How Success Happened for WebMD and Sharecare Founder Jeff Arnold
Jeff Arnold found success starting WebMD and, most recently, Sharecare.
In a recent episode of the How Success Happens podcast, I sat down with Jeff Arnold, a storied entrepreneur who has founded several companies to date, including three healthcare game-changers. He founded QDS, a heart monitoring business and precursor to modern telemedicine, WebMD, universally recognized as health's first homepage from the days of Web 1.0, and now, Sharecare, the digital health company helping people manage all their health in one place.
But for Jeff, success didn't happen overnight. In fact, his journey in healthcare began toward the end of his college career after receiving a fortuitous job opportunity in pharmaceutical sales. Shortly thereafter, he packed his bags and left the University of Georgia for the workforce, but it wasn't long before he turned his attention to the limitations of cardiac monitoring, secured a $25,000 loan, and made it his business to deliver a new, technology-driven solution for clinicians. And since then, several successful ventures later, Jeff has continued to push technology to a higher ledge of care.
These days, Jeff's enabling a personalized, digital health experience at Sharecare, where his global team of technologists, clinical experts, and a diverse range of other pros provide a virtual care platform that is comprehensive and user-friendly for all. Beyond delivering the smartphone-based platform as a resource to improve one's health, Arnold says he sees three layers underlying the healthcare paradigm in which the platform can help people at scale: community well-being, which accounts for the ways our environments impact our overall health; resilience, the ability of our personal well-being journeys to strengthen and improve our longevity; and the emerging layer of health security, where we can minimize known health risks by optimizing best practices with technology.
After seeing the significant impact Covid-19 had on the hospitality industry and the people who comprise its workforce, Jeff was inspired to use Sharecare's tech assets to help restore confidence among travelers and hospitality workers, and set a new industry standard for health safety. Soon after, Sharecare partnered with Forbes Travel Guide – for which Jeff also serves as chairman – to create a health security verification protocol that enables hotels, event venues, and soon, more touchpoints across our communities, to confirm their adherence to hundreds of expert-validated standards to minimize the risk of acute public health events. In less than six months, Sharecare's VERIFIED solution has become an essential tool for hotels, resorts, and venues in nearly 60 countries, establishing a consistent global baseline for health security. And true to form, Jeff's take on health security goes even further with a new comprehensive solution to support vaccine adherence on behalf of government entities and large employers, offering those populations everything from educational information, appointment registration and reminders to the ability to track side effects and store a digital version of their CDC vaccine card.
But Jeff says these elements merely scratch the surface of what makes Sharecare's approach unique and well-suited to tackle our health challenges. In the Sharecare ecosystem, these solutions complement other health programs, content, and tools – digitally enabled and scalable – to promote the well-being of every individual, whatever their needs may be.
What's next for Jeff? As Sharecare approaches going public later this year, one thing is certain: He's in it for the long haul and looks forward to what his team has yet to achieve. "Five years from now, we are a "front door' for healthcare on everybody's phone," he says. As Jeff and the Sharecare team bring this vision to life, he says we can expect the company to continue its strategic approach to M&A while he personally pays it forward by supporting and mentoring other entrepreneurs.
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