Joyful Health

Max Berger

In Spring 2023, I joined the founding team at Joyful Health to lay the groundwork for
design language and design & scope the first iteration of Joyful’s digital product(s).

Research thesis

Joyful’s team is made of software builders - product designers, managers, and engineers - and it’s easy to want to jump in and start building. However, healthcare is complex and requires a deep understanding of the broader ecosystem with consideration for many stakeholders. Thus, we take a research-driven approach.

Research round 1: how to support health and wellness clinicians

For the first few months, we focused on health and wellness providers (e.g. therapists, nutritionists, health coaches).

Market: digital-first, little regulation

-> Easy to launch. These clinicians operate digitally, so it is less capitally and operationally intensive to build a practice. It is also easier to get credentials (e.g. health coaches require 0-6 months of training vs. 10+ years for physicians), and these care modalities are less regulated, especially when clinicians operate on a cash pay model (e.g. don’t interface with insurers).
-> Higher rates of private practice. There are high rates of private practice and very little consolidation - many therapists and nutritionists operate as true solo-preneurs.
-> Potential for an extensible solution. There is a lot of overlap in the JTBD across health and wellness specialities, so a solution for therapists could look similar to one for nutritionists, coaches, physical therapists, acupuncturists, etc.
-> Rapidly growing market. This market is growing rapidly, as consumer demand for this type of care is increasing.

We conducted research for several weeks, speaking to dozens of clinicians about their operations, practices, and pain points.

Research findings and design insights

Lack of streamlined tech solutions forces clinicians to stitch together several different tools, which is time-consuming and difficult without tech background. E.g. a clinician using Slack to build community, Venmo to bill clients, Patreon to deliver courses/memberships, and LinkTree as a “front door”.

→ How can we streamline the way clinicians set up these customer-facing processes? Clinicians can benefit from an individualized, white-glove set-up service as well as a customizable digital platform - a future tool should capitalize on both the inefficient design of existing solutions and the inherently personalized needs of each provider.

Existing EHR/practice management software is inefficient for modern-day care - they lack in functionality for the modern healthcare provider, are unintuitive, and add extra time due to poor UX.

→ Where can we remove extra time & unnecessary steps in the practice set-up (e.g. billing, insurance) and management processes? This led us to a design audit on existing solutions and conversations with clinicians on their pain-points with current solutions and processes to identify specific areas of inefficiency.

Hypotheses and Testing


Launching a health and wellness practice requires multidisciplinary skills (e.g., business, legal, tech) and fragmented software implementation. While it can be painful, there is a big appetite to do so.




Launch a dozen H+W practices: establish a digital presence, onboard them and their clients onto our MVP portal


What we were looking to learn

Can we help H+W providers launch their practices? Is there a willingness to pay? Is this there a path to a scalable solution?


New-age health and wellness practices are adding new revenue streams to grow their practices. This is challenging for many providers for similar reasons that they find starting a practice difficult — at the end of the day they trained to deliver care, not run a business.



Launch a handful of new revenue streams like groups, communities, workshops using our own tech and integrating with/recommending existing solutions


What we were looking to learn

Can we help H+W providers grow their practices? Is there a willingness to pay? How big is the market for this? Are clinicians able to manage new revenue streams in addition to delivering their regular care?


Building off our hypotheses, we launched a series of solutions for clinicians to test.

We built a comprehensive service for health and wellness coaches to launch digital practices.
We armed them with a website + scheduling capabilities and a portal to manage clients, sessions, and purchases
(for coaches who sell coursework or group sessions) and message clients.

Practice Management Portal

Client list for clinicians to manage client information and caseload
HIPAA-compliant SMS messenger for clinicians to contact patients
Ability for care recipients to purchase and manage sessions
Portal for care recipients to manage upcoming sessions (mobile view!)

In further iterations, we built a community management tool for coaches to build supportive,
engaging communities of their clients and those who participated in their webinars or group sessions

Community platform, enabling clinicians and selected members to post text, resources, images, and URLs and engage with each other (anonymity optional!)
Community platform (mobile)