By JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Virgin Pulse has been a big name in workplace wellness for a long time – working with health plans and employers (including 25% of the Fortune 500) to provide care navigation, well-being services, health coaching and access to digital health point solutions for years. Yet, it raised some eyebrows at the end of last year when it announced its acquisition of data-driven wellness company, Welltok. So, what happens when one of the biggest names in worker wellbeing suddenly has access to a dataset of 250M healthcare consumers? Virgin Pulse’s CEO Chris Michalak stops by to talk about the value of that data, which he believes will not only turbo-charge Virgin Pulse’s engagement rates, but also provide new ways for the business to serve as a “full-on navigation capability” for employers, plans, and health systems.
As Chris puts it, Virgin Pulse has always been an “engagement company” but the addition of Welltok’s data turns it into an “activation company.” As Virgin Pulse continues to partner up with digital health point solutions, bring digital therapeutics into the fold, and build-out primary care relationships as a lead stream, the platform Chris describes starts to sound more and more like a navigation business that competes with the likes of Accolade or Included Health. Will Virgin Pulse one-day dip into primary care themselves and add their own virtual care providers? Will they build their own digital therapeutics with data derived from that rich Welltok database? We get into the ‘what’s next’ for the business as it integrates its latest acquisition and seeks to win more C-suite attention from employers seeking to better manage their employees’ access to healthcare benefits.