Sharecare launches virtual model of its Medicare-reimbursable cardiac rehabilitation program, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine
ATLANTA – January 18, 2023 – Sharecare (Nasdaq: SHCR), the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place, today announced Ornish Lifestyle Medicine by Sharecare, the company’s Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation (ICR) program, is now available through a virtual delivery model. Reimbursable through Medicare and many commercial plans, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine by Sharecare is the first and only ICR program scientifically proven in randomized controlled trials to often reverse the progression of coronary heart disease and many other chronic conditions, without drugs or surgery.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., with $273 billion in CVD-related direct costs and $172 billion in indirect costs, which hit employers’ bottom lines through lost productivity, workplace absenteeism, and short-term disability; and by 2030, indirect costs associated with CVD are expected to reach $276 billion. With millions of adults currently diagnosed with CVD, in addition, nearly 1.3 million U.S. adults each year may qualify for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation, which improves health outcomes among people who have had heart failure, heart attacks, or undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. Yet, 20 percent of eligible patients take part in cardiac rehabilitation, with women, the elderly, and minorities being the most likely to be impacted by systemic barriers including lack of physician referrals, cost, and distance to the program facility.
To date, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine by Sharecare has empowered patients to manage, navigate, and improve their cardiac health through a center-based, in-person offering. By enabling patients to participate remotely in the Ornish program, Sharecare is removing barriers to access for eligible individuals, regardless of their location, which serves to not only improve health outcomes but also advance health equity. Further, in initial cohorts, the newly available virtual delivery model of the Ornish program yielded 99% completion rates among participants.
“We are excited to offer this powerful program to more people than ever before, especially those who live in areas with limited access to health care facilities,” said Michael Crupain, MD, MPH, executive vice president of clinical operations at Sharecare. “Based on the results from our initial virtual cohorts, we expect this model to be as or even more impactful than the traditional in-person experience. The virtual Ornish program is an important new tool to save lives and improve longevity as we make it easier for people with cardiovascular disease to access the program through not only their doctors and health plans, but also their employers.”
“I couldn’t be more pleased by the attendance rates and results we’ve seen in our early virtual cohorts of the Ornish program to help more people live longer, better lives, and I’m also encouraged by the promise our virtual program holds to support hospitals and fellow physicians in the shift towards value-based patient care,” said Dean Ornish, MD, creator of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine by Sharecare. “Before, a person needed to live within driving distance of one of the hospitals or clinics we trained. Now, our ICR program when offered virtually can reach people at home, wherever they live. It is equally safe and effective when done at home. This can help reduce health disparities and inequities and make it available to everyone who needs it.”
Ornish Lifestyle Medicine by Sharecare is comprised of four key pillars – nutrition, fitness, stress management, and love and support – and provides each program cohort with a dedicated, certified team of clinical experts, including a physician, nurse, registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, group support facilitator, and stress management specialist. By using lifestyle changes as less invasive and often more effective treatment options than medication or surgical interventions alone, the Ornish program empowers individuals to improve their heart’s function.
Studies comparing Ornish ICR to standard cardiac rehabilitation programs have demonstrated that Ornish participants have had significantly greater reductions in chest pain frequency, body weight and BMI, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and glucose than were documented among participants in standard or control groups., The most recent study, conducted at the University of California San Diego, also found much higher adherence to the Ornish program than standard cardiac rehabilitation with 96% versus 68% of sessions attended, respectively. Additionally, the study found that major adverse cardiac events were 35.3% less likely in the Ornish ICR group after one year, and heart failure hospitalizations were 75% less likely.
Over 13,000 patients have completed the Ornish ICR program from Sharecare. On average, these graduates experienced 72% reduction in angina (chest pain), 21.1% reduction in LDL-cholesterol in those already on maximal medical therapy, 4.6% reduction in BMI, 6% reduction in hemoglobin A1C, 45% improvement in exercise capacity, and 48% improvement in depression scores; and were 45% less likely to experience a major cardiac event in the 12 months following program completion.
For more information about Ornish Lifestyle Medicine by Sharecare, visit https://www.sharecare.com/virtual-ornish.
Sharecare is the leading digital health company that helps people – no matter where they are in their health journey – unify and manage all their health in one place. Our comprehensive and data-driven virtual health platform is designed to help people, providers, employers, health plans, government organizations, and communities optimize individual and population-wide well-being by driving positive behavior change. Driven by our philosophy that we are all together better, at Sharecare, we are committed to supporting each individual through the lens of their personal health and making high-quality care more accessible and affordable for everyone. To learn more, visit www.sharecare.com.
Media Relations: Jen Martin Hall, EVP of Communications at Sharecare, firstname.lastname@example.org
 In the virtual delivery model, Sharecare utilizes CareTrack, Inc. with potential patients and referring physicians to operationalize the eligibility and approval process; and iSelectMD with medical supervision of the individual patients.
 Aldana, S., Whitmer, W., Greenlaw, R., et al. Cardiovascular risk reductions associated with aggressive lifestyle modification and cardiac rehabilitation. Heart Lung. 2003 Nov-Dec; 32(6):374-82.
 S´wia˛tkiewicz, I.; DiSomma, S.; De Fazio, L.; Mazzilli, V.;Taub, P.R. Effectiveness of Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation in High-Risk Patients with Cardiovascular Disease in Real-World Practice. Nutrients 2021,13, 3883.