In this episode of Raising Tech, our host, Patrick Leonard, has a great conversation with Somatix's CEO, Dr. Charles Herman, and their Director of Sales, Jessica Bradley, about how Somatix's AI-powered remote patient monitoring wearables are detecting and preventing falls in Senior Living communities.
Discover more about Somatix's technology solutions which detect everything from Senior Living communities' residents' vitals, to preventing dehydration and emergencies to tracking medication intake and more.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome back to Raising Tech, a podcast about all things technology and Senior Living. Today. I'm your host, Patrick Leonard, and I'm really excited to welcome our guests , Charles Herman and Jessica Bradley from Somatix, Charles and Jessica, welcome to the show.Dr. Charles Herman:
Thank you for having us.Jessica Bradley:
Thank you. Happy to be here.Patrick Leonard:
So I'm excited to learn more and educate our listeners on our topic today, which is really broadly around artificial intelligence and the power of AI and remote patient monitoring in senior living communities. Obviously, this is something that's constantly a topic and there's a lot of innovation happening in this space, I feel like right now. So really excited to get you all's perspective and tell us a little bit more about Somatix. So before we dive into all that, Charles and Jessica, would you mind introducing yourself and your background and kind of role with Somatix?Dr. Charles Herman:
Absolutely. So , appreciate being here. Look forward to a really engaging discussion. I'm the CEO of Somatix and working with the company for about four years. I'm a physician by training. I've worked in a variety of different roles from startups to venture capital through hospital and health system management, and Somatix is on the cutting edge, I think, of all three health systems and the way that medicines practice , the way that healthcare is invested and in and where startups are going in terms of leveraging technology and unique ways to bring patients together. So for me, it's particularly rewarding to be in my role to, to bring all the pieces together in bringing a , a new technology to help patient lives.Jessica Bradley:
I'm Jessica Bradley. I have spent my entire career in medical devices and the healthcare world. I recently joined Somatix last year as the full-time, Director of Sales, and I am very heavily involved with strategic partnerships as well as working with local long-term care communities, assisted living communities, independent living communities, bringing remote monitoring to their residents. I have extensive experience with remote monitoring, specifically in the world of diabetes and continuous glucose monitoring. Prior to joining Somatix, I worked for Medtronic for a decade, and I'm excited to be here now to bring remote monitoring more so than just in the diabetes realm, but to bring more insights and predictive analytics to, to our most at-risk populations than people that need it the most.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome. Thanks for the intro to both of you and what amazing backgrounds to talk on this topic. So thanks for sharing that and giving that background to our listeners as well. And , and this may be a question for either or both of, of you, but I always love to hear, particularly in senior living, I, I've grown up in this industry on the operator side my entire life. And now kind of more on the business partner side, if you will, like you all. But I always love to hear how companies who are innovative come into this space. What is their entry point of steering living ? Why and how did they get here for what you all know? Do you mind sharing how and why Somatix came about in the first place?Dr. Charles Herman:
Absolutely. So, you know , as you know and have, have just said, the healthcare space in general, not necessarily the easiest market to break into. And the first priority I think, in analyzing the market to evaluate is, is there a need? Is there a need in the market for a service that you can provide Without the need, you can't provide a product that someone is gonna use and, and potentially then provide value and and to whom you're selling to. So we've seen for better or for worse in the last three years, how important leveraging new technologies are to taking care of the population because of covid. And two areas that have become catalyzed are remote monitoring and telemedicine. The need to extend the capabilities of our workforce, which is healthcare workforce is more strained than ever and to deliver services now that , you know, remotely efficiently and remote patient monitoring plays right to that need. So we had this technology that we created a number of years ago that it was very unique in that it leverages gestures, movements of the body in ways that other technologies can't, to provide very, very powerful clinical insights purely from someone's wearable, what they're wearing on their wrist. We're talking about very powerful insights like smoking, risk, of falling, hydration, pill, taking , sleep analytics, very, very powerful insights. And I think the clearly now the need for that is greater than ever before. When we first started