“Our mission is to digitize health and well-being for everyone,” Rosenbluth said. “We want to help Americans take health care into their own hands to help reduce the financial burden and improve their lives.”
The company has spent the past three years building the platform. It and a number of other companies already offer a commercial product. New Ocean’s decision to also serve those on Medicaid takes it a step further.
“I don’t know of any others who have (a product for Medicaid),” said Christopher Jones, executive director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services.
“Unfortunately, I think (those on Medicaid) find themselves forgotten,” Rosenbluth said.
North Dakota is the first state that will launch the app, which offers personalized self-management plans for general wellness and for those with chronic conditions.
North Dakota has about 20,000 people enrolled in Medicaid expansion, according to Jones, who said the app, being provided to the state at no charge, could “make a meaningful impact at no risk” and could save the state money by keeping users healthier and reducing the need for medical services.
“Reaching Medicaid recipients with appropriate wellness support has proven to be challenging. New Ocean’s generous offer to make robust wellness tools available without charge to Medicaid beneficiaries is both generous and helpful,” Michael Leavitt, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.
Rosenbluth said dates for the rollout are being finalized.
Once people sign up, they are prompted to begin a private health assessment that will give them a lifestyle management plan covering nutrition, fitness, stress management, sleep and depression prevention, based on users’ goals. It even has a program to help people stop smoking.
New Ocean’s approach is based in behavioral science to help people modify the way they take care of themselves, setting daily goals based on what people are willing to do rather than pushing them into a wellness plan they’ll end up dropping, Rosenbluth said.
For example, the health assessment asks dress and belt size rather than weight. And there are options for easy, moderate or hard exercise programs.
“More and more research is going into (behavioral science),” said Jones, adding that this app is implementing that research.
There are also plans for those with chronic conditions — diabetes, asthma, COPD, hypertension and, soon-to-be-released, heart disease.
“I have diabetes,” Rosenbluth said. “Why should I be left out?”
The app has options to set up notifications sent to a loved one who can help remind the user if a daily task is missed.
There’s also a symptom checker.
“When we’re sick, we want to know what’s going on …. It tells you this is what abdominal pain means and this is what you might want to do about it,” Rosenbluth said.
Finally, The Voyage also is meant to be entertaining, with recipes and country histories, Rosenbluth said.
Beyond North Dakota, Rosenbluth said the app has garnered interest from WellCare Health Plans Inc., one of the nation’s largest managed care organizations, operating in 20 states and serving more than 4.4 million Medicaid and Medicare recipients. New Ocean is also in talks with South Dakota.
Rosenbluth has a history of approaching health care in new ways. As the Walgreen’s president of health and wellness, he implemented the idea for nurse practitioners in pharmacies, providing easier access to care.