Creating the Future of Employee Wellness with Data-Driven Insights


I got into the health space because it’s where I felt I could have the most impact. To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, people spend half their lives trying to gain as much wealth as possible. Then, those same people spend the next half of their lives burning through that wealth in order to get their health back.

This has never made much sense to me, but it's a problem I see rear its ugly head time and again. I notice this during the personal moments I spend involved in yoga and meditation, but it’s especially true in my career as an enterprise data management professional for Viverae.

I've always been very passionate about health and wellness. Working in this field, you feel like you make a real difference in people's lives. You can see your impact on the world—the way one small decision you've made today grows and evolves into meaningful change tomorrow, next week, or even a year from now. You don't always affect a large group of people. Sometimes, it's just one person. But at the end of the day, that's more than enough. 

Becoming the Catalyst for Positive Change

The biggest reason I joined Viverae was to enact positive change in the world around me. At Viverae, our wellness solutions help employees manage their health while also assisting companies in creating a culture of well-being. Employers partner with us because healthy employees tend to also be passionate and productive employees. 

Prior to joining Viverae, I was in consulting for around fifteen years. Most of the businesses I worked with were large companies with complex ecosystems in terms of data and analytics. I was happy with my job, but at the same time, I hoped to work at an organization where I could see the impact of my work. I also wanted to get more into healthcare. My role as Vice President, Information Management & Analytics at Viverae is a perfect fit.

Showing Value Today

Every kilobyte of data that goes in and out of Viverae first flows through my team and I. How Viverae stores this data, how we transform it into analytics, reports, and business intelligence—we’re responsible for all of it.

Customers don't want you to sell them a service; they want you to sell them results.

For the last several years, we've focused most of our efforts on showing clients the true value of what we do. When you're dealing with data in the way we are, you tend to see a lot of people's eyes start to glaze over when you talk about it. People don't want to hear about technical specifications or data points. They don't want you to sell them a service; they want you to sell them results. 

To shed a little light on things, think about the situation in terms of medical costs. Medical costs are increasing every day, and there's not much anyone can do to directly contain that. In order to sell our service, we have to focus on how we can help a business address this problem. We can't make medical costs cheaper, but we can reduce the number of sick days employees need. We can cut down on the number of people who need to go to the emergency room. We help improve employee health and well-being, which improves productivity. These are the goals we've set our sights on.

I have a Health Management Analytics team that does all the analysis for our organization. We present the results we find to both clients and account managers to help forge better and more effective client relationships.

The problem is often that turning insight into action and then results is a process that happens gradually—or at least, far slower than most people would like. At Viverae, we’ve found that the changes we initially institute will take around three years to yield tangible results. Developing cultures of well-being is a process, a worthwhile one. But demonstrating value with that timetable is difficult. We need to show our clients results faster. Luckily, we have a tool to help us do that: Qlik

Diving Beneath the 1s and 0s

I was already familiar with Qlik thanks to the time I spent working with another company who partnered with Qlik. At Viverae, we had tried a number of business intelligence solutions that proved to be ineffective. Once I had made a case for Qlik Sense, we rolled the platform out to our internal analysts. 

Previously, we would generate a general report that detailed a client’s annual results. Our customers would repeatedly come back with questions about their data. We realized they wanted us to go deeper, which meant we would have to go back, create new reports, and perform more analysis—all of which was incredibly time-consuming. It was also a non-value add for my team because all we were doing was applying a filter or changing the way we visualized data in some way. We were putting a new coat of paint on the same data and handing it back to our clients. Every time they had another question, we would have to start from scratch.

Prove immediate value to your customers, even if you’re in it for the long haul.

Now that everything is in Qlik Sense, we can give analytics access to clients and CRMs directly. They don't have to ask us these questions because they can easily access the data for themselves. Now, our client relationship managers can do more consulting and less routine administration. They can talk about what’s happening with a particular program and why. They can see what isn't working, figure out why that is, and do something about it. 

The amount of time we save through this new process is enormous. Under our old system, answering what appeared to be a very simple question had a large number of manual steps. If a client came to us and asked, "Why are my high-risk populations at such a high level of risk?" determining that was a lengthy affair. Someone had to go into the data and figure out who the high-risk population was just to get access to the right data. Then, they would have to do a lot of analysis to discover exactly what "high risk" means. This process led to a huge amount of back-and-forth between our team and our clients, all of which was getting in the way of the actual service we were trying to provide.

Now, we have a dashboard that handles these and other types of requests. If you're one of our clients and you want to see who your high-risk population is, you can filter the entire dashboard down to just that population with one click. Not only that, but you can also see exactly what their lifestyle risks are. You can dive deep into what their biometric risks are. You can see factors like "lack of physical activity" and compare and contrast them with other criteria like "high BMI."

With this tool, we've been able to uncover a massive amount of insight for clients in a fraction of the time it used to take. For example, we have one client where there’s a big population of tobacco users, which drives up their overall risk factor significantly. With the old approach, it would have taken us a huge amount of time to identify this contributing factor—if we were ever able to actually get there at all. With Qilk, we’ve been able to quickly identify this contributing factor and adjust their program design accordingly.

But again, for both our company and our clients, this is about more than just processing data. It's about uncovering the true story hidden underneath that data, something that has allowed us to improve our program design immeasurably. 

For example, if we see that a client has a lot of employees who are tobacco users, we can build a program that works to incentivize them to stop smoking. This helps employees become healthier and demonstrates immediate value for our customer. Our clients appreciate seeing that we’re taking a proactive approach.

For our clients, using Qlik lets us more easily prove our value. For us, using the software saves us massive amounts of time. To illustrate the time we’re saving, we can look at our Agenda Reports. Our client relationship managers generate this type of report for our monthly client meetings. Before Qlik, they’d probably spend two hours every month for each report. Now, they can generate a report with a single click! When you consider we have 600 clients, that’s 1,200 hours Qlik Sense gave us back. If you value our client relationship managers’ time at $60/hour, that’s a savings of $72,000 a month. 

Less time on manual tasks = more time on providing real value.

But this isn’t just about dollars and cents to us. Our employees aren’t sitting idle with their extra time. Instead, they’re focusing on providing unparalleled value to our clients. Today, we can provide our customers with insights beyond their wildest dreams. 

The Future of Wellness Has Arrived

It used to take three years before we could see the positive results of our actions. Now, we can start to see those trends shift in the right direction in as little as a week. 

In the wellness space, no one else is doing anything remotely similar to what Viverae is. We’re offering the ability to track Internet of Things (IoT) data to engage members and validate corporate wellness programs. The level of analysis we have—coupled with the dashboard and the value we're able to illustrate to our clients—is virtually unparalleled in our industry. I see it as a massive disruption to the wellness market. 

Qlik has helped us get to the answers our clients ask for. Because of the nature of our work, this has a direct impact on the lives of their employees. I’m happy if I only help one person get their health back, but I’m thankful that with Viverae and Qlik, I can help over a million.