The Wellsmith team recently attended the HLTH conference in Las Vegas as our ‘out of stealth mode’ party. This followed a Press Release, Data Sheet and two key analysts’ reports published the week before: The Power Of Consumer Engagement With The IoTby Vernon Turner and a Wellsmith Review by Patrick Moorhead in Forbes.
Following a long and tiring few days in Vegas, two things really stuck out to me as blogworthy. Or to put it another way, here is what didn’t stay in Vegas!
“It’s the consumer, stupid.”
“The economy, stupid” is the phrase that James Carville coined as a campaign strategist of Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign against sitting president George H. W. Bush. The variation “It’s the consumer, stupid” aptly summarizes many of the sessions at HLTH.
There is clearly an understanding that more people die in the US from preventable diseases than they do of acute illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death – yet 20 percent to 40 percent of the deaths from each cause could be prevented.”
These are not medical diseases per se but consumer diseases (i.e. obesity from over eating or eating the wrong things). The challenge here is that if you want to fix a consumer disease, you need to use consumer-based tools to do it.
At Wellsmith, we have long known that the solution to Type 2 Diabetes lies outside the clinical realm (we call it ‘the nest’) and in the world we live in (we call it ‘the wild’). By solution I don’t only mean diabetes management, but also the potential for some people to reverse the effects of diabetes. The issue is that Big Healthcare rarely thinks like a consumer-based organization. Instead, healthcare is typically optimized around the most valuable assets – doctors and real estate – not the patients.
When you see something like Type 2 Diabetes, with a consumer at the center of your thinking, not a patient at the edge, you change your approach. As many speakers at HLTH noted, consumers do not want to wait for someone or something else. Consumers, you and I, want it now or never. We expect to make choices and be guided through a personalized, fine-tuned journey built for us. None of this is new to Wellsmith; in fact, this is the platform we have built.
What makes Wellsmith different?
One of the frequent questions asked was “what makes Wellsmith different from solutions like Omada and Livongo?” For us, the difference comes from how we approach the consumer and how we help on their journey. More specifically, there are three things that differentiate us, other than our results.
1. We are a consumer-centric experience and development team- while we have great health and technology domain skills, with think consumer- first in everything we do.
2. We are designed from the ground up to manage co-morbidities- the realities of today and tomorrow are that consumers often don’t have just one chronic illness. They expect any platform that supports them to understand, empathize and incorporate that.
3. We see consumers as part of their Care Team- managing these conditions requires the consumers to be at the center of their care team, not secondary to it, which they often are.
If you come from a consumer-centric world, these three differences may seem obvious. In the healthcare world, they are certainly not. In fact, I sat through a session on consumer-centric health and it took nearly 25 minutes for someone to bring up the idea that the consumer may have different priorities than the healthcare system they access!
A destination for a healthier life
At Wellsmith we see our world with the consumer at the center of all we do. Note that we don’t say ‘patient’, because we know this is not about how healthcare defines the person. Instead, it is about how they and we define ourselves.
At Wellsmith we believe that everyone wants to live the best life they can. We understand that this is very difficult in the modern world and the hope of a healthy and long life feels out of reach to many.
We don’t accept that.
Wellsmith is building a destination for a healthier life and we were excited to start sharing this with the world.