Home News Atlanta Hawks Partner With Digital Health Company Sharecare to Improve Health Across Georgia

Atlanta Hawks Partner With Digital Health Company Sharecare to Improve Health Across Georgia

by Holly Beilin

When it came time for the Atlanta Hawks to select a partner for their jersey patch, a new NBA pilot program kicking off this upcoming season where a company’s logo will be displayed on the left shoulder of players jerseys, they had certain criteria in mind. They wanted to build a partnership that reflected the interests and concerns of their fanbase, that felt authentic, and that spoke to the #TrueToAtlanta mantra they have committed to upholding.

They chose Sharecare, the digital health company started by serial tech entrepreneur Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz.

With the Hawks reach, Sharecare’s technology capabilities, and the two organizations commitment to use innovation to benefit the City of Atlanta, the partnership will serve as much more than a patch on a jersey.

Announced today, the Hawks and Sharecare are launching the Sharecare Movement, a multi-year program to measurably improve the health of the city and Georgia as a whole. Kicking off when the season begins this October, Sharecare’s health platform, available through a mobile app, will be available to Georgia residents for free.

When 129 communities across the U.S. were studied, Atlanta ranks in the bottom half at 83. Georgia is only the 29th healthiest state. Arnold says this partnership will aim to boost the rankings of both to the top quartiles of those lists by 2020.

Georgia residents will have special access to the latest version of the digital health platform that allows users to improve their health in an ultra-personalized, predictive manner. The platform offers health assessments, content tailored to each individual user, expert advice, and a place to securely store and keep track of records and appointments.

“This is the first of its kind — the NBA is the first pro American league to do this. To be as close as possible, to literally have a brand woven into the fabric of the jerseys worn by the greatest athletes in the world, made it a challenge for us: to find a brand that would be more than a sponsor on a jersey, but a partner and a component of a much larger program where we could do something to help the city,” says Hawks EVP and Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Saltzman.

“This program with Sharecare and the Sharecare Movement to make Atlanta the healthiest city in the U.S. and improve the entire state of Georgia — we took to it as a major challenge for us,” says Saltzman.

It’s a model Sharecare has already implemented successfully throughout the state of Hawaii. This year, they’ve rolled the platform out to 1.2 million people across eight islands through their first enterprise customer, the Hawa’ii Medical Services Association (the BlueCross BlueShield plan of Hawaii).

“We’ve been doing this in Hawaii, and measuring our efforts against the the Gallup-Sharecare Well-being Index (which measures a community or population’s wellbeing), since January. So that was a really good opportunity to figure out how to do it, and now bring it to our backyard,” says Arnold.

The platform isn’t just for individual consumers. Addressing employees’ health is critical for companies, not only for insurance costs and productivity, but for retention. And it isn’t about basic healthcare anymore. Increasingly, employees rate preventative health benefits — such as free healthy snacks, gym membership, or ability to have a work-life balance — as employer benefits they can’t live without.

Sharecare’s platform would serve as another such benefit, giving a company’s employees a place to assess their current health status, ways to improve it, and track improvements and records.

The Hawks partnership will also move these health-promoting activities off the digital platform. Sharecare and the Hawks will activate engagements throughout the city including pop-up health activations like 5K races, digital and social campaigns, and wellness programs.

All that hard work comes with rewards and incentives. As part of using the Sharecare platform to improve their health, measured in what the company calls “green days” (positive health days), users could be rewarded with free seats to games, merchandise, seat upgrades, and more. In fact, the transformed Philips Arena will have an entire Sharecare-designated section that could be used for those who have dedicated commitment to improving their health — otherwise known as “living in the green.”

“We want to reward fans and reward companies for living in the green, which is really the umbrella of the Sharecare Movement,” says Saltzman. “We’re striving to promote them to go after healthier lives, healthier lifestyles: eating well, movement, exercise, sleep. So to reward fans as they live in the green and become part of the movement, we want to make sure that we take care of them.”

The Arena is also actively considering health in design with the help of their new partner. Saltzman says that designated healthy food options will be plentiful; the team is working to create player benches for both the home and away teams that are ergonomically designed for optimal health. Throughout the Arena, fans will be reminded to engage with the Sharecare app and continue tracking their health.

Arnold says it’s a natural place to promote such a mission.

“I’ve always thought that there was a strong connection between sports and health,” says Arnold. “It’s that power to convene and inspire people.”

This comes at a time when healthcare, for many, is uncertain and expensive. Arnold says his ultimate goal with Sharecare is the control of healthcare back to the consumer through technology.

“It starts a lot with self-awareness — what is my baseline? And then it moves into motivation —how do I live in the green and get more green days? And then it’s our responsibility to connect a smarter consumer back to their benefits providers, their insurance companies, to their doctors, in a way that puts them in control, just like you’re in control of your financial services or your transportation and everything else,” says Arnold.

“That’s where you’re going to see a huge shift,” says Arnold. “It’s not the insurance company’s data, it’s not the doctor’s data, it is your data. And here’s how you can put your data to work to get you a better price — and to get you healthier.”

Piloting such a program in Atlanta is a natural step for Sharecare and for Arnold, who has been building successful technology companies, including WebMD and HowStuffWorks, in Atlanta for over two decades.

“Where you live has a direct impact on your health, and while Atlanta and Georgia certainly have areas ripe for improvement, we also enjoy some undeniable, foundational strengths — from being the nation’s health IT capital and home base for leading health organizations like the CDC, to one of the fastest growing technology hubs and economic centers in the world, to name a few,” said Arnold.

“While the patch is at the epicenter of our partnership, this is about much more than just logo placement on a jersey,” says Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin. “It was critically important to us to partner with an Atlanta-based company whose brand had outstanding values and a positive mission like Sharecare.”

Images via Atlanta Hawks, Sharecare

Disclaimer: Holly Beilin formerly worked for Sharecare. She has no current affiliation with the company.

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