Complex Chronic Disease Startup ZealCare Launched: Announcing New Board Members

The personalized, integrative chronic disease management company has recruited industry innovators Maureen O’Connor, Steve Nelson, Marcus Osborne, and Christopher O’Connor, MD

Research Triangle Park, NC – ZealCare today announced its emergence from stealth and the recruitment of a top-tier board. The startup offers a personalized, integrative approach to chronic disease care with an initial suite of products targeted at poorly controlled type 2 diabetes and stage 3-5 chronic kidney disease.

ZealCare was spun out of Duke University in late 2020 where former Duke University Health System CEO and ZealCare Co-Founder Ralph Snyderman, MD built and perfected the model. His team and Co-Founder Connor Drake, PhD researched, validated, and published the evidence showing the benefits of the approach. “The last mile for improving health and reducing costs is the individual’s behavior changes needed for treatment plans to be effective. ZealCare has developed an approach to achieve this goal,” says Dr. Snyderman.

Snyderman recruited Maureen O’Connor as the startup’s CEO. Ms. O’Connor is a health care entrepreneur and former Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) executive. She says, “ZealCare is redefining chronic disease management with a focus on the individual’s experience, active engagement, and empowerment. Our human-centric, tech-enabled model supports individuals in making the behavior changes necessary to improve their lives and achieve better health outcomes while lowering cost in the system.”

Together, Snyderman and O’Connor have recruited health care powerhouses to the board, including:

Steve Nelson, startup investor and former BCBSNC chairman, 

Marcus Osborne, former Walmart Health senior vice president, and

Christopher O’Connor, MD, Inova Heart and Vascular Institute president 

“I was thrilled to sign on with ZealCare because I believe it has created a truly unique and innovative approach for solving a real and pressing problem in health care. The company is creating delightful, scalable consumer experiences using high-touch patient engagements, coupled with best of breed technology. We are in the golden era for digital health, however, to be most effective, it needs to be linked to consumer engagement.” says Nelson.

Osborne adds, “I’m excited to join ZealCare and support the company’s journey as a leader in the chronic disease space. COVID-19 has exposed gaps in the system and accelerated innovations around value-based models and digital solutions. I think the team is obsessed with the right problem and has created a pragmatic solution.”

Dr. O’Connor also affirms, “It is refreshing to see a startup built from a validated model that stems from work I was involved in earlier in my career. As a physician-leader of a large clinical delivery system, I look to improve patient outcomes with effective approaches based on sound research and clinical principles.  ZealCare is poised to provide health care systems with solutions they desperately need.”

ZealCare is partnering with risk-bearing provider organizations and intends to expand its customer base to payers and self-funded employers. Dr. Snyderman and Ms. O’Connor said, “We’re in a strong position for growth. We believe our board’s deep industry experience will be a tremendous asset in accelerating our expansion and furthering our mission.”

To learn more about the team at ZealCare, please visit link.