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The Dose - JK Wall

Welcome to The Dose, which tackles the finances behind local health care and life sciences and points to the most interesting national analysis. Your host is J.K. Wall.

Health Care & Life Sciences / Life Science & Biotech

Indy firm hits growth stride with benefits software

January 4, 2016

Indianapolis-based Healthiest Employer LLC found huge success last year with its Springbuk benefits software and expects this year to be even bigger.

Springbuk added 292 employer clients last year, up from just a handful of firms testing the software in 2014. Those clients are spread across 20 states, including Indiana.

That growth already pushed Springbuk’s annual revenue pace past $1 million, and Healthiest Employer executives expect that to triple by the end of 2016.

Springbuk’s staff includes just 14 full-time works now, but is expected to be at nearly 50 by year’s end. Company officials said those jobs will pay an average of about $85,000.

The company expects the number of employers it serves to top 900 by year’s end.

“This is a national software company. We’ve been able to scale both locally and nationally,” said Phil Daniels, executive vice president of marketing for both Healthiest Employer and Springbuk.

Healthiest Employer started in 2009 hosting awards programs for employers running wellness programs for their workers. The company has now expanded to 44 cities and has seen 18,000 employers participate in its contests.

But Springbuk is the brand the company intends to lead with going forward. The potential of that software helped Healthiest Employer raise $1.5 million in venture capital in August, which will help the market Springbuk.

“Our attention is absolutely Springbuk,” said Rod Reasen, the CEO of Healthiest Employer and Springbuk. “2016 is going to be our big growth year.”

It’s certainly a big market. Employers have increased their spending on wellness incentives by 61 percent since 2010 and now are shelling out $693 per worker, according to a March 2015 report by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health.

But according to surveys of 4,000 employers participating in the Healthiest Employer competitions, 77 percent of companies have no way of tracking that spending to know if it’s yielding results.

“The employer and the individual is continuing to take on more cost [for health benefits], yet there’s no way to measure it,” Reasen said. Springbuk, he added, “gives the employer the ability to actively measure the [wellness] vendors that they’re using.”

Employers subscribe to the Springbuk software, paying a monthly fee for each of their employees. The software pulls in data from medical bills, pharmacy sales, health risk assessments and payroll data, including sick days—as often as new information from those sources becomes available.

Then Springbuk uses algorithms and an easy-to-use interface to present employers—or, more accurately, with the wellness companies they hire—with information on which employees exactly are getting into health trouble and racking up big medical bills. Springbuk will even make some predictions about employees that are likely to become costly soon.

Many other software systems can do similar functions, Reasen acknowledged, but they typically require a fair bit of knowledge about querying databases or crunching statistics.

“The tools that exist in this space today are highly sophisticated with large databases and querying systems on top,” he said.

But Springbuk, drawing on the large body of knowledge Healthiest Employer built up about employers’ benefits concerns, automatically presents the data most employers want to know most.

“These are the questions you should be asking, so we present that to you,” Reasen said.

One Springbuk user is Hillenbrand Inc., the Batesville-based maker of funeral products. Springbuk’s analysis showed that its workers with access to its on-site medical clinic in Batesville were half as likely to be non-compliant with medical care as were employees in other locations.

Also, Springbuk helped Hillenbrand reduce its spending in its on-site clinic by 11 percent. And Springbuk provided some analysis of a fat-loss program the company instituted among a small group of employees, which resulted in 18 percent lower spending for those employees.

Lisa Werner, a health and wellness specialist at Hillenbrand, said the company now uses Springbuk for all its health-related decisions.

“For example, the insights tell me how many flu shots to order, and which medications to stock in our wellness center,” Werner stated in a case study prepared by Springbuk. “We don’t make any spending decisions without viewing Springbuk.”
 

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