August 11, 2020

What Is Vivametrica With Dr. Rick Hu


Sprout’s recent acquisition of health analytics company Vivametrica is part of our ongoing commitment to delivering personalized, scalable wellbeing solutions based on measurable, predictive risk management.

In partnership with Vivametrica, Sprout’s Health Risk Assessment solution (HRA) provides employers, insurance companies and end users with a tool that combines Vivametrica's core analytics expertise with Sprout's engagement platform to empower individuals to make informed decisions for lasting behavioral change.

We spoke with Vivametrica Co-Founder and CEO, and now Sprout’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rick Hu to share the background story of Vivametrica, and why the Sprout Wellbeing Survey is changing the HRA landscape.

Sprout:  Dr. Hu, could you share with us the catalyst for starting Vivametrica

Dr. Hu:  My background is as a physician and orthopedic surgeon.  Over my clinical experience I have worked with populations health researchers throughout North America, and together with my Vivametrica co-founders, Dr Matt Smuck, Chief of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Stanford University and  Dr. Christy Lane, Chair of Health and Physical Education at Mount Royal University, we identified an information gap - the ability for individuals to understand their personal health and health trajectory.  

What began as work measuring physical activity and predictive health outcomes of spinal disease gave us the tools, methodologies and data sets that provided a board understanding of a person’s current health status and the ability to predict future health, including longevity and mortality over time.  The tools we developed are important for individuals to manage and guide their health and lifestyle choices, and also for organizations to support and improve the health of their members.

Sprout:  What was your “Aha!” moment?

Dr. Hu:  In our research we were able to use very granular health data from measurement devices in order to develop modeling opportunities.  The key was the rise of consumer-oriented wearable devices in 2011 - 2012.  This was the magic moment.  We realized that the information that came from these devices was very similar to the information we obtained from research devices.  The modelling that we had already created and would create going forward could now be based on vast amounts of information, allowing us to develop better measurement tools for individuals and other stakeholders with an interest in health and wellness.

Sprout:  How is your HRA so accurate and why is it better?

Dr. Hu:  Current clinical assessment and risk assessment tools are self reported, one time affairs.  They measure a point in time, but we don’t live at points in time, we live on a continuum and importantly, we change over time.  Our measurement tool follows a user over time, showing how they are doing.  This adds to the quality of the information and also the ability to predict what would happen in the future.  

We have accumulated vast population based data sets over many years that are very precise and individually determine the level of health and what will happen into the future.  We have developed chronic illness prediction models, as well as mortality and longevity models using rigorous methodologies validated by insurance and reinsurance companies.

We don’t rely on generic assessment risk.  Instead we calculate risk every time an individual adds data to the measurement tool.  This gives a far more accurate picture of an individual’s health status over time.  Secondly, this process happens automatically and gives feedback immediately, rather than just once a year.  

Sprout:  Tell us about your choice to partner with Sprout and acquisition.

Dr Hu:  We were looking for a leader in engagement platforms that had a global reach with corporate and insurance clients.  With Sprout, we will greatly expand our ability to deliver innovative health analytics solutions, to measure current and future health risks, to effect positive preventative change, and to achieve better health outcomes for individuals and organizations.  

Sprout:  Thank you Dr. Hu and welcome to the Sprout team!

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