Interview With Ovuline President and CEO, Paris Wallace

Jiff’s partner interview series profiles different healthcare solutions in the digital health ecosystem that help employees adopt healthy behaviors, and assist employers with lowering healthcare costs.

In our interview, we speak with Paris Wallace, president and CEO of Ovuline about how they’ve successfully driven engagement in their fertility and pregnancy apps, their partnership with Jiff, and what’s on the horizon for fertility apps in the digital health marketplace.

Jiff: For people who aren’t familiar with Ovia Fertility and Pregnancy Apps, tell us what kind of services you provide?

Paris Wallace: We’re one of the largest consumer lifestyle apps for pregnancy and fertility, and we’re now getting into the employer market. We found that providing a delightful and engaging experience for our consumers also works for the enterprise market.

J: What’s different or unique about Ovia?

PW: What’s unique about Ovia Pregnancy and Ovia Fertility is that every user has a personalized experience. Just like everyone has a different pregnancy journey, everyone should get the unique information they need to have a healthy and happy experience.

Traditional maternity methods treat everyone the same. They’ll give women a book or a handout, and those things may or may not be applicable to them. And even if they are, it’s unlikely that they’re going to go back and check that paperwork again.

With Ovia, we offer a unique experience that users engage with everyday. And since women are coming back to the app over 26 times per month, that means that they’re actually going to be engaged in a maternity  program when they need it — their maternity benefits are going to be directly applicable to them.

We also like to be where the users are. We’ve helped 2.5 million users start their families, and these users have also shared over a billion data points with us. We really understand the users, and they want to come back and engage with us. They don’t want to go to a website, they don’t want a pamphlet or a book — they want a mobile, personalized experience.

J: Describe your experience working with Jiff?

PW: The great commonality we have with Jiff is that we’re both user-focused. The Ovia team are experts at user engagement and creating an amazing user experience. Jiff is similar, and it shows in the way they partner with us. The platform is dead on.

For example, we worked together to set up a seamless authentication (OAuth) protocol through the Jiff platform directly to Ovia apps for Activision Blizzard, and Jiff drove significant adoption and made it very easy for their employees and spouses to start their Ovia experience customized to their pregnancy needs and their health plan. The number of employees and spouses who signed up for the Ovia apps was double what we expected from Jiff and speaks to the power of the integrated solution.

Little details like this really make a big difference when we’re creating a world-class user experience, and illustrates how two companies can work together to give the user a great experience.

J: How does Ovia drive engagement for employees and spouses?

PW: Employees and employers don’t want one-off solutions. Employers want one integrated solution they can implement that really takes care of all of their needs for their employees — ranging from personalized incentives to a maternity solution for female employees.

What drives success in these programs — and Jiff has done a great job of bundling those things with partners — is to have a best-in-class solution for each category, as well as making it one consistent experience across all of the best-of-breed partners.

J: Tell me about your biggest customer success story so far?

PW: On the insurer side, we’ve been working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for about a year, and when they came to us, they wanted to know how to identify their pregnant population and how to get them to enroll in their pregnancy program.

More specifically, they wanted to identify their high-risk members — which is always difficult for an insurer — and get them to enroll in their high-risk pregnancy program.

We started their pregnancy program nine months ago, and we’ve identified a significant portion of all of their member pregnancies. This population is also heavily engaged within the app, resulting in thousands of requests for information phone calls from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

The BCBSMA member population is using these benefits, and benefitting from them in a really meaningful way. What’s more, within a very short period of time, we were able to double the number of those enrolled in the high-risk program. To draw a comparison, these are the employees that are driving up the costs up for an employer.

This was really meaningful for BCBSMA and really changed the way they looked at engagement. It also proved what a powerful model it is to go consumer-first and to have a really amazing consumer experience.

It shows that people really want to know what their benefits are, and engage with either their employer or their insurer about their benefits — they just don’t have a good outlet to do that with the traditional solutions. So providing that channel has created a very effective partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Ovuline.

J: What’s next for pregnancy and fertility apps in the digital health market? How can employers leverage technology to provide the best services to their employees?

PW: I think across the board, employers and employees are getting smarter about their benefits. They’re demanding programs that are personalized and that frankly give a delightful experience to their employees and that their employees love.

That hasn’t traditionally been the way that benefits programs have been designed. But I think, more and more, that‘s going to be the standard. Companies like Ovuline and Jiff are leading that change.

A lot of the employers are realizing what their expectations should be, and what they should expect from a partner on the benefits side, and we hope to be a part of that.

To get more insights from industry leaders in the digital health marketplace, read our interview with Healthcare Blue Book CEO, Dr. Jeff Rice.

About Paris Wallace

Paris currently serves as President and CEO of Ovuline. Ovuline is a consumer health company that uses machine learning, big data, wearable devices and clinical guidelines to help women conceive naturally and have healthy pregnancies. Before Ovuline, Paris co-founded Good Start Genetics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based genomics technology company focused on fertility and reproductive health. Good Start Genetics is now one of the largest carrier screening companies in the U.S.