Artwork for podcast Reconstructing Healthcare:  Innovative Solutions For Employers To Lower Their Healthcare Costs
Omar Dawood | Calm
Episode 7310th March 2021 • Reconstructing Healthcare: Innovative Solutions For Employers To Lower Their Healthcare Costs • Reconstructing Healthcare: Innovative Solutions For Employers To Lower Their Healthcare Costs
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In this episode, Michael interviews Omar Dawood, the Chief Medical Officer and Head of Sales at Calm, the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. The app has over 100 million downloads and over 1.5M 5-star reviews.

Omar is a clinician and stage IV cancer survivor with over 25 years of senior management, medical research and clinical experience, innovating medical devices and digital health products as a senior executive. At Calm, he leads B2B employer and health plan sales and is passionate about helping people around the globe lead healthier, happier lives by building resilience through better sleep and improved mindfulness.

While 20% of Americans are dealing with a mental health illness of some sort, Omar believes that we shouldn’t forget about the other 80% of people who experience stress and anxiety without a mental health diagnosis. That’s where Calm comes in to act as a preventative measure to improve behavioral and mental health as well as resilience through mindfulness practices, meditation, and strategies for better sleep. 

Calm started as a B2C app but is making strides in the B2B sector to support employers, employees, and organizations. And it’s working. The sign-up rate on employer accounts is 30% with 80% engagement, and the experiences it offers – like the “Daily Calm” and “Sleep Story” – are helping employees reduce stress, sleep better, respond better to life, communicate more effectively, and boost immunity around the world. 

The benefits Calm offers to organizations and employees is clear. For organizations, they provide actionable insights and aggregate trends. For employees, they offer pathways to increased resilience and wellbeing and a “Calm Effect” that touches every area of their life.

Calm’s NPS is just over 70 and they do qualitative ratings and satisfaction measurements in a number of ways. The team at Calm is excited for more innovation in behavioral and mental health and encourage collaboration in the field in order to spread health and happiness to billions.  

Here’s a glance at what we discuss in this episode: 

  • 00:50 - Introducing Omar and Calm. 
  • 02:30 – His cancer diagnosis changed his view on medicine and the industry’s lack of data; he didn’t appreciate the value of mental and behavioral health until 10 years ago. 
  • 04:45 – He saw a need to bring an engaging experience to behavioral health; this is how he came upon Calm and loves his role in bringing that to employers/employees. 
  • 06:30 – The 1 in 5 statistic: Omar believes we should consider the preventative health of the other 80% who also experience stress and anxiety but aren’t diagnosed.
  • 08:50 – The pandemic opened up the dialogue that we’re all coping and should do something about it because we’re human, not because we’ve been diagnosed. 
  • 10:00 – Most employees experience stress and anxiety; digital health made help easier and more accessible, but still sat downstream in terms of treatment.
  • 12:50 – What was missing was something more upstream and preventative.
  • 13:00 – EAP services 0-3% engagement, Calm’s sign-up rate is 30% on employer accounts and average engagement of 80%; it’s not seen as behavioral health at all. 
  • 14:40 – Calm is an experience, not a product, and becomes a part of the user’s life to support better resilience through meditation, mindfulness, and better sleep. 
  • 16:30 – They started with B2C and are now working with employers and organizations to broaden their impact. 
  • 18:15 – The benefits of meditation: The “Daily Calm” content through the app helps people respond (not react) to life and communicate better. 
  • 21:30 – It impacts your immune system, your ability to support yourself through challenges, and shift your perspective. 
  • 23:20 – Narrated mindfulness topics: Gratitude, visualization, positive frameworks, communication.
  • 27:00 – Using Calm for better sleep: The “Sleep Story” is a bedtime story told by a narrator of your selection, they now have clinical evidence and studies around it. 
  • 30:50 – Calm for Kids: Kids are taught nutrition and exercise early on but should also learn mental and behavioral health skills. 
  • 31:40 – It’s best if everyone in the household is on board with healthy habits.
  • 32:30 – There is music, a journal, and a mood tracker in Calm; they see what the market wants then are thoughtful about how they develop it. 
  • 36:20 – Calm’s value for organizations: For organizations they provide actionable insights and aggregate trends. 
  • 37:30 - Calm’s value for employees: Increased access to behavioral health and the “Calm Effect.” 
  • 39:40 – Their NPS is just over 70, they do qualitative ratings (app reviews), and measure satisfaction in a number of ways. 
  • 40:30 – It resonates across every sector and is benefitting a huge variety of organizations. 
  • 42:00 – Engagement is easy; most people have already used Calm, know someone who has, or has heard of it. 
  • 42:30 – Calm is for employers who want to help their employees. 
  • 43:10 – What’s next: They don’t sit idle and encourage more innovation in behavioral and mental health.