Every healthcare provider in the US would agree that the goal of healthcare is to create positive health outcomes for the patient. But the bridge between healthcare services and the goal of patient wellbeing remains elusive. Traditional US healthcare does not reliably deliver wellbeing or value. It’s not personal, and it doesn’t address what people truly and deeply care about.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, US healthcare spending reached $3.8 trillion in 2019, equating to $11,582 per person. We spend significantly more on healthcare than any other wealthy nation. Yet comparative data from The Commonwealth Fund shows that 28% of US adults have two or more chronic health conditions — the highest of any wealthy nation and 10.5% higher than the average. And the obesity rate in the US is 40%, compared to a 21% average in other wealthy countries. US healthcare is broken, and it can’t stay that way. The future of healthcare can’t focus on volume, but value.

A New Model that Focuses on Patient Health

The fee-for-service payment model has created a system focused on transactions rather than outcomes. And even though the fee-for-service model doesn’t result in better health outcomes, it’s bankrupting families and hampering the growth and success of companies paying for it. Additionally, because it puts paperwork ahead of people, it’s sucking the joy and meaning out of work for so many passionate, caring healthcare professionals.

A new healthcare model, however, is gaining traction. A model where patients and companies pay for and receive much greater value — a better, personalized experience, more wellbeing and lower costs. A model where healthcare professionals can spend more time with patients driving these outcomes and restore meaning and joy to their work.

While many new entrants to the industry are seeking to “solve” healthcare, including Big Tech, Big Retail, and other well-funded digital or virtual care companies, the reality is a digital only, tech-first or even urgent care approach lacks the human approach to healthcare. The industry needs to use an outcomes-based model that focuses on building relationships with people first to solve healthcare in the US right now. While others are trying to build a strategy to fix the future, we’re focusing on getting people healthier here and now.

A Formula for Better Health Outcomes with Lower Costs

Marathon Health is impacting and transforming lives through a team of people — we call ambassadors — who are empowered to build relationships and forge trust with patients and employers. We build on that trust to create strategies and deliver solutions that result in more health, not more healthcare. We focus on outcomes that matter to people, not service transactions.

Employers hire us to be accountable to drive these transformational outcomes for the members we serve, which helps drive their organizational success, and we guarantee the results. They hire us, and stick with us, over our peers primarily for three core reasons, which we’ll dive into in this series:

The Marathon Way

We believe in taking great care of our people, so they’ll take great care of your employees. This dedication to a strong culture is our biggest differentiator — we call it the Marathon Way.

  • Ambassador-first culture
  • Advanced, integrated primary care teams
  • Relationship-based care

Proactive Health

We have a consistent and intentional ability to drive patient outcomes via the Quadruple Aim (the most access to care; the strongest relationships, including member and provider satisfaction; industry-leading engagement; and the best outcomes). We believe in the importance of patient-provider moments, so we work to increase and strengthen them at every turn.

  • More Access — Onsite, Network and virtual care
  • 65%+ Engagement with at-risk employees with chronic health conditions
  • High Satisfaction — 95% of members rate providers as excellent or good; 98% Client retention rate; 92% industry leading provider retention rate
  • 32% Less — Engaged members save more on healthcare costs than non-engaged members
  • 96% of performance guarantees met or exceeded

Collaborative Innovation

We’ve been refining our care model since 2005, and we’re proud of our agile approach to solving the biggest healthcare challenges facing our clients and patients. We adapt and flex our approach to meet the unique needs of different employer partners and constantly focus on expanding the value we bring to our clients.

  • Champion client partnerships
  • First and only provider of Network health centers and virtualized primary care at scale

Join Us On the Journey to Better Healthcare

In this series on outcome-based care, I’ll expand on each of these facets of our model. I’ll share the impact of the culture we’re building, the ways we’re increasing access, and how we’re collaborating with clients to innovate in key areas such as engagement, patient experience, and care navigation. The future of healthcare — and better patient health at lower costs — is achievable in the present with a new model of care. These are the outcomes we work for.


  • Jeff Wells

    Jeff Wells, MD, the CEO and co-founder of Marathon, a modern health company that specializes in delivering advanced independent primary care for employers throughout its network of onsite, Network and virtual health centers. The company has delivered more than $1 billion in healthcare savings to date for its clients, which includes Cargill, Tyson Foods, The City of Indianapolis and OneAmerica. Wells, who earned his MD in internal medicine from Indiana University, was president and co-founder of OurHealth, which merged with Marathon Health in January 2020. He is the former director of Indiana’s Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning.

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