About Mike Erhart
Michael Ehrhart has over 32 years of product development experience. He worked at medical equipment manufacturer, Welch Allyn for over 20 years, most recently serving as Chief Technology Officer. George Smith served as General Counsel at Hand Held Products, a subsidiary of Welch Allyn that was acquired by Honeywell in 2007. He most recently served in business development roles with Welch Allyn and Honeywell. Smith also served as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University Law School from 2013-2015. Ehrhart and Smith teamed up in 2015 to form Watch Hill Solutions, a technology start-up. The Welloh app is their first product.
Developed by Sodus, NY-based Watch Hill Solutions, Wellohis a new mobile app designed to help people navigate healthcare service options and make informed purchase choices. Using Welloh, consumers can quickly access information about convenient care facilities, which include retail, walk-in and urgent care clinics, as well as hospitals and pharmacies, all geolocated nearest to the user, right on their mobile device. Welloh is currently available as a free download for both iOS and Android mobile devices, and can be found on the Apple App Storeand Google Play Store.
U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): How does your app fit into the medical travel scenario?
Mike Ehrhart (ME): Welloh’s current functionality is similar to Yelp for urgent care.
We provide a list of convenient care locations where you can find immediate, urgent care and walk-in clinics.
When you open the app, you’ll find a list of convenient care settings within a 30-mile radius, no matter where you are in the United States. These venues are rated and reviewed, making the app ideal for travelers.
Let’s say you are traveling with your family and visiting your in-laws at Disney when your son gets an earache at 8 o’clock at night. What do you do? You pull up the Welloh app.
It finds your current location and lists convenient locations within a 30-mile radius that are rated and reviewed so you have a sense of which is the best venue based on other people’s experience.
USDMT: It’s GPS for local care, but it also provides more information?
ME: Yes, exactly.
Let’s say you choose a venue with a 4.5 rating in reviews. The app tells you what time they close and gives you directions to get there by opening up your Apple or Google maps.
USDMT: Do you have anything international?
ME: No. At the moment we are addressing healthcare issues in the United States because of the rise in high deductible health plans, and growing consumer need to find cost-effective care.
Our patients now have a lot more skin in the game in terms of cost. But there was not a lot of transparent information available about care sites.
That’s our mission: to promote consumerism in healthcare services. Starting this year and into the beginning of next year, we are going to include ratings and reviews on imaging centers, out-patient surgery centers and diagnostic labs.
The point is totake the guess work out of the process and put transparency back into people’s hands. Too often when we are traveling, if something happens, like a bee sting, we go to urgent care or an ER. Both are expensive, but we feel we have no other options because we’re not familiar with the area.
By using Welloh, business and family travelers can quickly and easily find convenient quality care locations.
USDMT: How long have you been in this business?
ME: I have been in the healthcare business about 20 years. We’ve been in the mobile app business for less than a year.
My partner and I are retired executives from Welch Allen, a medical device company. I worked with a product development and technology team for many years and left in 2015.
We saw a huge need. We have exactly what is needed to make the healthcare market a healthy one. It comes down to using our healthcare dollars to reward the good facilities and penalize the bad ones.
USDMT: So how do you sell the app? Are you marketing directly to consumers?
ME: Yes, we are. The app is free.
We market directly to consumers through various means, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We are also developing relationships with bloggers to review and promote the app.
Additionally, we send out a tip once a day that provides information to people to help them be better healthcare consumers. This includes advice on using a health savings account or what to do if an insurance claim is denied, as well as health and wellness tips.
USDMT: How many consumers have downloaded the app?
ME: We have about 1,000 users right now.
While the app is free to download, we are exploring a premium model. We want to make sure that Welloh is a trusted source so we do not take advertising from the locations in the app.
USMDT: Do you have any competitors?
ME: You could argue that Google is a competitor, but you then have to sort through a lot of information and make phone calls.
Welloh makes the process much easier. Just by opening the app you bring up a list of locations.
USDMT: This is definitely a good consumer play in healthcare.
ME: One thing relevant for your readers relates to domestic medical travelers.
If they have some sort of complication from an outpatient procedure far from home, and their doctor is unavailable, they can use Welloh to find the nearest urgent care center — especially if it’s after hours and they want to avoid the cost of a visit to an ER.