What is your mission and vision?

Lifestyle driven chronic disease is the greatest epidemic of our time. Perk Health facilitates a world where all people can adopt the healthy habits that keep them healthy.

What would a world look like with 2x more people regularly exercising? What would it look like if 2x more people got enough sleep? Or ate healthily? What if we all had better habits to manage our stress? We’d be healthier, but we’d also be happier. This is Perk Health’s vision.

Our mission is to create a world where technology helps us be more active, not more sedentary. A world where technology helps us spend more time with each other and lead more fulfilling lives. So far, technology has mostly helped make life easier, we want to make life better. 

 

What is your Product?

Perk Health helps employees adopt healthier habits. Healthcare costs have risen over 50% for employers in the past few years and 86% of healthcare spend is now attributed to lifestyle factors.

Perk Health is the most effective way to change those factors at the population level. We help people rethink their approach to health, create positive peer pressure, and coach people based on what works best for their personality profile. This helps people build healthier habits that they actually enjoy. Our digital program consistently gets 10x higher engagement than traditional solutions and creates measurable changes for entire populations.

 

What makes your approach different from other wellness companies? 

The secret to our solution’s success rests in its genesis. When we designed Perk Health we started not by studying what’s been done in the population health field, instead we looked for the most powerful examples of behavior change leading to durable lifestyle modification in the real world. This led us to discover that a few of the top tech companies had started using new methods to systematically addict users to their apps. Here we saw a future where this approach to designing technology that creates sedentary lifestyles would become an increasing hindrance to good health. We decided to use the methods to help people achieve the health goals that were important to them.

When formulating this approach, we realized how much of a departure it is from traditional interventions. Most interventions still focus on increasing motivation of completing a large goal, through education or outcome-based incentives. What is not well understood is that motivation is rarely the failure point. When people do not reach their goals, it is usually not because they do not have enough motivation–it is because the behavior change process is difficult and unpleasant. Perk Health makes the behavior change process significantly more enjoyable and focuses on habituating new behaviors so that they become easier and easier with time.

 

Describe your core values. 

Excellence is a habit: We believe big goals are achieved one small action at a time and the best way to create outcomes for our users and customers is by creating small wins on a daily basis. By creating sustainable habits for our users, every day creates a better future.

Carrots, not sticks: We believe people respond to instant gratification above all else. You can feel gratified by avoiding a penalty but we don’t think that’s sustainable. Our approach to helping people live healthier lives is by making it more rewarding, more enjoyable, and providing continuous delight. Positivity is the only sustainable path.

Simplicity: We believe the best solutions are simple. When solving complex problems the first few solutions are usually complex, but we know we haven’t found the right solution until we arrive to something that’s simple. We apply this philosophy to our technology, our business model, and our strategy.

Continuous improvement: We approach business much like building a healthy habit: start small and simple, and never stop improving. 

 

What are your key strengths?

User Retention & Engagement: With participation rates 10x higher than traditional behavior change programs and retention rates higher than the stickiest consumer apps, creating sustained engagement is one of our greatest strengths. Solving the lifestyle disease epidemic requires constant positive reinforcement of daily actions, our unique engagement levels allow us to provide that type of support more effectively. 

User Experience: The engagement and retention that enable our behavior change results stems from a focus on the user’s experience. Empathy for the many challenges people face with their health, diversity in populations, and creating a positive experience is at the core of every design decision. Our respect for our users leads us to search for the best evidence-based methodologies possible and implement these concepts in a way that’s easy to use and feels supportive. Ultimately, this results in more sustainable behavior change and more durable outcomes for our customers.

Technology: We’re less of a wellness company that does technology, and more of a technology company that does wellness.  While this may sound odd, technology has proven extremely effective at changing behaviors and we apply these competencies to health in a new way.

 

What are your core competencies?

Behavior Change: However the program is designed, every wellness program relies on behavior change to achieve its goals. Instead of relying on outcome based incentives or education and hoping participants change behavior themselves, we focus on guiding participants through the behavior change process and providing direct and continuous feedback to motivate and support the change. By leveraging participant’s communities, we are also able to create positive feedback loops that extend beyond traditional extrinsic and intrinsic reward mechanisms.

This approach has led to better results and a solution that’s been proven to significantly increase physical activity and other behavioral rates for populations. At 75%, our participation rates are 10x higher than traditional behavior change programs. With over 50% participation rates several years after launching programs,  our retention rates are higher than top social media apps. Altogether, this makes our engagement several multiples better than other wellness solutions. 

Flexibility: We’ve architected our solution in a way that it performs like a single solution but allows the flexibility of a full platform for behavior change. Without altering code, we can offer an unlimited number of programs around any set of health habits. 

Scalability: Because the flexibility we designed into our solution and the technology we’re built on, we’re highly scalable.  We can launch a new customer in just a couple minutes, and with our current architecture could support thousands of customers.

 

How do your core competencies relate to your mission?

Behavior change is one of the most difficult results to achieve, yet given the most common disease states today, it’s the critical ingredient to keeping people healthy.  Our vision is to help not just a few, and not just those who are already sick. Our flexibility and scalability will help us achieve our mission of helping a larger segment of the population avoid serious illness-while improving the quality of life for all our users.

With Perk health, the customers we serve have seen the number of people regularly exercising double or triple over baseline populations, average stress scores drop by 32%, and many have been ranked by their employees as top workplaces. 

 

What principal factors determine your success relative to your competitors?

Scalability: We have no constraints on the velocity with which we can onboard customers. We also are able to offer highly customized programs without altering code.

User satisfaction: A key buying concern for wellness programs is employee satisfaction. In every survey 90-99% of respondents found Perk Health valuable.

Retention: A byproduct of helping our users create long term habits keeps engagement high and makes Perk Health a highly sticky solution.

Scientific Foundation: At Perk Health’s inception, we witnessed several market trends that had already been academically proven to be ineffective, and in some cases even harmful. At that point, we made a commitment to innovate only from evidence based methodologies and to conduct statistically rigorous primary research to ensure our solution benefited (and never hurt) our participants to the maximum extent possible. 

 

How do you ensure quality? 

Solution Quality

We know we’re biased, and anecdotal evidence can be skewed, so we have partnered with a team of Professors and PhD students in the University of Minnesota’s Decision Sciences department to validate Perk Health’s efficacy. 

For each major feature set that this team has isolated and studied with academically rigorous methods, they have found that it is effective at changing future behavior. 

Additionally, we have administered several pre and post analysis’ around various programs utilizing our platform and have found significant effects at the population level. 

Product Quality

This level of quality is possible due to our design and development process. We ensure each feature we design is evidence-based and conduct primary research where necessary. 

We then ensure a high level of stability through a robust software architecture that relies on best practices for scalability and reliability.

 

- Zach McGill