Shaan Gandhi and Nick Patel have been friends for a while. Now, they’re business partners, too.
Gandhi, a student in Harvard’s joint MBA/ MD program, says the friends often talked about ways of effectively bringing preventative wellness to major organizations. When it came to turning their ideas into a business model, Patel’s technology background was a perfect fit with Gandhi’s medical knowledge. “We thought, why wait and let someone else build it?” Gandhi says. Wellable was born.
“Our system is called ‘healthcare,'” Gandhi explains. “But in reality, the system provides sick care. It works best when someone is already sick. It would be better – less expensive and more efficient – if we tried to keep people healthy and out of hospitals and clinics. That’s where Wellable comes in.”
Wellable is a platform that promotes the health and well-being of employees. Gandhi, Patel and their colleagues partner with third party app developers, mostly because they say that people have their own preferences about which apps they want to use to track their health. Then Wellable aggregates this data, sending it to employers, who provide incentives and benefits to their employees for healthy behavior .
“I viewed legacy wellness programs as outdated, heavily service-oriented and out of touch with the lives they wanted to impact,” Patel says. “I wanted to bridge the gap between the disparities of these solutions by bringing consumer and digital health tools to employers and other organizations that wanted to sponsor wellness programs.”
Currently, Wellable works with 17 organizations, helping them sign up their employees for wellness programs, promoting apps, working with app developers (like FitBit, Jawbone and RunKeeper), and bringing wellness data to employers.
“People like the idea that they get rewarded for things they want to be doing,” Gandhi says. “There’s an incentive for them to take care of themselves. They feel more in charge of their care. We want to empower people to take better care of themselves, and people really love this.”
Gandhi also says that his medical experience, partnered with a business background and Patel’s technology knowledge, has created a perfect storm and guided Wellable’s success.
“Medical school taught me about the challenges we face as patients,” he says. “It’s challenging to stay healthy. People have busy lives. And the business side taught me that in many other industries, they’ve thought deeply about ways to enage and inform people – with games, benefits and apps.”
Looking forward, Wellable has partnered with the Clinton Foundation to expand community health programs with the foundation’s partners. Patel also says that they hope to continue supporting third party technologies and applications, and bringing the cream of the crop to corporations.
“Ultimately,” Patel says, “hospitals and providers need to go beyond patient care to embrace wellness, in order to secure their future. The real way to save money is to prevent individuals from having to go to the hospital at all by investing in chronic disease prevention.”
Gandhi agrees. “It’s all about prevention,” he says. “We want to help people feel like they’re in charge of their care.”
At MedTech Boston, we’re passionate about pushing innovative healthcare ideas into the spotlight. We want to help innovators interact with new ideas, understand them more deeply and communicate and collaborate with each other. That’s why we’re so excited to announce the launch of MedTech Boston Talk, an online forum where featured innovators will answer your questions for a limited time (come on – they have to get back to innovating!). Join the conversation, powered by Medstro, now.
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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