I had a chance to catch up with Michelle Snyder, Chief Marketing Officer of Welltok at the recent Digital Health Summer Summit in San Francisco. In addition to having a great name and an experienced, serial entrepreneur CEO, Jeff Margolis – founder of TriZetto, they also have a ton of money as reflected by number of VCs on the company’s Board, In fact, they just raised a $22.1 million Series C in February of this year. They also have a direct investment from the recently formed IBM Watson Group to build a Watson-powered concierge service (see IBM Watson Video below).
Just exactly what is Welltok anyway?
But, besides all of these trappings of success, I wanted to know, just exactly what is Welltok anyway? Here’s what Michelle told me:
“Welltok is a health optimization company. Our current system is a sick care system. Instead of getting people back to their current state, we want to optimize their health…we want to help consumers get rewarded for healthy behaviors.”
Basically, Welltok is a platform that brings organization to the chaotic world of health programs, devices, sensors, and other tools for improving health. The platform brings together these different elements of the health improvement ecosystem and helps them break into the world of Big Population Health (aka health plans and health systems).
It is a B to B to C play. And it has a very large reach. Michelle says they already partner with the five biggest health plans in the country plus Centura Health. She estimates they touch up to 20 million people. It’s no wonder digital health and other health improvement companies are knock-knock-knocking on their door.
The CaféWell Health Optimization Platform
Welltok calls its platform the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform. In addition to aggregating the health improvement programs, devices and apps participating in the CaféWell Connect partner program. Welltok develops personalized itineraries to help drive healthy behaviors. If the itinerary is followed and the consumer reaches their goals, they can earn rewards, such as discounts on health plan premiums. Welltok utilizes health challenges, support groups (communities) and coaches to get people engaged in the program.
Companies with solutions, such as condition management programs, health tracking devices, diametric and risk assessment services, health-related mobile apps, communities, and health content are encouraged to apply to be a Welltok CaféWell Connect Partner. Current partners include Azumio, Health Nuts Media Provant, Televox, Wildflower Health, Brain Resourse, Fitbit, Fitlinx, Greatist, ‘Mapmyfitness, Tonic, Fatsecret, Propeller Health, the Chrons and Colitis Foundation of America, Hooper Homes, and Jawbone.
Can Welltok crack the healthy behavior nut its predecessors have not?
So it will be interesting to see if Welltok can crack the healthy behavior nut its predecessors have not. If you have been around healthcare as long as I have, you will note that many of the things that Welltok is offering have been done many times before, including incentives, health education, coaches, challenges, support groups, etc., etc., etc. But we also know that timing and execution can make all the difference. I look forward to seeing the first round of independently confirmed outcome studies that show whether or not Welltok can drive sustainable healthy behavior change.
Watch the videos:
Michelle describes Welltok:
Lauri Saft talks about the Welltok-IBM Partnership: