An Australian digital health start-up that aims to become the ‘Netflix of wellbeing’ is now operating in 13 countries across the Asia-Pacific, assisting 100,000 people to lead healthier lifestyles, and helping the companies they work for to be more productive.
Springday – one of Digital Health CRC’s industry participants – is the brainchild of Sydney-based entrepreneur, Georgie Drury (pictured).
Having won its first corporate client in 2012, Springday provides a corporate-branded platform and app to many major companies, including numerous Australian blue-chips.
Through the platform, employees of these companies can access a wide range of programs aimed at assisting them with their health, wellbeing and other elements of their lives.
Springday partners with experts in health and wellbeing content creation (across multiple formats) to ensure both the platform and app provide regular content ‘hooks’ to keep users engaged.
“I have always believed that the big five pillars in your life – physical, social, emotional, financial and career – all need to come together for you to be a thriving individual” Georgie says.
“Companies see us as an investment in keeping their employees happy and healthy – and of course, this helps the companies to be more productive.”
“Our platform and app work best when the strategy and assets of our clients come together and are intertwined with our wellbeing content and our tech.”
“That’s the real value we bring to our clients – it’s not just about the tech, we are fundamentally plugged into their business success.”
“Our platform has coincided with the rise of the Wellbeing Manager in large companies. Historically the focus was on injury prevention and safety, but now there’s growing interest from innovative companies in taking care of their employees more holistically.”
“The ones who are doing that are winning the way.”
An engaging approach to healthier living
Georgie says the trick in truly engaging employees is to not only focus on their health concerns, but the many elements of their lives.
“For example, we assume that our clients are likely to have a number of employees with Type 2 diabetes or who are pre-diabetic, and that they would like to reduce the risk profile of these employees.”
“But we don’t just want to focus on someone who is a diabetic or pre-diabetic, and only speak with them about that.”
“They are a whole person, and they have other things going on with their lives.”
“They really don’t want an app that is only focusing on their chronic health conditions – they want one app that focuses on the many determinants of their health and wellbeing, including their social and financial circumstances.”
“You know, stop talking to me about my health condition, I’m going through a divorce…or I can’t put food on the table for my kids!”
“While some of the services on our app help employees to avoid Type 2 diabetes, there are many other programs we link to that engage them to get the most out of life across a number of dimensions.”
“As a society we’ve never been wealthier, and yet our health and wellbeing is in decline. So how can we make the complex as simple as possible and feel like we are achieving something that is not out of reach?”
“It’s all about introducing ‘simplexity’ into people’s lives.”
Georgie sees Springday as part of a shared responsibility model.
“As an example, Cathy might work for Company A, which wants to her to be a highly engaged and productive employee.”
“Using Springday’s Wellbeing Check Tool – which is a validated tool built with Professor Nick Glozier at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre – we measure Cathy’s physical, social, emotional, financial and career wellbeing.”
“On the back of that, Cathy’s company wants to help her access the services that will improve her health and wellbeing – whether that be financial help, mental health help, or help for her diabetes.”
“So her company might pay for her to access the app, but then it could be a shared responsibility model with Cathy’s insurer or she might personally pay to access programs within the app.”
“Essentially, we’re building a health and wellbeing marketplace and we are helping to bring that marketplace together.”
“Our long-term goal is to be the Netflix of wellbeing, to help employees access the services they need at this point in time to help them make better life decisions.”
Georgie adds that the Springday app can also help businesses to get data-driven insight into what is going on with their employees.
“For example, one client said to us that they needed more sit-stand desks, but we looked at the data through our Wellbeing Check Tool and told them that they didn’t have a problem with sit-stand desks, they had a problem with stress, so our recommendation was to focus on that.”
A market shift in preventative health
Georgie says digital health is helping to support a market shift in the health sector away from a reliance on governments, particularly in terms of preventative health.
“Corporates are seeing the benefit of paying for a service like Springday because they have a vested interest in keeping their employees healthy and productive.”
“At the moment, the public health system mainly focuses on managing sick people, as opposed to focusing on well people and preventing them from getting sick in the first place.”
“Digital health start-ups like Springday can play a huge role in this space.”
But she adds that the rise of digital health start-ups raises the question of who will be the owner of wellbeing data in the future.
