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Emerson Ecologics Launches Wellevate® Labs, New Comprehensive Clinical Laboratory Service 

 

Emerson Ecologics, the leading provider of products and solutions for integrative health professionals, introduces the latest fundamental tool offered on its Wellevate® platform. Wellevate Labs radically simplifies the arduous diagnostic testing process. This latest innovation aggregates the ordering, reporting and secure sharing of conventional and specialty labs—all seamlessly integrated for health and wellness professionals through the Wellevate platform.  

 

I had an opportunity to discuss the program with Jaclyn Smeaton, ND, senior vice president of medical education at Emerson Ecologics. Here are the highlights of our discussion.

Dick: Tell me a little bit about what you're doing with Emerson and the lab testing services you are offering through the Wellevate platform.

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: At Emerson, we've always been focused around solving pain points for healthcare practitioners. Joe Emerson, when he founded the company, consolidated supplement brands so that his friends would be able to order from one place rather than many. And so of course, we've done that with supplements over the years, and we're always looking for additional solutions that can make practice easier for practitioners.

Wellevate Labs is a natural extension of that because the lab industry in functional and integrative medicine is still very complicated. It can be difficult for practitioners who want to order from multiple labs – maintaining each relationship, using separate order portals, etc. We saw a real opportunity to be a solution for practitioners in helping them put all of that functionality and brilliant diagnostic support in one place, and one where they're already going- right within Wellevate.

Dick: Do you find that practitioners struggled with the issue of dealing with multiple labs to deal with a variety of tests. Is that an issue that this new program resolves?

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: Exactly. The labs are wonderful. They have wonderful customer support teams, and my experience has always been great when I interact with individual labs, but you nailed it. When you have to coordinate with multiple labs for a patient, it's more complex for the practitioner and their staff. And it's also more complex for the patient because if they have questions, they need to call multiple customer support teams. So, we've really solved the logistics backend for practitioners by putting it all in one place for them.

Practitioners really only have to select what labs they want and we handle the details with their patients, provide customer service as needed, and then put all of the results back into one portal. So, it is very time saving.

Dick: Do you modify the reports when they come in so they all look the same or if they get reports from two different labs, they'll look in the format that the labs give them?

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: At this time, they're in the format that the labs provide, which is typically PDF.  If you've seen some of these functional reports, they are beautiful and express the data in formats and infographics that make it so much easier to interpret versus just a numerical value in a list. So we have definitely preserved the reports that the labs are providing.

Dick: Do you find that with the COVID issue that this whole hands-off process is working better for the practitioners?

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: Absolutely. In the last year, the Wellevate platform has been growing faster than it ever has. I think that virtual visits have really taken hold, and within Wellevate, we have made that even easier by adding a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform for video visits. When the pandemic hit, we knew practitioners who were accustomed to an in-office practice had to pivot quickly and we wanted to give them a HIPAA-compliant solution. So, we built that into Wellevate. It handles online booking, appointment management and then hosts the visit right within the Wellevate platform. Wellevate Labs is the next step we’ve taken to facilitate ease in virtual practice. And even for practitioners who have in-person practices, we focus on tools and solutions accessible to patients in the way they really look for today, which is easy access, from my phone, whenever I want it.

 

Some practitioners love in-person practice and that's wonderful, and it serves their patients in such a personalized way, but adding a virtual dispensary and access to recommendations ensures the practitioner can win in places like patient refills, for example, rather than patients going online to buy because it's easier than driving back into the office.  Tools like the patient mobile app help practitioners be more effective with their patients by making it very easy to put the practitioner everywhere that the patient wants them to be.

Dick: Well, and I think that one of the few positives that have come up during the pandemic. Both patients and practitioners realize that for routine visits to the practitioner where there's really not a need for a hands-on visit, it's trained both patients and practitioners how to deal with that.

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: I think you're right. And it made virtual visits a necessity in some instances and for a period of time. I have a small practice which is fully virtual and I don't find it any less personal than when I had my patients physically sitting in front of me.  We want to make that as easy as possible for practitioners because it really does allow them to extend their practice and truly grow their practice, financially.

Dick: Have you found that practitioners are liking this new process where labs are available through the platform?