looking at this technology, we looked at where could it be leveraged to provide value to patients because the technology in and of itself is not valuable unless there's a need for it. And we saw that some of the highest risk members of our population, like patients with complicated medical problems older patients, elderly patients that have very unique risks, could benefit from having that angel on their shoulder, a technology that can monitor them more safely, keep them aging or healing in place better. And that's what has driven Somatix over the last few years is taking a technology that was unique, finding the market for it, and now in the last three years since COVID really catalyzed by what's happened in the last few years to deliver value to those patients who are most at risk.Patrick Leonard:
Thanks, Charles, and that kind of leads me and may seem like a stupid question since it's being talked about advanced in so many ways right now, but if you could just humor me for a second, and, you know, you can't help but notice and and see so much these days, AI-powered artificial intelligence power. Can you talk a little bit more specifically for our listeners who maybe aren't as familiar and for my own benefit as well, what does that actually mean, and particularly in this sense that you all are using it for today?Dr. Charles Herman:
Sure, It's a great point. We've heard a lot of promises of using AI, artificial intelligence, particularly in healthcare. A lot of them have been empty. We're finally starting to see value from artificial intelligence. Now, what does artificial intelligence mean, right? It can mean many, many different things. Essentially it is taking big data and using computers to find insights, analytics, patterns in that data that could then be used in an application that can augment what we're currently doing. So we're finally starting to see things one another , another phrase that often goes along with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and that's the a machine, a computer software learning something so that it can then deliver value based upon what it learned. So I'll give you a , a concrete example of how we leverage it and artificial intelligence is that we have these gestures that the software in our band analyzes 24/7 and then goes into the cloud and gets analyzed again. Those gestures in and of themselves are not very useful. You know, it doesn't really help us that we know that the person took their hand and moved it to their mouth 12 times in the last hour, or that their gates changed , that they're using the bathroom more frequently or they didn't put their hand to their mouth in a way that could have been them taking a pill. However, if we train the computer to learn the patterns in that behavior, give it an artificial intelligence to now know that that gesture was somebody falling or taking a pill or smoking a cigarette or how much fluid they drank based upon their movement. And now we're training our algorithms to using machine learning to be able to provide these insights purely from these data that which is the signal from the band . That's powerful. So we're seeing many use cases now that suddenly are starting to provide value. We've seen in the last two years, FDA approvals for artificial intelligence around imaging of the chest, the lungs, the breast, and in many cases , I hate to say this, being a doctor myself, a lot of these artificial intelligence algorithms actually outperform the doctor in finding breast cancer and finding collapse of a lung or a lung cancer in colonoscopy. There have been several devices recently where the computer could look at the images while a doctor is doing a colonoscopy to pick up on any potentially cancerous polyps that might be missed and actually outperform the doctor and find things that augment the doctor, he or she doing the actual procedure. So the future is bright. A lot of the promises that were empty have now moved on to real value in , in finding ways to leverage , uh, machine learning to provide insights, analytics that otherwise human eye isn't capable of doing. So if that, you know, giving you a few examples, giving you an explanation, I think the future is , is really, really bright for where these technologies can be leveraged in the coming years.Patrick Leonard:
Thanks for that, Charles. That's really helpful. Like to think being in the technology space myself that I knew quite a bit about artificial intelligence and machine learning, but even some of that explanation there really breaks it down practically and makes it real, and I learned something from that myself. So that kind of leads me to what , while you were saying that, I was thinking, and particularly with the application of senior living, there's always a human element to this, and you know, you even said it yourself as a doctor, sometimes this technology is so powerful, can outperform the doctor or the human element in these cases. Can you talk to me a little bit more about how the human element is augmenting the artificial intelligence in the machine learning in the case of Somatix and what you all are providing? Cause I assume it is still prevalent.Dr. Charles Herman:
