Correction: An earlier version of this article mis-identified Yes Health as Solera's first all-mobile DPP. While Yes Health is all-mobile, it is not the only such offering on Solera's platform.
Yes Health’s offering, which is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and is a covered diabetes prevention program, connects people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes with one-on-one coaching, nutrition and fitness tracking, as well as personalized health advice. The app offers in-the-moment coaching from a nutritionist, fitness trainer or wellbeing expert, and users can get real-time nutrition and meal feedback by taking a picture on their smartphone and getting tips in response. The app also connects to a digital scale, and users will have the option to add a Fitbit (at no cost) to the program in January 2017.
Solera, which has 10 digital partners and acts as an integrator for DPPs, chose Yes Health for its entirely mobile approach, and was also attracted by their recent work with UCSF that examined Yes Health user data in a study on type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
“We really liked the real-time feedback, where they have so many touch points through the app,” Solera CEO Brenda Schmidt told MobiHealthNews in an interview. “Our thesis is that will support sustaining consumer engagement, which is key.”
With the partnership, qualified patients will now have expanded access to Yes Health’s coaching and lifestyle change platform, which the company says has high-engagement due to its low-cost, ease of use and compassionate coaches.
“When we first started out, our research very early on guided us to being mobile first – not on laptops, not in classrooms, because we really want people to be engaged and do the activity at a time that works for them, wherever, so mobile really became clear as the best platform,” Yes Health CEO Alex Petrov told MobiHealthNews in an interview. “People love the mobile experience rather than sitting and learning and then having to apply it later. That’s the old school model.”
Along with the partnership with Solera came both the opportunity and need for Yes Health to scale up its offerings. Schmidt put the number of covered lives under the Solera program at 30 million, and the company’s analytics model proactively identifies a best fit DPP based on each individual’s specific needs and preferences. Both Solera and Yes Health expect many more users to choose Yes Health for its ease of use and range of offerings. While Petrov couldn’t give specific numbers, he said the company currently serves thousands of people, and their goal is to have that in the tens of thousands in the next year.
“With Solera, we have a great communication system, we know how many people will be coming into the system and we will be able to scale up accordingly with more coaches and nutritionists,” Petrov said.
Yes Health uses a mix of real human coaching and AI to guide users through healthier living to prevent diabetes. The company’s cloud-based CRM system allows coaches to manage several members at once on the backend, but users still get a one-on-one approach, Petrov said.
“To do coaching in the moment and have a real person respond within three minutes, that’s a hard thing to do,” Petrov said. “The AI is very interesting, and we learned early on that the answer to achieving optimal outcomes, weight loss, and physical activity is through the combination of human touch and technology through mobile platforms. It’s not one or the other. AI from the beginning of the program is not as effective, so we start with the human intervention – a human you can trust, you can feel accountable to for a four to 10 week period, and then the AI can start to set in for things like reminders and notifications.”
Petrov, who himself was prediabetic and whose father had type 2 diabetes, emphasized the need for coaching that feels compassionate and approachable. All of the Yes Health coaches are either licensed nutritionists or have advanced degrees in psychology, and the company prides itself on its rigorous training.
“When people get information that they are at risk for diabetes, it’s very emotional. This is very different than general health and wellness. When I was diagnosed, it was shock. It’s not, oh, I want to lose 10 pounds, 20 pounds. It’s emotional,” he said. “Before you really get into fitness and nutrition, you need to address that it is a personal challenge.”