Boston startup partners with Clinton Foundation to promote health apps

By Neil Versel
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Photo Credit: Adam Schultz / Clinton Foundation Photo Credit: Adam Schultz / Clinton Foundation

The Clinton Health Matters Initiative, an 11-month-old effort of the William J. Clinton Foundation to lessen health disparities between socioeconomic and racial groups, will offer health and wellness apps to people in participating communities via a mobile platform from Boston-based startup Wellable. Wellable principals said theirs is the first mobile wellness technology company to join in a "commitment to action" with the Clinton Foundation, headed by former President Bill Clinton.

In the initial phase of the collaboration, Wellable will provide its app management and analytics technology to healthcare organizations and employer groups in the four current Clinton Health Matters Initiative service regions, namely the Houston and Little Rock, Arkansas metropolitan areas, as well as in California's Coachella Valley and Northwest Florida. Later, the company will expand beyond those geographic areas to work nationwide with employees of the 45 companies that formally support the health initiative, according to Cole Boskey, cofounder and chief growth officer of Wellable.

The Wellable system provides a smartphone platform that delivers and connects data from other health and wellness apps, with each client choosing the apps. "We layer on top so employers can manage a multi-app experience," Boskey told MobiHealthNews. "We want to make it easy for a human-resources department to manage a wellness program."

With the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, Wellable will be working directly with employers and Clinton Foundation in each region to deliver apps to smartphone users in an effort to improve health status and outcomes. Boskey says the technology takes some of the burden off local human resources workers. "We will be doing the heavy lifting," he said.

"Wellable will play an important part in CHMI's efforts to improve health outcomes within our communities with this easily accessible analytical tool," Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative said in a press release. "The availability of this innovative employee wellness technology builds upon CHMI's work at the national level on open-sourcing the 'how' of health."

Wellable is starting with fitness and activity trackers such as RunKeeper and Moves, as well as various nutrition apps since these target the "low-hanging fruit" of whole populations, according to co-founder and President Nick Patel.

"We address a very significant part of the population, but it's not a sole solution," Patel said. "Mobile isn't the only piece of the pie," he added.

The company is close to signing a deal with a partner in a smoking cessation program, Patel said, and later plans on moving into management of specific disease states such as diabetes and congestive heart failure.

Right now, Wellable connects with a number of different apps, with more planned for the future, though it is up to each region and each employer to decide which to offer. "Users will get apps based on their own profiles," Patel said.