Absolutely. So none of the technologies that are there are being developed really should be looked at as replacements for the caregiver. Computer can't replace the human touch, can't replace human intuition, can't replace , human experience. So the way that you can , you can look at Somatix and other artificial intelligence powered devices is they augment what we can do. I'll give you the example. We did a large study with several facilities affiliated with the Catholic church and the University of Pennsylvania a few years ago, and as part of that study we looked at how the technology's being used, how it was perceived, and how outcomes were being changed by adding remote monitoring to what doctors, nurses, aids were currently doing, and the feedback we got is that number one, the data now that the caregiver is getting are data that that caregiver didn't have before. So think about having a wearable on someone's wrist. This is now a 24/7, 365 view of that patient. If you take someone's vital signs or you check in on them and do an exam, that's a snapshot. But providing a wearable that gives a longitudinal view of how someone is doing that is, you know, not just the trees, that's also seeing the forrest, and we have a more comprehensive, larger view of how that patient's doing. So now there's more data that the human, the caregiver can act on. If we can, if we can use AI machine learning to predict if something's gonna happen before it actually does and see someone's risk, we might be able to prevent that person from getting sick. If we know based on our algorithms that they're at a higher risk for falling or a urinary tract infection. If we can act and make an intervention sooner and keep that person from getting in trouble, we might be able to then, as we saw in our study, we reduced hospital admissions by double digits. We reduced falls, we reduced urinary tract infections. It's the human making the decision, the technology is what we call a clinical decision support system or CDSS. It's providing you another tool, it's a blood pressure cuff on steroids. It's another way of getting more information that's more comprehensive, more insightful that the caregiver can then act on. But the eventual decision to administer the care to decision to, to help someone to deliver the care to someone comes down to the human. And I think that is never gonna be replaced. This is a another tool that that person can use in delivering hopefully better care to take care of that person. Jessica can speak a little bit about that in in the space she was previously in. If you wanna talk a little bit about Jessica, how technology really changed the way diabetes was taken care of. They're very good corollaries there and how insulin pumps and, and blood and glucose monitors, you know, that got more advanced and some artificial intelligence got into those devices where they actually get dose people based on trends that didn't get rid of the endocrinologist, the nurse or the aid . But maybe Jessica talk about a little bit, you know, how you saw that change that industry and how that might compare to what we're doing at Somatix. I think it's a very good case study as well.Jessica Bradley:
Yeah, you know, Charles, I'll follow that and one of the, the first things that when I meet someone new is I make sure that they understand what's our, why <laugh> , why do we get up in the morning and do this and what do we really believe in? And something that I tell everyone is our mission statement. We truly believe in the power of developing artificial intelligence technologies that provide insights that empower people to thrive in their health and wellness. It's ultimately about those insights. And like Charles was referring to, it is whether it's an insight into a glucose level. I have diabetes myself, I'm a global diabetes advocate. I meet with people, you know, with all of these, these health conditions and comorbidities all the time. And it doesn't matter what discipline you're talking about or you know, is it diabetes, is it cardiology, is it nephrology? If you can provide insights into whether it be a glucose level or you know, what we're doing with a hydration and showing people the risk of UTI, if you can do that and you can step in to provide predictive analytics before an adverse event occurs, that's where the solution becomes valuable. And that's truly what our smart pans provide to people living in Senior Living communities. It is, you know, <laugh> , I laugh, I do a lot of open houses and I meet with people and they say, you know, when I tell them that we can give insights to predict a UTI or a fall or pressure sore or something, they're like, oh, can you predict a stroke too? It's like, yes , we'll get there, I promise. You know, as the technology advances a thousand percent, because truly that's what they want. They want that safety net and they want something for their care teams and even themselves to understand more about their health, understand the quality of their sleep. It's pretty powerful for them to really use it as a communication tool that they don't need to communicate. They know that their care team knows already. So it's, it's , um, pretty impactful from a predictive analytics standpoint.Dr. Charles Herman:
