SK Telecom Americas (SKTA), the Sunnyvale, California–based incubator of the South Korean telecom company has decided to shutdown the employer wellness offering, yesWell, which it has been developing for the past three years, MobiHealthNews has learned. According to an email from SKTA's former VP of Business Development, Richard Meider, that company had spent about $9.5 million developing the platform, which included a wireless smart pedometer paired with a rewards system.
Meider had previously told MobiHealthNews that the platform aimed to commercially launch in March of this year.
Here's how the incubator describes yesWell in a job posting: "It is a new service that targets the corporate wellness market. It is designed to help employers reduce healthcare costs and increase employee productivity and satisfaction. Our unique approach is to know the user, learn and grow. We treat each consumer as unique and deliver personalized recommendations. A continuous analytics engine processes real-time data to create a picture of individual wellness trajectories. We have the beta version of the solution working, though we is augmenting the service and preparing for commercial launch targeted early of 2012."
The platform also leverages a smart pedometer, "a physical activity tracker that also aggregates data from biometric devices (digital scale, blood pressure monitor) wirelessly and transmits data to a remote database," according to SKTA's website.
Meider wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews and others upon his departure, that SKTA had imposed a May 25, 2012 deadline for the team to find a buyer for yesWell, which was not met. Consequently, SKTA disbanded the yesWell team as of June 1 – last Friday.
Meider also revealed that AT&T had promised to “explore a strategic partnership” to help sell the yesWell platform through its enterprise sales channels if and when SKTA “found a home” for the wellness platform.
In late 2010 SKTA reported on a randomized control trial for an earlier version of the platform, then called iWell, that focused on weight loss and obesity. The wellness platform was piloted at Pacific Northwest-area healthcare system PeaceHealth. About 500 adults participated in the trial with about half using the system and the other using other methods for weight loss. More details over at clinicaltrials.gov.
SK Telecom Americas has not formally announced the closing of yesWell and its website is still up and running here.