MIAMI -- Using the LifeWallet HealthBook app, a 59-year-old locksmith recently lost 17 pounds in three months and his blood glucose reading dropped enough that he was no longer considered prediabetic. "You have to do it for yourself," he said, adding that the app helped him stay on track because "someone is always looking at your readings and you're accountable."
That's just one example of LifeWallet at work.
LifeWallet, a startup based in Miami area, creates digital health assistants in the form of apps and care programs. "We empower consumers and communities to lead healthier lifestyles and take control of their health," said Norberto Menendez, LifeWallet's founder and CEO.
Menendez, 55, was born in Cuba, graduated from South Miami High School and the University of Miami, and then went to Silicon Valley to work for Apple. He returned to Miami in the mid-1990s to take care of his ailing father.
As he continued to work remotely for Apple while caring for his father, frustrations with insurance, the health care system, access to medical records, lack of communication between health care providers and the high costs of health care led him to take the entrepreneurial plunge with LifeWallet.
Menendez believed that technology focused on empowering consumers with control of their health could save lives as well as solve many of the systemic problems of the industry. He recruited several members of his top management team from Apple.
LifeWallet offers a consumer product, its HealthBook app, as well as products for health care providers and health insurance plans. Customers have included Baptist, through which LifeWallet has done nearly 20,000 health assessments with West Kendall Baptist Hospital, GE, the City of Doral, Fla., the YMCA, and Indiana Health University. It will be working with Athlete's Health and the NFL Players Association, where it will be doing assessments for concussions and the health of athletes, Menendez said.
One of LifeWallet's programs is Sugar Smart for Life, in which the locksmith participated. It is a collaborative effort between the GE HealthyCities Leadership Academy, LifeWallet and West Kendall Baptist Hospital, a one-year pilot program designed to engage consumers diagnosed as pre-diabetic create healthier lifestyles and prevent the onset of Type II diabetes. It recently received a grant from AstraZeneca to continue the program.
Re-imagining the Healthy Hub at West Kendall Baptist Hospital is another program. Consumers go through a simple health screening process at this free one-stop screening and referral-to-care kiosk. Within minutes, consumers receive a Healthsnap, or snapshot of their health, sent to their cellphones.
In August, Doral Mayor Carlos Bermudez challenged his residents to take the StepUp Your Health Doral Challenge. He's trying to get his citizens to walk a billion steps in the next year. LifeWallet created the app that keeps track of residents' steps, adds them to the community total and provides individual rankings.