A native of Bay Area, Andrea Bloom the Founder and CEO of ConnectWell started the company with the intention to help people live better lives through empowering them to improve their health and well-being. The organization’s public-private partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health guarantees access to a vast library of health and wellness content that is continually reviewed and updated to include the latest standard of care guidelines and scientific findings on health, wellness, and disease management.
Andrea was a 2020 task force member of the American Heart Association in order to engage and inform the greater Bay Area community when it comes to improving cardiovascular health by 2020. She founded a co-ed adult softball team to re-engage team members with a sport they enjoyed during their youth. With her husband and three children, Andrea enjoys hiking throughout the Bay Area, skiing and snow shoeing in Tahoe, and traveling.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from University of California, Berkeley with departmental honors, high distinction in general scholarship, and Phi Beta Kappa and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Developing a Deep Skill Set in an Industry from the Ground Up
As a child of a physician, Andrea’s exposure to the field of healthcare from a very early age became a springboard for her career and passion for helping people achieve well-being. After receiving her MBA from Harvard Business School, Andrea started her career in healthcare at Johnson and Johnson’s diabetes division in Silicon Valley in product marketing. On the product side of the business, she participated in researching the unmet needs of the market and in bringing new medical devices to people with diabetes to meet those needs. On the marketing side, Andrea became an expert in understanding the underlying causes of diabetes and the stakeholders that help people manage their disease: doctors, diabetes educators, pharmacists, and the patient.
Identifying Trends and Acting on Them
According to Andrea, the demands on the healthcare system have dramatically shifted from acute care to chronic care given the steep rise in the prevalence of chronic disease. Because chronic conditions are long-term health issues, people must get involved in managing their care in order to maintain their health. Observing these trends, Andrea eventually decided to found ConnectWell. She shifted her focus from disease management to wellness — empowering people to live well and incorporate healthy lifestyle habits into daily living. To empower people in their health and well-being, they need to have access to engaging, accurate, up-to-date, and expertly vetted health information. Andrea could see the digital revolution unfolding and that it would eventually hit the healthcare system — enabling the ability to scale health information for easy access, anytime and anywhere.
Assembling a Team with the Expertise for Success
Given that the San Francisco Bay Area is an epicenter for health and wellness thought leadership, Andrea assembled a Scientific Advisory Board made up of subject matter experts in different areas of wellness. She built a team of talented, experienced individuals with diverse backgrounds who could hit the ground running and work in an entrepreneurial and collaborative environment. Together they created and deployed consumer-oriented wellness programming in the areas of healthy eating, physical activity, stress management, sleep, and maternal health.
Forming a Partnership with a Leading Academic Institution
Next, it was the need of the hour to partner with a leading academic institution that had deep experience in consumer-oriented health publications covering a wide range of health conditions. She found that partner in her undergraduate alma mater, UC Berkeley. For 35 years, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health has been a pioneer in providing evidencebased wellness information through their health and wellness publications. Andrea was introduced to Dr. John Swartzberg, who oversees the development of the school’s health and wellness publications and their large editorial board consisting of faculty and physicians from both UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco Medical School. Dr. Swartzberg and Andrea formulated a strategy in order to form a public-private partnership to digitize and consumerize the school’s vast collection of health and wellness publications. Both of them further expanded their team to include a Chief Medical Officer, Lead Health Writer, and Technical and User Experience Expert so that they could build an offering that would enable people to unlock their potential of reaching a higher level of health and well-being.
Developing an Offering that Appeals to the Target Customer and their Users
According to Andrea, she and her team have achieved their vision of transforming the industry’s most trusted health and wellness information into an engaging digital health content offering and making it available to their partners. ConnectWell works with a broad array of healthcare providers, health engagement platforms, benefit providers, and employers that license ConnectWell’s content for integration into their platforms to engage their patients, members, and employees in their health. These companies can now deliver on the promise of improving the health of those they serve by integrating the ConnectWell Content Suite as part of their services. The Content Suite has 3 areas that are complementary in supporting total health and well-being:
- Health & Wellness Digital Library: Extensive coverage of health, wellness, and disease topics from A to Z.
- Wellness Initiatives: Wellness education with strategies and tools to help in the adoption of healthy lifestyle practices.
- Healthy Recipe Collection: Healthy recipes that are tasty, easy to make, and made from whole foods and healthy ingredients.
Staying Current with Tech Trends
Being located in the heart of the tech community has given Andrea and her team the much needed advantage of tapping tech talent and incorporating the ever-evolving technical trends. The underlying architecture of ConnectWell’s content offering makes it visually oriented and easy to navigate, while providing seamless integration into the portals of their customers. ConnectWell’s content is tagged for easy topic search, so it can be directed to end users based on their individual health and wellness needs, tapping into their partners’ AI capabilities through ConnectWell’s API.
Building Interest in ConnectWell’s Services
Andrea believes digital health services are rapidly expanding, and innovative companies are highly interested in integrating the ConnectWell offering as a part of their services to advance their value proposition. The challenges Andrea and her team face are breaking into the more traditional healthcare companies which are large bureaucracies that are slow to adopt new services. As a leader in healthcare, it is incumbent on her to help the healthcare system incorporate new services that advance and enable cost-effective patient education and engagement to improve health outcomes and well-being. Helping to break down old paradigms and providing insights to other industry leaders so they can envision how they can thrive in this ever-changing healthcare landscape is a role she embraces. Andrea works to create dynamic partnerships so that traditional healthcare companies can ensure their future and not be left behind due to the rapid changes that digital health is bringing to the healthcare industry.
Future of Healthcare
When it comes to the future, Andrea believes that the future of the healthcare industry will be one where the patient is at the center, having the knowledge and skills to be a committed and vested partner in their care. ConnectWell and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health plan to be a big part of this future as their suite of health and wellness content provides the means to educate and empower these patients.
ConnectWell is a mission-based company that is a leading-edge provider of digital health and wellness content that is academically sourced and designed for a consumer audience to engage people in their total health and well-being. ConnectWell’s partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health ensures a continuous flow of up-to-date, expertly vetted health information. This partnership enables ConnectWell to serve large communities and cross socioeconomic and geographic boundaries through distribution over a wide range of digital health platforms, ensuring access to the most trusted source of health and wellness content.