Chris Nicholson left a remunerative executive position at Humana to fill an unmet need in health care: finding a better way to engage patients and members with more effective digital capabilities than legacy channels, with the direct goal of reducing health disparities and improving outcomes.
Today, Nicholson is the CEO and co-founder of mPulse Mobile. The innovator provides Conversational AI over digital channels that enable health care payers and providers to interact with patients in natural language.
Health Evolution spoke with Nicholson about mPulse Mobile’s origin story, what CEOs might not know about Conversational AI, outcome improvements, what to expect in the near future and the need for positivity in chaotic times.
What was the inspiration that lead to you founding mPulse Mobile?
Nicholson: The origin story is that I was the Chief Operating Officer for Humana’s Health and Wellness Division, running communications and other business units over roughly a 15 year career there and I was blown away by the fact that we were spending over $200 million a year on printed material and legacy engagement and not getting much patient engagement or even the slightest insight to their preferences or needs. I looked at vendors doing this type of engagement and at the time did not find any. They didn’t want to deal with health care, so I partnered with a company that specialized in messaging for consumers, restaurants, casinos, and retail as an advisor. That board asked me to step over and start a new company to engage health care head on, add domain expertise around health care use cases specifically. That was the vision. We had to create a platform for the digital age, that engages all healthcare consumers and create a truly real-time and interactive platform that “got smarter” with each consumer interaction.
One thing kind of funny about the deciding factor was that when I told my wife I was thinking about leaving Humana, she said “first, let’s put our house on the market and see if it sells, because it would mean moving from Kentucky to California.” The housing market was not great at the time. Well, our house sold in about 24 hours and so literally that was kind of a sign to go and take the opportunity. We spent 3 or 4 weeks driving an RV across the country with my family and we were looking at houses online as we traveled. That was an awesome experience and milestone trip for my family.