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Paul Lee, CEO Qurely, Top Distinguished Doctor, Entrepreneur and Innovator

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Paul Lee.

Paul LeePAUL LEE, M.D. (CEO)

  • Lieutenant Doctor for the ROKA
  • Founder of OXEC, an educational consulting service
  • B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at University of Oxford
  • M.D. at College of Medicine at The Catholic University of Korea
  • Singularity University FutureMed 2013

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:22: What were your catalysts to get into medicine?
"....Multiple reasons, one is the science really attracted me and the clinical practices (how science can be involved in the human body) was very intriguing so it was a natural path for me to go into medicine...."

:01:19: Can you describe your time with ROKA?
"....In Korea there is compulsory military service and as a Lieutenant Doctor I needed to go in as an Officer and not a Private so it was three years, but it was a great experience....I was the Chairman of a public health center there so I saw patients of all ages, but mostly elderly patients with hypertension and diabetes...."

:02:02: You indicated earlier you also spent time at Oxford and at Catholic University. What lessons can you share from that?
"....It's a little bit of self-confidence, but mostly courage that forces you to make that first step to do what you really want to do...."

:02:46: What was your initial interest or catalyst for going to Singularity University FutureMed 2013? What were some lessons that you learned?
"....That was an amazing conference for me and a real eye-opener....It made me really think about how and where medicine is going to be, and what is really necessary for doctors (I consider patients more of a consumer because they are buying a service from the doctors and the health professionals). The landscape of healthcare is changing dramatically so how we can disrupt the healthcare system around the globe was the pinnacle of FutureMed...."

:04:49: What challenges in healthcare led you to become the CEO of Qurely?
"....In Qurely we believe that offline clinics (which are your everyday clinics) can essentially be moved onto online clinics. However, at the current time it's very difficult for patients (or consumers) and the doctors themselves to incorporate into online transactions and online visits. We believe rather than going full online medicine there needs to be a buffer between an offline clinic and full-on telemedicine that's what Qurely is....All we are doing at Qurely is matchmaking between the doctor and the consumer in real time so that they can video conference, audio chat or instant message between themselves and get the health information resources directly...."

:06:45: Describe the healthcare model of Qurely?
"....There are marketplaces for almost every industry. There is nothing like that in the healthcare services so we're saying there needs to be a marketplace in the healthcare system where doctors and consumers around the world can meet, and consumers can choose their doctors by looking at the profile, credentials and their reviews and ratings and then choose to have a conversation with that doctor...."

:07:56: What is the business and revenue model of this new marketplace? Using the business model canvas as a guide, can you further describe the key areas of Qurely?
"....The canvas model; I'm pretty familiar with it but let me just focus on one main thing, the value proposition. In the US alone more than 70 percent of GDP is spent on healthcare and more than 750 billion dollars is wasted. Also it takes about 39 days for a consumer to actually schedule an appointment with a primary physician, 50 days for specialists, and you need to go into the office and wait for about an hour to see the doctor which is only going to last about seven to ten minutes. We're saying let's get rid of all that wait time....We are saying Qurely can make the system much more rapid and much more concise with a price which is chosen by the consumer and not the doctor or the hospital. That's the value proposition that we at Qurely give to the consumers and the doctors...."

:11:46: Is this medical diagnosis that's occurring here?
"....We think Qurely doesn't need to diagnose or provide prescriptions in order to help people. Most of the situations in a clinic are consumers coming because they need advice, they need informational resources straight from the expert's mouth....If you're not educated in the area of medicine it's very difficult to find and pinpoint the exact information that that you need, so getting that information straight from the health professional is very important and very useful, despite not having that diagnosis or prescription inside the consultation...."

:12:51: Various smartphone manufacturers are now embedding biometric kind of devices within the smartphone. Are you able to use some of that data as well?
"....If you have the doctors on one side and the consumers on the other, if we have those two lined up on a platform, then companies like Apple, GE or Samsung who are developing all these sensors that can detect, for example your heartbeat or glucose level in your blood, then all these things can be incorporated into our platform and the doctors will be able to use the data to help the consumers. We think using that data and diagnosing and prescribing will be full-on telemedicine....But at Qurely we think it's a little early for full-on Qurely is acting right in between the offline clinic and the full-blown telemedicine....Definitely the plans incorporate all the sectors and all the innovative technologies coming out that will measure all the health informational data, which is basically quantifying self data and that data will be crucial in forming Qurely and the future of Qurely...."

:15:31: What does Qurely mean to the healthcare system?
"....We're hoping and we believe that it's going to disrupt the healthcare system and will help consumers to find and talk to doctors in a much more rapid, concise and effective way, so that doctors can earn more money in volume because they will see patients from all over the world and they are not just limited to their own state. There will be patients from other states as well as other countries...."

