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Meet the Catalyst Semifinalists: CoachMe Health

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Titus Cornell

“If I could give you any tool in the world to get better, what would it be?”

When Karin Underwood asked Tina, a Medicaid beneficiary, the above question, she was surprised to hear the answer: “A friend.” From that conversation, Karin was motivated to create CoachMe Health, a remote personal health coaching service that uses wireless technology to bring companionship and health expertise to uninsured Medicaid recipients fighting against chronic disease.

Karin has always been interested in health and technology, and her education and career have focused on expanding access and increasing the quality of health services and care. Her journey to CoachMe started while working with underserved communities in Kenya, where she learned the importance of distribution networks. That led her to pursue her Stanford MBA, where her ingenuity and passion for helping others eventually earned her a Stanford Social Innovation Fellowship. This fellowship jumpstarted her work with Medicaid beneficiaries.

Through her conversations with beneficiaries, Karin discovered how crucial relatability and personal connection can be. More than a teacher, and more than a health-related app, beneficiaries like Tina,  wanted a companion who understood the challenges of living with a chronic illness and could work with her to overcome them. At this intersection, CoachMe was created.

CoachMe helps individuals form healthier habits and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The startup currently serves more than 50 patients in California in both English and Spanish languages, and plans to expand their clientele to reach more patients throughout the country who lack access to support that can help them make lifestyle changes and improve their disease.

Karin’s experience working with distribution networks and Medicaid recipients suffering from chronic diseases inspired her to use existing wireless technology to “meet patients where they are” – on their phones. The app turns every day mobile devices into tools that can improve the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans. CoachMe Health achieves this by providing those on Medicaid or without insurance with a proactive way to manage their disease to prevent episodes that could put them in the emergency room.

CoachMe Health uses SMS text messaging, phone, and video calls, and internet connectivity to administer remote health coaching to Medicaid recipients, specifically targeting people with diabetes and heart disease and working with them to improve personal health outcomes. Coaches check in on users periodically and use behavioral nudges to encourage lifestyle decisions that are proven to improve overall health such as nutrition, stress management and exercise. Through the web app, coaches can manage multiple users simultaneously and can also help them monitor their personal health trends over time.

CoachMe combines health expertise with an essential personal touch to empower Americans on their path to wellness. With CoachMe, health tips are literally in the palms of our hands. We are excited to have CoachMe Health as a Catalyst Semifinalist and see the work they are doing to ensure more people have the opportunity to be happy and healthy!

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