Jessica DaMassa

Making Healthcare a Consumer Biz: Livongo’s Glen Tullman on his New Book & IPO Rumors

“If we just shop for healthcare like we shop for everything else…we would take care of a lot of the problems…”

So says Glen Tullman, CEO of Livongo, a very hot startup with a chronic condition management platform that has been batting away IPO rumors since earlier this year when it closed a $52.M round funded by existing investors.

Glen has just literally written the book on consumerizing healthcare and stopped by to talk about it at the HIMSS TV set on location at Health 2.0’s Fall Conference (where I was guest hosting interviews!)

Called On Our Terms the book tries to push us toward thinking about the buying-and-selling of healthcare the same way we’d think about buying-and-selling anything else. Glen argues it’s possible if we start looking at healthcare as an ‘information business’ – and pivot our thinking and our business models accordingly to provide greater access to that information.

Are we as consumers ready for all this responsibility? Is the healthcare system ready for us and our purchasing power? Is anyone doing this right?? Glen fires back with some strong examples of where he already sees this working, and gets real about who’s in trouble if they don’t pivot and pivot fast. (We’re looking at you, payers.)

Bonus Intel: Will Glen take Livongo to an IPO like he did Allscripts? It’s a multi-million dollar question…

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out Filmed at Health 2.0’s Fall Conference in Santa Clara, September 2018.

1 reply »

  1. When the internet began to progressively offer access to health information around 1990, I had been a practicing Primary Physician for about 15 years. Slowly, I realized two attributes about my relationships with the patients in our office. Slowly, there were many patients who would knew more about the research-related details of their health than I did. Initially wary of these encounters, the real basis for their knowledge was to be informed as a basis to explore my view of their health and its dimensions. We periodically offered a hand-out to our patients as a basis for exploring HEALTH knowledge on the internet. By 2010, it seemed that the informed patients had an easier time negotiating the options open for their healthcare. In effect, my role was to help individualize their healthcare including its first-dollar costs. It was obvious that they came to me for help in resolving their options. It is unlikely that a strictly marketplace-arena process would solve the cost and quality problems of our nation’s healthcare.

    The very real problem of our nation’s health spending as a portion of our national economy continues to undermine our goals for universal healthcare and its economic support. We best start with a goal to achieve budgetary control of health spending with a justly equitable assignment of financial risk management to all levels of our nation’s private and public institutions. The Design Principles for Managing a Commons (the portion of our nation’s GDP allocated to health spending) already exist and have been thoroughly validated. See the citation below. The risk management strategy should apply to each citizen’s healthcare including their various groupings: Medicare, Medicaid, Military, homeless, Dependents and “institutionalized.” The risk management strategy should also include community (defined as about 400,000 citizens) based disaster planning, equitably available Primary Healthcare, homelessness reduction, refugee repatriation, safety net accessibility, collective impact projects to ameliorate the social-demographic adversities that reduce the social mobility of certain citizen groups, and volunteerism as a basis for enhancing the community’s social capital asset.

    Ultimately, we will not resolve the epidemics of mass shootings, maternal mortality, obesity, STDs, young adult suicide/homicide, mid-life depression, substance addiction and child neglect without a nationally sanctioned and locally responsive, community by community scale-up for healthcare reform. A multi-component strategy that is implemented simultaneously will be required. The current allocation of our nation’s economy to health spending has risen from 5% of the GDP in 1960 to 18% in 2016. We must solve many problems concurrently. There is no simple answer, and so far, there is no evidence that our current strategies for healthcare reform will reliably improve the fundamental cost and quality problems of our nation’s healthcare.


    P.S.: The cost of this healthcare reform should be limited to $1.00 per citizen per year, paid by the Federal Government. AND, for every decrease of 0.5% of the national GDP continuously allocated to health spending for three years in a row, the States would divide $100 million for distribution to off set student loans accumulated during medical training as a means to attract Primary Physicians for local needs.