SVP and CIO
Founded in 1981, Tivity Health is a leading provider of healthcare solutions for fitness, nutrition and social isolation. “Tivity Health works hand-in-hand with its members, clients, partners and customers to create everyday opportunities for long-lasting health and vitality,” says Paul Edmisten, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.
“Tivity Health’s goal is to be the leader in transforming healthy living for adults by empowering and engaging them to live their best lives through nutrition, fitness and social connection,” says Edmisten.
Formerly known as Healthways, Tivity Health was “among the boutique darlings of the Nashville healthcare community, focused on disease management in the early years and transitioned to total population health and well-being,”comments Edmisten. “Healthways had been successful growing and transitioning the business over the first three decades, until they experienced performance challenges leading up to 2014.” Throughout 2014 and 2015 the company went through tremendous change from the board, to CEO and throughout the organization.” In the summer of 2015, Edmisten became involved with the company following Alvarez and Marsal’s partnership with Healthways to restructure the company and to set a course for the future. “As I partnered with the executive management team, the board and Donato Tramuto, CEO of Healthways – and today CEO of Tivity Health – as the newly appointed CIO, we eliminated tens of millions of dollars in operating expenses, and ultimately landed on three options to move the company forward. They included continuing to work with the existing business units and products, managed through continuous change and transformation (the long-haul approach). The short approach was to shut down underperforming business units of the total population health business, and the third approach was to sell the total population health business.” Small parts of the business were sold leading up to July 2016, when Healthways successfully sold its total population health services business to Sharecare. In January 2017, Healthways rebranded as Tivity Health. “With the launch of Tivity Health and its divesture of the total population health business, our financial profile strengthened and grew,” notes Edmisten. “Witnessing first hand and being personally involved in the series of events and transactions that occurred during this span of time was priceless. Something many never experience in business and will never learn in business school.” Notes Edmisten. Tremendous change occurred impacting all aspects of the company.
Since the divestiture, Tivity Health has evolved transforming its people, processes and technology to enable a robust B2C data and technology stack that align with Tivity Health’s strategy and objectives. Edmisten highlights that, in order to align the mission, mindset and operating model of Tivity Health, the company had to transform the way they defined, delivered and engineered its products to create the desired consumer experience. Donato Tramuto, CEO of Tivity Health shared that “Paul Edmisten played a key strategic role during our transformation of Tivity Health. His pragmatic and transformational leadership has helped our company adopt a product, data-centric and consumer-driven culture within Tivity Health.
“Tivity Health has been leveraging Big Data for years,” comments Edmisten. “What AI and machine learning permits us to do is learn more about our members and consumers. Traditional statistical approaches only get you so far when dealing with Big Data.” Tivity Health has already benefited greatly from AI to unearth important user personas among its members with the aim of extending its learnings to enhance applications in the customer journey.
“A big part of our strategic direction continues to be how we leverage data insights generated from our advanced analytics coupled with OMNI channel technology to enable, automate and scale our member experience,” says Edmisten. With these advanced analytics, Edmisten combined data augmentation and artificial intelligence to gain insight into how members engage with their products and services. “Those who know SilverSneakers love us, the problem is not enough people know us,” says Edmisten. Understanding our members needs and wants will help us target our engagement through digital/TV marketing or our channels that include web, call center, mobile and social.
From a product engineering standpoint at Tivity Health, simplicity, reliability and scalability are the core focuses for its solutions. While the company continues to refine their core platforms optimizing the consumer engagement, they continue to innovate and expand capabilities through wearables, IOT and 5G to enhance consumer engagement, improve speed, and the desired outcomes for our customers. “Extending our platform and mobility solutions to integrate wearables and IOT devices enables our members and consumers to be more connected, and we can learn more about their activity and nutrition habits while enabling the desired consumer experience and loyalty.”
“As the industry and consumers adopt 5G, and basic internet access is extended to rural America, Tivity Health will be able to positively impact millions of people who are suffering from social isolation and loneliness.” Social isolation and loneliness are major concerns leading to a number of health issues in America today. Currently, Edmisten is working on leveraging voice assistants, as well as mobile and wearable technology to drive customer engagement and deliver online virtual trainers for exercise. “As part of our efforts, we are constantly innovating to address these challenges through IoT, mobile technology and wearable technology, as well as creating automated independent platforms that are flexible and cloud agnostic.”
“As a CIO, I am a big believer and proponent in maximizing the intersection of data and technology. While that sounds very simple and, on the surface, straightforward, it's an art to really perfect and differentiate the experience and value to a consumer,” comments Edmisten. “You have to be intentional and disciplined in the approach that you take. You must align the entire organization around a consumer centric product capability to maximize the impact on customers and the bottom-line financial result.”
“We buy and integrate best in class technology solutions to enable our product and services. We partner with industry leading partners that bring best practices in the areas of Marketing Automation, ERP, CRM, Data Augmentation, and Resources/People. Each one of our partners brings a very unique capability, and it has been critical for our success as an organization to identify and enable those strategic partnerships, establish close relationships and align on clear objectives,” says Edmisten. Some of the key partners include Redpoint, Nuestar, Axciom, Oracle and Stratfield consulting to name a few.
An essential part of Tivity Health’s risk management is information security. “Our Chief Information Security Officer, his team and his strategic partners are constantly assessing the threat landscape through an agile Information Security program focused on identifying and remediating risk. We are constantly reviewing, researching and evolving our processes and controls to improve our protection level against emerging threats,” says Edmisten.
Looking to the future, Edmisten sees two immediate opportunities emerging for Tivity Health. “With the acquisition of Nutrisystem and the passing of the CHRONIC Care Act, Tivity Health can provide – via a sophisticated supply chain – nutritional options on a large scale to seniors.”
In addition to these immediate opportunities, Edmisten sees emerging key trends in health and fitness that could provide opportunities for innovation at Tivity Health. “Health plans and healthcare organizations have begun leveraging data analytics to provide benefits that are personalized and customer-oriented. Additionally, health plans and organizations are utilizing Big Data to support clinical decision making, precision medicine, readmission prevention, chronic condition management and risk identification,” says Edmisten. Another area of focus for Tivity Health is helping to address the social determinants of health, “the way health plans can have the most impact when identifying and engaging with the right people is through data, algorithms and technology-enabled solutions” says Edmisten. “Many of our health plan partners have invested in development of predictive models to support those at risk of social isolation and food insecurity to name a few.” Donato Tramuto, CEO Tivity Health shared “We have a tremendous opportunity within the company as we integrate Nutrisystem, and add a nutrition business unit, into our house of healthy lifestyle brands to help address the social determinants of health. Paul and his team will be center stage to enable, automate and scale our combined products and services to our customers.”
Reflecting on the company, Edmisten believes that “Tivity Health’s biggest strength is its team of colleagues and the passion they have for the company, consumers and customers. Their efforts are truly changing the lives of people around the country. He concludes: “Over the past three years we transformed our people, processes and technology at Tivity Health, and with strong leadership, talented colleagues and a clear vision we have been successful in doing so.”
Concentrating on continuing to reduce future morbidity and mortality, and really giving people healthy life years, remains our key strategic focus.