Yeah, totally. It's, it's empowerment. As Jessica said, what you do with the data is up to the caregiver and the patient, but certainly more information is better than none. And if we can predict things and prevent them from happening, we really can help, you know, make a significant change in how people are treated and, and keep them safer and healthier.Patrick Leonard:
Absolutely. Yeah, it's exciting to see with all of this and particularly, you know, the technology that's coming out in this space, we're continuing to learn and get better, as Jessica just mentioned, it's coming, it's coming and it's just cool to see how this has really just taken us to a whole different level of healthcare for being preventative and proactive opposed to what we're used to is, you know, calling the doctor, ignore the doctor reactively once a problem already occurs. So how can we touch this thing, you know, these symptoms and these signs of whatever it may be earlier and earlier. So it's, it's really exciting to hear you guys talk about this stuff . Can you, so in order for this, for the magic to work, right, obviously, you know, you mentioned the wearable, the smart band , obviously we're reliance and dependent upon the residents to wear this for it to be effective. Yeah . Can you talk a little bit about how they're responding to this? How are they reacting to it? How are we ensuring that they're using it and they're charging the battery and they're keeping it on 365 days a year so we can get all these insights?Jessica Bradley:
I'll tell you, I think ultimately I work with communities and directors of nursing and executive directors on communication. Communication is absolutely key from a really, what we have to do at the very beginning is just tell people the why behind it, what's in it for me and why should I wear this? If you can successfully communicate the peace of mind and what it does for them, not only to the resident but their family members as well as to staff, the staff needs to understand how is this gonna help me in my day-to-day? That is really important because depending on the level of care that you're talking about, if we're talking about skilled care, the staff is the one who's throwing it on the charger every few days, you know, so they need to understand why am I taking this extra step? What is it doing? You want to think that they care only about, you know, the residents, but it doesn't matter what you're talking about. People wanna know what's in it for them. So I think that I, I will tell you from an implementation and deployment standpoint, that's my job. <laugh> that's what I help the teams to do, is to help them develop those communication. We give them marketing tools and we have videos and YouTube and all of those things. But I think what's really important is that the residents understand this is going to help their care, their care teams to have a bigger insight into their old , their overall wellness. It can help, like Charles was referring to, it's a support system to help them potentially predict adverse events before they happen. I will tell you family members love it because it's a safety net. They know that their loved one is, we have real time alerts, we have predictive analytics that they will, that they're just, they have an angel on their shoulder ultimately, that if they can't be there, that somebody else will be notified. So I think that that's really powerful. And then from the staff standpoint, I'll tell you, I really think it ultimately comes down to better communication. We saw in the study Charles was referring to earlier that , um, you know , we measured hard and soft metrics and some of the soft metrics that we saw was a greater empathy that staff had for the residents themselves because they had a better understanding of how that person was feeling. So it really helped with their communication and the relationships that they had from staff to resident as well.Dr. Charles Herman:
Yeah, absolutely. We, we actually have data to study that. One of the greatest barriers to adoption and remote monitoring historically has been patient adoption. There have been a lot of barriers. Mo a lot of the earlier remote monitoring technologies required hardware, cameras, sensors in patients rooms, homes , servers there, the fact that we're all cloud-based and that the band speaks to the cloud or through the phone to the cloud really helps and the other thing we spend a lot of time on is messaging to the patient and the patient's family because remember a lot of older people, the families are driving a lot of the, the healthcare decisions. What's the value? You know, there's been historical lot of paranoia around collecting personal data, right? So it's very clear for people to understand that the data we're collecting on the risk is to keep them safer, healthier, allow them to age more independently in place. This is what people want. It's not to check their buying habits out on Amazon or their commuting patterns to the local bar. This is to really keep them safer and think about it also engages their social network. Not only do we have the wearable, we have these very mature apps that a family member can go and see how their loved one is doing just through their app that's connected to their band. They could see when they woke up in the morning, how much sleep they got last night, how much fluid they drank, get warnings if they're at risk for a urinary tract infection, fall, poor sleep. So really engages the social and family network of the patient as well that gives buy-in. So we've seen very high adoption. We've seen 80% to 90% adherence over long periods of time because it's an easy solution. It's almost entirely passive. It doesn't require any additional hardware. And Jessica is on the frontline in her role of communicating effectively to the families, the patients and the caregivers, that this really is valuable and, and can keep someone safer. And now, you know, it's in other advantages we have the data to , to be able to back that claim up.Patrick Leonard:
