            

And so what it does is that once you wear the glove, then what happens is all the motions that you're making with the glove on with your own hands are recognized by the software. So what we're coupling with the glove is game contents. So for example, we have a lot of games are simulated into your life. For example, pouring the wine, and catching the baseball, and cooking and even like playing billiards, and then fishing, things like this.

Scott Kim                            

There's a lot of like different content games that you can play. So for example, if you are thinking about, like the fishing game, then you're making the motion with your own hands. It's kind of like your hand shaking, like shake your hand vertically up and down. But it kind of looks like you're actually like just lifting up the fishing rod up and down so that you can start fishing. And doing so actually get your rehabilitation results, like come out faster. And then these are all the clinically proven activities. And Stanford is one of our clinical partners too.

Scott Kim                            

So going back to the crux of what we do is we basically deliver a tablet with the Smart Glove. And what they do is they get paired up with one of our clinical managers who can actually coach them through how to use the product. And then go through the evaluation results. And then based on the evaluation results, the artificial intelligence actually comes up with the algorithm by itself. And then it keeps giving them all different recommendations. Just like Netflix works. Netflix already knows what kind of movies you need to watch, you want to watch.

Scott Kim                            

And our algorithm, actually, after the evaluation, and basically every time the session ends, algorithm actually knows what kind of games and activities that they need to engage themselves in. And then go through, basically play the games, but at the same time they go through the rehabilitation process in their journey of stroke.

Tyler Suiters                      

We'd be remiss not to talk a bit about your story, Scott, in that you don't come to this sector to the marriage of technology, digital health, the ability to deliver what really are meaningful life changing benefits through technology by accident. I mean you have a very personal and involved story here, right?

Scott Kim                            

Yeah, yeah. So I was actually born with spina bifida. It's a type of disability that anyone can be born with, and it has probably 0.001% of population is born with it. If anyone is a mother or father, this is one of the diseases the doctor tells you in advance that the kid is going to be born with bifida. And unfortunately I was one of them. And so that means that I went through a major surgery. And then after the surgery, I had fair share of rehabilitation in my life growing up.

Tyler Suiters                      

Wow.

Scott Kim                            

So the thing is I was actually a pretty mild case. So I was pretty lucky like to get better. And then to get myself engaged in lots of just normal activities later. But growing up in South Korea in the early 80's, rehabilitation was not my favorite thing growing up. So I thought it was pretty boring. And I mean even in the eyes of eight year old kid, nine year old kid, I really felt this was kind of aimless, and that this is boring. And I couldn't really tell where I was, and I couldn't really tell what it means to be successful in terms of rehabilitation.

Scott Kim                            

So fast forward, then I came to study at University of Virginia's business school. And then I met another guy who also came from Korea, and who had a completely different background, but whose father actually died of stroke. And then he was pretty emotional about this disease. And we met another guy who actually pulled the stats, yeah, we can make something for stroke patients. And this is big issue in America. But we can make something more engaging, and more objective way of rehabilitation using the data.

Scott Kim                            

And then once we heard that idea, both of us, we got really clicked for two different reasons, but two relevant reasons. So this was very personal to me. And just because I—fast forward, I came to America when I was 22 the first time. And then ever since then, I came to UVA later, and then had an opportunity to check out the rehab setting. But surprising me. 1995, '96 South Korea, which was not the same country even back then, and then 2010, '11 America. And the rehab setting was not too different.

Scott Kim                            

So meaning that I was really telling myself and my other co-founder that we really have a shot here because it looks like technology is something very distant seemingly in American healthcare, although this is a country that actually leads all the great technologies and everything. So yeah, and then once we were really inspired by the idea, and then got to see where the health care is in this country, then yeah, we didn't look back. And then started just working on the idea from then.

Tyler Suiters                      

Getting back to business strategy, Scott, you are a CES veteran. NEOFECT has been at CES a number of years now. 2020 will be your fourth year exhibiting, I believe. Correct me if I've got the math wrong there. What is your game plan—

Scott Kim                            

Yeah.

Tyler Suiters                      

—going into the 2020 show? What are the lessons you've learned, and the best way you found to leverage the audience, and the attention, and the opportunity there?

Scott Kim                            

Yeah. So this year definitely we have a clear direction about what we want to achieve at CES. And so far the past three to four years, it's been a phenomenal experience by attending the CES. Lots of media exposure. And I'm really thankful with that we were able to be covered by major media outlets such as CNN, or CNET, or Fox TV, and everything. So, it's been so powerful to be able to meet wider audience and get feedback about the product.

Scott Kim                            

And so far we've been really focusing on reporting what we do, and then what this does. And so we've been really focusing on the functional aspect and technological aspect. But this year we're going to be focusing a lot more on reaching out to a wider audience. Just because we know how powerful this event CES is, and just because I know how much support that we can get from CTA, which we really appreciate. We would really love to focus on being able to reach out to a wider audience. So there's a good chance that you are not a stroke survivor yourself, but everybody knows somebody, and somebody knows everybody. So there's a good chance that we get to meet people, and then get their attention. They talk about it. And then we can actually start helping, like broader audience.

Tyler Suiters                      

Scott Kim, CEO, co-founder of NEOFECT. Great to have you with us today, Scott, and look forward to reconnecting in just a few months at CES 2020.

Scott Kim                            

Yeah. Thanks for having me today. I'm really looking forward to CES 2020. Thank you.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right. We are here to help you be CES ready. So make sure you subscribe to our CES Tech Talk podcast. That way you won't miss a single episode as you're gearing up for the 2020 show. We are on all the platforms where you expect to find a podcast. As for the big show, CES 2020. It is January 7th through the 10th in Las Vegas as always. The information you need is at ces.tech. Now, none of this is possible without our true stars executive producer, Tina Anthony, and our senior studio engineer, John Lindsey. You guys are the best in the business. I'm Tyler Suiters. Let's talk tech again soon.

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