A new partnership between a population health vendor and a mobile technology company aims to strike at the heart of one of the missing links in getting patients better—compliance with medical therapies.

VirtualHealth, a provider of population health and care management technologies, is partnering with Wellth, a digital health company that offers mobile tools giving patients incentives to improve adherence to care plans.

At the core, the companies will work together to incentivize patients to follow regimens intended to get them better, and to intimately involve them in the care partnership.

And, how best to do that? Wellth offers a financial reward, and money is a great motivator, the partners say.

Also See: How Medication adherence works

Wellth uses behavioral economics through scalable technology to get patients engaged with their health, and it’s fairly straightforward. Its disease management app reminds a patient that it’s time to take a prescribed medication. The patient uses a smartphone to take a picture of the pills in hand as a visual record of taking the medication, and Wellth uses a cash reward system to reward them.

The approach enables continuous monitoring of medication adherence and other key health activities.

Through the collaboration, the data gathered by the Wellth app then can be aggregated and analyzed in real time by the VirtualHealth platform, which alerts care teams to care gaps or worsening of a patient’s condition so they can act before more costly interventions are required.

For VirtualHealth, it’s a way to track compliance and conditions of patients whom it’s managing under contracts, says Dana Levin-Robinson, vice president for business development. Achieving compliance with care regimens is especially important for high-risk populations, such as those recovering from heart attacks, with high cholesterol or abnormal blood pressure.

“The data captured by Wellth will flow back to the VirtualHealth platform, which is important for the care manager,” Levin-Robinson says. “If they’re not taking their pills, we can set up alerts or can reach out to that person. Population health is only as effective as the data that flows into the platform; real-time data will be infinitely more important in effectively managing patient health.”

Using financial rewards provides immediate, tangible benefits to patients to follow care regimens, says Matt Loper, CEO of Wellth. And its studies have shown that an investment of $1 per day provides about $4 per day in returns, in as soon as 90 days. That’s an appealing ROI for insurers or other care purchasers who are at risk for the total cost of care for covered lives.

“Overall, patient adherence rates with taking medication is as low as 50 percent,” Loper says. “We’ve been able to get much higher, consistently getting 80 percent of patients to be adherent. The return for care purchasers can be even greater when you figure every re-hospitalization can cost $16,000 or more.”

The companies are working toward a seamless experience where Wellth data is passed on to VirtualHealth in real time, enabling day-to-day intervention by care managers to head off potential declines in patient conditions.

“Insight into the behavioral components of health, such as medication and care plan adherence, is essential to effectively manage chronic conditions at the individual and patient population levels,” says VirtualHealth CEO Adam Sabloff. “Our partnership with Wellth better equips healthcare organizations with the comprehensive set of tools they need to achieve a proactive approach to care.”