Who *are* those guys? (Matt Wiggins and Remedy Systems)

How many times have you been at a conference, listening to some panel, when all of a sudden someone says something that snaps you out of your stupor and you think, “Who *is* that guy?” (And if you’re lucky enough to remember Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, please enjoy the following rendition of that feeling.)

That happened to me most recently at the mHealth Summit and the guy was Matt Wiggins of Remedy Systems, which has developed a prescription routing app that works with SureScripts. John Maschenic, a Verizon Wireless executive, had just made a pretty skeptical comment about the market for health apps, saying essentially (according to my notes) “look at what people pay for — music, not health.” And Matt shot back (again, according to my notes): “We’ll just keep building our company and you can read about it later in the New Yorker.” Anyone who says that is going to get Googled, right then & there.

Since there is no video of the mHealth Summit panel, I’ll provide Matt’s short presentation at Health 2.0 San Francisco (I *knew* I’d seen him somewhere before):

His app looks pretty interesting, but it’s not as intriguing (to me) as his vision for health care transformation:

There’s never been a revolution that’s happened from the outside, whether it be political or cultural, that topples the internal system. Great ideas from the outside percolate and get picked up by strategic insiders then brought to their platforms and distributed through them. That’s our model.



Posted in: key people





14 Responses to “Who *are* those guys? (Matt Wiggins and Remedy Systems)”

  1. You rock. I saw the same talk at Health 2.0 and I was just “My, he’s cocky and odd.” In contrast, your mental SLR snapped into focus.

    My gut says Matt’s onto something and the Verizon guy’s words (at mHealth) sound a little myopic. (I wasn’t there and I don’t know the people so I’m guessing from your post. I try not to downplay someone I’ve never heard.)

    I keep seeing places in vast healthcare where a routine survey of the market shows inscrutable chaos, and naturally it’s hard to see opportunity in muck. But a very small number of people have looked way down into the value chain to see what enables value and flow where they *do* happen. That’s where insights can happen and change *can* be introduced.

    Like, okay, *why* do people buy music, not health? Are those audiences the same? Is there anyone who’s an exception? Why – what’s the difference? (See Chilmark’s post about PHR uptake among the urban poor.)

    The best commercialized example I’ve seen of non-routine, smart analysis is American Well, which is growing like a weed. (They’re not primarily mobile, but they’ve found a value mechanism that blows everything else out of the water.)

    In behavior change, the ability to deconstruct is what makes BJ Fogg’s work (per your July post) so different from most attempts to tease better behavior out of people. I think he’s micro-reverse-engineered what happens when people *think* for a moment about acting, so he can then engineer how to *help* them act.


    btw, I’m a little distressed there weren’t any earlier comments on this. Maybe for a short post like this, keep the whole thing on the front page? The Butch Cassidy vid was cute, but Matt’s is the meat.

    • Annie Stith says:

      Hey, Dave!

      I’d thought about commenting earlier when I read Suzannah’s post, but the references were a bit beyond my painkiller-addled (is that a word??) brain.

      However, I saw *no* comments posted at the ONC’s “Round 2” post when I subnitted mine. It seemed a little too easy to answer, in fact. Hope I didn’t miss something and royally scr*w it up.


    • Susannah Fox says:

      Dave, you completed the post with your comment! I dashed it off, figuring what the heck, if anyone else gets it, great, and if not, oh well. Thanks for taking the time to read it and see my point!

      I am always on the look-out for people who make bold statements and then back them up with knowledge and action (ahem, you’re another one, btw).

      • btw, sfox, as you probably know well, it turns out there’s more time to write when one isn’t spending 5-6 hours every couple days, checking into and out of hotels, checking into airports, standing in security…

        Watch out world, the kidz is back in the nest for a while.

  2. Annie Stith says:

    Hey, Suzannah!

    I wasn’t ignoring you. I felt at a loss what with not knowing the players or having been to the conferences or being able to watch videos on my crappy mobile (supposedly) “Smart” Phone.

    Now, if I take your post and add to it what I *think* Dave means in his comment…

    I believe there are probably plenty of developers just waiting to see (1) if the gov’t follows through (walks the walk, so to speak), (2) that there’s not some medical association attorney going to somehow tie the whole thing up in court about privacy and/or security and/or liability over the “hold harmless clauses,” and/or, finally, (3) the specifics of standardized data fields as finalized.

    Once those are resolved, I think there will be so many apps that manipulate data, automate routines, present whizz-bang e-forms and maybe even wrap them all up in a bow as complete suites for physicians’ offices and hospitals that the reviewers won’t be able to keep up.



    • Susannah Fox says:

      Annie, ILYO (I love your opinion).

      I was absolutely amazed to see all the new apps that people had come up with at Health 2.0, both on the main stage (the demos, like Remedy Systems) and during the Challenge (teams only had a short time to create something out of nothing).

      I don’t know what’s next, but after the fall conference season I have more confidence that people like Matt are not going to rest until the revolution is complete.

      • e-patient dave says:

        > create something out of nothing

        Contradiction please, to quote Charlie Chan: out of nothing, given a pile of data as fuel.

        Health data.

        This is kinda the whole point I’ve been trying to make. Mhealth and Health 2.0 and all that have little to offer until they have data for fuel.

      • Annie Stith says:


        The last job I held before I went on disability, they let me play around with Visual FoxPro and Access database programs, automating everything in sight for the Department.

        I can just *see* all the linked databases and screen input forms and reports… *sigh* Sometimes I REALLY miss work.


        • Susannah Fox says:

          Annie, Dave,

          Your comments brought home to me something I’ve thought about but never so clearly: I’m not geeky enough to get excited about health data *on its own* but I do get excited when someone shows what can happen when the data is put to good use.

          In other words: Data liberation? Eh. Behavior change? Now you’re talking.

        • Perceptive as usual, Susannah. For geeky moi (giquez-moi?) the connection is obvious, as is the goal, so I probably leap to conclusions about what
          others see.

          Analogy: you DC people like to go the ocean, a couple hours away. Hard to do without a car. I advocate cars in summer, because I’ve seen people use them to get to OTHER beaches. But I need to make the connection clearer.

          And yeah, one of my big takeaways for 2010 is “In healthcare, outcomes don’t change until behavior changes.” It’s a necessary but not sufficient thing. Thanks for introducing BJ Fogg’s work to this forum.

  3. There’s never been a revolution that’s happened from the outside, whether it be political or cultural, that topples the internal system.

    I think many qualifications would be needed to make this statement true, because it’s patently not true from a historical standpoint. You need look no further than the American Revolution to see this — there were no “insiders” who toppled the existing government.

    I like it when people make grand statements like this to try and prove a point. But I also like it when those statements are true. When they are false, it makes the rest of the argument ring hollow.

    There will never be a health care transformation that doesn’t involve direct government involvement (for better or worse). And frankly, “health care transformation,” if it comes about, isn’t coming about because of some mobile apps.

    • Susannah Fox says:

      Hence the time I spent on today’s post – please check it out:

      The Future of Health: Robots, Enchanted Objects, and Networks http://j.mp/an0kIa

    • John, thanks for flushing out a question that tugged at me: what does he mean by “from the outside”? And if the internal system is toppled from the outside, isn’t that called a conquest, or killing off?

      From my world, when desktop publishing killed off typesetting, it sure was called a revolution, because the previous “dominators” were overthrown – their power went out the window, when the previously “ruled” people got a new freedom.

      I haven’t studied what Matt studied so I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I’d like more clarity about the meaning of that grand statement. Anybody know how to reach him?

  4. Michael Skilk says:

    Probably use the contact form at http://www.remedysystems.com

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