Interview with Ducan McLaren CEO My Total Health Inc.
My Total Health is a digital health technology organization founded to enable patients with the knowledge and understanding to better manage and monitor a GI health concern or symptom with an evidence based tool.
MyGiHealth is the first in a pipeline of health technology applications to come from Duncan McLaren and My Total Health Inc.
A veteran entrepreneur Duncan was born in London and now a transplant Angeleno.
Previously he co-founded Soapbox Mobile a leading mobile marketing company raising 10 million dollars for the firm. Grew the company’s client roster to include big names Procter & Gamble, House of Blues and General Motors and many others. Selling it in 2007 to Single Touch Systems (OTC: SITO), where he served as SVP.
Also co-founded Butter and served as its first CEO. A mobile-first, social network targeted at Millennials. Scaling the user base to over 1,500,000 users with zero paid installs or marketing, fostered strong relationships with powerhouse brands like Microsoft and Nokia.
McLaren is an expert with unique insight into millennial behavior and how to virally grow mobile applications.
The Butter product continues to grow and has had over 500,000,000 photos shared to date. That’s half a billion.
Richard: What should we know about My Total Health, the MyGiHealth app and your organization?
Duncan: MyGiHealth app is modeled and developed from evidence based research originally conducted at UCLA by one of our principle investigators Dr Brennan Spiegel. Currently one of our Co-Founders/Co-Chief Medical Officer and a top technologies health applications subject matter expert.
Our other principle investigator is Dr. William D. Chey who is also serving currently as Co-Founder/Co-Chief Medical Officer. Dr Chey is focused more on the nutritional aspect of MyGiHealth
The ultimate goal for MyGiHealth is to start the conversation for GI concerns.
People don’t talk a lot about GI issues or concerns because they are personal usually private and typically embarrassing so it’s a difficult conversation to have when you don’t have any accurate or evidence based information to reference.
1 in 4 people have some sort of GI issue and half that are usually serious GI health issues.
It’s estimated that as many as 22 million people in the United States and 70 million world wide suffer from a not diagnosed or untreated GI issue.
The number is staggering when you look at the range of issues spanning from mild and infrequent heart burn, diarrhea or constipation to very debilitating diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis or in need of procedures like gastric bypass surgery.
Given the diseases, scale and magnitude of its impact I’m astonished how little evidence based and credible information is available.
That’s what we are changing with MyGiHealth app.
For suffers it’s a scary journey and we want to be a source of truth for people.
Richard: How will the MyGiHealth app change what and how we do things today?
Duncan: First MyGiHealth is all evidence based technology supported by published peer review journals and scientific research.
We want to be a credible source of truth in a sea of misinformation.
An individual starts the MyGiHealth app and is guided through the a process we call PROMISE.
An initial survey assessing the severity of an individual’s symptoms based on user inputs which can trigger a variety of recommended suggestions from over the counter medication to an immediate visit to the GI doctor.
The app then outlines and schedules a course of action if necessary.
Did you know that 37% of people who suffer from GI related issues never go see a doctor even after suffering with symptoms for six months.
So the opportunity for improvement exists.
It’s awkward and difficult to build rapport when discussing GI health issues with a doctor, one whom may not have the best bed side manners.
Patients often feel uncomfortable about sharing details of their symptoms.
The apps history report tracks and summarizes detailed history and information. More so than you will normally get from sitting in front of your doctor during a fifteen minute appointment.
It also helps you organize your thoughts and concerns for when you see the doctor, now you can hand this history report to the doctor and have an intelligent conversation.
The doctor can also use the information on the report to customize their approach based on the history report and not so much trial and error.
No more guess work, the app assists in getting the right answers to the right questions.
Richard: Tell us about your partnerships and what it means for the patients who use MyGiHealth?
Duncan: We partnered with AGA American Gastroenterological Association earning their seal of approval.
This is actually the very first time the AGA has ever entered into an additional partnership with any other type of health technology application linking access to their database of gastroenterologists.
As mentioned before both our principle investigators are based out UCLA and Cedars Sinai respectively, giving us access to world class research and a peer review vetting processes that upholds to the highest possible standards and accurate information.
We also have an association with the University of Michigan Medical School, as well as UCLA which also helps in building our credibility.
So now we are creating a simplified patient journey through a complicated GI health ecosystem.
We are enabling people to search symptoms through a creditable platform, receive recommendations and find accredited AGA doctors in their area.
The final part of the puzzle is the app helps individuals prepare for a doctors visit with a history report specific to the patient and their symptoms.
This history report empowers the patient with knowledge enabling them to have a more intelligent conversation with the doctor.
Richard: Give us a quick snap shot of when the business started, where it is today and your vision for the company’s future?
Duncan: We started about three years ago with an initial product that has gone through a number iterations to become the MyGiHealth app.
We’ve built and continue to build strong relationships with external and internal partners like the AGA.
The application is launched and available for download. Click here.
In the next six months we’re will begin integration with electronic health records systems.
This will allow the MyGiHealth application the ability to upload the patients history report into the electronic health records systems.
Search capabilities of AGA accredited doctors and linking access to real time patient history are all opportunities to provide better service.
This enables the doctor the ability to instantly have access to your history, edit and add to it while they work through the patients consultation.
Now we’ve created a relationship that is facilitated by technology that helps the user as an individual manage symptoms and become a stakeholder in their own recovery process.
The app is going to allow people an easy way to track complicated issues, spot trends or patterns, assist in pinpointing issues and suggested remedies.
The goal is to get it to the point where the doctor can change the course of treatment or medication and the patient gets notified through MyGiHealth.