The future of healthcare for adult Americans lies in lifestyle change, not a pill or procedure according to Sean G Eldridge, founder and CEO of Gain Life a Harvard Launch Lab company that builds gender-specific lifestyle medicine programs for businesses. The programs are aimed at employees who suffer from serious, but preventable, chronic conditions.
"This is why we refer to our programs as "lifestyle medicine," he says "We believe health behavior change is possible because we've seen it work in multiple instances - for example the Diabetes Prevention Program and smoking cessation programs.These include our own programs, ManUP Health and PowerUP Health. We credit our long-term health outcomes to our mindset transformation focus, which leverages a broad evidence-base, packaged in a way that gives individuals what they want - reduced health risks and weight loss - while building into the process what they really need - change in mindset."
Eldridge, a Harvard Business School graduate, specializes in health behavior change. He has worked in new venture creation and strategy roles at Procter & Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, and Weight Watchers. He is also a board member of Nutrition Council of Greater Cincinnati.
He says he formed Gain Life with Dr John Peters when they realized the majority of health and wellness programs offered to businesses "missed the mark on two key fronts". Firstly they did not take into consideration differences between and within genders, and secondly they did not realize that to combat weight problems, a key driver of preventable chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, a psychological approach was needed.
"Our digital health programs such as, ManUP Health and PowerUP Health, enable members to transform their mind, as well as their body, through an evidence-based 16-week mindset, activity, and nutrition curriculum guided by health coaches and reinforced by peers, all online - via smartphone, tablet or computer," says Eldridge.
He says members are "personality-matched" with a coach who provides guidance through weekly check-ins, either via video-sessions or phone calls. These include weekly mindset-focused activities to help members win the "battle between the ears".
"Health behavior change is difficult, but it's one of the most valuable pursuits in healthcare- especially since for the first time in human history, preventable chronic disease kills more people than infectious disease," says Eldridge.
"We find that employers are pleasantly surprised by the fact that we put our money where our mouth is in delivering clinically significant health outcomes with performance-based pricing. On top of that, we offer programs that appeal to both genders, which is unique because weight management programs, including the diabetes prevention program, attract and engage primarily women.
"We offer 100% performance-based pricing, so an employer only pays when an employee is actively engaged in one of our programs and when that employee achieves a clinically significant health outcome at the end of 16-weeks. This ensures that an employer only pays for an intervention that will help save or contain healthcare costs. ‘
We believe that by aligning our company's incentives with an employer's incentives, everyone wins- the employer, the consumer, and us as a vendor."