Tea Buzz



From Sick Care to Optimized Health: A Roadmap for Transformation

Posted January 28, 2019

As CEO and Chairman of Welltok, Jeff Margolis brings more than three decades of experience in healthcare software and technology to the table. But as someone battling Crohn’s disease, he also has extensive experience on the receiving end of healthcare; from diagnostics and surgery, to health management and pharmaceuticals.

So, who is better served to talk about the transformation from sick care to optimized health? Margolis shared his healthcare journey with us in July at the 2nd Annual Tea Leaves Health Client Summit, and discussed how it has affected his outlook on the healthcare system in general. “I’ve had seven operations, spent over 100 days in the hospital, and have experienced a number of drug interactions,” Jeff said. “If it wasn’t for sick care, I wouldn’t be alive. And if it wasn’t for doctors and nurses, I wouldn’t be standing here now.”

Being a patient is (and should be) a small portion of life. This creates a challenge for those in healthcare marketing, because most of the time – more than 99% of the time, in fact – consumers are NOT patients. So, how do you create a bond – a partnership – with the consumer when most of the time, they don’t need you?

Sick care is well-served and established, and all facets involved – physicians, providers, health plans, pharmaceutical and supplies – are on board with it. “However, we need to break the paradigm and find a way for the consumer to optimize their health,” Jeff said. “That’s what Welltok does – creates a system for provider organizations that they can brand for their healthcare consumers.

Jeff said it’s important to focus on four consumer truths that will allow providers to stay connected to and understand their patient population:

  1. Patients receive care while consumers make choices.
  2. Healthcare consumers are confused by the complexity of the system.
  3. Every consumer is unique, and this is further complicated when people transition from “consumer” to “patient” and back to “consumer.”
  4. Consumers are being pulled in all directions.

Beyond these truths, 70% of all health drivers exist outside the sick care system, Jeff said. This means it’s critical to enable and empower consumers to act in partnership with population health managers. “It’s no longer about practicing episodic medicine to stay on trend,” Jeff said. “Instead, it’s about changing the curve – not the cost curve, but the morbidity curve – by influencing consumer choices and behaviors.”

That doesn’t mean we should diminish the importance of episodic medicine and patient care. It’s simply a matter of retooling how you look at it and deal with it in the grand scheme of the patient/consumer experience. “If you give your consumer the tools they need and make them loyal before they become sick or injured, they will tend to be your patient when that episode occurs,” he said. “Welltok allows you to unlock value in each of these categories by empowering consumers to connect with personal improvement resources and make it easy and rewarding for consumers to complete actions that optimize their health. It’s that simple,” Jeff explained.

Welltok’s emphasis is three-fold:

  • Apply Big Data and machine learning to optimize programming and activate consumers
  • Help clients identify ROI-driven actions, and
  • Help drive consumer activity, completion and rewards.

“This kind of system has to be B-to-B-to-C,” Jeff said, but then he took it one step further. “Then, it has to be B-to-B-to-C-to-P, with P representing “partner.” “As consumers go through their medical journey, we’re bringing together sick care data and consumer data. It’s never been done. And it’s hard to do,” he said, adding, “This is where Tea Leaves enters the picture, and it’s how they are the perfect partner for Welltok. Now, you end up with the best consumer data in the industry.”

Jeff encourages providers to create their own “ecosystem” to help in the transition from patient-based sick care to consumer-based health. “When we change the paradigm, we can change the consumer profile,” he said.

Let us know how Welltok and Tea Leaves Health can help your organization on the journey from sick care to optimized health.