Born from the experience of a seasoned hospitality CEO, Well unlocks health engagement through the same principles that produce delighted guests and successful loyalty programs.
A decade ago, our co-founder Gary Loveman was the Chairman & CEO of the largest gaming company in the world. Not only was Gary dedicated to improving the hospitality experience of the millions of visitors to Caesars Entertainment properties each year, but he was also concerned about the well-being of tens of thousands of employees. He was startled by how difficult the latter was to address. Caesars employees were experts in creating amazing experiences for their guests; going above and beyond to make a customer happy. They knew what good consumer decisions looked like. But this set of finely honed skills often seemed to hit a brick wall as soon as his employees were focused on their own health. Why was that? Why were many world-class hospitality workers so challenged in taking the steps necessary to improve their own health?
An economist by training, Gary became fascinated with this paradox and focused on new and innovative health improvement tactics for the duration of his tenure as CEO. Convenience was clearly a factor in his employees’ behavior, so he installed on-site clinics for easy access. He added incremental offerings to the existing benefits package, with incentives for use, to explore what would be impactful. He launched programs focused on breaking down larger health goals into smaller, more attainable actions. All of these experiments were in the service of answering a key question. How can we nudge our employees to take the next step for their own health with the same amount of success that we nudge our customers towards taking the next step in their hospitality experience?
“There is a critical relationship between engagement, action and health outcomes that the healthcare industry is not acting upon. Drawing on my experience in the consumer world, it’s always been quite clear that a fundamentally different approach to health improvement is needed. The Well platform’s focus on personalization, persistence and incentives is the missing piece that will enable individuals to be successful in the pursuit of their health ambitions.”
- Gary Loveman, Co-Founder and CEO
The Path to Well
As a result of his approach at Caesars, Gary was asked to lead the Business Roundtable sub-committee on health care reform during the second Obama administration, convening other industry executives in service of improving health care and reducing cost escalation. When he left Caesars he drew on this experience to join the healthcare industry as EVP of Consumer Health Services at Aetna. Where better to solve the question of health engagement than within one of the largest managed care organizations?
Gary hired co-founder Dave Werry to join him at Aetna and together they launched into building a suite of services to help individuals understand their health potential and take actions toward achieving it. But it wasn’t long into this journey when Aetna was sold to CVS and Gary and Dave reflected on how to best pursue their agenda of personalized health improvement.
“Gary and I were at the highest levels of a health industry heavy weight, having conversations with our colleagues, but we weren’t talking about health impact at all. It was all about the mechanics of the health system and cost reduction. That was the moment for us when we stepped back and said, what are we doing? How do we build the right platform that is focused on advocating for our members and driving real health impact? And that’s been the guiding light for us from day one.”
- Dave Werry, Co-Founder and President
Gary and Dave decided they would have more success by starting afresh with health engagement and improvement at the core of a new, dedicated platform. They assembled a founding leadership team that was one-third healthcare executives, one-third hospitality and gaming veterans, and one-third from other consumer-focused backgrounds. The direction was to focus less on systems, processes, and ‘how it is’, while focusing more on changing behavior, outcomes, and ‘how it could be better’.
The Way Forward
Healthcare is a largely reactive industry: get sick or need help and the system will respond to provide care and decide who pays for it. What is missing is a trusted, personalized source of support and guidance to help each of us take the actions necessary to improve and sustain our health. These actions go far beyond diet and exercise, and include all elements of our mental and physiological health; e.g., sleep, chronic disease management, testing and preventative care, mood, depression and anxiety, among others.
The missing link is the foundation of Well’s offering. Our purpose is to improve health through compelling, frequent engagement. We work with users to build a relationship based on their individual health history, challenges and desires. With our AI Health Engine, clinically-driven content, and Well Guides, we offer a persistent presence in their lives that moves them step-by-step towards their own own goals and overall health improvement. Ours is a high-touch, but low-pressure habit-forming approach that uses proven consumer engagement tactics and incentives to make members successful in advancing their health.
We will know we’ve succeeded when the individuals on our platform are interacting with us hundreds of times a year and we can count each better habit, measure individual health improvement, and are preventing avoidable illnesses. Our mission is to provide each member with the convenience of an always-on service, personalized to their circumstances, which they consult for a full spectrum of health and wellness tools.
Our ambition is high, but our work is producing the results that let us know we are on the right path. The same tactics that have built the world’s most successful customer rewards programs are working every day to create repeatable, quality health engagement opportunities for our members. The orchestration of successful experiences at the individual level is the path to sustainable health improvement and, at Well, we believe we’ve made a start.