There are few of life’s milestones as exciting—or as nerve-wracking—as pregnancy. Everyday Health has long helped its audience optimize their heath, manage issues, and prepare for pregnancy and parenthood. It is no surprise that among its most popular franchises is What to Expect, which was built upon what many women call “the pregnancy bible,” Heidi Murkoff’s guide for expectant mothers that has spent more than 690 weeks on the New York Times’ Bestseller List.
The company’s latest move leverages the incredible popularity of What to Expect through a strategic partnership with Wildflower Health, which produces mobile health programs that help families tap into the healthcare system and make more informed health decisions. Their partnership and the resulting updated What to Expect app puts important information in the hands of expectant mothers, integrating Wildflower Health’s enterprise mobile application platform, a HIPAA-compliant architecture for both iOS and Android operating systems. Wildflower combines mobile analytics with outcomes from the healthcare system to create a data model for predicting and managing health risks. Its customers include health plans, self-insured employers and Medicaid clients.
When Miki Kapoor joined Everyday Health in September last year as President of the newly-formed Healthcare Solutions division, his goal was to execute Everyday Health’s growth strategy across the broader healthcare landscape, which includes payors, providers, employers and risk-bearing entities in the healthcare ecosystem. He says Wildflower Health stood out as a potential partner because of its digital acumen and the two companies’ shared both product and philosophical goals.
Both reach women in the very early stages of pregnancy, which is essential for affecting healthy pregnancy outcome, as well as for risk-identification for issues such as premature birth. This also helps to solve a challenge for insurers as they often do not have an opportunity to impact women’s pregnancies until claims are processed. As Kapoor points out, about 11% of U.S. babies are born prematurely, and these high risk pregnancies can cost up to 20 times more than full-term births. However he is quick to point out that healthcare costs aren’t the only ones that need to be accounted for. “We can impact healthcare costs, yes. But we can also help make a pretty incredible impact on outcomes for mom and baby,” says Kapoor.
For What to Expect fans, the experience within the app will not markedly change. However it now allows users to provide insurer information and choose whether or not to allow Everyday Health to share their information with that insurer. Kapoor emphasizes that this has been accomplished with customer trust top of mind. “All of this is done in a HIPAA compliant platform…We have built a relationship with consumers and think about how not to breach their trust in every move we make.” As the integration was being developed, Kapoor says that there were a number of points at which they opted to “pull back to stay clear of potential issues of concern.”
Ultimately, though, he feels that this partnership serves Everyday Health’s objectives to grow revenue by expanding its customer base within the digital healthcare industry and improving its relationship with physicians. And even more importantly, he believes that this integration improves the value of the What’s Expecting app for its core audience by helping to prevent pre-term birth through information, education and early risk assessment. The partnership not only helps mothers identify their level of risk, but also provides a great deal of information about programs and services (many of which are free) offered by their healthcare providers. For example, many plans offer on-call nurses who can allay a mother’s fears about a midnight pain or, if necessary, tell her to call her doctor in the morning or to head to the emergency room.
The value of this last feature is one Kapoor, a father of two healthy children, can personally attest to:
“My wife’s water broke early. It was her first pregnancy and she was uncertain how much time she had and put in a call to the doctor immediately. Two hours later, when they spoke, the doctor told her how potentially serious this was, given the early gestation age of the baby, and told her to get to the hospital.” Given that the What to Expect reaches about 75% of pregnant women in the United States, Kapoor thinks that they can make a significant impact in identifying risky pregnancies and helping reduce the number of pre-term births.
“We believe in taking healthcare to the consumer. When they first question a condition, they turn to us. We keep these people at the center.” And with partnerships like this one, Everyday Health builds upon its strategy to generate new revenue opportunities across a broader set of healthcare constituents, while continuing to arm women with the tools and information that lead to healthier pregnancies, babies and, perhaps, even healthcare system.