Healthways changes name, steps up marketing efforts


Healthways, a major Williamson County health care sector employer, announced Tuesday its re-branding as Tivity Health.

The new name comes as an extension of the July purchase by Atlanta-based Sharecare of Healthways’ name, brand and its population health services division. A part of the Healthways headquarters and 1,700 employees went over to Sharecare, also, with the sale.

Tivity Health has now about 550 employees, including its executive leadership.

The new Tivity Health has been refocusing on SilverSneakers, a program for older adults, as well as its Whole Health and Prime Fitness programs. Coverage for these programs is available through private insurance and Medicare, with more than 40 million people eligible for part or total coverage.

SilverSneakers, for which 13.5 million people over 65 are eligible through their health plan, accounts for 80 percent of Tivity Health’s revenue, according to CEO Donato Tramuto, who spoke Tuesday at J.P. Morgans 35th annual Health Care conference in San Francisco. Whole Health and Prime Fitness, which as a program focuses on helping removing barriers to fitness, make up the rest.

Tramuto made it clear in his comments that Tivity Health will put a heavy focus on recruiting and keeping seniors in SilverSneakers in 2017. Of the 13.5 million eligible seniors, only about 2 million use SilverSneakers.

“I am a simple guy, I love simple paths,” he said. “We have three paths for growth.”

The first, he said, is to find ways to add more members by emphasizing digital marketing as opposed to traditional mail.

The second is to create more engagement. He said a large portion of the people who go once to a training session do not come back.

“We have to find out what are the reasons they disengaged, and find out how to re-engage them,” Janet Calhoun, interim chief experience officer, said. “It could be just having the fitness instructor reach out to them and say hey, we missed you here, are you coming back?”

“Research shows we have a big awareness issue,” she said. “We have not communicated with the 10 to 11 million eligible people who are not participating … We will be launching a large marketing push in 2017, using social media, Facebook, targeted marketing, and investing in development of personas in consumer segments.”

Just a small increase could create big gains for Tivity.

“We don’t have to move the needle a lot to have remarkable growth,” Tramuto said. “A one point movement in enrollment could create an additional $30 million in revenue.”

The third path, Tramuto said, is to find ways to overcome what they have found is a transportation barrier. People who want to go do not because they do not have a ride or can not legally drive.

He said they will work to incentivize participating in a SilverSneakers program,  such as attesting to a person’s ability to drive so that they can keep their license.

“Our vision is to transform the aging experience,” Tramuto said. “This is not just about physical fitness, but how do we bring a mental fitness into that group.”

As the company has streamlined, slimmed down and refocused since July, its balance sheet has begun to look healthier.

Before the sale to Sharecare each of its previous four quarterly earnings reports showed net losses, starting with Q3 of 2015. It’s adjusted net income from continuing operations in Q3 of 2016, however, showed a profit of $4.8 million.

Separation expenses and a one-time payment to Sharecare of up to $25 million keep it overall in the red.

The name Tivity is a reference to words like productivity and activity.

Tramuto ended his speech by saying, “remember to try to think of words that end with -tivity.”