© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Why This Former Apple CEO Wants To 'Disrupt' Health Care

John Sculley is best known as the guy who forced Steve Jobs out of Apple.

For someone who's dedicated his career to disruption, that's a pretty good one.

As CEO of Pepsi-Cola and later the technology company that would go on to upend the personal computing world, Sculley eventually earned a reputation as a savvy, forward-thinking chief executive. He was an early proponent of the Internet's global capability and, after leaving Apple in 1993, invested in or advised a host of technology companies.

Now, Sculley has his hand in the emerging health-tech market, and he's looking again to disrupt. He's involved with RxAdvance, MDLive and SleepMed — all companies looking to use data and higher-touch technology to improve health outcomes.

He wrote a book — "Moonshot!: Game-Changing Strategies To Build Billion-Dollar Businesses" — and gave a recent TED Talk about disruptive technologies in health care.

But health care is vastly different from the PC realm or the Internet revolution, where "disruption" is a handy buzzword for necessary change. For starters, it's a deeply irrational market where the relationship between consumers and providers is often indirect and mitigated by factors outside either one's control.

Sculley will address all this in a keynote speech at the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana's "World @ Home" speaker series on Thursday, March 24 at 5:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by KentuckyOne Health and WFPL News.

I talked with Sculley about what it means to disrupt a $3 trillion industry, why politicians and health-tech innovators can't get on the same page, and what he plans to do about it.

Listen to our conversation in the player above.

On politics and health care:

"The politicians and special interests have for years, ever since Obamacare came out, have been focused on debating, arguing — do we keep Obamacare, do we repeal Obamacare. And it all revolves around things like how many uninsured people are still uninsured, why is it so expensive for people who had health plans before that went through employers and suddenly they're paying a lot more, their deductible is a lot higher. Public exchanges are failing in state after state, and everyone's life is disrupted.

"That's not what I'm focused on. I'm focused on how do you take this $3 trillion of health spend that we spend every year, we in the United States, which we all know is completely unsustainable, and how do we use innovation coming from the high-tech world to actually go in and save hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars, eventually hundreds of billions of dollars, of savings in the most expensive parts of the health spend. Five percent of the population represents 50 percent of the health spend."

On the disconnect between tech and health care:

"While a lot of the technology comes out of Silicon Valley, California, Seattle, places like that, most of the health care system is on the East Coast of the United States. So you've got this gap between the guys who really understand technology and what is possible, and the health care companies that are only now beginning to realize that they better learn about technology."

Stephen George is President and CEO of Louisville Public Media. Email Stephen at sgeorge@lpm.org.

Can we count on your support?

Louisville Public Media depends on donations from members – generous people like you – for the majority of our funding. You can help make the next story possible with a donation of $10 or $20. We'll put your gift to work providing news and music for our diverse community.