Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet and lack of physical activity are major contributors to the development and progression of preventable chronic diseases. These diseases, like hypertension, type-2-diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders are by far the leading causes of mortality in the world, and some of the biggest drivers of rising healthcare costs.
Even though doctors encourage healthy behaviors to aid prevention and management of several chronic medical conditions, many patients are either inadequately prepared to start or are unable to maintain appropriate healthy changes. Omada Health, a digital medicine company, uses behavioral sciences to help people change their habits, improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It is the largest CDC-recognized provider of the landmark National Diabetes Prevention Program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; has enrolled more than 120,000 participants since its inception.
Omada Health’s program combines proven behavioral sciences with the power of professional health coaches and peer groups, connected technology, and world-class design to deliver clinically-meaningful results. The company operates on a pay-for-outcomes pricing model that aligns incentives between Omada Health, customers, and participants.
Omada Health was recently named as one of “The Most Innovative Companies of 2017” by Fast Company and has also been recognized as a “2016 Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum.
The Mastermind behind Omada Health
A self-described technology geek, Sean Duffy, CEO and Co-founder of Omada Health, was interested in medicine from a young age. He completed his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience before working for Google Analytics. After several years on the West Coast, he enrolled in the joint MD/MBA program at the prestigious Harvard University, where his first ambition was to build the “Starbucks for Primary Care”. Sean strongly believes that behavioral medicine is at an incredible tipping point of innovation, owing to the advancement in technology and design.
Following his first year in the program, Sean took a summer internship in the healthcare practice at the global design firm IDEO, where he met Omada’s Co-founder and President, Adrian James. Together, they worked to translate a clinical intervention that had demonstrated results in a face-to-face setting into an equally effective digital program. In 2011, the pair founded Omada Health, building on the foundation of the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program from the National Institute of Health. They began the company with a focused and audacious mission to scale and personalize a proven intervention, inspiring and empowering people everywhere to live free of chronic diseases.
A Constantly Evolving Journey
“It has been a fascinating time to work in healthcare generally, and specifically in digital health,” says Sean. An industry that hardly existed a decade ago is now influencing every step of the healthcare industry; from how patients interact with their care teams, to how healthcare data is stored, analyzed, and accessed by providers. Omada Health’s journey, as one of the early digital health companies and the pioneer of the field of ‘digital therapeutics,’ has been rewarding as well as challenging for Sean and his team. Defining a new category and developing the evidence of results, delivered by Omada Health’s programs has taken them a tremendous amount of time and investment. However to witness, and help drive, widespread adoption of validated digital health tools in the employer and health plan space has been an inspiring journey for Omada.
Omada Health is now at a critical moment in the maturation of digital health products. As the market has become increasingly crowded, the time has come to ensure and differentiate the truly effective products from the misleading ones. The following years will be defined by how the broader healthcare industry develops its understanding, and evaluation, of these products.
Secret to Success
Omada Health starts with the science, making sure their program, and any tweaks they make to it, are based on established clinical evidence. They elevate the importance of design, knowing that sustainable behavior change is a deeply personal experience which requires the consumer experience to be on par with the best brands anywhere, not simply in healthcare. Omada Health understands the importance of customer engagement and makes sure to know people at the center of their program; beginning with participants, and including professional health coaches. And finally, they insist on outcomes. They know the program is relevant if it delivers appropriate results. Hence, they price Omada Health programs based on outcomes, staking their revenue on delivering clinically-meaningful results to the clients.
Omada Health strongly believes in empowering their partners and customers. They make sure the organization stays front and center as they design custom enrollment marketing campaigns for their employees and beneficiaries. They ensure that they are consistently aligned with the most important outcomes for their business, and that they are delivering on those outcomes. As they have developed a revenue structure that demands that they deliver results otherwise, they don’t make money. This value proposition goes a long way in establishing trust with a customer, and sustaining engagement driven by a customer-centric operation.
“Without a doubt, Omada’s biggest asset is our people,” says Sean. Omada has a world-class team, enriched with a diverse range of experiences and expertise. “We’ve constructed the team very intentionally, and built a culture that values input from every level of the organization,” adds Sean. Omada Health has brought designers, engineers, data scientists, physicians, and many others together in order to build a health care intervention that delivers better outcomes. They also bring in individual contributors who they believe can grow into leaders in their organization; and have been fortunate to watch many of them do exactly that. As Omada continues to grow, the team will be their biggest advantage.
Omada has been one of the leaders in the digital health industry for the last several years. As the company grows, it has learned tremendously about how to scale effectively, as well as how to operationalize large-scale commercial channels via health plans and other partners. Their team has learned to double down on what Omada Health does best and will continue to focus on core competencies, and growth with purpose and direction.