Jaclyn Smeaton: We have had a tremendous response to our launch, I think I would just call it a jaw-dropping response from practitioners. People are very excited that the solution exists. One thing that's very unique about Wellevate Labs is we work with 16 specialty labs - lab partners that you'd recognize like Genova, Doctor’s Data, Precision Analytical (DUTCH test), U.S. Biotech, and many more. But we also offer conventional lab testing through a partnership with LabCorp. So that's quite unique. We can send electronic orders to LapCorp. And we also are connected with phlebotomy services, so we can connect the patient with a local draw center, or if they prefer, we have a network of mobile phlebotomists that will come right to the patient's home or place of work, whatever is most convenient for them.  We are really trying to take the burden off practitioners in every way possible through this platform. And there's been a lot of excitement that we can really service the full suite of a practitioner's lab needs this way.

Dick: Can you walk through how the process works?

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: The way the process works is the practitioner logs into their Wellevate platform, the same one they use to make supplement recommendations for their patients, and they'll click a button to launch Wellevate Labs and from there, they are able to select the labs they want for their patients. It’s very easy, a lot like the process of shopping and filling a cart.  If it's a conventional lab test and they need blood drawn for it, we will ask what type of phlebotomy service they want for the patient. So if they draw in their office, we can handle that. If they want the patient to go to a draw station, we can do that. Or if they want a mobile phlebotomist to come to the patient, we can facilitate that as well.

 

Practitioners then just choose the tests they need for their patient, across conventional and specialty labs. Once they do that, they submit the order. And then the practitioner is finished with their job until the results come in.

 

On the backend, we handle everything else. When we receive the order from the practitioner, we reach out to the patient through email and the patient clicks a link that will drive them to the order. And from there, they enter their payment information and check out. We offer the best available pricing.

 

We then support the patient through the collection process.  If they require kits, we will send the kits to the patient. And if it was a LabCorp draw required, they would receive a link to retrieve the requisition form in an email and then just walk into the draw center to have that blood drawn. All of the results are sent into the Wellevate portal for the practitioner to review.

 

The practitioner can simply log into one place, view the results across all of the companies they've ordered from, and then release the results to their patient, or schedule a follow up to go through them with the patient. So, it's really great because the practitioner experience involves selecting the labs they want and hitting order submit, and then waiting to be notified that everything's completed. It's very, very simple for the practitioner.

Dick: You say that the product's gotten a lot of success. The doctors really like it at this point?

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: We've only been live about 2 weeks, and already we’ve received really great feedback.

 

We're holding a free event called LabsLIVE on October 16th, which is a day of learning about many different kinds of lab testing and lab interpretation. And again, we've had an incredible practitioner response to sign up for that event.

There's very obviously an interest among integrative practitioners to use diagnostics to truly personalize medicine, because that's what we're all after. And in order to really personalize medicine, you need detailed information about the patient. So, there's a lot of interest from practitioners who want to become experts at this. And really, we're very excited to be able to put the functionality and education right at practitioner's fingertips to make that happen.

Dick Do you think that practitioners will choose across multiple laboratories, focusing on the tests they do really well, rather than trying to use only one laboratory?

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: Absolutely. We see that with supplements, and I expect we'll see that with labs too. Supplement companies often specialize in a specific type of product or a product category, and practitioners may want to buy from multiple supplement brands because they have their favorites. The company that makes the best multivitamin may be different from the one who makes the best probiotics. And I think that's really the same with labs. We have companies who've become very specialized in certain types of labs and with Wellevate Labs, practitioners can really order their favorites across all 16 specialty lab companies.

Dick: It sounds like exciting change and I think that I've seen a whole evolution ever since these products like the Wellevate platform for supplements have come out and hopefully that will grow into the lab area as well.

 

Jaclyn Smeaton: Yes, we're really committed to that. We believe integrative medicine is only going to grow in the United States with the increase prevalence of chronic disease and the increased need for personalized care, we want the practitioners we serve to be poised for success. We really believe in what they do and we are fully committed today and going forward to finding solutions that make practice easier and more fun for them and easier for their patients.  It's really a win-win.

 

For more information on Wellevate Labs visit go.wellevate.me/labs and to learn more about LabsLive 2021 scheduled for October 16, visit go.wellevate.me/labslive..

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