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Season 1, Episode 7: Transcript



Angela: Welcome everyone. Thanks for joining us. You are listening to Atlanta Business Impact Radio with Veanne Smith and I’m your co-host, Angela Greenwell. Atlanta Business Impact Radio is a podcast that showcases some of Atlanta’s most innovative and forward-thinking business and technology professionals. In our first season we take a deeper look into the world of healthcare IT. In today’s podcast, we talk about living younger. How to create a lifestyle that keeps us out of the hospital and today’s most exciting mobile apps for health and wellness that can help. Both Veanne and I are very excited to welcome as our guest, Jay Shaffer.

Veanne: Welcome everyone. Thanks for joining us. This is Veanne Smith with Atlanta Business Impact Radio. In this episode of our podcast, we will explore how technology and software apps are blazing a trail and encouraging fitness and wellness. I’m proud of the fact that much of this innovation is occurring right here in Atlanta. I’m excited to welcome Jay Shaffer as our guest today to talk on this topic. Jay is an executive leader with over 20 years of experience in product management, sales operations, business process implementation and consumer-focused Internet start-ups. Jay is currently an adviser to Health Connect South which serves as a platform in the southeast for health collaboration among the top health decision-makers, innovators and the next generation of leaders.

Hello Jay, and welcome to Atlanta Business Impact Radio.

Jay: Thank you for inviting me, Veanne, I’m really honored to be here.

Why have you moved into Healthcare IT?

Veanne: Same. Great to have you. I’ve known you for so many years so this is great for me to get to know you on a new level and some of the things you’re working on. I’d like to tie your past to the future here. Given all the things that I know about you that you’ve done in your career around product development, operations management, business development, start-ups, I’m curious to know why have you chosen now to get involved more in the healthcare IT arena?

Jay: Well, there’s so much going on in the healthcare environment right now and one of the things that I’m interested in is the fitness and wellness space. There’s so many things that you can do. I know you’ve had like, Brian Kennah from Sharecare on before that was talking about patient centered care. I contend that there is a lot of things that you can do to help you not become a patient or prolong the time before we have to become a patient. There’s a lot of fitness and wellness things that you can do to take control of your own health care.

Veanne: I totally agree. I said many times if I weren’t here doing the things I do in technology I would love to become someone out there convincing everyone to stay out of the doctor’s office and all of the things we can control of ourselves, right? Some of them aren’t that difficult —

Jay: Right.

Veanne: — it just takes a mental approach and desire to do it.

Jay: Well, as the actress Betty Davis said, “Aging ain’t for sissies.” There are things that you can do in the aging process that are optional things that you can do to help. You know, they say the trifecta is your exercise, diet and sleep and if you can get those things under control, they can help lead to a healthy life.

Where does your philosophy for fitness and wellness come from?

Veanne: Yes. Absolutely. I’d be curious to hear from you where some of the philosophy regarding fitness and wellness come from for you. We get inspired by things that we see or read or whatever so maybe tell us what inspired you or where some of your philosophy comes from.

Jay: That’s a great question. My lovely spouse, Hope, a few years ago gave me a book called, “Younger Next Year” and the subtitle of it is “a Guide to Living Like You’re 50 Until You’re 80 and Beyond.” And the philosophy is that once you get to a certain age, aging is a process and there’s things that you can do — exercise, diet — to help with aging process so that you don’t gradually get older and decrepit, you can maintain your lifestyle for a long time well into your 80s, is what the author of the book and his patients and they’re proving it every day.

Veanne: I think the book also talks about, it’s not too late, right? You can start this even at 50, or whatever. It’s kind of like you know if you’ve been smoking it’s still never too late to stop. Right?

Jay: Correct. A lot of the results of aging are reversible. There are things that you can do. They’ve shown that with diabetes and I’m always reminded of the Country and Western song “If I’d Have Known I Was Going to Live This Long I Would Have Taken Better Care of Myself.” So you don’t have to wait until you’re 50 to implement some of these things. You can start in your 20s.

Veanne: I tell my children that all the time, you know. Let me tell you from the wise old woman here. Right?

Jay: Yes. If I could talk to my younger self, I would do some things differently in that regard.

What do you think drives fitness app adoption?

Veanne: Yes, absolutely. Awesome. What do you think are some of the important factors that drive fitness app adoption? We have so many fitness apps out there now. Then what ultimately determine which of those apps are going to be successful in your opinion?

Jay: Right now, so many of the fitness apps that’s dependent on what works for you. In the health care space if you make a medical claim it has to be approved by the FDA and that’s a long process and there’s all kinds of things there. So I’m very much focused on what you can do for yourself for your own health. Right now a lot of the adoption… I heard someone speak at one of the big wearables events here in Atlanta, said that what’s going to drive adoption for a lot of people is fashion and I said — Oh, I don’t know if that’s the right thing or not, I don’t care what my Fitbit looks like, I’m interested in this —

Veanne: I do. [laughs]

Jay: Well, then you’re a different market than I am. But I understand —

Veanne: I think the women spend most of the consumer dollars.

