These days, the cutting edge can be a swiftly moving target. The companies that get to the top are those meeting customers’ needs in a high-tech, fast-paced, on-demand world. It takes a brilliant business plan, perseverance, innovation, money and patience.
Technology is changing the way the health care world works in big ways, allowing consumers to play a bigger role in making their own decisions regarding their health — which is just what Julia Cheek had in mind when she founded EverlyWell.
Typically, patients have little say about what type of diagnostic testing they undergo, and difficulty gaining direct access to those results, which go straight to the ordering physician. And even if patients do get their hands on them, test results can be impossible to read. To Cheek, this type of testing needs to become a thing of the past.
“We’ve designed a platform that is all about access and empowering consumers to have access to and monitor their own health information,” Cheek says.
Customers using the EverlyWell system order test kits online, collect their own samples — which might mean a blood spot sample or a saliva swab — return the kits and receive redesigned lab results that are easy to read and provide clear and meaningful information.
EverlyWell launched last month with three different tests available: a food sensitivity panel, a women’s fertility panel, and a heavy metals and toxins panel, with seven more tests coming soon. Consumers in 47 states can order and complete the tests, then share the results with any medical professionals they choose.
“Our goal is not to remove the importance of physician review, it’s to make the experience easier for the consumer,” Cheek says.
EverlyWell has integrated with a national physician network on the back end, so all orders and results are reviewed by a board-certified physician. This means that all results are checked out by a doctor, and if any critical red flags come up, that doctor will contact the patient.
Cheek is new to the medical technology field, but not new to the business world. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and worked as a consultant before becoming the founding director of strategy at the Bush Center in Dallas. Most recently, Cheek served as the head of global strategy and corporate development at MoneyGram.
After a bad personal experience with health and wellness testing that sent her to seven different specialists, cost $2,000 out of pocket and left her with pages of unreadable results, Cheek decided to devise a new way for customers to order and collect their own medical tests in the comfort of their own homes. That’s how EverlyWell came to be.
“The process of going through a diagnostic test is generally broken, inconvenient, confusing and cumbersome for the individual,” Cheek says.
Cheek moved from Dallas to Austin this March to launch EverlyWell with an investor and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Murdoc Khaleghi, who has worked to design the tests and helped match Cheek’s consumer needs to the available science.
“We felt that the place our particular company needed to be was Austin to find the talent we needed,” Cheek says.
EverlyWell’s seed round of financing closed in February, with $2.5 million raised to build a full-time team to prepare the business for launch.
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