Key Takeaways: 

  • Union workers often overlook the serious health risks that stem from their stressful jobs
  • Hello Heart is an easy-to-use app that resonates with union members, by providing straightforward blood pressure monitoring and healthy lifestyle coaching
  • This personal story illustrates the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring, as they only realized their heart risk through Hello Heart's app, prompting them to take action

There are more than 14 million union members in the United States. My dad was one of them. He worked as an electrician on commercial construction projects in the Detroit area (IBEW Local 58) and has since retired. Like many union members, he put himself at risk every day. And like them, I don’t think he understood the strain his stressful job put on his heart.

I talked about my dad while speaking with Ed “Flash” Ference on America’s Workforce Union podcast because my dad represents a typical person Hello Heart is trying to reach: blue-collar, intelligent, stubborn, and unaware of heart risks. 

About 15% of Hello Heart’s clients are unionized, compared to 10% of the U.S. workforce. Unions provide benefits in a different way than traditional employers. There is a high level of care for their members – because union jobs can often be dangerous, union leaders understand the importance of investing in protecting their members’ health. 

Hello Heart resonates with union groups because it’s both easy and effective. At the end of a long workday, no one calls them asking about exercise and nutrition. Instead, our app aggregates their blood pressure readings, along with other metrics like weight and cholesterol, and offers simple solutions to lower blood pressure, like taking a short walk or cutting back on salt in their diet. There’s no medical jargon, just straightforward and approachable guidance.

High blood pressure is called a “silent killer” because there are often no warning signs or symptoms, although the risk of having a heart attack or stroke is still increasing. I got my dad access to Hello Heart when I started working here three years ago. He set it up with no help from me. One of his blood pressure readings was 140 over 90. To him, that was normal because that’s what it usually was. Our AI coach told him it was too high. Why? Because that’s not considered controlled or at goal. 120 over 80 is considered normal blood pressure, and his goal should have been less than 130. He was at risk of a heart incident and never would have done something about it if it weren’t for Hello Heart. I’m glad my dad is now monitoring his heart health more closely and I hope that by sharing his story, it will inspire other people’s moms and dads to take their heart health seriously.

Flash and I talk more about the benefits of regular blood pressure monitoring. You can listen here.

Hello Heart is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. You should always consult with your doctor about your individual care.

1. Gazit T, Gutman M, Beatty AL. Assessment of Hypertension Control Among Adults Participating in a Mobile Technology Blood Pressure Self-management Program. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(10):e2127008, Accessed October 19, 2022. (Some study authors are employed by Hello Heart. Because of the observational nature of the study, causal conclusions cannot be made. See additional important study limitations in the publication. This study showed that 108 participants with baseline blood pressure over 140/90 who had been enrolled in the program for 3 years and had application activity during weeks 148-163 were able to reduce their blood pressure by 21 mmHg using the Hello Heart program.) (2) Livongo Health, Inc. Form S-1 Registration Statement. https:/ Published June 28, 2019. Accessed October 19, 2022. (In a pilot study that lasted six weeks, individuals starting with a blood pressure of greater than 140/90 mmHg, on average, had a 10 mmHG reduction.) NOTE: This comparison is not based on a head-to-head study, and the difference in results may be due in part to different study protocols.
2. Validation Institute. 2021 Validation Report (Valid Through October 2022). Final.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. (This analysis was commissioned by Hello Heart, which provided a summary report of self-fundedemployer client medical claims data for 203 Hello Heart users and 200 non-users from 2017-2020. Findings have not been subjected to peer review.)