What is IoMT? How living longer and healthier with IoT is being made possible? And how can IoT improve your health? Senior Director of Strategy of Jabil, Brad Womble, joins Ryan Chacon on the IoT For All Podcast to discuss IoT in the health and wellness space. Brad provides examples of current IoT products in the industry and how they shape how we analyze our health.
Brad provides leadership in strategic planning, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, business partnerships, and joint ventures for Jabil’s $3 billion healthcare division. With over 12 years of experience in senior business development and finance roles, Brad has exceptional insight and understanding of the technology, policy, and macroeconomic forces shaping today’s dynamic healthcare marketplace. Before joining the healthcare division’s executive team in 2012, Brad held positions with Flextronics Medical (formerly Avail Medical Products), Roche Diagnostics, and Fresenius.
Interested in connecting with Brad? Reach out on Linkedin!
Jabil is a global manufacturing service and Fortune 200 company with over 250,000 employees across 100 locations in 30 countries. At Jabil, they make the most complex ideas and products a reality. They combine unmatched breadth and depth of end-market experience, technical and design capabilities, manufacturing know-how, supply chain insights, and global product management expertise to enable success for the world’s leading brands.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(00:40) Introduction to Brad & Jabil
(01:43) What is IoMT?
(13:00) Informing healthy decisions
(18:37) Accessing new data
– [Ryan] Hello, everyone and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast. I’m Ryan Chacon and on today’s episode, we’re gonna be talking about what IoMT is, digital twins, and how they work together to provide a better experience for people monitoring their health, patients, and you name it, anything connected to the medical space. With me today will be Brad Womble, the Senior Director of Strategy, Marketing, Mergers, and Acquisitions and Healthcare at Jabil. They are a global manufacturing services company. Fantastic episode but before we get into it, I would really love it if you would give this video a thumbs up, subscribe to the channel if you’ve not done so already, and hit that bell icon if you’re watching on YouTube so you can get the latest episodes as soon as they are out. But other than that, on to the episode. Welcome, Brad, to IoT For All Podcast, thanks for being here this week.
– Thank you, appreciate the invitation. Nice to meet you, Ryan.
– You as well, yeah, I’m very excited for you to be here. I’d love to kick this off by having you give a quick introduction just about yourself and the company for our audience.
– Yeah, awesome. Well, my name’s Brad Womble and I work for a company called Jabil, and we specialize in a lot of different areas industry-wise. Healthcare is certainly a big focus of ours and roughly a $5 billion division within Jabil and it’s definitely a fast growing area. Jabil supports a lot of other industries though that compliment that healthcare space. We’re in aerospace and defense, we’re in automotive and transportation, we’re in industrials, we have a big consumer devices group which does smart home and appliances and mobility and AR/VR. So we’re a fairly diversified contract manufacturer that works for our customers in terms of helping to build products as well as other types of business solutions.
– Fantastic, fantastic. So I wanted to jump in here, I know you mentioned the role you all play in the medical space, which I think is an interesting topic for us to start with. A new term that has been thrown around, I know it came up in our early discussions before the recording, was the term IoMT and I wanted to see if you could break down and explain to our audience what does IoMT mean at a high level, and then talk about how IoT is really playing a role in healthcare, and we can dive further into that once we get through the beginning.
– [Brad] Sure, yeah. Well, very simply put IoMT stands for Internet of Medical Things which is obviously a sub-sect of the Internet of Things in general, but more specifically, it’s really about interconnecting medical devices together, wearable technologies, and healthcare applications, weaving that web if you will is really what constitutes the Internet of Medical Things. And I would argue that there’s probably other types of applications related to supplements and food and exercise that also play into that as well, but it’s a term that really encapsulates the ability of capturing data from many different types of devices and applications to really help better support the consumer or the patient using those devices.
