Chronic diseases are what kill most people in the world. In the U.S., the chronic disease burden takes a massive toll on both public health and mortality, accounting for 7 in 10 deaths in America each year. That personal health toll comes at a high price and proportion of national health expenditures.

A new alliance between Livongo and Cambia Health seeks to address that challenge, beginning with diabetes and scaling to other chronic conditions.

Livongo has proven out the Livongo for Diabetes program, which has demonstrated positive outcomes in terms of patient satisfaction and cost-savings. The plan with Cambia is to scale this approach to consumer-empowerment and delight and healthcare cost-curve bending across a range of chronic diseases.

Cambia will first extend the diabetes program to members of Regence Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The collaboration will then target hypertension and behavioral health beyond the plan’s core geographic market.

“We see great potential in collaborating with Livongo to transform the experience Americans have in health and in sickness,” Mark Ganz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cambia Health Solutions, is quoted in the press release on the announcement. “Livongo is a kindred spirit on our journey to make health care more person-focused and economically sustainable. Both companies are committed to a human-centered design approach and seamless experiences for individuals and their families.”

That human-centered design approach is evident in Livongo’s net promoter scores gifted by consumers. Note the member satisfaction bar chart, illustrating that Livongo scores nearly as high as Netflix. The average health plan fetches a low +12 points, with Livongo scoring five times greater engagement. I noted the dismal consumer experience ratings of health plans earlier this week covering the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings report here. Livongo ranks with some of the highest-praised consumer-facing industries, like supermarkets and fast food. This bolsters patient engagement and stickiness — key for self-care in chronic disease management.

To help scale beyond diabetes and nationally, Livongo garnered $105 million of investment, announced in this second press release today. Investors include General Catalyst, Kinnevik, Echo Health Ventures, DFJ, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers , Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Microsoft Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Zaffre Investments, and 7wire Ventures.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Health care costs in the U.S. threaten the long-term financial viability of the nation, with chronic disease consuming the largest share of health spending in America. Addressing chronic disease and its costs is akin to bolstering national security and economic stability in the not-too-distant future.

Note the third graphic, illustrating the growing costs of healthcare in America relative to other line items in the Federal budget from the most recent GAO report on  long-term spending. Health care is crowding out other priorities, like education, environment, and transportation infrastructure — all key to a healthy future for citizens, in terms of both physical and financial wellness.

Patients must take on more self-care at home and in their communities — where we live, work, play, pray, and learn — to avoid costly settings for care. The Livongo/Cambia alliance can help patients, now health consumers, take on more responsibility and well-designed tools for self-care, partnering to move the needle on public and individual health outcomes and healthcare costs. Patients, that most underutilized resource in the health system, are part of the solution to reaching the Holy Grail of the Quadruple Aim.

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