Health Tech: Chris Nicholson On How mPulse Mobile’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our…

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Health Tech: Chris Nicholson On How mPulse Mobile’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

Passionate Team: Ensure that you are working with people that want to achieve big things vs people that just want a J.O.B.. One group will accelerate your success and the other will slow you down.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Nicholson.

As Chief Executive Officer of mPulse Mobile, Chris brings over 20 years of experience in healthcare and digital technology leadership in fortune 100 companies and dynamic startups. Prior to mPulse Mobile, Chris spent over a decade in strategic leadership roles at Humana, including VP and COO of Wellness, and led Humana’s Strategic consultancy division. At mPulse Mobile, Chris brings a passion for developing solutions that improve health outcomes while transforming member experience. He holds a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Kentucky and an MBA from University of Louisville. He also completed the Harvard Executive Development Program for Healthcare Leaders.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

First, I wanted to thank you for asking me to join the interview series — It is such a great topic and opportunity to share how health technology is positively impacting health outcomes. On to your question, I grew up in the Midwest and have been an entrepreneur from a young age. From starting my own lawn care company at age 8 and growing to over 50 clients by the time I was 16 and having two other teens working for me to flipping houses and cars in my 20’s. I have always wanted to take something and make it better, creating more value, and then selling it and doing it again.

After completing my MBA in Entrepreneurship, I worked for several mobile technology companies, like Verizon Wireless and then on to Humana’s Innovation Center where we developed innovative healthcare solutions for consumers. The combination of experience in mobile technology and improving health was the driver to create mPulse Mobile in the health tech space and how we positioned ourselves from a consumer first solution.

At mPulse Mobile, we improve health outcomes, by leveraging digital technology to create highly personalized digital experiences, coupled with behavioral science and conversational AI to improve health outcomes. Some examples are, improving medication adherence, improving preventive screenings, Quality or STARS improvements, supporting well-child visits and overall getting people to the care they need by empowering and educating them. We have scaled to support over 100 million members and over a billion annual touch points with consumers.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

During my interview for the Humana role, I was asked about my experience in working in healthcare. I had to answer that I had “NONE.” Not only no experience in healthcare, but a healthy individual who had not even had interactions as a consumer in the healthcare system. Funny enough, the hiring manager said, “Good! We have plenty of people here that know healthcare. We need people that understand how to engage consumers.” So, my lack of experience is what got me the job. ☺

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been fortunate to have so many supporters, investors, friends, etc. along this journey. But I would have to say there is one person who consistently provided the necessary support and nudges during those more challenging times. That is my wife! She is such a positive and supportive influence in all of these ventures and crazy schedules helping provide the balance necessary to make all of this happen.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have always loved the quote, Carpe Diem, which means Seize the Day. I tell people, I’m not the smartest person in the room, but I always do two more things in a day then others do. Seizing the day and working that much little bit extra each and every day to achieve our teams’ goals.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

This is a tough one, I feel there are so many character traits that you must “dial up or down” based on which hat you are wearing at that current time. As I think about the ones that are more consistent, I would prioritize like this.

  • Resilience — Is so critical as you are building a business or doing something no one has done before. You must be able to shift strategy, accept failure, and practice the highest levels of agility.
  • Optimism — Having that underlying sense of purpose and positive outlook that you will solve the problem with the right team and right amount of effort.
  • Appreciation — Ultimately, ensuring that you are recognizing the people and teams that have helped you be successful and can be such small acts of grace from others that ultimate help you along the path.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

At mPulse, we are improving how health plans, pharma companies, med tech companies and health providers engage their consumers. We are solving the engagement problem by leveraging technology to close the gap between access and knowledge.

  • Access — because we use omni-channel solutions over mobile devices to increase reach and remove barriers to access important healthcare services.
  • Knowledge — because we leverage highly relevant and personalized content (streaming health education) to lift members up by increasing understanding and support them as the process information to make very important healthcare decisions.

We are tackling hundreds of problems in healthcare today for our partners, but all stem from an overarching goal to improve healthcare engagement. We have helped to get more patients to their appointments on time, closed gaps in care, reduced recidivism or readmittance, improved well child visits, improved immunizations rates for Flu or Covid-19, reduce unnecessary ER utilization and help keep members on necessary medications.

How do you think your technology can address this?

Our technology is built around the consumer and the tools that they are using today. We leverage Conversational AI and Natural Language Understanding Models combined with rich content and flexible journey maps that improve success rates for consumers by increasing access and knowledge as mentioned above. Over the last 7, we have been able to successfully publish several studies that prove the efficacy of our strategies and technology.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

When at Humana, we were spending hundreds of millions of dollars per year on member outreach, predominantly letters, and the frustrating part was that we had no way of measuring members response or a way to get feedback other than waiting for them to call in. I wanted to get to a model that enabled real-time member engagement and leveraging mobile/digital offer the ability for us to close the feedback loop in seconds and be able to respond appropriately to support members along their care journey. After seeing a few successes in the area our energy snowballed and the passion built to build a company around this.

How do you think this might change the world?

Our team is truly motivated by the goal of improving health outcomes for the populations we serve. This sense of purpose is and will continue to change the world in how we think about consumer health engagement. The strategies that we are deploying are scaling to support over 100 million Americans along their health journey

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I love these concepts and such an interesting and important lens to view “change.” Since most of our engagement strategies are delivered over that Black Mirror, we call a mobile phone we are very conscientious about engagement. We are always asking for feedback from consumers and our clients so that we can avoid

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

Over the years we have tried various approaches to solution development, and I think are right that it comes down to a few key strategies that have led to success. Here is a quick recap of the key things I would highlight (in no particular order):

  • Consumer Feedback and Testing: Be sure to build check points in with your clients and users. I mean much more than UX design but more ethnographic assessments on how people live with a solution and experience if vs just use it.
  • Market Readiness: Be sure to do thorough work in talking to consumers and the buyers of the solution to test readiness. In healthcare, rarely is the user of the solution (the consumer or member) the actual buyer of person who is paying for the solution. If one is ready and the other is not, you will have a challenge getting to market and sadly I have seen some great solutions sit on the shelf.
  • Mission/Purpose: Keep coming back to your strategy and validating you are still solving the same problem and that it is still relevant. Often, scope creep and distractions move us away from the original purpose and keep us from our achieving our goals.
  • Passionate Team: Ensure that you are working with people that want to achieve big things vs people that just want a J.O.B.. One group will accelerate your success and the other will slow you down.

I’m going to stick with four, I think that if you have these four aligned you are going to be in solid shape.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

There is nothing more fulfilling than working with a group of talented team members to solve these big challenges. It makes every day exciting, energizing and of course sometimes frustrating but doing it with a team you care about and who truly cares about the problem they are solving is what make it all worthwhile.

So, to reiterate, don’t try to do this alone. My guidance is to find a team and some great mentors to collaborate with.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

At this time, I’m fascinated by Elon Musk and his ability to tackle so many ventures and passions at the same time. Frankly, very impressive!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

To follow mPulse Mobile online, please visit or our LinkedIn Page to follow our progress or learn more about our health outcomes.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

Health Tech: Chris Nicholson On How mPulse Mobile’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.