Yes Health inks partnership with Gympass to offer diabetes prevention app to employers

A startup that provides an app for diabetes prevention, weight loss and concierge health coaching is teaming up with Gympass to expand its reach to employers.

Yes Health, launched in 2014, offers technology tools and personalized coaching aimed at preventing chronic conditions and promoting overall healthy lifestyles through better nutrition, fitness and well-being support.

“Working with health plans, employers and platform partners, we can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and we do this by empowering the members to live healthier lives through behavior change and lifestyle change,” Alexander Petrov, founder and CEO of Yes Health, told Fierce Healthcare.

In 2020, the startup banked $6 million in series A funding led by Khosla Ventures.

Gympass, a company that bills itself as the world’s largest corporate wellness benefits platform, is currently available in 14 countries, with more than 2,000 corporate clients and 50,000 fitness partners. Founded in Brazil in 2012, the fitness startup scored $300 million in funding in 2019 led by the SoftBank Group Corp.

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The partnership provides Gympass clients with an all-mobile diabetes prevention program, recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with in-the-moment coaching that combines automation, artificial intelligence and human support.

It marks a unique partnership between a fitness solution and a chronic disease management platform to offer employers a more holistic platform for wellness, Petrov said.

“As fitness platforms rethink their business models, there is an opportunity to add, in a low-cost fashion and without much overhead, nutrition programs and well-being programs for holistic chronic disease prevention. This partnership is a symbol of that. We have a chronic disease prevention tech company and a fitness platform going beyond traditional boundaries to collaborate and I hope that is a starting point for others,” he said.

Mill Valley, California-based Yes Health has tens of thousands of active users nationwide and provides its platform to dozens of top enterprises, including big health insurers and employers, according to the company.

Using AI that augments human health coaching, Yes Health delivers personalized therapy for members at the right time directly to their smartphones. 

“Members want feedback and advice when they are making a nutrition or fitness decision, not after the fact,” Petrov said. “Providing coaches in the moment delivers faster adoption and more sustainable lifestyle change.”

As an example, Yes Health’s weight loss program provides a personalized meal plan and quick feedback on meals from nutrition experts.

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Yes Health uses research and science from Stanford University, the University of California, San Francisco, the National Institute of Health and the CDC to design its programs. The company’s team of physicians, health coaches, wellness experts and engineers developed the platform to be easy to use and interactive, and the combination of AI and human support has produced a high engagement rate with members. In addition, members have an 87% completion rate with the programs.

Yes Health’s platform has outperformed the CDC’s standards of care thresholds for over three years related to average weight loss and average weekly physical activity.

Gympass chose to partner with Yes Health because its easy-to-use platform has been proven to drive high engagement and better health outcomes for users without requiring complex technology or expensive resources, company executives said in a press release.

“Our mission is to make wellbeing universal by providing a more engaging and accessible corporate wellbeing platform. With Yes Health’s amazing personalized care plans, we are one step closer to making that a reality for our clients and their employees,” said Rodrigo Silveira, senior vice president of new ventures at Gympass, in a statement.

Yes Health also is available to Spanish-speaking users and provides a full suite of tracking features to monitor user progress. 

 “U.S. employers are facing unprecedented disruption with higher levels of employee stress, anxiety and other health concerns, causing the most innovative employers to recognize that their teams need access to sophisticated digital health tools that can help employees take control of their health,” Petrov said.

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“By adding Yes Health to the Gympass network, members now have a single place on their mobile devices where they can go for quick, easy-to-use and personalized care plans that includes diabetes prevention, nutrition counseling, fitness coaching, sleep, wellbeing support and much more,” he said.

The CDC reports that chronic health conditions and unhealthy behaviors significantly reduce worker productivity. Five chronic diseases or risk factors—high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity and obesity—cost U.S. employers $36.4 billion a year because of employees missing days of work. The inability to work because of diabetes-related disability cost $37.5 billion in 2017, with absenteeism accounting for $3.3 billion and employee productivity losses costing $27 billion.

Recent studies have shown that most U.S. employers now are willing to provide their workforce with digital tools that can improve health, and this has only become more relevant with the challenges employers have faced with COVID-19, according to Petrov.

Yes Health has expanded its app-based programs to include a concierge health coaching program to help members stay on track with fitness and nutrition goals.

“Organizations came to us during the pandemic and said among their employees, stress is up, and routines are out the window. They said they needed a program for individuals who are not at risk but might be if we don’t pay attention to them. That led to the concierge health coaching program, which is a personal fitness trainer in your pocket,” Petrov said.

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