Live Life Better

Andreas Nagel founded the Melito Health School where individuals suffering from chronic illness can learn to better deal with their condition

Dr. Andreas Nagel Foto: Melito AG

Andreas Nagel is somewhat embarrassed. „Should I even say it out loud?“ he asks. Let alone write and publish it? The fact is he‘s had only twelve days off in the past four years. At first, it sounds like this might actually make him a lunatic, a madman perhaps. But then Andreas Nagel begins to talk – about his vision and the company he‘s been fighting for for years: Melito – The Health School. Suddenly, he no longer appears to be a crazy person; instead, this is a man who has put his heart and soul into something he‘s absolutely convinced of. „What drives me is the idea of doing something groundbreaking for society,“ says the 48 year-old, explaining the origin of a concept that continues to be unique in Germany.

It all started five years ago. Back then, Nagel was still working as an innovation manager at a service provider building a special telephone coaching service for people suffering from chronic illness. „Many people who suffer from chronic disease withdraw from society at some point. They isolate themselves and lose their lust for life,“ explains Nagel, who holds a degree in sociology. Germany‘s health insurance companies offer many preventive services, including yoga, Pilates and physiotherapy, but what about services aimed at those who suffer from chronic illness? „There are very few. And very few services that are truly professional,“ says Nagel. This was the starting point for his community oriented motivational learning programs and opportunities. Indeed, according to a study conducted by the German Foundation for Chronic Illness, more than one-third of Germany‘s population suffers from one or more chronic diseases. These include diabetes, metabolic disorders, circulatory problems, arthritis and depression. Melito offers health courses on precisely these subjects.

„Our goal is not simply to provide information and knowledge,“ explains Nagel. The courses focus on everyday life and empowerment. „It‘s easy to take a pill every day,“ he notes. Indeed, it‘s much harder to adapt and adjust one‘s living habits. „This is where the real challenge lies. And this is why our motto is „Learn to Live Life Better,“ explains Nagel. Studies have shown that patients themselves can have a significant influence on 80 percent of the further course of their illness. With a maximum of twelve participants, the school keeps its courses small, and they last between six and ten weeks. The courses are given in blocks by physicians, psychologists or nutritionists. „We place a great deal of importance on providing a high scientific standard. Our courses are based entirely on the latest scientific findings,“ explains Nagel. This is important not only in terms of health insurers, some of whom already bear a large portion of the costs. It‘s also important for acceptance among physicians and, most importantly, among patients. „I wouldn‘t be able to offer a product I didn‘t fully believe in myself,“ explains the entrepreneur.

At the moment, digitization is the main focus of his development team. Among the things they have planned are tele-medical formats, learning aids such as apps and special hospital applications. The team also aims to expand digital offerings with the help of a concept of individual stores. „We are urgently looking for investors for our unique learning system. Our fundraising phase is still ongoing.“ Melito has big plans. And if everything works according to plan, the learning system will be available to everyone in Germany. For this reason, Melito was established as an Aktiengesellschaft – a small corporation – from the very beginning. „This form best suited our goals and intentions,“ says the founder. This time, he‘s far from being embarrassed.

Stefanie Paul
Kluge Köpfe 2015