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November 5, 2020

“Today the way we change cultures is with technology” Glen Tullman

Commentary
Ian Matthews
&

St. Louis, Chicago and New York: Glen Tullman saw them all during his formative years as the family moved for his father to advance his career. Being the youngest from a family of six, Glen has had a competitive streak as far back as he can remember, one which would serve him well in the world of business and digital health. 


It is not often that we get to speak with a digital health leader with a background in studying social culture, Glen may be our first, with his degree in Social Anthropology from Oxford. We discuss his opportunity to study the Amish of Pennsylvania and in turn how it changed his own views on modern societies' relationship with technology. “Today the way we change cultures is with technology” Glen tells us. This view is apparent as we deep dive into the businesses Glen has been behind and how they have changed the medical culture of the United States.


From Enterprise Systems using modern technology to automate the systems and supplies to hospitals throughout the country, to Allscripts’ creation of the largest electronic health record to help combat the 6,000 preventable medication error deaths Americans faced each year, Glen has been a part of the movement advancing medical culture through technology.


Following his 8-year-old son Sam's diagnosis with diabetes, Glen would found Livongo. The personal and close impact of this diagnosis would show him just how hard it was to manage long term chronic illnesses in the US at the time. Livongo would make diabetics experience easier, better and more different than anything that had come beforehand with consumer-focused virtual care. Glen gives us insights into this consumer-focused virtual care throughout our chat but he states Livongos main objective is to “be there with services to make you stay healthy”.


He highlights that all of these ventures have been collaborative and community efforts. “Nothing great is accomplished by individuals, always a team” he smiles as he praises his long-time business partner and friend Lee Shapiro. You may normally find high-level executives pursuing the fairway of their local Golf Club most weekends, however, this is not the case for Glen and Lee. Both men take immense pleasure in finding and developing new business opportunities and ventures and often spend their downtime (or even mid-marathon!) devising ways to help entrepreneurs empower informed, connected health consumers through their company 7wireVentures.


During our chat, we learn how the merger between Teladoc and Livongo came about and what it means for the international expansion of the brand. What is the motivation and purpose of 7wireVentures? We discuss the barriers consumers may face in digital health adoption. How has COVID-19 accelerated the adoption and use of digital technology throughout the medical world? What part does it play as we tackle the mental health fallout from lockdown?


Throughout our conversation with Glen we have discussed the real ways Telemedicine and Virtual Care have made an everyday difference for many around the world. And with the accelerated adoption of both in a Covid-19 world we will have increased data insights into user behaviour and the ability of telehealth providers to rapidly scale and adapt their services, but what aspects of telehealth and virtual care will truly make it sustainable in the long term? 


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