New App Wellcoin Rewards Users For Their Healthy Behavior
By Glenn Laffel’s estimate, he treated fewer than 1,000 patients during the seven years he worked as a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He wanted to do more.
“It was a great impact, but it still seemed like my footprint was small,” Laffel says of his years in medicine. “I wanted to try to do something where I could have an impact on a larger number of people.”
Today, he’s doing that through a free app he founded called Wellcoin, which encourages users to be healthy by rewarding them for good behaviors.
Wellcoin users make a profile on the app, then log healthy activities ranging from going for a run to volunteering. Once the act has been verified, either by importing data from another health app or providing a photo, the user receives “Wellcoins,” which Laffel describes as a “virtual healthy currency.” Once the individual has enough Wellcoins, he or she can trade them in for real rewards, like Whole Foods gift cards or Pure Barre classes, on the Wellcoin marketplace.
“We want to make it fun for people to get healthy and stay healthy, we want it to be used by people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and we want people to keep using it,” Laffel says.
The app has already accumulated “tens of thousands” of users since it launched in July, and Laffel says between 2,000 and 2,500 new members join each week. Laffel says the goal is for the app to continue to grow, to encourage as many people as possible to improve their health in an accessible way.
“Our mission is to move the needle on population health,” he says. “Nothing short of that.”