July 2, 2020

Every person living their healthiest life

By Rajeev Singh, CEO

Every person living their healthiest life—physically, emotionally and financially. This vision drives everyone at Accolade, every day, as we help 1.7 million people get the right care for their needs. Today, as the U.S. confronts the most challenging health crisis in a century, the importance of our vision has never been more clear. And today, as Accolade becomes a publicly traded company, we’re on the path to making it happen—not just for 1.7 million people but for many millions more.

We all know the harsh reality: our country spends the most per capita on healthcare by a wide margin, with the best-trained clinicians and state-of-the-art facilities, yet our health outcomes lag. In fact, the U.S. ranks dead last —11th out of 11 high-income countries—for health outcomes, equity and quality, despite spending the most per person. 1

There’s a wealth of analysis and academic theory to explain why, but the bottom line is this: our healthcare system has failed the consumer at every turn. It’s too hard to find a family physician or psychiatrist in a country with too few (and fewer every day). It’s too hard to access care when needed. It’s nearly impossible to know what care will cost until the bill arrives – or an “explanation of benefits” written in codes only experts can understand. And it’s far too difficult for patients or their families to coordinate care across a system of silos. These are just a few examples of our country’s broken healthcare.

Physicians and clinicians face their own challenges. Heavy patient loads and growing administrative responsibilities mean less time to focus on who their patient is or what matters to them—to understand their social determinants of health or other life context that can play a major role in both their healthcare and their health.

These challenges, made even worse by the COVID-19 crisis, are the challenges Accolade was founded to address. By contracting with employers across the country for more than a decade, we’ve helped consumers (our customers’ employees and their family members) get the healthcare experience they deserve – one that puts their needs first, every time.

We give people one place to go for support, whether they are experiencing symptoms, struggling with a chronic condition, searching for a doctor, needing a lower-cost prescription, evaluating health plan options, disputing a claim – you name it. For any health and benefit need, our frontline care teams – registered nurses, behavioral health clinicians, benefits experts and other specialists – are supporting at every step of the way. Most important, we offer what consumers say is their number one priority when it comes to their healthcare: to be heard, understood and given clear guidance through a personalized experience. 2

It’s what we call personalized advocacy, and it’s built on a set of core beliefs:

  1. The consumer comes first. We do the right thing for the people we support, every time.
  2. Every person matters. Most of the people in the high-risk, high-cost category today were not in that category a year ago. Keeping the population healthy means proactively supporting every person.
  3. The whole person matters. The circumstances of a person’s life can determine up to 80% of health outcomes. 3 We must support the whole person, not just their physical health conditions, to improve health outcomes.
  4. It takes empathy + technology + clinical expertise to influence decisions. Only when we combine compassion, intelligent technology and evidence-based clinical practice can we personalize support, build trusted relationships, and influence decisions for better health and well-being.
  5. Consumer and provider engagement are critical to success. To improve the outcomes and experience of healthcare, we need to engage and build trust with consumers. It’s also critical to engage, build trust and coordinate with providers.
  6. Collaboration is key to innovation. We can only transform healthcare through collaboration. To do that, you need an open technology platform that breaks down the silos of healthcare.

It’s a model that works – for both our employer customers and the 1.7 million people we support. Year after year, we see exceptional consumer satisfaction scores, industry-leading healthcare cost savings for employers, and tens of thousands of meaningful interactions with providers to coordinate care. We are supporting the health and well-being of people in the way they want, need and deserve – work that has never been more critical than it is today.

Today is our first day as a public company. We are changing the way healthcare works for people in this country. And we are just getting started.


1 E. Schneider, D. Sarnak, D. Squires, A Shah, and M. Doty, Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care, Commonwealth Fund, retrieved from: https://interactives.commonwealthfund.org/2017/july/mirror-mirror/

2 Health plans: What matters most to the health care consumer? , Deloitte’s 2016 Consumer Priorities in Health Care Survey

3 Spencer, A., Freda, B., and McGinnis, T., Center for Health Care Strategies, and Gottlieb, L., MD, UCSF (Dec 2016), Measuring Social Determinants of Health among Medicaid Beneficiaries: Early State Lessons, retrieved from: https://calqic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Measuring-SDH-Among-Medicaid-Beneficiaries-Early-State-Lessons.pdf