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What Livongo’s acquisition of Retrofit means for healthcare

Many industry watchers have been predicting consolidation in the digital health space. With today’s news that Livongo Health acquired Retrofit, our organizations made a statement that we are coming together to take on the management-by-silos approach of the healthcare industry to more fully address the needs of people at risk for and living with chronic health conditions.

Employers and health plan companies and providers are ready for a more connected-across-the-continuum approach to better care for their populations. Our customers are saying what they want is a single platform that treats the whole person and all of a person’s conditions.

Christopher Amery, a Philadelphia-based Mercer Principal, agrees that employers have looked to solutions that care for the whole person to benefit their employees and the physicians who support them.

US healthcare spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5 percent per year for 2017 – 26 and to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These statistics are staggering, and we can no longer afford to deliver healthcare the way we have in the past.

Obesity and related chronic diseases are among the biggest drivers of these healthcare costs. Obese employees are estimated to cost employers a minimum additional $1.4 – 6.7K per year. For every employee they help shift out of the morbidly obese category, we estimate they save the employer approximately $3.7K per year. Chronic conditions account for the largest and fastest growing part of U.S. health care costs and are responsible for 7 of 10 health related deaths each year.[1] Diabetes and hypertension are among the most prevalent of these conditions. The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity, according to a 2018 paper by the American Diabetes Association.[2]

So why not have one cohesive approach to manage these issues? Using technology and data to change the entire process and connect the experience reduces barriers to health making it easy for someone with multiple chronic conditions or someone at risk for these conditions to become healthier.

I am always challenging our employees to be thinking about the next big thing that might disrupt the market. This helps us tailor our products to ensure they are personalized and culturally relevant while still delivering sustainable results. Coming together with Livongo allows us to take these efforts to the next level.

Together, using human connection in the form of expert coaches and community, data insights and technology, we will provide a comprehensive set of solutions for the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions. This addresses the whole person and the health challenges they face, with the goal of preventing them from getting sick and if they do, working with them to return to health and stay healthy.

At the end of the day, we’re focused on making a difference. Read more about how Livongo and Retrofit will redefine healthcare and address the needs of people living with or at risk for chronic health conditions.


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[2] Diabetes Care 2018 Mar; dci180007.

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