Major corporations are doubling down in the promotion of their workers’ health and well-being. Whether through the creation of – or participation in – clinically integrated networks, partnerships with medical providers, development of wellness programs or an ongoing pursuit of value-based care. Companies are increasingly taking a more proactive role in helping their workers achieve wellness by putting together a data strategy to solve health problems.

But a company cannot reach those health goals without the harvesting and sharing of data that forms the basis of that strategy.

Big data has exploded in recent years, particularly as it pertains to the health and well-being space. According to Allied Market Research, big data analytics in the healthcare sector valued $9.3 billion as recently as 2017.  That number will jump several fold by 2025 to $34.1 billion. Fueling the dramatic growth is a rising demand for population health management tools and an increased focus on how to optimize the administration of healthcare-related treatments.

However, these efforts are all for naught without a data strategy. An example of a positive endeavor involves one of the largest employers in the world.  Walmart, recently launched a wellness app so employees can start eating healthier. Their data strategy led to its creation.

“The app uses interactive gaming and ‘mindful science’ to effectuate change in associates’ eating habits.”

Walmart launches Fresh Tri

At the Health 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley late last year, the world’s third-largest employer announced the creation of its Fresh Tri app. The Fresh Tri app uses interactive gaming and “mindful science” to cause a change in associates’ eating habits. Everyday consumers can also download the app the iOS App Store or Google Play.

David Hoke, Walmart’s senior director of associate health and wellness, noted that the goal of the joint initiative is to empower individuals so they actively eat more nutritious foods. The hope is to achieve this by getting them to take action through healthy habit formation.

“The barriers to healthy eating are not educational; they are behavioral,” Hoke explained in a press release. “The iterative mindset is powerful. If we can help them unlock that in their brain, then they will be successful, not just at work but at every opportunity in front of them.”

To do this, Walmart partnered with the neuroscience-based design firm engagedIN, a company that specializes in behavioral change. Through various game-related functionalities and exercises, the Fresh Tri app helps users create healthy eating routines.

Data served as the backbone to app’s creation

Although health experts agree that maintaining a healthy weight requires a combination of diet and exercise, a workout regimen won’t be as effective without the proper nutrients to work from. The same goes for health goals. Corporations that hope to achieve better health outcomes must state their objectives, collect the data and research that speaks to the problem, then put the systems in place to turn goals into reality. These are the three pillars of a data strategy, with accurate data serving as the foundation.

Confident in their data and research, Hoke noted to Mobi Health News that healthy eating isn’t so much an educational issue, but a behavioral one. The Fresh Tri app aims to address this by, in effect, rewiring people’s brains so they think about food differently. Partnering with engagedIN was key in providing the data and neuroscience that speaks to how to bring about change. This project involved a three-pronged process.  It started with interviewing associates to see what health problems they faced. Next they collected the relevant data and research.  Finally, it was time to go to the marketplace to determine what technologies exist that can get people to take positive steps toward smarter eating and – perhaps above all else – sticking with them.

Kyra Bobinet, M.D. and CEO of neuroscience at engagedIN, echoed Hoke’s sentiments regarding the importance of addressing behaviors.

“The reason people fail is that they quit trying,” Bobinet stated. “If people could keep trying, I’m pretty sure that everyone would have a breakthrough.”

Putting data to work

Engagement strategies, particularly in today’s digital universe, hinge on having the right technologies to promote healthy living and improved well-being outcomes. But it all starts with collection and aggregation of health data. At Tangible Solutions, we can help you build a data strategy by partnering with your business and supporting your workers’ needs. In the meantime, consider downloading our e-book. In it, you’ll learn some key questions which are important to ask when developing a data strategy for achieving your corporate healthcare goals.

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