New HR Analytics Platform Puts New Spin on “IT Health”

    June 27, 2016

    By Bill Andruss

    A new HR technology allows employers to predict whether their staff will require certain forms of medical care, making it easier to anticipate insurance costs. This development isn’t just exciting: it’s the perfect analogy for how TeamQuest predicts and prevents service issues to lower costs.

    Employee health is one of the trickiest workplace issues for HR to navigate. Organizations (and employees) want and need each team member to be in top physical shape, and ideally, proactive about emergent health problems. But asking too many questions can be grounds for a lawsuit, and at the very least can undermine employee trust.

    However, a new HR analytics technology is helping to predict when employees are vulnerable to certain ailments, offering proactive advice to individuals on how to avoid them without making their vulnerability public. Employers get a better general sense of their staff’s health and can more accurately predict health-related costs. Sound familiar? That’s because this analytics platform works in much the same way TeamQuest’s Vityl software does — anticipating potential health problems before they can impact the productivity of the system at large.

    Predicting Sick Days

    According to TechTarget, San Francisco-based Castlight Health Inc. is changing the game for employee health. The crux of their enterprise health management platform is its predictive analytics system, which analyzes employee web searches, demographic information, and insurance claims — collectively called “mindshare data” — to anticipate if and when subsets of employees are likely to develop an ailment. At that point, the service sends those groups personalized emails to suggest preventative or cost-effective treatment options.

    Besides the benefit of keeping employees healthy, this service also makes it easier for companies to prepare for insurance costs. The authors note that companies are rarely made aware of conditions like back pain until after employees have undergone several treatments. By guiding workers in prevention and proactive treatment of these conditions, employers are given early warning of potential problems, while health outcomes of employees are improved.

    Mindshare data analysis is also particularly useful for invisible maladies, such as mental health issues, which are often left undiagnosed. An automated (and therefore, private) message to potentially afflicted workers that directs them to potential treatment options is more discreet and effective than even the kindest (and possibly misinformed) HR intervention.

    Of course, predictive analytics is no replacement for formal diagnoses and treatments from medical professionals. But in general, similar tools are quickly becoming invaluable organizations throughout all areas of business, helping to accurately spot early warning signs so that trouble may be averted.

    The IT Connection

    The Castlight system is interesting because of its innovative approach, but TeamQuest has been using predictive analytics to improve efficiency and promote health for some time now. While IT maintenance may not involve any of the thorny issues that surround Human Resources, it still emphasizes that every individual component of a larger system must be in ideal health for the organization as a whole to run efficiently.

    Think of the employees as servers or machines, and their departments as different services. If one employee in marketing is likely to require certain treatments because of a pre-existing condition, the company as a whole should prepare for that by purchasing the necessary insurance.

    But if they don’t have that insurance, they encounter unexpected costs, which is corrected when some other department or project’s budget is cut. If that cut isn’t made judiciously, unintended consequences could occur, including employee dissatisfaction and failed initiatives, all of which could result in even bigger losses — by the end of it all, it’s hard to trace these costs back to the one underinsured employee.

    Vityl can tell you how to allocate your IT resources so that you’re prepared for the worst scenario without exceeding your budget. It also identifies at-risk servers and systems well before they cause larger problems, and even provides a “days-to-risk” metric that tells you how long you have to correct it. And when problems do occur, it allows you to drill down to the root cause and suggests a plan of action so that your corrective measures don’t have unintended consequences.

    Predictive analytics are becoming popular across industries for a reason: identifying risk ahead of time saves costs and improves efficiency. Whether in HR or IT, the best way to achieve health is through preventative action.

    (Image credit: Wikimedia)

    Tags: teamquest, vityl