Analytics and the Wellness Industry: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union


Earl Thompson, MA, ABD

Executive Director, Integrated Analytics, HealthFitness

Jack Baker, PhD

Senior Research Analyst, HealthFitness Corporation

The wellness industry has been described as both an art and a science. While it aspires to meet goals in both of these disciplines, many other industries have embraced modern analytics in a more robust manner than ours. Often, we are still practicing traditional wellness without knowing which approaches work best.

Ultimately, analytics will prevail as it has done in every other industry and the question becomes: will the wellness industry be competitively forced to become more analytical or will this shift be welcomed as an opportunity to establish, as our founding fathers said, “a more perfect union.”

In this breakout session, we will show examples of how analytics is used in other industries, how it could be applied to wellness, various barriers to acceptance, and what it will take to go from our current state to a future where we are optimally leveraging the power of analytics.

Presenter Bio(s):

Earl Thompson, MA, is Executive Director of Integrated Analytics at HealthFitness, a Trustmark company, an award-winning, URAC and NCQA-accredited provider of health management, fitness and recreation, and condition management solutions. Earl has over forty years of experience in corporate and marketing research, management of actuarial and information systems, and as an outcomes consultant for a variety of major corporations. He holds a BS degree in physics, an MA degree in the philosophy of science, and is ABD in educational research and measurement at the University of Toledo. Earl is a member of the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), a consortium focused on the advancement of the science of measurement in the wellness and health promotion field. He has also served on committees of the Disease Management Association of America which focused on the development of wellness programming standards.

Mr. Thompson has a long history of innovation in analytics, developing methodologies for the assessment of health management program efforts and estimation of return on investment while working with Fortune 500 companies such as General Motors, Ford, Union Pacific Railroad, Xerox, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, State of Tennessee, Yankee Candle, Kellogg, Experian, Morgan-Stanley, and several of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. More recently, Earl has directed the development and implementation of a variety of innovative research projects aimed at modeling population health dynamics, developing alternative methods for estimating returns on investment with minimal data availability, and optimizing the operational efficiency of existing wellness and health promotion programming. Many of these innovations will be featured in an upcoming (2019) co-authored manuscript published by Springer and entitled: Demographic Microsimulation in Wellness and Health Promotion: Computational Tools for Modeling Population Health Dynamics.