Building an “Engagement Engine” for Wellbeing


Navigate Wellbeing, a fast-growing West Des Moines employee engagement technology company, recently expanded its partnership with regional health system MercyOne to jointly launch a new initiative – Circle + Powered by MercyOne – a wellbeing service. be accessible by smartphone and by subscription aimed at helping people improve and maintain their general health.

For a $20 monthly subscription, users get access to the wellness platform which bundles fitness, lifestyle and mental health apps. They include Fitbit, Fringe, Total Brain and others, linked through Navigate Wellbeing’s user hub, said Derek Novak, president of MercyOne’s population health services organization. The subscription-based program, which includes a Fitbit device, is open to all members of communities served by MercyOne, not just MercyOne patients.

“It’s really a mainstream offering,” Novak said. “So if you’re not a MercyOne patient, obviously we welcome you to become one, but it’s something we’re going direct to consumer with – it’s open to anyone interested in signing up.”

Navigate Wellbeing, which describes itself as “a cutting-edge technology company helping organizations create greater health and happiness in the employees, customers and communities they serve,” has worked with MercyOne for six years to coordinate services of well-being via its technological platform.

Navigate does business with enterprise customers who employ more than 1.5 million people nationwide. She currently counts 15 Iowa companies among her clients through her relationship with MercyOne, providing wellness services to nearly 10,000 Iowa employees for companies that include large local employers such as Hy-Vee. Inc., Meredith Corp. and Kemin Inc.

“Companies are increasingly taking responsibility for improving an individual’s health, particularly in relation to their mental health, and indeed the whole person’s health – financial well-being, nutrition, physical activity, mental wellbeing,” said Troy Vincent, Navigate Founder and CEO of Wellbeing.

“We are an engine of engagement, and we can engage these people,” he added. “And the Circle+ program engages the whole person by putting all digital tools under one roof.”

As MercyOne President and CEO Bob Ritz said when announcing Circle+ in March, “Our mission is based on improving the health of our communities. The best way to achieve this goal is to not only serve sick people, but to help everyone stay healthy.

Vincent said Navigate is well positioned to help seize this opportunity, based on his experience working with employers and health systems.

“These employers try to build meaningful relationships with their employees, they try to retain them, and they try to show them that they care about them,” he said. “But then we are also looking at ways to tightly link the location of health care in each group that we work with. For us, this creates a better, seamless experience for the individual in regards to their care. »

In addition to working with MercyOne, Navigate Wellbeing has approximately 20 healthcare system customers across the United States, including systems located in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“The healthcare system marketplace that we work with across the country is one of our most dynamic pillars as a business,” Vincent said. “And I think we’re now seeing the willingness of businesses and healthcare systems to really take advantage of people’s willingness to embrace technology and see it as integral to how we care for people.”

A unique aspect of the Circle+ program is that it is Navigate’s first effort to create a membership-based subscription model. “We hope to replicate this model in other healthcare systems,” Vincent said. “We are learning and taking advantage of the opportunity we have here in Iowa with the Circle+ program.”

MercyOne’s Novak noted that the health system worked with Navigate to pilot the platform with a large Greater Des Moines employer who was willing to partner to test it.

“We had other settings, such as assisted living communities, all participating in the pilot to provide feedback on their experience, both with the hub and Fitbit devices,” he said, noting that ‘around 250 people in total were involved. “And then, based on that feedback, we really started to expand the service offerings within Circle+. That’s something we’re going to continue to do based on consumer feedback.”

Here are some additional questions we discussed with Darren Novak:

What are their expectations in response to the personal health coach option?

One of the biggest feedback points about the pilot was really that interest and commitment to this personalized health coach, whether it came from navigating the health system or partnering in terms of the wellness component. So it’s something that we see as a key added value within the Circle+ program and something that we continue to develop in terms of the services that we can help under the program.

Will MercyOne or Navigate Wellbeing aggregate app results?

In terms of aggregate data, and things like that, these are really things that we would seek to obtain through voluntary surveys and feedback from members themselves.

Will people who use Circle+ have the option of lowering their health insurance premiums as an incentive to use it?

I would say that’s not a short-term priority. We would welcome the opportunity to partner with employers in terms of benefit design, or also with payers. I think that would really come out more in discussions of employer benefits as part of a defined or voluntary benefit, or partnership with payers, which of course is an area of ​​interest for us as well .

Are there particular demographics that you think will appeal the most?

We took an intentional approach in our pilot to have a broad demographic that was enlisted to get really strong feedback. I would say that the number of registrations today does not necessarily correspond to a particular demographic group. This is something we continue to get feedback on from members as well as the wider community as we talk to employers and others to find out where they see the benefits associated with a particular app and platform. of well-being.

Where are they in terms of schooling?

In terms of our initial projections, we’re right on target for what we expected in terms of launch. We expect that we will enter enrollment periods in the fall where they identify what their benefits programs will look like, that we will continue to see it grow.

By the Numbers: Navigating Wellness

Year of foundation: 2013

Full-time employees in 2021: 34

Current number of full-time employees: 62

Companies he works with directly: 250+

Software client companies: 400+

Users on its platform: 1.35M+


Editor’s note: The original version of this story had an incorrect first name for Derek Novak.

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