StayWell Introduces StayWell Voice

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Company collaborates with Orbita Inc. to offer new voice and chat platform leveraging Amazon Echo and chatbots to support health goals

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"StayWell Voice leverages powerful voice-first and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to ensure people receive real-time support and information to manage weight and stress, while also providing patient support through shared decision capabilities."

StayWell, a health empowerment company, today introduced StayWell Voice, an omni-channel application that uses voice-first technology and advanced analytics to help individuals manage their weight and stress, and take action on biometric values. In collaboration with Orbita, Inc., StayWell Voice leverages the Orbita Voiceâ„¢ platform to power multi-modal creation and management of intelligent conversational applications for devices such as Amazon Echo and chatbots for mobile and web environments. The company will be previewing StayWell Voice, among other new health and wellness innovations at HIMSS18.

"We developed StayWell Voice to address the growing movement toward using voice-enabled technology to interact with patients," said Hans Hage, StayWell senior vice president of Product and Innovation. "StayWell Voice leverages powerful voice-first and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to ensure people receive real-time support and information to manage weight and stress, while also providing patient support through shared decision capabilities."

With greater adoption of new devices like Amazon Echo, voice-first interactions are on the rise. According to data from NPR and Edison Research, one in six Americans now owns a voice-activated speaker, up 128 percent from January 2017. As reported in the Smart Audio Report, voice-driven devices have quickly become essential to many owners, with 42 percent of smart speaker owners saying that their smart speakers are essential to everyday life.

The StayWell Voice application is used for healthcare provider, patient education and employer well-being programs. Individual engagement in the StayWell Voice program is optimized by using natural language voice capabilities, conversational AI agents and chatbots to assess patient wellness and to provide individualized educational materials, reminders and support, all with the goal of reducing risks, improving outcomes and lowering the cost of care.

"Voice content is changing the way people engage in their own health. Early adopters of voice technology are showing how it can be used to effectively engage consumers and patients in their health and wellness," said Orbita CEO Bill Rogers. "It's extremely rewarding to collaborate with an industry leader like StayWell on a project that focuses squarely on the power of voice to drive behavior change for the purpose of improving health."

StayWell will demonstrate the voice-enabled platform at HIMSS18, Booth #7123, in Las Vegas, March 5-9, at the Venetian Palazzo Sands Expo Center.

About Orbita
Orbita powers next-generation voice assistant and AI solutions for healthcare that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of remote patient monitoring, clinical education, care coordination, and research. Organizations across the healthcare industry use Orbita's platform to quickly design, build, and manage applications and conversational experiences for smart voice devices (like Amazon Echo and Google Home) and custom devices as well as web- and mobile-based chat bots

About StayWell
StayWell is a health empowerment company that enables populations to improve health outcomes through the science of behavior change. For more than 40 years, the company has been a pioneer in employer well-being and patient education solutions that lower risks and reduce costs. StayWell has earned numerous top industry honors for its population health programs, including the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and the Web Health Award. The company has also has received Utilization Review Accreditation Committee (URAC) and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accreditation for several of its programs. StayWell is majority-owned by Healthcare Services & Solutions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., and minority-owned by Vestar Capital Partners. The company is headquartered in Yardley, Pa., with additional locations including St. Paul, Minn.; Portland, Ore.; and Atlanta. To learn more, visit http://www.staywell.com or connect with StayWell on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

About Merck
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit http://www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA
This news release of The StayWell Company, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the "company") includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company's 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (http://www.sec.gov).

About Vestar Capital Partners
Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Healthcare, and Business Services & Industrial Products. Since its founding in 1988, Vestar funds have completed more than 80 investments in companies - as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions - with a total value of approximately $50 billion. For more information, please visit http://www.vestarcapital.com.

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