In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Rami Bailony, co-founder & CEO of Enara Health, a holistic weight management platform creating care plans for obesity. Rami discusses using behavioral and mental health to break down the stigma associated with weight loss. He also details the program’s successes through data-informed personalization.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on at Enara?
Rami Bailony: Enara Health is a holistic weight management platform that is building an expansive healthcare network to scale medical obesity treatment.
Designed to be judgment-free—without diets, fads, or surgery—Enara’s program intervenes at precise moments in a patient’s weight loss journey to find the right therapy at the right time. It uses data and emerging science to custom-design user programs, focusing on the whole person and considering factors such as sleep, stress, mood, metabolic profiles, and physical activity.
Unlike other weight loss digital health programs, Enara partners with healthcare systems and clinics to integrate and run their own obesity programs. Clinics can equip their patients, who may otherwise experience fragmented care, with a full-service ecosystem of care, including medication, nutrition guides, lifestyle intervention, behavioral health, exercise regimen, stress management practices, and much more.
Of the more than 2,400 people that have gone through Enara’s program, the average patient has achieved sustained weight loss of 41 pounds or more 18 months into the program (and beyond). That’s nearly 80K pounds!
How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?
RB: I began my career as an internal medicine physician, where I witnessed the gap in obesity care and the inadvertent shame healthcare inflicts on its patients.
I then set out to create an alternative model that was evidence-based and shame-free. Until recently, bariatric (or weight loss) surgery was considered the most effective way to lose significant weight. Nonsurgical methods—from prescription medication to fad diets, often prescribed and practiced in isolation—do not holistically treat patients to create sustainable habits and yield long-lasting results.
Enara has been able to build a multidisciplinary program that combines different nonsurgical interventions. By doing so, it has been able to produce long-term weight loss results that previously had only been seen with sleeve gastrectomy.
How did you turn your idea into a company?
RB: I spent the first four years iterating and proving out the clinical product, seeking to create a life-changing program with deep and persistent clinical results. Our goal was to prove that we produce similar results to bariatric surgery without the surgery.
In year four, our data was showing that we were averaging +15% weight loss beyond 18 months. The results were remarkable, and we knew we had to scale it.
In 2020, I teamed up with Lydia Alexander (VP of Obesity Medicine Association) and, soon thereafter, Felipe Baytelman (former lead engineer at ClassPass) to build a platform and network to scale our approach.
Within 12 months, the team built a platform that helps medical groups and health partners launch insurance-covered obesity programs that offer a network of caring medical providers, nutritionists, and exercise specialists to users. Importantly, Enara’s partner clinics and medical providers work with insurance to cover the cost of the program.
All told, the company garnered the attention of 30 healthcare providers and specialists over the course of a year.
How big can this get? What’s the addressable market and how do you go about capturing it?
RB: More than 110M American adults are obese. Obesity is a silent epidemic that, despite being a top health issue around the world, is consistently neglected and stigmatized in the medical field. Meanwhile, obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes are among the leading causes of 2.8M preventable deaths annually.
Although weight-loss medications show signs of progress, they are still shortsighted and niche market-focused. Additionally, Medicare and private insurers are stalling coverage of new obesity drug innovations — for instance, the new drug Wegovy launched with a monthly out-of-pocket cost of $1,627.
The healthcare industry currently only treats one percent of obese individuals, ignoring a nearly $200B market.
Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?
RB: Our core customers are healthcare clinics and provider groups with a particular focus on cardiology and primary care groups.
By integrating obesity treatment at the point of care, primary care groups can put obesity at the front and center of their chronic disease strategy. Additionally, obesity has a direct, significant impact on the cardiovascular system, and many new obesity medications are showing great reductions in cardiovascular incidents.
For this reason, we have chosen to partner with cardiovascular clinics in an effort to reach patients who are suffering from cardiovascular-related illnesses due to their weight. Our clinics include the Kafri Heart and Vascular Clinic, Center for Adult and Pediatric Wellness, Mankato Clinic, and Phoenix Heart.
Enara aims to change the culture within medical clinics to address obesity in a holistic, shame-free way. Asking to use Enara is as easy as asking your doctor and discussing if it would be the right path forward.
Once it’s established that the patient should pursue an Enara plan, they work with their physician to understand all the specific factors that influence their weight so that, together, we can build a personalized plan toward sustained and effective weight loss.
The process includes an emotional health assessment, personalized diet design, precision genetic testing, medication review, metabolic and hormonal testing, a custom exercise plan, an engaged and connected team, and consistent monitoring of progress for sustained results.
Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?
RB: Over the next three to six months, we’ll remain focused on building out our team, expanding our clinician network, and launching a campaign to highlight and bring awareness to obesity. We are on track to onboard a minimum of 3K new patients and four additional clinics over the next six to 12 months.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
RB: Society continues to believe that obesity is a lifestyle choice, and people spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new diets, supplements, and programs trying to lose weight. When people regain weight or fail to lose weight, this leads to a cycle of frustration, self-blame, and guilt. This cycle needs to stop.
That’s why Enara is building a platform to help clinics offer multidisciplinary obesity programs that are data-driven, stigma-free, and accessible. Unlike direct-to-consumer diets or medications, the Enara approach stays away from using judgment and shame to “motivate” a person to lose weight.
The platform is tailor-made to cater to individual patients by establishing goals and actions that are realistic, manageable, and focused on long-term success. Included in an Enara plan are the physical and medical components necessary for an effective weight loss regimen, but it also provides important mental health tools meant to support a user when the journey gets difficult. Part of any weight loss journey includes rewiring how our brain thinks about our bodies.
Like any other medical condition, obesity is not something to be ashamed of — it’s simply something to get the right treatment for. And that starts with a compassionate and connected care team!
Related reading from Fitt Insider: Issue No. 151: Weight of the World
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