Closing the Gap: Behind Rally’s Paradigm Shift

By Anjali Jameson | September 25, 2018 | Rally Health


Picture it: In just eight years, you’ve built a stable, trusted digital health company. Your products are used by more than 200,000 employers, including 47 percent of the Fortune 500, and they have received glowing consumer reviews. No one would fault a company that’s experienced such rapid growth for taking a moment to catch its breath.

But Rally Health(SM) just isn’t built to idle.

The Early Years

In our first years, our product development team consisted of a tiny group of designers, product managers, and engineers working to build the best, most innovative digital wellness platform in the country. We would spend months locked in a room working on a single user flow, iterating until we got it right.

Now our team consists of 75 product managers, 39 designers, and 411 engineers, all using market research, user testing, design thinking, and different product management methodologies to map out the next six steps we want to take.

But in a way, not that much has changed. Our teams still want to have the largest impact on the greatest number of people possible. And to pull that off, we had to step back from our usual way of thinking — from either a purely wellness or health care perspective — and instead think like an end user.

Why? Because it has become increasingly clear that our users don’t think of their health in terms of “wellness” or “care.” They don’t experience it as two distinct spheres at all. And yet benefits solutions are set up along a bifurcated path, with insurance and health care completely separate from employer-sponsored wellness and lifestyle programs.

Benefits leaders encounter the same chasm when they’re bombarded by vendors. The competitive landscape is crowded with companies that will help people navigate various options, but no one is offering a holistic solution that truly removes the seams from health care on the backend. So we’ve set out to do it.

The Whole Truth

Our innovation teams started with a simple question: Could we approach a person’s health more holistically? If someone was having knee surgery, for instance, could we build the digital tools that would seamlessly shepherd them through finding, scheduling and pricing surgery, but then also help them manage their stress or stay active at home? If someone had a heart attack, could we create one platform to help them navigate every part of that crisis — the hospital visits, the new prescriptions, and the follow-up appointments — as well as the weight-loss or smoking cessation goals, or managing the stress that might have contributed to the condition in the first place?

People are often motivated to make lifestyle changes after a major health event, such as a heart attack or major surgery. Yet patients can also be so consumed by labyrinthine paperwork and overwhelmed by recovery that seeking out wellness programs slides off their radar. But what if their wellness programs were in the same place where they went to pay their hospital bills or schedule a follow-up appointment? What if they not only weathered the crisis but actually emerged more engaged with their health?

There’s a difference between medical care and the things we do to take care of ourselves at home, but the two are profoundly linked. And though people have wanted to tackle this divide before, there hasn’t yet been a solution to close the gap. At Rally, we’re ready to do it — to build a digital health platform for the future.

An Expanded Platform

Our expanded Rally platform will be an integrated ecosystem of health, wellness, and benefits, which aims to simplify the crowded and complex array of benefits available to consumers. It will fuse and enhance elements of our existing Rally Engage(SM) and Rally Connect® products into one solution that meets the needs of our partners and clients while streamlining the health experience for our users. So whether you’re in the market for a primary care provider within your health plan, interested in signing up for a stop-smoking program, or curious about how much money is left in your HSA, it’s all in the same place.

We’re not just talking better navigation here. We’re talking about making the different elements of the health care ecosystem work together seamlessly.

When you bring these disparate things together, the platform becomes more than the sum of its parts — it opens up the opportunity to experience more timely and personally relevant recommendations, essentially becoming the health advocate you’ve always wished you had. When all the pieces of your health life are connected under one roof, it allows us to connect the dots for our users.

This is our vision for the future, and we believe we’re uniquely positioned to make it a reality. We’ve been driving innovative solutions for eight-plus years by using design thinking and end-user research, and collaboration is at our company’s very core. We believe the best outcomes occur when payers, providers, employers, and members all work together — sharing information, driving new ideas, and constantly iterating to improve patient outcomes and create business value. We see health care as an ecosystem and have designed Rally to be a true partner within it.

Maintaining the status quo might be the dream at some companies, but for us it’s the antithesis of how we work. We decided a while ago that no matter how quickly we scaled, we would always double down on our roots, say no to inertia, and focus on the future.

We imagine a world in which helping people get healthier is as easy as pointing them to one single, robust resource, whether they’re looking to lose 10 pounds, lower their risk of diabetes, or schedule a colonoscopy.

That’s a big change in how things are traditionally done; we’re not just adding a new feature or product, but shifting how we all work together. We’re convinced this powerful paradigm shift is possible — and the time for it is now.

Anjali Jameson is vice president of product at Rally Health, Inc.


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