– [Ryan] And a lot of those technologies and devices that are out there now are really helping support guidance when it comes to wellness and being something that’s always actively monitoring and actively supporting that initiative, and I guess you could dive a little bit deeper in talking about how IoT in general has really enabled the healthcare space and the wellness space to support the ability to provide guidance for people to stay healthy and to monitor key health indicators on a regular, real-time basis.
– [Brad] Yeah. I would say that IoMT in particular is really the essential part of that equation and it really allows us to do real-time or close to real-time monitoring of both consumers and patients to really help with that wellness. So really, I guess one way to really think about how strong of a role IoT is playing is that this is the first time in a long time, so let me just step back for second. We’ve known about the importance of personalized medicine for a long time and personalized medicine is really providing the right treatment at the right time. And even Hippocrates and Galen, some of the ancient Greek doctors, 2,000 plus years ago, 2,500 year ago, they knew that treating the individual is the most important thing and that you don’t treat the same two individuals the same way. Even though they might have the same disease, you actually treat them differently depending upon who they are, their age, demographics, a lot of other profiles. So we’ve known about personalized medicine for a long period of time but it’s only today that IoMT in particular is really enabling us to see the vision of what Hippocrates and Galen knew 2,000 years ago. So we’re now able to match the technology with the personalized medicine so that we can really put those two together. In the past, it’d be difficult to have a physician for every person on Earth, but having technology that can actually monitor the patient, ask the right questions as part of followup physicians or if it’s preventative medicine for consumers like you and me, it really is enabling that capability. So it is a pivotal tipping point in our industry, this technology.
– [Ryan] Yeah, and one of the thing that’s been interesting lately, we’ve been talking a lot about AI/ML as well and these technologies being able to benefit from large data sets which IoT enables. It enables data collection, real-time information gathering that we didn’t potentially have access to previously, but now having that data available, you can start to build these AI models and ML models and bring them into the solutions. I’d love it if you could tell us a little bit more from your perspective how AI and ML are utilizing this new IoT data to provide value in the medical space.
– [Brad] Yeah, it is the key element. You could collect all the data in the world, as a matter of fact, I’m wearing a Whoop band as well as an Apple watch, but even though these two things collect more or less the same type of information, the way they display that information to me is actually quite different. For instance on the Apple Watch, all of my data, whether it’s the heart rate variability, heart rate, steps, calories, all of that, it’s stored in the health app but it’s not providing guidance in terms of how that data should be used in terms of me say sleeping tonight or how much exercise I should do tomorrow, but what the Whoop Band is actually doing is in fact taking that same data but it’s actually creating an algorithm for me that’s really helping guide my daily activities, how much exercise I should do, when I should go to bed for sleep, how much sleep performance, sleep efficiency, and the ability of really including a lot of data to create these what we call digital twins, for instance, is really what it’s about. So it’s using AI and ML to create a patient digital twin or consumer digital twin, whatever you want to call it, to really help guide and nudge a patient towards wellness or if they’re sick, help them understand what might be the issue and then for them to get obviously a consultation if they’re actually having an illness.
– [Ryan] Yeah, and I’d be curious to learn too about the digital twin playing a role in this space. I know we’ve talked about in the past what digital twins are and how they’re benefiting just IoT in general, but as it relates to the medical space, I know digital twins are really working to provide even more insights and more value. Can you take us through that role and the benefits of the digital twin in IoMT?
– [Brad] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well first, let me just talk about the patient digital twin, I feel, is ultimately what’s really gonna help guide a patient towards a better quality life, and I think that patients that are sick and use it, Ryan, you and I can use it for just hopefully keeping ourselves healthy and even more healthy into the future, but when you start putting a lot of these different patient digital twins together, let’s say that all of a sudden we have knowledge of 100,000 patient specific digital twins, is there a population digital twin that we could think about? For instance, are there certain genetic factors that help you and me respond to certain drugs in a more efficacious way or in a less efficacious way. So even pooling these patient digital twins from individuals and looking at it from a population perspective is really gonna help guide us in terms of even better decision making, even better drug formulations, even better treatment protocols that can help even large masses as a result of just aggregating the important results from these patient digital twins. The other element of it I call a device digital twin, it’s more of a digital thread if you will, but the idea of the device being a key component in terms of the care of the patient, but then also in terms of how do we continue to improve devices? And how do we continue to customize devices to better treat patients? One of the things that we’re really focused on is how do we one, monitor the health of those devices, how do we use that information then to help improve the next version of those devices to help better treat patients? So it’s really this confluence between the devices and the actual patient digital twin and the data coming in from patients that’s really linking together to really make these robust AI tools, these digital twin tools.
