New Wellness Business Models - Wellness FX

I've been a fan of Tim Ferriss for a while; just ask my friends who've gotten copies of the 4 Hour Work Week from me. His last book, The 4-Hour Body, included mentions of a number of technologies and services that enable him to maximize his health and performance. So when I learned that my colleague, Jon Binder, who formerly headed up business and strategy for TRX, had joined Wellness FX as VP of Marketing, I had to give him a call to learn more (to learn more watch the video below).

The present delivery system of sick care and general "prevention" are not enough. What Wellness FX provides is testing, online resources and professional advice to guide people to optimized health; all at an affordable price. I can see a future where a certain segment of the health club business embraces these types of services to cover the gap that exists today and serve their members in new innovative ways. Here's my interview with Jon regarding WellnessFX:

Why is WellnessFX unique?
The current state of health care is set up to only manage catastrophic events - heart attacks, car accidents, cancer, etc. We want to change this paradigm from "sick care" to "well care." We shift the investment in your health to earlier in life - presenting you with personal bio marker data to understand how healthy you are on the inside as well as out - and a team of professionals focused on preventative care to optimize your health. We then provide a plan to ensure you are healthy for the long run - letting you be active into your later years.

We also empower you to own and understand your data - we give you access in an intuitive manner to your biomarkers and the ability to share them with anyone of your choosing. Rather than being owned by your primary care physician or insurance provider, you now own your data and will have it with you regardless of which plan or physician you choose.

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. WellnessFX helps you measure, track and improve those biomarkers that are critical to your underlying health.

Why did you join the company?
Jon: I joined the company because I believe WellnessFX will be a disrupter in the personal health and wellness space. The amount of actionable information you can get from a simple blood test about the state of your health is truly amazing. Having come from the world of fitness, I now appreciate that being fit and being healthy are not always correlated.

And as more and more people demand that they control and own their health data, WellnessFX is setting the standard for how people will be measuring and tracking their  health, a process that has been traditionally left in the hands of their doctors.

What is wellness and what is the opportunity for services like WellnessFX?

Wellness is not only being free from disease, but also feeling your optimal self - having the strength, vitality, and overall health to be active throughout your life.

WellnessFX helps busy people optimize your health through preventative and active measures. In 1970 American families had %26 more free time than now. Technology is racing forward helping us do more faster but free time is shrinking.  People want health solutions that are quantifiable.  They want them quickly and conveniently. WellnessFX helps people to be ahead of the curve.  Instead of just waiting for your body to fall apart you can actively identify and seek to reduce the micro damage that can occur everyday.  Everyone is different so that is why personalized and quantitative data is important.  Eventually we will be able to optimize our health.  There is a huge potential to extend the length and quality of life by careful and actively managing our health.

The current system often is reluctant to invest in the longer term health and wellness of people because they don’t want to invest money in you only to have you switch plans in the next 2 years.  This leads to a “I hope you don't get sick on my watch” mentality where treatment is measured out carefully. Eventually I think we will only go to the actual doctors office when we are desperately ill because we will be actively managing our health all the way along.  We will know what's going on and be able to treat it before it reaches crisis levels.

For the health club and personal training industry, the WellnessFX service will allow gyms and trainers to move beyond just helping their members and clients get in better shape to helping them improve their overall health and wellness.

Learn more in the video below; Kudos to my friend Jon Binder and hellos to his lovely kids and bride Tania Binder as well.

So tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think about WellnessFX ? Do you see this company as being a player in the bricks and mortar fitness business ? What do you think about wellness in general ? Are these types of services going to be a part of the future of preventative care ? I think they certainly could. Thanks for sharing your views !

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Why Health & Fitness Is Being Creatively Destroyed

When the rules of the game change what the defenders of the status quo think doesn't matter as much as what customers do. This is how disruption happens and is why the present state of health and fitness, even of medicine in general, is about to shift: radically. Just look back at the music industry during the past decade, enough said. Think that comparison isn't relevant ? Think again.

Originally derived from Marxist economic theory, of all things, and later popularized by Joseph Schumpeter, Creative Destruction is the description of a "process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

In a recent post I proposed that the extant health club industry had reached maturity, by addressing the underlying state of the business and S curve theory. Now I'd like to share the hand in glove idea of Creative Destruction which was raised recently by Dr. Eric Topol in his new book, "The Creative Destruction of Medicine". Here's one of Dr. Topol's recent quotes on the book:

“It is an expression of a consumer health revolution that is just budding,” Topol said. “It’s in its nascent phase, but it is happening right now. I think the consumer-savvy base is waking up. There is a reset here. This digitization of human beings will make a parody out of doctor knows best. We need partnerships. We need physicians working and guiding individuals. Each individual will have a much more precise view of himself or herself biologically, physiologically, anatomically, to work in partnership with physicians.”

When Topol says that the revolution of medical care "will make a parody out of doctor knows best" I think about the bricks and mortar health club business. Today there are nearly 13,000 consumer health apps in the app store. Inexpensive tools are going to increasingly be available to help people ascertain their health and wellness and this will result in a reengineering of the delivery of all health, fitness and wellness. It will also have a huge impact on business models. As Topol explains:

"It won’t start with physicians.... it takes about 17 years for a new medical technology to go from being accepted to being a part of routine care. We can’t wait 17 years. So, we can’t let the medical community drive it.”

As with the fitness industry where extant participants are slow to adopt, changing consumers, particularly ones more open to technological tools, are going to drive adoption whether the industry likes it or not. This will create great opportunities for some and extinction for others.

So what do you think ? Do you agree with Dr. Tobol's thinking and do you believe it relevant to both the medical and fitness industries ? Please contact me Bryan O'Rourke and share your views. I'd love to hear from you.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with numerous global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee and a partner in the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .