PAUL D'ALESSANDRO: I'm Paul D'Alessandro. I'm a principal with PWC. And I wear two hats at PWC. One is I'm one of the leaders in our new entrants and innovator's practice, which is really important to my role here at Cornell on the advisory board. The other is I lead an incubator at PWC, an incubator that's looking at the role of analytics in new solutions in health care. Well, how can we come up with the right ideas to solve for health care tomorrow? And that's what I do on a daily basis.
We tend to have a very traditional look at the industry players when it comes to health care today. And there's the usual suspects-- the usual suspects from a health care standpoint from a real estate standpoint, from a banking standpoint. But there's a realization taking place that it's hard pressed to find any industry that in some way, shape, or form is not involved in health care today.
Industries as far afield as the automotive industry, we sit in our cars. What better sensing environment is there to put our finger on the pulse of the consumer today? Or the degree to which we can actually measure, are you leading a sedentary lifestyle, or are you walking to where you need to go? But those are simple examples.
We are quickly entering the age that our technology around us, the things that we consume, will work together to better understand our bodies, what we're putting into our bodies, and how we're managing them than ever before. And the onus is on every industry to think about their role in that new ecosystem. We call it new entrants and innovators at PWC. And we think that the concept of new entrants and innovators redefines the landscape, or the ecosystem, of those who participate and are responsible for health.
We need to shift from the whole notion of reactive or sick care into proactive in health care. And once we understand that as individuals and as a society, we begin to shift to where time is spent and where money is spent. Time because we spend-- hopefully, most of us-- our lives in the domain of healthy living. It is on occasion that we have acute condition that the health care industry really plays a role in our life. Really, that should be flip flopped. We should look at the entire life-cycle of an individual and say, how is it that I as an industry player can work with them?
It's simple things, like the mattress industry, or the whole sleep ecosystem. We for years have focused on either the mattress or the pillow, or what I call the usual suspects. But you actually manage your sleep during your waking hours. And that is that-- the amount of activity I get prior to going down for the night, the time at which I go down, the time at which I wake up, the amount of caffeine I consume, the amount of alcohol I consume. All this feeds in to the notion of my sleep. There are many industries at play that manage that. So that's just another example of the broad notion of health care that we need to adapt. And that is beginning to evolve. As we make the shift from reactive to proactive care, we begin to get into a consideration set of many, many different players.
When we look at data-- and we have this whole notion of big data at play here-- it's really only one element of what's changing our society, in particular, health care. The other two elements are that we have an understanding of the human body today like never before, and we have more computing power available to us than ever before. So you have the advent of data, understanding in human physiology and behaviors, and computing power like never before.
So let's talk about where models and data and computing power have changed other industries. I'll share a little bit with you about myself. A lot of people are surprised to hear that I've crashed an airplane 42 times in my life. Paul, how are you sitting before us? You crashed an airplane 42 times. Well, my first career was for 13 years as a pilot in the Navy. And as a pilot in the Navy, I used to land on aircraft carriers for a living.
Now, you could say that I actually crashed a plane 212 times landing on an aircraft carrier because that's really what an aircraft carrier landing is about. But the reality is is that I crashed 42 times in simulators over the course of my career. And a simulator is a really powerful thing because you walk out of a simulator and you use terms like, well, in hindsight, or had I seen those signs, I would have changed my course of action. That's exactly the kind of mentality that we can and should be having in health care today, in that we should be able to see the signs coming. We should be able to change our course or our path through life to avoid the metaphorical crash.
And for the first time-- I mean, if I rewind the clock 50 years, 50 years back-- I mean, just look at two data points. We at best knew the weather 18 hours out. And we had a commercial airplane falling out of the sky at the rate of one per week, over 60 a year. Somewhere in the world, a commercial airplane every week was falling out of the sky. We changed those two industries or areas of science, weather and aviation, because of simulation modeling. We began to take all the data that was at play and say, I can, actually, with a fair degree of accuracy, look at the future and avoid some of the adverse outcomes.
We are at the same point in health care today. We need to be harnessing that data through simulation, through powerful analytics, to get ahead of the crash before it happens. And really, that's what I'm focused on today in my incubation activities. And that is-- it's one thing to measure things, but it's because you're oftentimes measuring the symptoms, and nobody understands that more so than doctors. But it's quite another to have a model behind that measurement and understanding the cause of the effect.