– [Ryan] Is that one of the potential advantages of using that patient digital twin for personalized medicine for the broader consumer base? Or where does this go and what is the advantage long term look like in your opinion?
– [Brad] Yeah, I think that’s a really good observation. So from a consumer perspective, we can use these digital twins one, to help give early diagnosis for diseases or potential infections. Just to give an example, it was a couple weeks ago, my son was a little sick, I didn’t think that I’d gotten it from him but I woke up with a really low recovery score, I was in the red, but honestly, I didn’t feel any different, I actually felt pretty good that day, but it was only until the next day that I actually started getting a sore throat and feeling like there was something in my lungs or whatever. So there was an early indication of that showing up in my results that I thought was really interesting. But the other thing too is really about how do we continue to nudge towards wellness? So if our goal is to be healthier and fitter, that patient digital twin really becomes a lifestyle coach for you and I. For instance, you may wake up with a really high recovery score, in the green let’s say, and it might suggest that you have a strain of 15, 15 is a moderate strain, it might suggest you have a workout that gives you a 15% strain, and then you do that workout and you may actually have only 11 strain and it will say hey, maybe do another 30 minutes on the bike or something like that to really hit that 15 strain threshold so that you’re maximizing your recovery and you’re maximizing the benefit from it. So it really becomes a subtle lifestyle coach, I think, and I feel like that’s something that consumers are going to really be able to benefit from. The key thing though is to continue to add data to it. Custom surveys, did you take creatine today, right? And what is that showing up? Or did you avoid dairy? Being able to track those things and correlate it to how you’re performing from a recovery standpoint is super important as part of that process.
– [Ryan] Yeah, that’s a super interesting point because just as an individual, as I’ve gotten older, you start to understand how different things affect your body in different ways. You don’t think about that much if you’re a kid, you’re built in a way where it feels like you’re indestructible but as you get older, you start to see how you might be, and obviously your body changes, but you start to see and pay attention to how certain foods, certain activities, certain things affect the way you feel, whether it’s activity levels, how well you sleep, do you feel nauseous, does your stomach hurt? Whatever it is during the day, and it’s really tough to put a finger on what’s triggering it unless you’re very diligent about monitoring your intake of food, your activities, and so forth, a lot of us are not, but if there is a better way to do that or a way to monitor that even at a high level, to be able to help inform and guide people to make those right decisions or better decisions, I should say, to just feel better about themselves and be able to interact with that through some kind of technology is very fascinating and something that I think a lot of people, including myself, would benefit a ton from.
– [Brad] Yeah. I really think it’s the future. There’s a whole big area, we’ll have time today to get into it, but there’s a whole big area of longevity medicine where there’s literally physicians that are just focused on longevity and there are some things that we’re talking about today that if we can put them all together are really gonna help us stay healthier for longer. And when we look at the cost that we spend on healthcare each year, I think it’s roughly 18.5% of the gross domestic product of the US is spent on healthcare, it’s a massive expense, but the goal is how do we limit or prevent some of these chronic diseases from lasting? And the whole idea is if we can stay healthy until we’re 90 or 100 or 110 or 120, the idea is that we’re pushing that cost curve to basically the last days of our lives and we’re able to really save a huge, substantial amount of money and also really improve the quality of life during the elder years.
