The mobile health industry is fragmented by the many new solutions released every day. Here’s how Welltok brought them all together on one platform
Like AI, mobile health is an emerging and fast-growing industry. “Many innovations are being developed and launched every day to improve health and wellness and to manage chronic conditions from diabetes to COPD,” says Scott Rotermund, co-founder of Welltok. “However, this new chaos is overwhelming both health service providers and consumers as the sector is fragmented by the number of solutions being made available.”
So Rotermund, a serial entrepreneur, experienced in fostering successful regional strategic partnerships, created an integrated consumer health platform to ensure that the right mobile solutions get into the hands of the right consumers at the right time.
“As mobile health devices and services get less expensive, they become ubiquitous,” Rotermund continues. “But right now, many mobile health technologies are only capturing regular data and reminding customers of the basic. For example, once I know that my morning walks take 2000 steps, that information becomes less useful especially if my morning is the same every day. I don’t have any incentive to interact with the technology. Just tracking this data isn’t enough to motivate me to create lasting and sustained behaviors.”
Rotermund believes although mobile health is going mainstream, it will not be an effective tool for behavior change until consumers have a reason to stay engaged. Besides, as Rotermund points out, the healthcare industry has been predominantly a “sick care” system – people’s wellbeing tends not to be defined by clinical care but by their environment and lifestyle.
Even if the healthcare industry has the interest to get people to concentrate on their wellbeing, they will struggle to find the right data and technology to personalize the process. “I want to develop the healthcare industry’s first consumer enterprise platform to guide and reward individuals to optimize their health,” Rotermund says. “I want users to be able to recognize opportunities that support their health and complete targeted actions that improve their physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing.”
Rotermund co-founded WellTok in 2009 with two other entrepreneurs Carlos Cardona and Jeff Cohen. The CafeWell health optimization platform was built to curate lifestyle and social determinants of health and generate personalized and adaptive health itineraries. The platform uses advanced analytics and machine learning to predict how to drive users to reach their respective health targets, utilising a range of wellness and condition management resources.
Users are connected at a personal level and offered services from scheduling a health screening test to receiving the flu vaccine or refilling a particular prescription, with appropriate incentives to keep them engaged. In the ensuing years, Welltok partnered with IBM Watson to leverage its cognitive computing capabilities to provide users with a 24/7 personal health concierge. It also acquired Zamzee, a health program developed by HopeLab, a San Francisco-based social innovation lab, to cater to younger users.
“I think every stakeholder in the healthcare supply chain has both structured and unstructured data that can help increase efficiencies and decrease waste,” says Cohen. “But we need specific plans to find patterns and utilize data in different ways to drive efficiencies. This is what we are trying to do with CafeWell – using AI to digest the volumes of data that traditional computing can’t handle. It learns previous interactions and understands the intent and sentiment of natural language that can power all types of capabilities. We need this to make healthcare more personalized and efficient.”