Ompractice: Making Digital Health and Wellness More Inclusive

By Mark Ogilbee posted 07-20-2023 07:41 AM


Ompractice is a digital health and wellness company primarily serving employers and government entities. Led by tech and wellness experts, the platform solves pervasive and expensive health problems for corporate and government customers who need effective, affordable health and wellness tools for diverse teams and employee groups. 

We sat down with co-founder Sam Tackeff to learn more about the company, its offerings and how Ompractice is reaching underserved populations. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

Please tell us about Ompractice. 

At our core, we are a digital health platform with a focus on fitness and mindfulness. We offer about 100 camera-on, online classes in a range of modalities, including yoga, strength and meditation 

We’re primarily B2B; we work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), hospital systems and health insurers to provide access to folks who wouldn’t otherwise have access to what we do. Frequently we work with the people who are not being marketed health and wellness services and who, in some cases, are actively being excluded from wellness and healthcare. 


You mentioned “camera-on” — can you say more about that? 

In other words, it’s not live-streaming or pre-recorded video classes. Instead, it’s essentially a Zoom meeting where everybody has their camera on, and you’re actually seen and supported by your teacher. That makes a huge difference in outcomes because people come to class and finish what they set out to do. With live-streaming or pre-recorded classes, if a participant gets a phone call, it’s easy to just walk off and not return. With us, it's like an in-person experience; people build relationships with their teachers, and we have regulars who build a community with each other. 


One of your priorities is reaching underserved populations. 

Besides B2B, we’re also still B2C — anyone can sign up for Ompractice. But there’s a lot of opportunity working with organizations who want to do well by their employees, members or patients. It’s a large untapped market, because no one wants to live the last 20 years of their life sitting on a couch.  

This has been part of our goal and mission since the very beginning. We wanted anyone, anywhere to have access to great teachers, regardless of how much money they have, or how old they are, or if they live in an area where it’s hard to find good teachers and niche classes. 


It sounds like a holistic and inclusive approach. 

Fundamentally, what we’re doing every day is building community. We’re making Ompractice a place where people can show up and be the fullest expression of themselves — and that should not be something that is accessible only to those with money, time, youth and flexibility. 

And it’s not just for seniors — you can think in terms of “health span,” not just “life span.” Our goal is to help everyone feel better in their bodies and to live healthier lives. We work with a lot of people with different abilities, such as veterans and people with injuries doing rehab work. It’s not about being buff — it’s about living a full life and having energy to go out and do the things you want to do. That’s what we’re making accessible for people.


How do you make the platform user-friendly for people of different ages? 

I think that when you use universal design — where you design more inclusively and make things more accessible to everyone — we all benefit. A good product is not the same as the fanciest gadget; a good product is when the technology fades into the background so that it can deliver a heightened human experience. 


You’ve also had a focus on being very teacher-oriented. 

When the business first started, we were thinking, “How do we help teachers just show up and do the thing they love to do?” — because most teachers don’t want to spend their time marketing on social media and taking care of the business side of things; they just want to show up and teach and have that moment with their students.  

Teaching online in real time is challenging: You can’t touch someone to correct their form, and you have to think about things differently. So we didn’t go looking for social media stars — we looked for people who could teach really well. That’s been a priority from the very beginning. 


How did Ompractice come about? 

My co-founder, Chris Lucas, had the original idea more than a decade ago. He was a yoga teacher, and when he moved to a new city he lost all his students. He started the first iteration of Ompractice then, but the technology just wasn’t there yet. 

About six years ago, a mutual friend introduced us and we built the first real version of Ompractice, and people started coming to class. At first, Ompractice was only a consumer offering. But early on, we got the opportunity to work with some health insurers and the VA, and we thought the B2B angle could really work. And it just grew from there. 


What’s up next for Ompractice? 

Six years into this, our job is to continue to grow and build this company in as many creative ways as we can find. We’re always looking for people to partner with. So if a startup is interested in collaborating with Ompractice — for example, if a physician is looking for a vetted resource for patients — I’d love to make that connection.  

And we love to get creative, which is part of the fun. I ask myself, “Who are the people who should have access to this, but don’t yet?” Recently, a woman who works in a local library reached out to us and said, “I’d love to figure out how to offer Ompractice to our library patrons.” We made that happen and just launched with that library this week. So the sky’s the limit. 


You can learn more about Ompractice at their website