“From a consumer’s point of view, it is going to be a question of who I am going to trust. Am I going to share my data with my employer, my insurer or my favourite brands? Over time it will be interesting to see how this pans out.”
“At Springday, we’re only the custodian of the data – the individual always has ownership of it. If they choose at any point to delete their data, that’s fine – anything that is identifiable will be deleted.”
“We will still hold unidentified data, though, because that will provide us with additional insight and help our artificial intelligence and machine learning. While artificial intelligence and machine learning is not currently part of the existing functionality of our app, it will be an exciting evolution for Springday – and one we hope Digital Health CRC can assist us with, in helping to build our engagement engine.”
What nudges you?
Georgie says finding out more about the ‘nudging factor’ in consumer behaviour will be a fascinating aspect of Springday’s engagement with Digital Health CRC over the next seven years.
“For example, what are the smarts needed to nudge me to do the right thing? How can you nudge me to stop smoking without annoying me so much that I end up blocking off any attempts to change my behaviour?”
“And what are the personality states and personality traits of individual consumers? You might never respond to something digital, whereas I might spend my whole life responding to digital prompts.”
“We also have to start thinking about the consumer ethics behind this – how can we fully build and maintain trust with consumers?”
She says that, as a sector, it will be critical to make more sense of the data being collected from consumers – and she believes Digital Health CRC’s work in the coming years will also be very beneficial in this area.
“At the moment, through people using our app, we are pulling huge datasets out of what we are calling a data swamp.”
“But we are hoping that being part of Digital Health CRC’s research work will help us move more to being a data lake, with more structure around it, to help determine the best way to engage consumers and get a multiplied impact on health and wellbeing.”
Georgie adds that the Springday app has interventions that are really demonstrating they can drive behaviour change.
“We have already gamified the app, so users can do activity challenges and get stamps or other rewards for their achievements – and this is something we want to expand into the future.”
“For example, Cathy’s company wants her to get her eyes checked and have a mammogram. I might not necessarily pay for it as her employer but I can reward her for being a diligent employee and looking after herself with preventative health. This might come in the form of a pay rise, a gift, or even a ‘healthy’ day off work as opposed to a sick day.”
“This is what we want to explore through Digital Health CRC – what is the currency of wellbeing and what are the intrinsic motivators that make me do my health checks, look after my mental health and get me to do my 10,000 steps?”
“For some, it will be ‘happy days’ if their company can convert their 10,000 steps into school fees, but others may wish to save up all their points and get a prize at the end of the year.”
“Different cultures may also want different rewards – some might value frequent, low value prizes, whereas other cultures might place more value on larger, less frequent prizes, like free annual gym membership.”
“That’s where we need to find out more about who we are as people, and what makes us tick.”
While Springday’s current platform scales best in businesses with over 1000 employees, it is also working to develop a small business enterprise product – including by introducing white-label technology to corporate wellbeing partners.
“For example, we have an innovative GP with a membership-based general practice who wants to work across all aspects of her patients’ lives, and in doing this she wants to deploy Springday to all her patients” Georgie says.
“The owner of a large health and fitness centre currently also has a proof of concept on deploying Springday to all members of his gym.”
“We are increasingly seeing demand for this type of convergence, where Springday is being used by different groups to fundamentally engage customers in their health outcomes.”
She adds that the kind of platform Springday has introduced showcases the opportunities for Australian exports into the future.
“I think this is where Australia can get really smart, by exporting our expertise in this field – for example, how can we use digital health technology to help emerging countries that don’t necessarily have the medical infrastructure in place or struggle with a shortage of doctors? How can we use technology to remotely help people in these countries?”
“That would be a win for us and a win for them.”
Georgie says Digital Health CRC provides an exciting opportunity to bring together health platform providers like Springday with digital health researchers, to share data and learn from each other.
“Our involvement with Digital Health CRC builds on research in which we have already participated, including a study we undertook with the University of NSW – What are the intended and unintended consequences of gamified challenges in the workplace?”
“It is really exciting for us to be involved in Digital Health CRC’s program, and I am sure the research being undertaken will deliver substantial benefits for health consumers into the future.”
Information and contacts
For more information on Springday, visit https://corporate.myspringday.com.au
Email Georgie Drury at [email protected]
Article by Patrick Daley