About 60% of the U.S. workforce lives with a chronic disease—that’s six out of every 10 people, most of whom go untreated for lack of access to treatment or preventative care. For Doug Frederick, this is completely unacceptable, and in 2020, he left a flourishing career that spanned 15 years in finance and five years in health care to change it with the founding of HealthCues—a group health care management platform that is ensuring that the people with the greatest health needs get access to the disease prevention programs they need. They focus on prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, and treatment of chronic illnesses, providing people with additional health services beyond their primary insurance. “We want to automate common sense when it comes to health,” says Doug.
With more and more employers across the nation working with HealthCues to address this gap in care, the firm has already served 56 companies and 15,000 employees across the country, connecting vendors, employers, and employees in unexpected ways to create win-win solutions for everyone, while offering personalized, affordable, and effective health care. It’s earned them the IMA Healthcare Platform of the Year Award in 2022 and the Healthcare Leader of the Year Award in 2021—and a standing ovation from those whose lives they’ve touched.
We sat down with Doug to find out more about how HealthCues is reshaping the health care field to the benefit of employers and employees alike, and what drives him to improve the lives of others.
What compelled you to start HealthCues, and how is it different from other health care management companies?
A few years ago, a friend of mine in insurance showed me a similar product. I said, “If this is real, I’ll quit my job and join them.” It wasn’t real, so we spent 18 months putting the program together the right way. HealthCues provides benefits along with financial incentives for employers and employees. The employer wants to keep employees healthy, while the employee gets an increase in take-home pay for being on the program. For me, it’s about doing good for everyone. The goal is for people to live longer, happier, healthier lives by providing access to care their primary insurance doesn’t cover, which is preventative care for chronic disease.
Chronic disease impacts not only health and quality of life, but morale, productivity, and workforce retention. How is HealthCues working to address this?
Currently as a nation we spend $4 trillion on medical care, and a large percentage of that is chronic disease. The three ways to fight chronic disease are prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment. Our whole program is about prevention, so we work to get employees health risk assessments through health coaches and biometric screenings. If a diagnosis is made, we work to get that person treatment. We help people make informed health choices by providing health education.
Employee engagement is critical to getting people healthier and a big part is making benefits easy to understand, personalized, and affordable. How is HealthCues helping both employers and employees benefit from this?
Statistically, happy, healthy employees lead to more profitability, so employers need to be hands-on from day one. Many of our employers hold incentives and contests to encourage healthy habits and activities. We also have a four-week enrollment period where we reach out to educate employees, an 800 number they can call with questions, and a state-of-the-art tracking app. We issue a monthly “Do you know” newsletter with information on various topics. There’s no lack of engagement with our program.
How does HealthCues get the employer, employee, and benefits provider on the same page?
The whole program is about engagements and programs people really use. So we send monthly reports to show which are being used and we constantly look for new programs and reach out for feedback from both employers and employees about what they want so we can make it a better experience.
HealthCues has enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive response from both employers and their employees. Can you share some of the feedback with us?
The employers resoundingly said it helps dramatically with retention and recruitment, and the employees feel their employer does care about their long-term health. And many of the employees are enjoying benefits they wouldn’t normally, and they enjoy the financial increase in their take-home pay.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Educating people on how easy it is to lead a healthier happy life. This isn’t rocket science. We all just need to automate common sense when it comes to our health. I want to impact people’s lives and make health care and health insurance a reality for everyone.
Doug graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in finance.
Founder & CEO — HealthCues