One fine day, the founders of Wellsmith, Jeanne and Yuri Teshler were in a movie theatre with their kids, and noticed a surprising number of obese adults and children. They wondered if the next generation, without some course correction, would be unhealthier and have a shorter lifespan than their parents. The couple began to explore an alternative approach by combining technology, healthcare, and consumer perspectives to eradicate lifestyle diseases. This led to Wellsmith being founded in 2015 and in partnership with Cone Health, a North Carolina-based healthcare provider, launched a health engagement platform into initial trials focused on patients that were employees of Cone Health with type 2 diabetes. These trials found that patients were keenly following their prescribed care plans by engaging with the Wellsmith platform, and seeing health improvements as a result.
Recently, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in conjunction with the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) convened a panel to overhaul their approach toward type 2 diabetes in adults. The panel suggested that organizations helping type 2 diabetes patients should have an additional focus on lifestyle management and diabetes self-management with education and support. Nigel Dessau, the president & COO at Wellsmith feels that the recommendations made by the associations raise the most critical factors for successful type 2 diabetes management, and his company is uniquely positioned to do so in the healthcare space.
Today, Wellsmith helps adults with type 2 diabetes to control their chronic condition as well as discover critical moments in their day that can affect their health.
“What we do and the way we do it aligns well with the panel’s idea. People need to understand their lifestyle choices have effects on their condition in a way that they could do something practical about it,” explains Dessau. Since 2015, Wellsmith has continued to develop the first engagement platform for health in partnership with Cone Health that is prescribed by physicians to their patients. The platform connects caregivers with patients to help them control the diseases that arise from unhealthy lifestyle choices while also making patients accountable for their own health. It employs a consumer-oriented approach and each patient is prescribed a personalized digital care plan, which includes medications, glucose monitoring, physical activity, weight loss, and more. Patients engage with the platform via a mobile app and are equipped with a Bluetooth connected devices, such as glucometers and activity trackers, to monitor their vitals. The other component of the platform is the clinical care team portal, which allows healthcare providers or care teams to connect with patients and follow their daily activities while providing encouragement, coaching, and support without having to meet with patients in person.
Helping manage blood sugar is an important part of what makes Wellsmith unique. A trial participant habitually ate a morning honey bun containing lots of sugar and carbohydrates. Once he started using the Wellsmith platform, he could see his blood sugar levels daily, weekly, and monthly. He then adjusted his breakfast food and quickly realized the positive impact. He could better follow his doctor-prescribed care plan via the Wellsmith platform to maintain his sugar levels, which helped him lead a healthier lifestyle.
Wellsmith is launching the second version of its product with Cone Health in the first half of 2019. “The plan for this year is to keep building our relationship with the existing customers while for next year, we will add more providers and healthcare customers and roll out the product broadly,” says Dessau.
Besides type 2 diabetes, Wellsmith has conducted trials for other chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), and hypertension. Wellsmith is making efforts to manage multiple chronic disease comorbidities that will allow consumers to manage their chronic diseases through a single app.
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