:16:53: What Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will determine Qurely success in three years?
"....So the KPIs that we've discovered and we have targeted are: the number of sessions completed on Qurely, the number of active doctors and the number of consumers registered...."

:18:16: What would be your goals in those three metrics this year and in 2015?
"....That's a very good question and also a very difficult question at the same time because right now we are hoping to have around 800 doctors around the world providing sessions within six months of launch. In 2015 we are hoping to get around 3000 doctors around the globe. We are starting to get doctors from a variety of countries...."

:19:44: Its clear that Qurely is going to impact society because you are providing an alternative, a more easily accessible vehicle to get really great information and to get it quickly and at good cost and you get creation occurring through this process. Through this marketplace that you are creating what do you see as the impact on government, business, education and other areas?
"....The healthcare market right now will change and because Qurely is the first marketplace in the healthcare system, we believe that if we have the number of doctors and the consumers set up, then selling healthcare goods, selling drugs with pharmaceutical companies coming in, all the sensor companies (like Samsung, GE, IBM, Apple. etc.), all these big, big corporate companies will be able to come in and hopefully join our venture in improving the healthcare system. So I see a very big impact on business in the healthcare sector especially....For the government, right now telemedicine law is changing dramatically and it will have to be changed....I'm hoping that Qurely can push the boundaries so that the government will change the regulations and the laws in telehealth and telemedicine so that people can really innovate in that area....In education I think the most important thing that we see in Qurely is how the doctors are trained, because with the innovations such as Google Glass and all these wearable devices we see that the training of doctors can change...."

:22:49: What is your exit strategy for Qurely?
"....I believe that when you are building a business and you are thinking about the exit strategy I don't think you can really build a good company and a good business. Right now we are not thinking about the exit strategy, we are just thinking about how we can help the consumer in their own right and help the doctors so that they can provide their expertise in a way and in a manner that they can really help themselves as well as the consumers and the patients...."

:23:50: I can clearly see an advantage for the US marketplace for this kind of strategy, but how about areas in the world where they have socialized health such as the UK and Canada?
"....In the majority of countries it's just that hassle of making an appointment, scheduling, traveling to that office and waiting in the waiting room to see the doctor, when you could just do that online with a video conference very quickly and efficiently when you choose. The pricing is very important because we believe it's not the doctors or the hospitals who should be setting the prices we think it should be the consumers who should be setting the price because they are buying the service that they want....I don't think it matters if it's the UK or China or the US, if it's more convenient and it's more price-worthy I think people will use it...."

:26:11: What are your other interests and what are the broad implications and applications of your work?
"....I'm interested in artificial intelligence to be perfectly honest. I really do think (although I'm a doctor) that computers and artificial intelligence will be able to diagnose a patient much better than a human doctor can, in let's say twenty years....Artificial intelligence I believe will help the doctors make a much more sound judgment of the diagnosis or the treatment because as a human being I believe there are limits. Artificial intelligence will be able to get all the latest information....Test the artificial intelligence in a clinical setting....Then I believe artificial intelligence will guide or help doctors in the long run to diagnose and treat patients. So it's two side of the sword, if you use it right I think it would be a very beneficial way of improving medicine. We have Big Data in mind at Qurely and the artificial intelligence is where my other interests are — I am looking closely at how these are evolving...."

:30:17: In all that you have done what are your most difficult challenges and what valuable lessons do you wish to share?
"....Taking that first step needs a lot of courage, it needs a lot of blind self-confidence and it's very, very risky....I believe that taking that first step to execute your idea is the most valuable and the most important thing that you can do as a startup or as an entrepreneur...."

:31:38: In addition to what you've already mentioned are there any other qualities that help you to excel?
"....Also it helps being positive...."

:34:26: You have an interest in medicine and in being disruptive in this whole healthcare area, plus you are an innovator and an entrepreneur and you are also interested in artificial intelligence. Do you have any idea of what you consider to be some of the upcoming disruptive innovations?
"....I think artificial intelligence as we both agree is a big sector, also the sensors will be very disruptive....All that data will show amazing statistics of how we can potentially cure disease and how we can essentially live longer and all these things are really amazing...."

:35:56: From your extensive speaking, travels, and work, do you have a story that you can share (perhaps something amusing, surprising, unexpected or amazing)?
"...Let me answer that in a very different way....I think the most important thing about being an entrepreneur is that you need to be able to impact a problem. You need to be able to solve a problem and that's why I've chosen healthcare. But if you ask me what my life goal would be I want to farm in Africa...."

:37:20: Paul, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your substantial wisdom with our audience.