Jay: That’s where Misfits came from. They have the beautiful looking jewelry and things like that. I think they were just acquired by someone. But I understand that the people that look at a Fitbit — my ugly one I have here on my belt — that they contend that it’s not that accurate or this or that and the doctors don’t really care about the Fitbit data. I say that it’s behavior modification. I know if I haven’t done my steps for the day I’m going to take a walk after dinner. An example is, last fall I had my high school reunion and I wouldn’t —

Veanne: I have a feeling where this is going.

Jay: I wanted to show up make sure I was looking as good as I could for the high school reunion so in the combination of the Fitbit — there’s another app called “Lose it!” There are other ones like MyNetDiary and things like that. But if you just keep track of the food that you eat and the steps that you walk… Simple things like that will lead to… I lost about 10, 15 pounds almost, ready for my high school reunion. I put some of it back on and I have to reengage with those apps. But the idea is if I hadn’t hit my goal of steps for the day I’d go take a walk after dinner just to make sure. It’s one of those things instead of sitting down and eating 200 calories I would go walk around the neighborhood for 30 minutes and that’s 200 calories. That’s a net difference of 400 calories. Do that for a week, that’s 2800 calories and that’s in that range of one pound. If you lose a pound to a pound and a half a week then you could get to… You set your goals and just keep track of it and that’s what these fitness apps do.

Are there any music apps for fitness out there?

Veanne: Alright. So we have fashion. So you know I think music perhaps… I think there are some music apps out there. Music always motivates us to work — the pace, the beats. What do you know about that?

Jay: That’s a great question. There’s a company that’s based here in Atlanta called FIT Radio and the owner of the Opera Nightclub had the music that they have for dancing that’s seamless and they took some of that music or they have the DJs create things for you and I swear by this FIT Radio. You get up in the morning and you don’t want to exercise; you go to the gym and you get on the treadmill or the bike and you put a FIT Radio station — there’s numerous stations, you can have oldies or current music, top 40, different beats —

Veanne: Pop, rap, country.

Jay: — you name it, it’s on here. Then once you just get started, the music drives you along. There’s been several times where I didn’t feel like exercising that morning and 30 minutes later I was thanking FIT Radio for helping me get through the routine.

Atlanta Health and Wellness Companies

Veanne: Nice shout-out for FIT Radio. We have other companies in Atlanta that are doing great things. Wahoo Fitness —

Jay: Wahoo Fitness has an app that you can do anywhere. You don’t have to be in a gym you can be in your hotel room and another one that I’m big on is called Tabata, there’s a Japanese doctor Tabata that came up with these intense — they call it high intensity training —

Veanne: For four minutes or something, I think.

Jay: You set the range yourself. I have a wonderful app here — and maybe we put link to it afterwards — where you can set it yourself. The standard one is 20 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of rest. You can do this sitting in your hotel room. If you just did 20 seconds of pushups, wait ten seconds and then do 20 seconds of sit ups and you do a series of eight; that’s what they found is the best; that’s high intensity morning and all day long you’re be burning the calories for that. So the Tabata is a big thing and Wahoo Fitness put together one that has 12 exercises and it has little videos for it you can’t miss if you’re a novice or even if you’re experienced at working out, the Wahoo Fitness app can help you get through a workout that you will feel all day long.

Veanne: I love one of the things — I think the premise of their, when they started was taking the power of a computer that we have on us all the time which your phone or your device, right? And then hooking apps to it. So leveraging something that you already have which is a brilliant idea. Then we have Sharecare in town I know they’re doing a lot with trying to help us think about our age.

Jay: Sharecare’s a —

Veanne: You don’t want to tell real age.

Jay: Sharecare crosses that divide —

Veanne: Kind of do both, yes.

Jay: — between the fitness and wellness and into the ones that are more medical. They have this great app on their site that has the “What’s Your Real Age?” I don’t know if you’ve taken the test or not?

Veanne: I guess.

Jay: That’s very revealing because you think what this is and how things benefit you or are detrimental to your health. One of the things that I didn’t realize was they recommend that you should take a little bit of aspirin on occasion because that’s supposed to be good for your system. But the real age app on the Sharecare is a great way to see like a checkpoint where you are. If you’re just starting out on a exercise program you need to do that or if you’re well into it it’s a great thing to set if you’re going for this younger next year.

Veanne: Beyond Sharecare, are there other health-related apps that you’re seeing out there that are integrated with the hospital, the provider or the payer systems? Are you familiar with others?

Jay: There are some of those but again I’m more focused on the wellness and fitness space and like I mentioned before the diet, exercise and sleep — that trifecta of things that you are in control of yourself, can help you prolong the time that you’re going to be a patient and there’s some —

Veanne: And deal with all the patient scheduling and the HR systems. OK.