Thank you both for that. So I'm gonna ask you a question now. It , it just got me curious because you know , we, you do see more and more solutions coming out on the market today that are really at their core looking to solve some of these similar aspects, at least bits and pieces of what you all are talking about today. And I'm not asking, not not asking to put you on the spot or can you, I'm just out of curiosity, can you talk a little bit more, are there , is there something different in the technology that you're doing? Is there something different in what you're analyzing or measuring than some of the other more general, you know, remote patient monitoring or, or false prevention tools or anything like that out there in this space today we should be aware of?Dr. Charles Herman:
Yeah, well I think there's, yeah, I think there's two differentiators. Number one is the ability to get such comprehensive, powerful insights purely from the wearable itself. The fact that we're taking unique signals that other companies aren't taking. The , the core of our technology is the gesture detection. There isn't another company out there that can tell you whether someone missed a dose of their medications purely from the movement of their hand or how much fluid they drank purely from the movement of the hand, or how many cigarettes they consumed purely from the movement of the hand . So that's our proprietary, our patented technology is leveraging those unique signals that another no other companies can do in creating unique insights based upon those signals, which as I said earlier, are otherwise worthless signals to know how someone moved their hand. It's the insight that we can provide through the artificial intelligence algorithms. The second value is the big data. So every patient, every second, every day that goes by where someone is added onto our system uses the technology, the technology gets better, the technology gets better because it's increasing the data that we have that we can now create more insights, update our algorithms, learn the patient, learn different type of patients. So, and then we can find patterns in the big data. We can find signals in the data that might predict whether someone is decompensating earlier. And so it's finding patterns in the data that can predict and provide insights from that big data that as we grow our base , as we grow our patient population, we know we can create even more insights over time.Jessica Bradley:
I will say there's, there's three things I always ask everyone to remember when they walk away. I say, one, we have passive remote monitoring. So a lot of times sometimes you'll hear passive versus active. What's the difference? It's that like Charles has mentioned, you wear the band, you don't have to do anything, right? It's very easy. We're not asking someone to check their own blood pressure. We're not asking them to check their SPO2 value with you know , a thermometer or something to check their temperature. It's doing it automatically. That's number one. And I will be honest with you, that's probably the number one reason why people reach out to us is we are looking for a passive remote monitoring solution because we've seen how difficult it is to get people to do things on their own. So that's number one. Number two, like Charles referenced is that AI. The AI is so impactful, it's so powerful. The insights really, it's not just the data because frankly people don't know what to do with all these data points that he is talking about. Well, you know like I can have, I can know how many hours I slept or what the quality was or how much I drank, but what does it mean? They don't know, and that's what we provide them through the AI, and then the third thing is those proprietary gesture detection patents that we have to monitor. Things like Charles referred to. We're the only company that can monitor whether or not somebody took a pill, how much by gesture, what their fluid intake was. Did they actually smoke a cigarette or fall algorithms or very robust in the actual algorithm, but as well as our predictive capabilities to predict a fall from happening. So those three things, passive nature, AI, and gesture detection, I think are what really set us apart.Patrick Leonard:
Fantastic. Thank you for that. So I feel like we , we've covered a lot today and I feel like we can go on and on about this. So interesting and particularly, you know, to get two people with your backgrounds talking about this subject and clearly so passionate about it, it's a lot of fun. But I did wanna kind of end on and give you all an opportunity to, I always like to ask people, you know, what's, we've talked about so much and how far we've come today, but what can we expect in this space next? Do you guys have any insights or predictions as to what's coming next? We've come so far but would love to hear that and or any other words of wisdom as it relates to adopting this technology or thinking about this for folks who haven't kind of dove in yet.Dr. Charles Herman:
Absolutely. Well, I think number one, the technology continues to improve and we're able to do things with our technology and we will be able to do things that we don't even can't even imagine today. We're already working on next generation features, not just cigarette use, but e-cigarette use, detecting tremors and responses to medications. So there , the technology that we have is very, very versatile. The algorithms can be leveraged in ways that can detect new clinical insights that we might not even think of today. So that's one beauty of the technology is it's not limited to one particular use and that can provide even more value to a patient going into the future. The second thing we're doing, which I think that which we're seeing, which I think is very important, is that the adoption has finally started to accelerate. As we started this conversation, we talked about how it's difficult to find markets and bring new technologies into healthcare because people are often set in their ways. But I think now finally the ice is broken and it's very exciting now that we're actually seeing value from new technologies like remote monitoring and that the caregivers, the patients and their families are appreciating it in the technology starting to get adopted. So that is particularly rewarding and exciting and I think as more people see the value and more patient lives are improved, the adoption will continue to increase. I think that that's clearly the trend and that goes with other things in artificial intelligence and remote monitoring. I think it's an exciting time. We're finding all new ways of leveraging machine learning to bring value to patients that augment, that empower what we do. And never, as we said, it'll never replace the caregiver, but we're finding new ways now to augment our powers and be able to detect diseases better earlier and intervene better. And I think that it's an exciting time to be in healthcare. It's an exciting time to see what's happening in remote monitoring. And I think, you know, this is becoming now part of standard of care. We're seeing a lot of not just assisted living nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities adopt us . We're seeing hospitals adopted into their remote monitoring, into their population health programs a nd into home care because, you know, we we're getting to see that it's not just what happens in the hospital setting that matters. I t often just as important as what happens to that person when they leave the hospital. And if we can keep them safer in their home environment, uh, that can often improve the health of the person. So it's changing the way we look at caring for people. It's making it a much more continuous process. That's better I think, in the long run. And I think Jessica and I and the company of Somatics i s, you know, really provision excited to be part of that change.Jessica Bradley:
Absolutely. I I say often that I think since COVID, like Charles had mentioned, remote monitoring has absolutely taken off. And the majority of people that I talked to, they just simply didn't know that it was an option. They didn't know that there's a passive wearable out there that monitors gesture detection and can give insights. They had no idea. So at this point, I think what we're, what we're looking to do is partner with, you know, other business partnerships, work with groups like Parasol . Thank you so much for having us because I think ultimately it is getting the word out that this technology is available and that residents can, can use it to their benefit. So thank you so much for having us because I think platforms like this are really what are gonna help us to expand and bring this technology to people in the market.Patrick Leonard:
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you both for being here. I am one of those people, by the way, Jessica, who didn't know about this pre-COVID, really to the extent and the advancements that it's made and, and the adoption that it's starting to get here in Senior Living. So I am super grateful for both of you for being here and educating me and our listeners. I know they're gonna get a lot out of this episode. So thank you both so much for taking the time to be here. I'm excited to release it.Dr. Charles Herman:
Right, happy to be part of it and appreciate what you're doing and thanks for having us.Jessica Bradley:
Thank you.Patrick Leonard:
Absolutely. And listeners, thanks for tuning into another episode of Raising Tech. I know you'll pick up some valuable information from today's discussion with Jessica and Charles. If there are any topics you want to hear about or want to be on an episode yourself, please feel free to give us a shout or reach out on our website at www.parasolalliance.com. Have a good one .