WRAL TechWire: Orthus Health uses data and science to provide wellness solutions to organizations
Orthus Health believes "it's time to rethink wellness" and works with individuals and organizations to take action and inspire change through its data-driven solutions.
See the original article on WRAL TechWire here.
by Latisha Catchatoorian
When it comes to our health, we’re inundated with tips on how to lose weight, new diets to try, and recommendations on everything from how much sleep to get to the number of steps we should be clocking in each day.
The overload of information from various sources can create a whirring static that makes it hard to know what to pay attention to, and furthermore, what to actually implement in our daily lives.
But what if there were data-driven, scientifically-backed health recommendations from professionals that were specifically designed for you? What if you had a personal health coach to guide and motivate you every step of the way? What if there was one resource that you could turn to for advice, information and wellness support?
Orthus Health, a corporate-wellness and condition-management company, is addressing all of this and more. Headquartered in Raleigh, it works with self-insured employers, healthcare systems and health plans across the country to “take action and inspire change” through its data-driven wellness solutions.
“We’re a clinically enabled wellness company that combines data and science with fun, engaging programs to produce positive outcomes,” said Chris Caramanico, president and CEO of Orthus Health. “We’re not like a typical wellness vendor that attempts to tackle isolated health issues. Instead, we offer an integrated, comprehensive wellness platform that enhances the health of an entire employee population.”
In short, Orthus Health does a lot of legwork to make wellness for companies and individuals as simple as it can be. It provides a singular solution (instead of multiple vendors) for a company that includes mobile-enabled technology and personalized coaching that makes keeping a pulse on your health easy.
Additionally it applies science-based analytics to predict individual modifiable health risks and criteria path to changing habits for the better.
“We have two main objectives — number one: help people identify and reduce avoidable risk, which accounts for 80 percent of our healthcare costs in the United States. And number two: inspire and motivate people to live healthier, happier lives,” Caramanico explained.
For example, Orthus Health’s wellness platform includes a unique, patented health risk assessment tool referred to as Know Your Number. By pairing an individual’s health survey results with biometric screening data, Orthus Health visually reveals a person’s modifiable, relative risk for chronic conditions.
The risk assessment tool is also certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
“At my previous employer, the founder believed that diseases, especially chronic diseases, are preventable. He wanted to motivate people to change their lifestyle and become healthier. When it comes to KYN, we want to give people personalized information that makes them aware of their current state of health, and motivates them to change if necessary,” said Guizhou Hu, an accomplished doctor and academic, who developed the algorithm. “In order to do that, we had to come up with a robust, scientific disease prediction model.”
Hu studied historical data of disease, disease casualties and comprehensive risk factors to create a predictive model for individuals whose behavior could increase their likelihood of getting a certain disease, such as diabetes, for instance.
To propel his research forward, he used something called synthesis analysis — a statistical methodology that allows a person to synthesize information from medical literature and build an evidence-based model instead of using empirical data (information gleaned from a conducted experiment).
Put simply, Hu didn’t have the time or resources to study 100 individuals with diabetes or diabetes risk over the course of their lifetime to develop the algorithm, so he used existing data instead.
“The model is a mathematical equation. Think of KYN as a box. Individual information about your height, weight, blood value, medical and family history, and other data is processed into that box to create a number that reflects your risk of having certain diseases in the future,” Hu explained. “KYN not only tells you where you are, but most importantly, tells you which risk factors are modifiable and what you can change to mitigate your risk.”
Hu admits he may be biased, but believes Orthus Health is taking an innovative step forward in the wellness industry. He said everyone knows prevention is key; what is unique though, is Orthus Health’s approach to assessing modifiable risk and driving positive behavior change.
“We’ve built a comprehensive, integrated wellness platform, including our unique risk assessment, lifestyle and condition management coaching, and digital engagement tools powered by analytics. It’s exciting to be on the forefront of wellness, which touches everyone — healthcare is an industry that affects everybody,” Caramanico added. “The difference between Orthus Health and other companies is that we’ve built our model, not on maintaining the status quo, but on improvement. We’re dedicated to helping people live healthier and happier lives.”