Communication Is Key for WELL Health

Guillaume de Zwirek Moved Patient-Provider Platform Company from Silicon Valley to Santa Barbara

Credit: Caitlin Fitch

WELL Health’s CEO Guillaume de Zwirek first discovered health-care tech as a patient. During an Ironman triathlon, he landed in the back of an ambulance, suffering from acute heatstroke. In the months after his hospital discharge, he navigated a complex medical system full of antiquated communication practices. Seeing an opportunity, de Zwirek created WELL to solve those challenges.

“WELL enables health systems, private practices, and vendors to conduct seamless conversations with patients across multiple channels, including texting, email, telephone, and live chat,” said Pamela Ellgen, WELL’s health editor. Through WELL, patients receive all of their healthcare communication from one trusted source — their provider — and service providers can converse with patients in real time.

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The first WELL office opened in 2015 in Redwood City, the heart of Silicon Valley. “I quickly realized that wasn’t the right thing for the company, or for our team,” said de Zwirek. “The Bay Area was overcrowded with way too many people willing to make crazy commutes. Even though our office was right on the train route, some of our team still had to travel more than an hour and a half just to get to work. And the cost of living was out of control. In addition, turnover is a way of life in Silicon Valley. It wasn’t what I wanted for WELL. I want to build a community of people who are happy to be here and excited to help build this company.” 

WELL relocated its headquarters to Santa Barbara in 2017 and now operates on Chapala Street in Invoca’s former headquarters. Listed as number 170 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S., WELL employs 102 people, with 62 of them in Santa Barbara. 

In March 2020, WELL unveiled its Rapid Release Program, which allows health systems to manage urgent COVID-19 patient communications at scale. A technology that seems tailor-made for our time, it can be deployed by users in just 48 hours, which is far quicker than a typical implementation. Seeking to address the pandemic as effectively as possible, WELL offered the program below cost and was able to serve an additional 2.5 million patients within weeks of launch.

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