The health care industry, never the easiest environment to navigate, is in the midst of improving the dialogue between caregivers and patients.
As a result, next-generation products combining video communications apps, digital workforce scheduling, content management and servicing, and data analytics in easy-to-use, scalable platforms are increasingly becoming musts for doctors, nurses, therapists, coaches – and patients – as never before.
Making significant inroads in this area is Zillion, which in early 2015 launched a technology platform to simplify the way these groups connect and enable more efficient and cost-effective connections.
“We are designed to provide the health care industry with a better way of delivering health care outside the four walls of the clinical practice and a digital alternative to traditional medical processes, often with one-on-one sessions,” said President and Chief Innovation Officer Bill Van Wyck at the company, which is headquartered in Norwalk and has offices in Boston.
“Rather than our clients having to build code and develop teams and struggle on a daily basis,” he continued, “we offer a configurable system that can offer lots of different programs with a point-and-click approach in a fully compliant environment. And we are growing rapidly.”
Indeed. On June 14 Zillion appointed Brent Wilkinson, most recently vice president of John Hancock Financial Services and CEO/president of Nexus Capita Advisors, as its new chief operating officer; and on June 2 it announced the appointment of health care strategist Joel Sangerman as vice president of sales, managed markets
After officially launching the broad availability of its Zillion digital health platform earlier this year, the company has announced major partnerships with UnitedHealth Group and with endoscopic surgical product provider Apollo Endosurgery Inc. Both organizations are leveraging Zillion’s configurable cloud platform to deliver customized patient engagement programs to customers via live video conferencing coupled with what it calls “dynamic content delivery.”
Zillion’s technology platform is powering UnitedHealth’s interactive, personalized weight-loss program, “Real Appeal,” to provide human interaction, education and entertainment, including an interactive weekly online internet television series, group discussions and live coaching. The Real Appeal program was deployed to more than one million participants in the last half of 2015, with an additional half-million people committed for the first half of this year.
“Zillion’s technology platform helps our consumers receive the continuous motivation and engagement that is needed to sustain long-term health outcomes,” said Greg Pederson, chief information officer at Real Appeal.
At Apollo, the platform is powering its Orbera Coach program, an on-demand telehealth initiative that provides virtual aftercare support tailored to meet the needs of patients who undergo the FDA-approved Orbera Gastric Balloon, an incision-less, non-surgical weight loss procedure. The program provides access to a team of experts, via live video conferencing, including registered dieticians, psychologists and exercise physiologists.
Zillion’s technology also facilitates weight loss tracking, a health and wellness content library, a personal journal to monitor and reflect on progress, and a collection of recipes and meal plans geared toward healthy eating. To date, more than 220,000 of the Orbera balloons have been distributed in over 80 countries.
Van Wyck said the Apollo partnership is indicative of Zillion’s mission of “enabling consumers to take control of their health and providing support that extends beyond visits to a health care provider. In order to see long-term, sustainable results, patients need access to easily accessible engagement tools to help them on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
“Health care is struggling to deliver content,” he added, “and also with how to scale to connect with patients on the devices they use — tablets, smartphones and computers. Video conferencing, content delivery and scheduling can be really tricky with large populations, but we think we’re getting there.”
Van Wyck estimated that well over 100,000 users, representing north of 150 employer populations, are currently using Zillion’s platform. “It’s taken us almost six years to get here,” he said, adding that the company expects to announce another partnership with another health care institution soon.
Zillion’s base in Norwalk at 501 Merritt 7 Corporate Park – which currently numbers 45 employees – is attractive due to the city’s proximity to Boston and New York City, Van Wyck said: “There are good talent pools to pull from.”
Nevertheless, he added, “We carefully follow what is happening politically and the impact that can have on Zillion as a business. There are certainly some problems that have caused larger organizations to leave. We are keenly following those events.”