– [Ryan] Oh, it’s interesting you talk about that ’cause there’s so many different things that effect us as individuals that we don’t think about until sometimes, not say it’s too late, but it requires more work to right the ship. And being someone who’s been involved in different athletics and different sports my whole life, I saw it a lot when I got out of college, started doing crossfit a bit more, and seeing individuals all the way up until their 60’s doing this and just hearing their stories about the quality of life and the improvements in their life they were able to see when they started to just move their body on a regular basis. They were wearing different wearables to track their fitness, track their activity levels, tell them hey, you need to drink water, you need to get up, you need to move, but just doing something on a regular basis, and this is obviously not the full scale of it, but just something that helped them move their body, helped them stay healthier, helped them get more flexible, helped them just not age as fast as you’d expect them to. Hearing how happy they are to have been pushed into doing something like that whether it’s crossfit or going to the gym or whatever you do, the more information you have promoting that and telling you why it’s important and helping and encouraging you to do it, it’s just doing to extend and hopefully, improve our lives for a longer duration of time. And if you include the food aspect and diet and medication and healthcare, other things you can help inform people on, it’s a no brainer and it’s just such a big place for us to go that we’re gonna look back in hopefully 20-30 years and just see how quality of life has just improved from being able to collect and analyze and deal with this data.
– [Brad] Oh my god, yeah. Well first of all, my wife and I, we started crossfit gym two years ago when Covid hit and honestly, that’s something that we really love doing together, but being a part of, honestly, that community, it does expose you to people thinking about health in a new way and case in point, there’s several people at my gym that are actually using continuous glucose meters to track their glucose, not just glucose but also ketones as well, because they want to understand when they eat, what is that glycemic index look like? How does their body respond to that? But then if they’re doing intermittent fasting as well, are they getting maximum ketone production during that period of time? Are they hitting their fitness goals? And one of the things, Ryan, that I’m starting to see quite a bit with our customers here is that we’re starting to see our customers that have purely focused on medical devices now thinking about how to take that technology and offer it to consumers. For instance, Abbott, they have a Libre, which is a continuous glucose monitoring device, they’re actually in the process of offering a consumer version of that device even though I believe it’s more or less the same technology, consumers can now benefit from the insights gained from it as well, and I think you’re right, I think we’re enabling consumers to really start taking much better health. Obviously, it takes effort to do it but we’re enabling it.
– [Ryan] It’s just the access to that data and that information that we never had before. Like I said, when I was growing up, and I’m sure all of us were growing up, we didn’t have access to this information, you had to go to the doctor to have blood tests, different things to understand where you are from a healthy standpoint and now, we can wear it on our wrist or use a tool to measure different levels in our body on a more regular basis. That’s more readily available information we can make decisions off of and you start to see that. Even with the growth of social media and stuff, there’s now more and more information available, whether all of it is correct or not, just helping inform on things that we didn’t really have access to unless we took the time to go research it ourselves, but just people talking about different foods and things we shouldn’t put in our bodies, things we should put in our bodies, just debunking a lot of myths that have been around for many years on how to live a healthy life. When you mix that information with now the ability to know as an individual what do I need to look at within myself to know if I’m healthy and if I’m doing well, and those are things that we didn’t have without IoT and this data being able to be collected in real time for us to make decisions off of and it’s only going to get better. It’s only going to mature and become more sophisticated, and with AI, ML, digital twin that we’re talking about, we’re just gonna be able to do more and make better and faster decisions each time we collect data, just helps build that up from the bottom and it’s very exciting.