And that's really what we should be striving for in health care, is to understand what is driving the symptoms that we see so that we can give that patient, give that consumer, give that human a look at Ghost of Christmas Future, from Scrooge speak, and say, this is what your future looks like. You want it to look like that? Or do you want to take evasive action today? And that's the role that we should be looking at at health care in analytics and simulation as we go forward.
It is entirely within the realm of possibility today to take the 12 or 13 systems that contribute to that which we call metabolic syndrome, or the onset of obesity, which is the precursor to diabetes, to cardiovascular disease, to so much of what ails people, and huge health care costs. As an aside, we need to think about this not just as a health care issue going forward, but an economic issue. Because if you look at the costs associated with metabolic syndrome and then the co-morbidities that exist beyond that, we have an economic problem as a society going forward, as well as a health care problem.
So the technology exists today to take all these systems. There are beautiful models that exist of everything from the pancreas to the respiratory system, to all kinds of digestive function, and pulmonary, cardiovascular function. Why not bring those all together-- and this is one of the things that I've worked on-- so that you can build a digital replica of an individual with their data, and then, instead of having them live their lives haphazardly, take that data to inform their course and what the multiple paths or choices that they have in life. That's the real possibility of the future, to begin to build digital representations of you, and to better inform the choices that you're making, and then allow all those industry players around you to participate in helping make sure that that path is the best one.
Yeah. There's so much in the way of consumer design that is focused on the human experience today. And one of the things that is potentially most misunderstood is that the new currency of customer experience is actually privacy. People are willing to share more about themselves in return for the right value proposition today than ever before in history.
So what do I mean by that? I look at simple examples, like in social. If I rewind the clock to 2005, just 11 years ago, people were sharing very basic information about themselves at best-- their birthday, and their email address, and a little bit of contact information. But in return now, if I share who my friends are, some things about me socially, what gets me excited, then there's a great value proposition. I connect with those people who I've have lost connection with. I find things that are actually very pleasurable to me that otherwise I would have been disconnected with.
So privacy is turned into this new currency of customer experience. People are sharing more about themselves than ever before. The onus is on us in industry to do something with that information. So when people share information about themselves, or when they offer up to share more about themselves, take them up on it.
There is tremendous opportunity to understand human values today, underlining human values. If we were a consumer packaged good company, we would run simple survey analysis tools like conjoint analysis. The best one that I often use is a-- I'm going to design a new tube of toothpaste. So I run a conjoint, which is a fancy form of consumer survey, and I determine should it be a pump, or should it be a tube, should it be a paste, should it be a gel, speckles, no speckles. And I weigh all these things. And I understand what matters to people in the design of that product.
We can do the same thing for services. We can do the same thing for health care. We do it today, but we do it in a limited fashion. People want to share more about themselves if, in return, they get the right value proposition. We should measure that. And then we should take advantage of that, in terms of catering to the behaviors-- keyword here, behavior-- in that behaviors end up driving values, motivations, behaviors. And if you understand the underlying values that motivate us, and then we can amend or help people understand their behaviors that result, then we have a fighting chance to lead healthier lives.
And really that's the way we should be looking at the human experience. There's all kinds of things about, do I want to make someone happy? Or is there, you know, this concept of the Net Promoter Score, and different measurement techniques. The reality is is that human experience is around understanding human values and then catering to them so that we can help them lead healthier lives.
I heard a word used the other day, and the word was fit. And for years and years, I too, you know, would go out on the trail of pursuit of grade students and think about the notion of fit. And too much today, I think we rely upon that term. And we need to really begin to eat our own dog food in terms of diversity, and multiculturalism, and differing perspectives. Like, who would think that maybe one of the primary drivers of health care is someone who manages the sleep ecosystem. But if you do a sensitivity analysis on it, maybe that's what it really means.
I believe the onus is on us as we think about the real drivers of healthy futures is to engage in students from different perspectives, like never before, maybe not necessarily from a fit standpoint, but from a passion and new perspectives standpoint. And that's going to really change things as we go forward because the more you broaden up the aperture of the way you look at health care, the more you have a chance to really change things.
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Paul D’Alessandro, Principal of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, was interviewed during the Cornell Hospitality, Health and Design Symposium, "In Search of a Healthy Future" on October 10, 2016.