EXPERT OPINION: A Conversation with Kai Stinchcombe, Co-Founder, True Link, and Rahul Mahadevan, President & COO, Life2

July 21, 2014

In this "Expert Opinion" interview, Kai Stinchcombe, Co-Founder, True Link, discusses senior spending solutions, and Rahul Mahadevan, President & COO, Life2, explains predictive medical analytics......

Rahul Mahadevan, Life2 Inc. Read the transcript

 

Rahul Mahadevan is President & COO of Life2 Inc.  He has over 17 years of Healthcare IT experience, starting and leading numerous startups focusing on technology for the Healthcare sector.  Prior to joining Life2, Rahul spent 3 years at Stanford Hospital and Clinics leading their Strategic Growth and Outreach program.  Before that he held various leadership positions including running the Healthcare Informatics Group over Asia and Latin America for Philips.  He has an MBA from Duke and a MA in International Economics from UCLA.   

 

Rahul Mahadevan
President & Chief Operating Officer
Life2 Inc.
rahul.mahadevan@life2inc.com
Cell:  (650) 302-2021

 

Kai Stinchcombe
Co-Founder
True Link

www.truelinkcard.com


 

Read the interview transcript:

Steve Monroe
A lot of the technology that’s affecting senior care right now is kind of more social-oriented. We’ve been hearing things about robotics with the elderly. But there is something that’s coming down the pike that, from my perspective, looks like it could be revolutionary in terms of the entire healthcare system, especially dealing with the elderly.

I’m here with Rahul Mahadevan. He’s a co-founder of Life2. Now, you have built a suite of predictive models to help identify future medical problems or needs for the elderly. Models that will help predict that. How did you create those models?

Rahul Mahadevan
So, we’ve been doing as a company predictive analytics for over 20 years. In other domains. We’ve done predictive modeling in insurance, in finance, transportation was the last company we did it in. And the concept around predictive modeling is all the same—can you take data and look for trends and causality correlation to predict future adverse events? And you can define adverse events in any way you want.

In the transportation industry we were able to predict which drivers in a fleet company were likely to have accidents in the next 30 to 60 days, so that companies could put plans in place to mitigate the risk of accidents from happening. If you take that same concept and apply it to healthcare and you ask yourself how can we use data that exists and try and identify the likelihood of someone having an adverse event—be that the risk of contracting…of preventing an infection in the next 24 to 48 hours or whether they’re likely to be responsive to a treatment to treat diabetes or hypertension or they’re likely to move out of a senior living facility or to keep them in—the concept of analytics is the same. It’s trying to identify what the right predictive variable is and can you use data in a way that allows you to accurately predict something in the future?

Steve Monroe
For the senior care community, do you have that predictive data?

Rahul Mahadevan
So the data exists. The challenge in the senior care community is, I think the industry is a little behind in terms of data collection. So, from our perspective, it’s been challenging to find organizations that are sitting on a wealth of data. So, rather than approaching individual senior care facilities, we’ve had to go and approach business partners, like a Brookdale, Formation Capital and Link-age and so on and so forth, who are sitting on a large amount of data. And being able to predict adverse events is not just a combination of clinical information. It’s also being able to scrape information that exists on the Web. So when you try to predict someone, the likelihood of somebody contracting pneumonia or upper respiratory infection, clinical information is important, but looking at pollen count in the air may be just as important as a potential indicator.

So we look at not just clinical information, but we also look at structural data that exists in our dataset, but are able to mine unstructured data. To identify key phrases within nursing notes or emails. I have on top of that the ability to look at sentence analysis. So it’s not just what words are used in free form text, but the context in which they’re used and are those potential indicators of a potential adverse event?

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Steve Monroe

A lot of people are worried about their parents’ finances, people taking advantage of them. Financial fraud against the elderly is a very, unfortunately a very common thing nowadays. But there’s a new product out there to help take care of that.

I’m here with Kai Stinchcombe, who’s one of the founders of True Link. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about True Link and what it does and when you formed it?

Kai Stinchcombe

So, I came at this as somebody whose family needed the product. My grandma was suffering from kind of mild memory loss, but started donating to a lot of charities, subscribing to a lot of magazines, shopping off the TV, entering sweepstakes. There’s a whole set of patterns. And the thing that we realized was that there wasn’t any way for my mom, her daughter, to help her manage her spending and maintain her independence. So that’s really the genesis of True Link is a set of tools for somebody caring for or concerned about an elderly person’s finances to help them stay on track.

Steve Monroe

But why not just get a debit card and have someone just put a hundred bucks, two hundred bucks in it every month and so you can’t overspend.

Kai Stinchcombe

Yeah, exactly. So, typically the problem might involve overspending, but it’s not necessarily a spending volume thing so much as what you’re spending the money on, right? So, my grandma was living independently, cooking her own meals, shopping for food, cleaning her apartment, buying her clothes. And yet was also donating tons of money to these charities in the mail, for example. So we couldn’t really say you only have $1,000 a month, because she might give it away to charities in the first week and then not be able to cook her food for the rest of the month.

And so the point is you need tight, fine-grained controls. I mean, basically the story is that every senior’s spending patterns and needs are different. But we’ve seen it all before.

Steve Monroe

And your mother was the one who was monitoring?

Kai Stinchcombe

Exactly.

Steve Monroe

No push-back from your grandmother?

Kai Stinchcombe

You know, I think that there’s a set of difficult conversations around aging. In some cases it’s pretty amiable. I think there were times when my grandma didn’t want my mom breathing down her neck about one particular charity or another. She would say, Oh, you know—like she would hold up a fundraising letter, for example, and say, If I don’t write this check, it says here that this kid is going to die if I don’t donate six cups of rice. My mom would say, okay, so I did a little bit of reading about this particular organization and actually 97% of the budget goes to fundraising. She says, Oh, okay, and she’ll put down that letter and open the next one. And you say—you see there’s this whole pattern, right? But if you have memory loss, you might, for example, renew your annual subscription every week.

Steve Monroe

What happens, I assume when your grandmother is using this, she has to use a pin number when she’s buying something?

Kai Stinchcombe

No. You sign it just like any other Visa card.

Steve Monroe

Okay. So how about if she’s doing it on the phone?

Kai Stinchcombe

Same story. It works like any other Visa card. You can use it with a pin to get money out of the ATM. You can go into a bank and give them the card and take out cash over the counter and get cash at point of service, if you remember your pin. You can just swipe it like any other Visa card. Put it into an online form, give it out over the phone.

Steve Monroe

Tell me about the blocking mechanism. How does that work?

Kai Stinchcombe

So, because it’s a card that we’ve issued, when you swipe it, the transaction actually gets routed to our servers and so we can compare it in real time to a database of known sketchy merchants, to individualized patterns and rules. So, for example, for one person it might be no magazine subscriptions. For another person, it might be, here’s five magazines she likes. For another person it might be magazines are fine, they’re not a problem.

Steve Monroe

And that’s all done electronically?

Kai Stinchcombe

Yeah. Yeah, we have about a fifth of a second to do that, so.

Steve Monroe

And so the family members basically fill out a form to let you know all that kind of stuff?

Kai Stinchcombe

Yeah. Exactly, exactly.

Steve Monroe

Are there any glitches with that?

Kai Stinchcombe

You know, there’s always some complexity. So you might say, oh, I don’t want any charities. And then you say, oh, actually, when I said no charities, I meant no charities except her church. And so you’re going to end up going back and kind of fixing that over time. But basically the idea is that you have all the tools you need.

 

 

 

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