Sharecare is a health and wellness engagement smartphone app that helps patients manage their health information and habits, find their perfect doctor and even take a RealAge test. The goal? To create a secure place for patients to feel in control of their health and to connect with their doctors. Learn more in our interview with Jeff Arnold, CEO of Sharecare.
ME e-mag: How does Sharecare work?
Jeff Arnold: If Uber can put together a passenger-to-driver app, Sharecare can connect patients to doctors. The majority of people experience health problems away from their doctor. Sharecare aims to create more [interaction] between doctor and patient. Through our program, people improve their health literacy and become more aware of their real age. When they enter the program, they’re given advice on how to navigate the healthcare system. They document their information in real time—when they take their medication, what their symptoms are. That’s given to the doctor on the spot, through the app.
It includes self-reported data, device-derived data and medical records, as well as lifestyle and regional data. Sharecare employs 750 nurses who connect with Sharecare members through a chatbot. We’re able to connect with them all day long. A lot of hospitals in the U.S. have invested in Sharecare, and doctors can prescribe the app to patients. Data from other platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are integrated into the Sharecare app to help analyze social information on health situations.
ME e-mag: Can you tell us how Sharecare began?
Jeff Arnold: In 1998, I started WebMD. It’s a healthcare company that provides consumers, health institutions and physicians with medical information through the internet. It became the largest health portal in the world, with around 100 million people visiting the site per month. Our tag line at that time was, “Now health has a home page.”
Ten years later, [Sharecare President] Dawn Whaley and I met Doctor Oz and Oprah Winfrey. Together we brainstormed on how we might do WebMD over a decade later. We noted that nearly everyone has a smartphone with several applications. So we asked ourselves how everything could be grouped together into one app. How do you have one platform where all your health information is in one place? How do you organize all your wellness needs, your illnesses, your life values?
In 2010, we built Sharecare on behalf of the consumer. We make the person the middle point, the one who owns the data. Sharecare could then bridge together the person and professionals—insurance agents, physicians, nurses.
ME e-mag: To what extent has the system expanded?
Jeff Arnold: We’re already rather large in the United States, especially in Hawaii, where the whole state is involved. We currently have three international joint ventures which will take off next year in France, Brazil and Australia. We’ve already had 45 million people take our RealAge test on Sharecare. Our network of doctors has grown to 35,000. We see this as a global platform and hope to be in many countries by 2019.