Verily is one of the most dynamic companies in the healthcare industry, carefully working at the intersections of healthcare, data and technology in an attempt to improve care delivery, research methodology and overall patient outcomes.
The company’s mission statement is bold and empowering: “to bring the promise of precision health to everyone, every day.” Precision health refers to undertaking a curated approach to disease prevention and treatment—an approach which takes into account an individual’s specific needs and lifestyle to ensure that the appropriate clinical intervention is taken. Medical treatments and interventions have historically been rooted in treating the “average patient.” Precision health challenges this norm, attempting to move beyond a “one-size-fits-all” methodology to instead pursue a more tailored approach which provides patients with the right care at the right time, specific to their needs.
In congruence with this concept, Verily uses technology, data science, and analytics, in addition to leveraging data from both clinical and non-clinical modalities, to ultimately help define the ideal intervention for a patient.
The company has grown significantly over the years with this mission in mind. It was originally founded as a “moonshot” project at Google X in 2015; over the past 8 years, Verily has pushed the bounds of what is possible and has made incredible strides in healthcare—far more than what many other companies have been able to achieve over the course of decades. In this journey, Verily has managed to launch numerous innovative products.
Take for example Verily’s Viewpoint platform, “an end-to-end suite of tools and services” that helps optimize clinical research by empowering high quality evidence generation, optimization of the clinical trial recruitment process, and most recently with the Workbench tool, enablement of robust analytics and data insights.
Another shining example is Onduo, which is celebrated as one of the most successful care management solutions for individuals with chronic conditions. Specifically, Onduo is a virtual care management platform for patients with diabetes and hypertension which leverages holistic data to help manage these conditions. The platform entails a mobile application, a dedicated care team, and tailored content for participants. A groundbreaking retrospective study of 578 patients found that participation in Onduo resulted in significant improvements in HbA1C (a blood sugar measure used to diagnose diabetes) and decreased time in hyperglycemia for patients, in addition to improvements in weight and blood pressure. Specifically, high-risk patients had an average 2.4% decrease in HbA1C levels, while overall, patients experienced a 1.6% HbA1C decrease. Indeed, these are monumental findings.
These are just a few examples of the many products Verily has pioneered, and there are many more— ranging from an innovative insurance product, to ground-breaking retinal screening tools.
Stephen Gillett, CEO of Verily, explains that the company has gone through significant growth over the past 8 years, and is now really focused on leveraging the company’s streamlined operations, technological capabilities, and human talent to make a difference in healthcare. Gillett is a stalwart leader and executive, bringing with him decades of experience at the intersections of operations, technology, and business. He draws on this experience to guide Verily on navigating the next frontier. He describes how “big retail” and “big tech” have solved a lot of the problems that “big healthcare” is still struggling to solve— specifically in using technology and data to truly understand human behavior. He enthusiastically explains: “What I get excited about are the extraordinary and meaningful products that we are developing… what will truly differentiate us is how we tie the learnings and understandings and capabilities from a technology perspective across all the parts of the industry that our products participate in—I think there are a lot of lessons that we can learn from adjacent industries.”
He also explains that the next decade holds a lot of promise for the company and the industry in general. In the next 3-5 years, Gillett hopes to have robust market facing and care facing products that blend technology and healthcare capabilities in a meaningful way; beyond the next 5 years, he hopes to have Verily become a pioneer in robust data and insights capabilities, ultimately in an effort to create a harmony between healthcare product services and technology.
Dr. Amy Abernethy, President of Product Development and Chief Medical Officer of Verily, is equally enthusiastic: “We wanted to unlock the promise of precision health for everyone, everyday.” In this effort, she explains, the company has strived to create products that can truly make a difference in people’s lives and in improving the healthcare industry overall. Dr. Abernethy also thoughtfully exclaims that this story is just getting started, and there is still a lot of work to do: “We need to build responsibly—we need to think about bias in underlying data sets, continuously think about how we can achieve and improve health equity, and how our products should always maintain privacy and security.”
In congruence with the mission to improve health equity, Verily recently launched its Health Equity Center of Excellence, which will be led by Dr. Vindell Washington. The Center’s goal will be to build and strengthen “capabilities to reach underserved or underrepresented communities in an effort to afford those communities high-quality, equitable care and research opportunities… [and to embed the] principles of health equity and diversity by design into the entire lifecycle of [Verily’s] products, from ideation to development, and post-market processes.”
Undoubtedly, Verily has made a name for itself and is a quickly rising star in the healthcare scene. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, there is significant opportunity with the field of precision health. As for Verily, one thing is certain: given the incredible progress the company has already made in just 8 short years, its future is certainly promising, especially for its incredible potential to transform healthcare meaningfully and truly improve patient outcomes in the decades to come.