Virgin HealthMiles has launched the Spring '12 version of its dashboard platform, which allows employees to report biometric health data so that employers can improve their wellness programs.
holding company with more than 400 subsidiaries, Virgin Group is involved in
air travel, telecommunications, vacations, publishing and even vodka
distillation. Virgin can track your health, too.
HealthMiles, a company that offers wellness programs focused on employee
engagement, has introduced the "Spring
'12 release" of its real-time health data dashboard platform. The
Web-based tool allows employers to analyze employees' health data so that they
can boost employee motivation and productivity.
company is part of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which also includes
Virgin Atlantic Airways and the wireless carrier Virgin Mobile.
launched in 2009, the platform allows employers to collect health data in real
time to influence employee behavior. The Spring '12 release brings additional
data-collection methods for employers and allows them to spot health patterns
based on segments, including specific health risks, physical activity levels
and corporate departments.
on April 24, the new version incorporates expanded biometric screenings and the
Virgin HealthMiles Health Assessment. Employees are also able to challenge each
other to meet certain health goals through gaming.
the added real-time reporting, companies can monitor the population health of
their employees as employees update their biometric readings online.
can enter and view their health information in a central Web account called
LifeZone. In this portal, employees can record data such as weight, blood
pressure and calories burned. The company's GoZone pedometer connects to the
portal and allows users to record the distance they run.
addition, the HealthMiles
Dash mobile app works on Apple iOS devices. The iPhone's built-in
accelerometer can connect to LifeZone to allow users to track their activity.
VirginHealthMiles introduced the mobile app on Feb. 8.
Virgin HealthMiles allows human resource executives at companies to track
employee health trends and help prevent lifestyle-related conditions such as
diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The service encourages employees to report
on their diet choices and other lifestyle behaviors.
can use the data to understand patterns in employees' health, according to Tom
Abshire, senior vice president of products, marketing and member engagement for
want to provide a health and productivity engagement platform for employers to
create a unified cross-platform experience to help employees build an awareness
and a stronger culture," Abshire told eWEEK.
employers monitor workers' employee data to improve their wellness programs and
reduce health care costs, the information is "de-identified," Abshire
data," said Abshire. "Employers can only see de-identified,
aggregated data to help them understand the impact of their programs and the
overall health of the population."
use the data to determine whether changes in biometric readings like blood
pressure and weight mean a firm's smoking cessation may be successful or not,
Abshire noted.Or an employee may have
just swapped one chronic condition for another, he added.
trends in a population's health is also called predictive modeling. Analyzing
health data, or clinical
informatics, is an important part of managing patient care, according to a
March 2 report called "Needles in a Haystack: Seeking Knowledge With
Clinical Informatics" by PwC.
has a platform called OptumInsight that allows hospitals to track population
health, and Caradigm, the new joint
venture between GE and Microsoft, plans to focus its product development on
population health patterns.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.