Blue Shield of CA launches a Wellvolution in digital wellness

Published January 2, 2020

Hailey Hargis decided she needed to make a change in her life when she faced yet another lunch of spaghetti squash. 
The Blue Shield of California customer service representative from Redding, California said she spent too many months eating the same food every day in a quest to lose 45 pounds. It was dull. It was discouraging. Hargis wanted something different. 

This year, her employer offered something she found more appetizing—a new digital platform called Wellvolution which put holistic, personalized care in the palm of her hand.

Finding the “right fit” in a wellness program

Without Wellvolution, Hailey Hargis would have had to dig through thousands of health apps on the internet, hoping to find one she could trust and that would actually deliver on its promises. Wellvolution did the work for her. By answering a few questions, she could sort through curated, evidence-based health programs which matched both her goals and how she wanted to achieve them. 

Hargis opted for the “Betr Health” program she found on the platform. After a few months of e-chats with a personal coach and weekly group web calls, she says she’s eating better, sleeping better and feeling better. 

“Wellvolution matches my personality,” says Hargis. “It is the right fit.”

The birth of an idea: cut through the clutter of wellness apps

Wellvolution is a big idea that started in a small place—literally first sketched out on a napkin. Bryce Williams, Vice President of Lifestyle Medicine at Blue Shield of California, says that early brainstorming is where the first ideas for a personalized health and lifestyle care platform emerged. 

Williams says everyone knows diet and lifestyle choices can be the most clinically effective, most cost effective, least risky and least invasive options to prevent and reverse disease. Yet he says too many people find it difficult to identify and invest in change-making choices. He says, “We had to go back to the drawing board and ask, ‘What really matters to people? What’s a different way of approaching this?’”

Eighteen months later, those questions led to answers with the launch of Wellvolution, a digitally-based lifestyle, medicine and health platform each member can customize to meet individual goals and needs. Williams calls it “DIY Health,” because members can choose which options they feel will help them tackle issues including stress management, sleep management, diet and nutrition, physical activity, preventing cardio-metabolic diseases like heart disease, or even in some cases, reversing chronic conditions. Members state their goals, then choose from more than 30,000 services to help them achieve those goals. The programs are all free for participating members.  

The results: thousands of Wellvolution users are finding their own path to wellness

Williams says more than 22,000 members signed up in the first few months of Wellvolution. He equates that to quickly building a university-sized community of health, with more people joining each day.

Early Wellvolution statistics show approximately 90% of participants are finishing the programs they select. Eighty percent are choosing digital options over community-based programs. 

Millennials are among the early adopters

About one in four of the early adopters are millennials, members born between 1981 and 1996. Williams says he sees many millennials choosing intensive weight loss or pre-diabetes programs, a promising sign given new research that shows millennials are less healthy than previous generations. 

Bryce Williams says one of the strengths of Wellvolution is recognizing that one size does not fit all. If members don’t find success with the health option they choose, they can select another option for as many times as they need. He says that flexibility supports a core Blue Shield of California mission to improve the lives of those they serve. And, he hopes more health plans adopt the idea. 

Motivated to reach her goal

After losing the first 16 pounds towards her goal, Hailey Hargis recently ran her first-ever 3 kilometer race. She says, “I’m not a runner, but this Wellvolution experience has encouraged me to overcome some of my fears, and I’m signing up for another race soon!” 

Hargis says she’s motivated by the personal accountability she’s discovered while losing weight and gaining confidence. It’s less spaghetti squash, more progress. Blue Shield of California calls that “a proven path to real health” and hopes more members decide Wellvolution provides a path worth taking. 

You can learn more about Blue Shield of California’s Wellvolution digital platform here

Blue Shield of California is a locally owned and operated, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.