Matt Loper, CEO & Co-Founder of Wellth
Why don’t we do what we’re “supposed to do” when it comes to our health?
I’ve seen so much unnecessary pain caused simply because we often don’t do the things we know we “should”. In my own family, my Uncle Roy struggled to manage his type 2 diabetes—he constantly missed doctor appointments, failed to take his medications, and never checked his blood sugars. He knew he should do all of these things—he even wanted and intended to—but he seemingly never could follow through. Uncle Roy spent years on dialysis and passed away after having a stroke in 2015. Seeing him struggle with managing his condition was the inspiration behind Wellth, which I cofounded with our CTO Alec Zopf.
Uncle Roy’s story is not unique; the individual behaviors that people with chronic conditions perform on a daily basis are the most important determinant of future health outcomes.
Last year, we had the privilege of helping 23,452 patients complete millions of daily care behaviors. Each member has their own unique sets of life challenges, conditions, and behaviors, but we all share the same universal human psychology.
By understanding the personalized motivation that each member needs to change behaviors—and by helping train these behaviors into lasting habits—we’ve been able to help people from all walks of life dramatically improve their health outcomes. We’ve been able to help people like Uncle Roy struggling to just take their medications and manage their chronic conditions every day, stay out of the hospital and improve their lab metrics. We’ve helped people with OUD maintain their sobriety and measured significant improvements to emergency room overdose visits. We’ve helped people build a new habit of using their newly prescribed CPAP devices every night and saw a 36% improvement with device usage 3 months later vs. control.
Our ability to positively impact people’s lives is what drives our team everyday. Across these 23,452 members last year, our clients measured an average of 42% reduction in hospitalizations. By some simple math, this means we helped keep our members out of the hospital and at home with their families for approximately 8,600 extra days. This saved our customers over $24 million just on hospitalization costs alone. Most importantly, 239 of our members would’ve passed away last year without our support.
Scaling this impact to the millions of people out there who need our help is more than a mission—we view it as an imperative. Today, we are excited, proud, and humbled to announce that Wellth has raised $20 million in Series B capital to support our growth and fuel our mission.
This capital will allow us to continue our rapid membership growth and further invest in the behavioral science engine and team behind the Wellth platform. Beyond capital, our new investors SignalFire and Frank Williams (Co-Founder and Former CEO of Evolent Health), bring a whole new set of expertise in scaling category-leading companies. Our oversubscribed round is also being supported by existing investors The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund, CD Venture, Yabeo and Partnership Fund for NYC. Over the next several years, we will focus on defining and leading a new category in healthcare.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what this all means…
Like my Uncle Roy did, many individuals struggle with building lasting healthy habits, and this takes a costly toll on our health and the healthcare system. 6 in 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease—and combined these are the leading causes of death and disability and the leading driver of America’s $4.1 trillion in annual health care costs.
A huge part of the problem is that the healthcare system can’t get patients to follow through with their prescribed care plans. Patients are human, and human brains are wired to focus on immediate gratification. Most things we “should do” don’t give us immediate gratification (eating right, exercising, taking medications, going to the doctor). But, it’s estimated that 40% of health outcomes are actually attributed to our individual behavior.
Medication adherence is one of those individual behaviors that many patients struggle with. In the U.S., about 1 in 5 prescriptions are never filled, and of those filled, approximately 50% are taken incorrectly (timing, dosage, frequency, duration). This contributes to more than $500 billion in avoidable health care costs alone. Lack of medication adherence and other patient follow-through behaviors lead to worse health outcomes, higher costs, and lower health equity.
At Wellth, we work with members that health plans and providers often cannot reach and engage with effectively. We connect with patients that are living with chronic conditions and help them address the root causes and barriers to living a healthier life. Through the power of behavioral economics and sophisticated machine learning AI, we build a custom member experience to motivate the follow-through of medication adherence and other healthy behaviors.
Through Wellth, our payer and provider partner programs have seen some impressive outcomes:
Why? Because we’re removing barriers and giving patients the intrinsic motivation to do what’s best for their health.
There are many tools that have been developed to “engage” members but unfortunately this has come to mean annoying them with mail that goes unopened, phone calls that go unanswered, apps that don’t get used, and smart devices that collect dust. The only way to actually change health behaviors—and therefore health outcomes—is by creating motivation on an individual basis. We help members follow through and turn the things they “should” do into lasting habits that get done, every day.
We partner with health insurers and providers to set up a monthly reward system that’s built on behavioral science, utilizing concepts such as loss aversion. Patients use the Wellth app to document daily healthy behaviors—and depending on the activity, a fraction is deducted from their reward if it’s not completed.
Through this daily interaction, we help members train these new behaviors into habits, and our super power is getting these habits to stick. The result of these new daily habits is leading to lasting behavior change and positive outcomes for our members and our customers. Notably, our payer clients have measured drastic savings to medical costs by preventing hospitalizations and ED visits, and we’ve helped Medicare Advantage plans achieve higher Star ratings.
91% of our members interact with the Wellth app EVERY DAY.
The Wellth app is achieving unheard-of member engagement in the healthcare space—but also across the entire digital landscape; our demographic skews much older, but brings 3x higher daily engagement than popular social media apps like Instagram and TikTok.
We recently reached a milestone of 10 million Wellth member “check-ins”, with each check-in representing an important daily behavior change for improved member health. These milestones are a reminder to all of us at Wellth that we are doing so much more than our daily jobs. Ultimately, our members are our mission—and this is the mindset all of us go to work with each day—from engineering to member support to customer success.
A member shared with us recently that the Wellth program reminds her every day to choose health. Another member shared that she’s not only been taking her medication, but also has been able to keep a job, keep her apartment, keep the lights on, and keep food in the refrigerator—and because of this, she gets to live a full life.
These are powerful statements that we hear every day from our members. We see them becoming empowered to prioritize their health and in doing so are building lasting healthy habits. It continues to motivate us every day to further advance our technology, behavioral science-backed programs, and member support. We’re thrilled that our new funding will enable us to do just that.
Our customers’ investment (a combined $6M and growing) into the lives and communities of their members through our Wellth Rewards program is positively impacting member health, but also health inequities—nearly 60% of Wellth rewards are spent on groceries and food alone.
We help our customers better engage and support some of the most complex, vulnerable, and underserved populations in the U.S. We’re honored to work with leading companies across the healthcare system, including health plans and fully capitated healthcare providers across multiple lines of business (i.e. Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, ACA/Exchange) that share in our mission.
Our Series B funding allows us to continue driving efforts to solve some of the biggest challenges within healthcare and grow our impact on member lives. We look forward to continuing to scale growth with our new and existing customer partnerships, leading network of industry advisors and partners, and our amazing internal team.
Are you a health plan or provider striving to improve member health while being able to improve your quality measures, reduce costs and better connect with your members? Contact us to learn how Wellth can help!