– [Brad] I think you hit on a really key point and that is we are getting access to more data than what we were in the past. In fact, that was actually a big challenge. And by the way, I would say still a challenge is the silo data. We are still dealing with the situation where certain companies are collecting the data from their devices, but that data, there really isn’t an easy way for them to be able to share that data with the patient’s physician or in some cases, even with the patient. So if that data is siloed, we’re not able to aggregate that with other data sources to really have something meaningful, to create some AI that’s gonna be profound, let’s say, for the patient. So we need to continue to knock down the walls of those silos. Obviously, we need to protect the data, but we need to break down those silos so that we can start aggregating more of that data together. And I would say the other thing that that brings up to me that’s a challenge in that same ballpark is really connecting multiple devices together, and I’ll give you a perfect example. We’ve talked about consumers as well as patients, but if we’re just thinking about the patient like in a patient’s home, let’s say that they’re participating maybe in a clinical trial, and let’s say that they’re taking a drug but yet, they’re also monitoring their weight at the same time, they’re monitoring maybe their heart rate, and maybe they’re also monitoring maybe pulse accumulator. So maybe there’s three devices that that patient is using or clinical trial participant’s using. Well, the challenge is is that if those have three different apps associated with them and the patient is say, 70, and they don’t have a smart phone. Well number one, that’s the challenge, they don’t have a smart phone, but even if they did, are they really gonna want to open up three different apps in order to load the data from the weight scale, from the pulse-
– [Ryan] Yeah, and understand how to manipulate and interact with it to be beneficial for them, which I’m sure some user experience stuff can be adjusted for that, but you’re right. How do we bring this all together? It’s kind of like when we’re talking about the smart home industry and we’re talking about matter coming in as a new standard, being able to start bringing all your devices together under one standard as opposed to if you’re locked into this brand and using a Wifi or Zigby or Zeewave, you might be locked into something that doesn’t allow as much flexibility as you’d like, but how do we do that in the healthcare space? How do we bring it so that you can find a company who specializes in a tool to collect some piece of information better than somebody else and knowing that you don’t want to be locked into just using one brand, you want to be able to pull it all into one place not only just for ease of access, but like you said, how can your blood oxygen level reading and your heart rate and your blood pressure, how can all of that be put into an algorithm to really analyze what you need to do and change to get healthier? And if they’re all siloed, then that’s almost impossible to do and they’re all living in their own little world. Because sometimes what I’ve learned is if you just silo out one metric about your body, it doesn’t always tell the full story and in order to really get a diagnosis, you need to know more. So you go to the doctor for that and stuff but yeah, if they could interact better, you’d get a better picture for sure.
– [Brad] Yeah, and honestly, one of my responsibilities is to lead our digital health team that’s actually building a digital platform, and you’re absolutely right, and there are a lot of our customers that have created their own digital platforms and they’re great. The challenge is is that if J&J creates a digital platform, Metronic, which is another big medical device company, may not want to use J&J’s platform. They may want J&J to use their platform. So with all of these competing interests that have digital platforms, it’s gonna be difficult to align on one standard that all of these connected medical devices can actually into and support. So one of the things that we’re working on because we build thousands of different products for the top medical device and diagnostics companies is can we work with them so that we can connect their devices to a hub that we’ve created so that it can be seamless for those patients? And decentralized clinicals trials, I think, is a really big area that we are thinking a lot about, where we think that that could be a really good benefit frankly.
– [Ryan] Oh, absolutely. No, I couldn’t agree more. This is a very exciting space and lots of steps have been made to get us where we are and we have a long way to go to live out a lot of the stuff we’re talking about, but we’re getting closer and it’s the technologies that we have, the more data we get, the better it’s gonna be. So Brad, thank you so much for taking the time, this has been a very fun conversation. And for our audience, who might want to learn more, followup, engage after the recording, what’s the best way they can do that?
– [Brad] Reach me via email. Brad_womble@jabil.com and happy to follow up with anyone out there and by the way, this is such a fun topic and an area where there’s so much innovation happening. Honestly, it is gonna take an ecosystem of different groups working together to help solve some of these and so happy to link up and happy to help promote this area.
– [Ryan] Yeah, absolutely. Love to have you and other members of the team back in the future ’cause there’s a lot of good topics I know you’re all involved in, love to get your feedback and thoughts on.
– [Brad] I’d love to.
– [Ryan] So thank you so much for your time and it was great to have you.
– [Brad] Thanks Ryan, appreciate it.
– [Ryan] All right, everyone, thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, and be sure to hit the bell notification so you get the latest episodes as soon as they become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching and we’ll see you next time.