Over the past 18 months, the pandemic has exposed critical fault lines in our healthcare system. The employer-sponsored benefit programs through which most Americans access care exposes them to high costs and often doesn’t give them access to mental healthcare providers. Between job losses, illness, isolation, and stress, many people today have mental illnesses and chronic conditions that have not been properly addressed.
Stephanie Tilenius founded Vida on the insight that chronic conditions and mental illnesses often occur in the same patient and require a different pattern of care than episodic or acute illnesses. Today, Vida helps people manage and improve chronic and mental health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, and anxiety with daily access to providers, therapists, and coaches who can help them improve their health. We caught up with Stephanie to hear what Vida is learning and what employers should be doing to ensure their teams have access to care that can help them recover their health and productivity.
Vida’s Holistic Approach to Healthcare
Stephanie founded Vida in 2014, after a long career at tech companies including Google, Ebay, and PayPal. In the past, her father had multiple chronic health conditions, and she saw how he got worse over time dealing with diabetes, obesity, COPD, and depression. It was clear that all of these conditions were inextricably linked. Medications were useful in treating them, but they weren’t the answer. He needed a more holistic approach to help with all of these conditions that were interacting in a vicious cycle. But she saw nothing out there at the time to help him manage his health at the intersection of these conditions. That led her to found Vida.
Vida uses technology and a multidisciplinary network of providers to deliver a customized program for each user’s personal concerns. If someone is managing diabetes and a mental health issue, their program is tailored to those needs with education and daily coaching. Each user gets to choose their own coach or therapist, and they get relevant medical devices as needed, like glucose monitors. The patient works with their Vida team, and outcomes are measured closely. That is essential, Stephanie says, because it allows the team and the patient to see real, material change. Those quantified outcomes are powerful evidence that this model of coordinated chronic illness management works well.
The Importance of Mental Health Benefits
Prior to the pandemic, Vida was seeing 1 in 5 users they screened qualifying as having a mental health condition. Now, they see 1 in 2 users qualifying. There has always been a strong correlation between chronic conditions and mental illnesses, but this is even more true now. People are struggling, and they need mental health support to be part of the approach to managing their physical health conditions.
So it’s no surprise that the most attractive benefit you can offer employees right now is access to mental health services. Employees want to be able to afford the mental health care they need, particularly when it’s a critical part of improving a physical health condition. A benefit like Vida that provides access to a team of providers with a holistic approach means employees can work on getting healthier instead of delaying care and putting themselves at risk of more serious health issues.
What’s Next for Vida
Vida serves companies of all sizes with a program that’s simple to roll out, which makes it something that every company can consider. In 2020, Vida became the first chronic disease management platform to fully support the Spanish-speaking population. Their Spanish-language service allows Spanish speakers to fully engage with the Vida app and their coaches, therapists, registered dietitians, and care navigators completely in Spanish. This is part of their commitment to scaling with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Vida also recently launched a new value-based pricing structure that puts 100% of Vida’s fees at risk for both mental and physical chronic outcomes.
In the next year the team at Vida is focused on reaching more people, particularly those dealing with multiple chronic illnesses. They are excited to bring the quantified positive benefits of Vida to those who need them most.
To hear more insights from Stephanie, listen to Episode 31 of Better Benefits now. If you enjoy the episode, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform.
Stephanie’s Recommended Resources
On every episode of Better Benefits, we ask our expert guests for a book or resource they’d recommend to others working in the benefits space. This week, Stephanie recommended three great books to check out. The first is Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Stephanie tells us it transformed how she thought about leading with an open dialogue without taking things personally. The second book is Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman. This book is about how we can bring out the best in our team and serve people better as a leader. The third is No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings. As we all grapple with the new hybrid work world, this book provides a guide for thinking about workplace culture, connectivity, and balancing increased productivity with our health.
If you’d like to connect with Stephanie and the team at Vida you can visit their website at Vida.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note, this episode is for informational and educational purposes only. Stephanie Tilenius and Vida are not endorsed, affiliated with, nor compensated by Brella Insurance Inc.