Jay: Right. Some of those things. I’m more in the preventive space and there’s a great one called Inner Balance and there’s a new one called Headspace. These are ones that — your emotional mood — they have your phone to track how you’re feeling right now and you can… The early days it was called bio-feedback but there are some things with your app and you sit in a quiet space, people meditate it’s similar to that and it will give you signals on things that you can do to calm yourself down. Similar to the Sharecare — going back to them again — they acquired that Feingold Technologies about analyzing your voice and they can tell if there’s stress in your voice based on their algorithm so if you notice something stressed you out you can — number one — you can tell. The other thing too, it’s good for prevention. When I know when I talk to this person or if I call a family member that my stress level raises so, in advance you can think about that because that’s part of the things… Again, these things are under your control and the things that you can do to help with your stress levels.

There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning someone has taken to market a wearable device that analyzes the sweat on your body and over time they can see what things are going on with you in a chemical reaction and so it’s interesting to see. Again, doctors — talking to some of them — they’re interested when these things changes they’re not interested in on a day to day basis what happens but for you — maintaining your own health — these kinds of signals would be valuable.

Health Connect South

Veanne: Very good. Alright, Jay, I know you’re really proud of the work being done here in Atlanta through Health Connect South to build recognition of the Southeast’s role of the health leadership and innovation. Can you tell us more about the mission of Health Connect South so we understand a little bit better and some of the past and upcoming events that are going on there?

Jay: Sure. Russ Lipari is real visionary in the health space and there’s all of these wonderful silos here in Atlanta. TAG has a Health IT group. I know they have annual events. So if you’re Health IT, you can go through TAG. If you have a medical device SEMDA, the Southeast Medical Device Association they have a wonderful organization. The bio-sciences — there’s Georgia Bio, and neighboring states have similar organizations like that. All these wonderful groups together — and Russ’s idea was, all these people meet in their silos but they don’t always connect with other people and so lets take the top of the top of each silo and get them to meet and think about collaborating in new ways. Kind of thing that goes on at places like the ATDC or ATV in the tech space in a ongoing basis bringing that to the health arena. We knew we were on to something after our very first event and more than one survey came back and said this was great, wasn’t the same old crowd.

Veanne: Oh, that’s cool.

Jay: — so the idea is to foster innovation between that and there’s — if you go to the Health Connect South website you’ll see examples of some of the collaborations that have come out. Just people meeting at some of these events and say, “Hey, I’ve got an idea” and the philosophy between Health Connect South is, we tell people, “Tell us what you do, don’t assume I know and tell us what you need.” And I always —

Veanne: That’s good.

Jay: — tell people that the Carter Center — I’ve lived in Atlanta since the Olympics and I thought the Carter Center was an oval office replica in a gift shop — I didn’t realize that they spent over a hundred million dollars every year eradicating different illnesses and the guinea worm, I think, is the one of the ones that they’re working on. President Carter when he was when he realized he had cancer — he said “I’m going to outlive the last worm, guinea worm.” So…

Veanne: Oh, that’s awesome.

Jay: — I thought that was a great. And so that’s something —

Veanne: So don’t assume that I understand what it is, in other words. So that’s a great premise. I like that.

Jay: Right. So the next Health Connect South event will be in Nashville on April 1st and it’s going to be talking about investing in health care start-ups. So we have… Go to the —

Veanne: Any idea how many people will be there? How big of an event?

Jay: It should be in the 90 to 100 or so.

Veanne: Nice. OK.

Jay: The year, next September — I think the date’s September 21st — it will be in the Aquarium, that’s the one where it’s the big tent event where they invite everybody to come and last year there were over 500 people that came to the Aquarium for that event, so that will be scheduled in September but in the mean time there are quarterly events along the way.

Veanne: Nice. Well thanks for explaining a little bit more about Health Connect South. I think that there are a lot of people in town that may not be aware of Health Connect South still so, shout out for that too.

Jay: Well, thank you and it’s great to let people know that there are ways… There’s so many things here that you don’t know about and the idea is just come to a place, a forum, where people can connect.

Veanne: Yes. Absolutely great. Love your involvement in that. So for anybody that wants to reach out to you, Jay, to connect what’s the best way for them to do that?

Jay: They can reach me through Or they could send me an email,

Veanne: Awesome. Alright. Well it’s been a great pleasure having you here with me today on Atlanta Business Impact Radio, thanks so much.

Jay: Thank you so much Veanne.

Angela: You have been listening to Atlanta Business Impact Radio with Veanne Smith and I am your co-host Angela Greenwell. This program has been brought to you by SOLTECH. For more information about the podcast including other episodes you can visit our website at or find us on iTunes. Thank you for listening and we look forward to having you join us again.

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