2019: A Transformational Year in Review

2019 was a transformative year for WEGO Health’s Patient Leader Network. It was the year we brought to life a new platform designed by and for patient influencers and advocates looking to broaden their reach and deepen their impact. It was the year we joined with HLTH to honor the winners of the annual WEGO Health Awards on healthcare’s biggest stage. And it was a year we partnered with a diverse mix of healthcare companies to engage more Patient Leaders in more meaningful ways than ever before. 

Though there’s still a ton of work to do in 2020, we’re taking a few minutes to relish the victories of 2019. As we close the chapter on this year, there are two key milestones that stand out for us. 


The WEGO Health Platform

With a goal to enhance knowledge-sharing, skill-building, and industry collaboration, we set out in 2019 to create the industry’s first eLearning and collaboration platform for health advocates, influencers and healthcare collaborators

For years, the Patient Leader Network yearned for a destination that could further support their growth as advocates and thought leaders. Until now, there was no single platform to find the resources, empowerment tools, and connections needed to establish yourself as a credible source in the online health community.

With guidance and hands-on support from our 2018 Patient Leader Advisory Board and 2019 Patient Leader Advisory Board members, we focused on creating an eLearning platform to empower patients and caregivers looking to strengthen their impact. 

We worked with more than 1,000 patient leaders to identify needs and shape the platform’s design and features. We identified three top needs of our network:

  1. A reliable way to find and connect with other patient leaders
  2. Online courses and certifications to support skills development as advocates, influencers and healthcare collaborators
  3. A simple way to find opportunities to collaborate with healthcare organizations and get paid for your time and expertise

The new WEGO Health platform is now a go-to source for all these needs — a place where well-established and aspiring advocates alike can create their own path to effective advocacy.

I love this new platform – it’s user-friendly, modern and a wonderful way to stay plugged into others who are managing similar conditions. And community?? Wow, look no further! – BabbleOnBrooke, chronic illness patient leader

The WEGO Health platform is growing fast. By the end of this year, we’ll have recorded more than 30,000 actions on the platform, with a 52% engagement rate among registered members.  And we’re just getting started! 

If you’re looking to talk shop with other patient leaders, our discussion boards are the place to be. With 110+ topics underway, we have over 2,000 comments in our discussion boards already! From getting started as an advocate to brainstorming ideas for blog content, you’ll find almost every topic that you’d want here. And if you don’t see a topic you want to dive in to, start one of your own!

We’re ending the year with seven patient leader-focused courses online.  The top two completed courses for the year were Valuing Your Expertise as a Patient Leader with over 3,000 actions completed and From Deck to Skills: Preparing for Your 1st Keynote with almost 2,500 actions completed.

If you’re looking to boost your video skills, learn more about FTC guidelines, or how best to leverage your health story, check out these and several other new courses on the platform!

Unlike other organizations, WEGO Health focuses on patient leaders instead of causes or illnesses. Your company supports people, who in turn support their communities and causes. There is so much more value in supporting people than causes because it’s a 2-for-1. I love being a part of this platform and being supported by WEGO Health. I am committed to providing WEGO Health ongoing feedback, whether positive, neutral, or negative. -Rachel Hiles, chronic pain patient leader

We’re loving the feedback we’re getting about the new WEGO Health platform, and it goes beyond just our members. We’re excited to announce that we were the Influitive 2019 Best Advocate Marketing Awards winner for “Biggest Impact on Customer Experience”. The judges said WEGO Health’s platform best showcased how to engage community members to connect, empower and support each other in their journey. And yes, we’re biased, but we couldn’t agree more!

It’s cool to say the WEGO Health platform is  “award-winning”, but at the end of the day, the connections we have with each one of you on the platform is the biggest reward of all.


WEGO Health Awards on Healthcare’s Biggest Stage

Each year we push ourselves to honor and recognize patient leaders to the best of our ability. That means advocating that patient leaders have a seat at the table with healthcare leaders. This year surpassed our expectations.

In 2019 we recognized more patient leaders than ever before, on healthcare’s biggest stage. Our partnership with HLTH enabled us to reach a new milestone for the patient leader movement by incorporating the patient voice into HLTH 2019 and sponsoring our 15 winners to attend the WEGO Health Awards and the 3-day HLTH conference in Las Vegas. 

It was also a banner year for the Awards program itself. Over  6,000 nominations were submitted, out of which came more than 130,000+ endorsements. From there we identified 75 finalists, of whom 15 were ultimately chosen as our 2019 WEGO Health Award winners. 

Each of our distinguished winners were presented their WEGO Health Award by a leader from the healthcare industry. Between the presenter’s intros and the winner’s acceptance speeches, it was an evening few attendees will ever forget.

As someone who has worked in Healthcare for over 10 years, I had a realization that we can become quite transactional in our language and our approach to uncovering unmet needs. We start to become immune – when you see disease every day when you look at stats on health every day – it begins to blur into a state of “normal”. Attending the WEGO Health Awards and hearing from individuals so personally and so passionately taking charge of their situation (for themselves or a loved one), and being vulnerable enough to let us into their lives… it moved me and my entire team. It shook us through stories and testimonials how real and devastating illness can be, but also motivating when you can help others through your experience or advocacy for change. Huge congratulations to all the patients who are brave enough to share, and thank you to the WEGO Health team for recognizing these patient leader. – Reena Sangar Director & Head of Digital and Connected Health, at Ipsos Healthcare

We could go on about how fantastic the event was, but why not experience it for yourself? If you’re ready to feel the power of the patient leader movement, check out this video recap of the unforgettable evening. Might want to grab a tissue first!



This transformative year has laid the foundation for an exciting 2020, not just for the patient leader movement but for healthcare more broadly.

We’d like to thank all of our Patient Leader Network members for inspiring us daily and helping us make this our most powerful year yet!  We wish each of you a rewarding and productive new year. Of course, we’re always eager to hear your suggestions, feedback, and ideas so together, we can change healthcare for the better. 

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