Kurt Cegielski is Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at MOBE. Before that, he was co-founder of RedBrick Health (now, Virgin Pulse) and a senior vice president for multiple organizations focused on helping individuals improve their own personal health.
According to Kurt Cegielski, MOBE’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), MOBE is trying to help solve a problem that’s been plaguing the health care industry in the United States for years. “It’s about cost,” he says. “In the United States, our health care costs are very high relative to the rest of the world, but the quality of health care is not as high as it should be relative to the rest of the world.”
Cegielski wants to solve the cost problem—and simultaneously help people live healthier lives. It’s a tall order, but he says it’s achievable if we start thinking about the problem differently.
“In the health care industry, we've historically built solutions that try to address macro issues. For example, we created disease management programs because we assumed everybody with type 2 diabetes is the same, and they need the same kind of care. But no two people with diabetes are exactly alike,” he explains.
“We may know their health history, but do we know about their family and home situation? Do we know if they have access to a grocery store? It all impacts their health. These problems are not as simple as creating monolithic solutions that are targeted at big groups of people. Our industry has continually attempted to address the cost problem without involving the individual.”
In the past, it wasn’t logistically possible or economical for health plans or employers to cater to individuals. But advances in technology and societal changes have made health care personalization more feasible.
“With the technology we had 20 years ago, it was hard to implement effective personalization,” Cegielski says. “You’d open a health portal and get generic information, including some that didn’t apply to you. Even just a few years ago, personalization meant providing information based on what a user told us about his or her preferences and interests. Now we have much more mature data models that can predict rather than react.”
He continues, “Additionally, during COVID, we shattered some long-held beliefs about how people work together—like that the only way to be productive is to be in an office. Now each person can set themselves up differently than they did in a cube land and still be a productive contributor to society. We’ve learned we can do things differently and it can still be valuable and important.”
In the near future, Cegielski predicts, “personalization is going to continue, and consumers are going to demand it. One-size-fits-all models are going to be obsolete. Innovative health plans and innovative employers are going to figure that out quickly. That’s when personalization will become a critical advantage.”
MOBE’s business model proves that a high-touch, personalized service can lead to significant cost savings. At MOBE, professional health Guides do one-to-one coaching—regularly for months—to help individuals navigate their path to better health.
Cegielski explains, “One-to-one coaching is expensive, and we don't apologize for that. Instead, we point to the potential savings we can create by providing that service to a specific population. We know we can reduce medical and pharmacy claims costs by 7–8% in one year. That's a lot of dollars, millions and millions of dollars. So, we help employers and health plans understand that this expensive resource is paired with enormous savings and value. That’s when people take notice.”
How does it work? MOBE focuses on a distinct set of people—about 10–15% of an employer or health plan population. They are frequent users of low-intensity services, but they use those services over and over. Unfortunately, this group doesn't reduce the use of health care services on their own but rather we see increases 50% higher than expected.
“We explain to health plans or employers that the people we serve have a particular spending pattern that involves overutilization and unnecessary utilization of health care services. We call them ‘seekers,’” says Cegielski. “They aren't necessarily the highest cost people in the population—like cancer patients or people with end-stage renal disease. Seekers are trying to find a solution that fits their situation. They’re people who have complex needs but can still do a lot to improve their well-being.”
“As our world evolves toward personalization, consumers of any service will expect individualized information and services in all industries,” says Cegielski. “Health care is not there yet. We have a long way to go. But I imagine a day when delivery of care is done in the way the person wants and needs it. ”
The sky is the limit. According to Cegielski, the MOBE team regularly discusses questions such as, “How can we create more personalization? How can we create things that are focused on individuals or very small groups of individuals in a way that hasn’t been done before? And who will benefit from such a personalized approach? We still have a lot to solve, but I hope this idea of hyper-personalization—allowing each person to make the most of whatever health and well-being resources they have—will be the new normal in the coming years.”
Want to learn more about how MOBE can serve your health plan members or employees? Contact us.