5 Questions with a Providence Ventures Partner: Omada

Today it was announced that Providence Ventures invested in the latest fundraising round for Omada Health. Christiana DelloRusso, a Partner at Providence Ventures, explains the broader value proposition of Omada as it relates to our current portfolio.
 

What does Omada do? Why Omada?

Christiana DelloRussoOmada provides a digital platform that helps people reduce the risk of developing diabetes .  The program is offered through employers, and we trialed the program with a subset of our employees and saw great results.  As an investment, Omada is really compelling to Providence Ventures because type 2 diabetes is such a large burden to our health system at large, and so many people are affected by this disease. The preventative/behavioral space has been notoriously challenging. It’s really hard to prove that if you do “x” you’ll prevent “y”. However, of any company we’ve seen, Omada has been very smart about how they’ve approached the challenge of chronic disease prevention. They’ve implemented a digital version of a clinically validated program called the Diabetes Prevention Program that is advocated for by the Centers for Disease Control.  It fits into our thesis that care needs to meet the patient where they are; it needs to be convenient yet effective. Omada was the first to do that and they do a fantastic job of it. They’ve figured out how to make it easier and more convenient for people to take care of themselves.

How can this partnership potentially help current Providence patients?

CD: Our investment in Omada is a great example of Providence Venture’s investment model. We collaborate closely with early-stage companies to help them improve their product and determine if the technology or services is effective. In the case of Omada, we worked closely with the company for almost a year before making the decision to invest. Omada is working with employers and health plans to improve their product. We’re both of those in Providence’s case and that makes us a unique partner. Omada was actually able to pilot their program with a subset of our own employees. That pilot worked fantastically well and our own Providence caregivers were really happy. And what we’re learning alongside with Omada we hope to share with a much larger audience in the future.

How is Omada helping to create the future of health care?

CD: I think the real cornerstone of the product is a clinically validated study. That science is important to make sure you have a baseline to really track to. Scaling it out to the enormous number of people who need something like this is challenging. We’re excited about Omada because it expands the potential reach of this program. For some people an in-person classroom setting for a DPP program is better for them, but I think having the ability to do this work in your own home and online through Omada truly allows us to meet the patient where they are. We believe this is the direction health care needs to go. We never want to completely replace seeing people in our clinics for diabetes prevention but the reality is that there are a lot of people who are limited by therequirement to come to us.

How will Providence and Omada mutually benefit from this partnership?

CD: Being a health system and a provider of care adds a lot of credibility and we can test it in house. We hold the program to a high standard and we have some rigorous barriers. Omada is able to say their partner is the third largest not for profit health care system, it adds credibility for them. We’re going to continue to connect them into our system where it makes the most sense. They’re doing multiple variations of the product to reach those populations that need it the most. We can help them in validating those iterations of the product and help show and prove that the product canwork in different contexts.

What happens next?

CD: We’re going to be really close with the company moving forward and will be there as an advisor and strategic partner. We’ll continue connect them in the system where it makes sense. Long term, the company is in a critical period of growth, so as much as we can help them expand and scale either to new populations or with other employers where they’ve got some great initial traction we’ll help them. There is so much work to be done in this space-  a new study in JAMA determined thatnearly half of adults in America are diabetic or pre-diabetic. It’s growing and impacting so many people’s lives and taxing so many health care ecosystems. We think that Omada can definitely make a difference here, and we are excited to partner with them.

 

The CEO of Omada Health, Sean Duffy, delves into the future strategy of the Company in his blog post on LinkedIn.