Because of changes to the way the government and commercial insurers are reimbursing for health services, health insurers and providers are looking for ways to control the costs of caring for members. The best way, perhaps, is to keep them healthy on an ongoing basis. Healthy plan members use less health services than unhealthy ones, allowing the insurer to keep more of every premium dollar.
That’s why consumer health engagement platforms like Welltok’s have been attracting both new customers and new investment dollars in the last few years.
Welltok‘s platform, called the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform, lets risk-bearing population health managers offer their members customized wellness and condition management programs, including various incentives for positive wellness behavior. The platform also provides ways for health plans and providers to offer condition management programs and incentives to people dealing with (potentially costly) health conditions like diabetes.
The platform integrates with popular fitness wearables, like those from FitBit, and with fitness apps like Fatsecret. So an insurer or provider could use the platform to reward members for walking a certain number of steps each month, as measured by the FitBit device.
Welltok’s platform has been getting traction in the marketplace and is poised to expand further. The Denver-based company has now closed $25 million of a planned $37 million funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Welltok expects to raise the other $12 later this year.
Asked why he felt the new funding was necessary at this time, Welltok CEO Jeff Margolis told VentureBeat that his company is positioning itself to seize on what it sees as a quickly growing market.
“We are a revenue-stage company and growing rapidly,” Margolis said. “I, along with leadership, decided we needed the funding so that we would not be distracted as we move into 2015.”
Margolis says the new money will be used to further develop Welltok’s technology platform and to market it to more health insurers and health providers.
Welltok is just one of a growing number of startups offering consumer health engagement platforms. Jiff and Limeade are two notable examples, although those companies target large employers. Welltok, however, may be unique in that it is open enough to potentially provide access to a consumer’s health provider, health plan, and employer, all of which could offer programs and incentives through the platform.
Welltok was funded in earlier rounds by Emergence Capital Partners, InterWest Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Qualcomm Ventures, and IBM’s Watson Group, among others.