As an emergency physician working the night shift, I see people with all sorts of health crises.
Gunshot wounds. Broken bones. Severe bleeding. Heart attacks. Strokes. Overdoses. Extreme fevers.
Every night when I walk into the hospital, the waiting room is overcrowded and the hallways are lined with patients. They have one thing in common: None expected to be in the ER today.
Most of the patients began the day like any other. They went to work or school, spent time with family, picked up some groceries. Then, suddenly, a sudden health crisis or a horrible accident hit them from nowhere.
Some might see this as an inevitable part of the human condition. But apart from the random accidents and awful acts of violence, I believe the vast majority of those visits could have been prevented.
Most health crises are not sudden — rather, they are the culmination of a slowly deteriorating health condition. If the patients had monitored their health and taken the proper steps to address their issues, they wouldn’t be in the ER tonight.
For example, nearly one in three people have high blood pressure. The vast majority display no symptoms and are unaware of their condition — until they are suddenly hit by a heart attack or stroke.
The principle is simple: The qualitative sense of “feeling good” is no substitute for obtaining quantitative information on your underlying health and working with a doctor to determine if you’re at risk for a major health issue.
Tracking your physical health isn’t all that different from tracking your business’ health
As an entrepreneur, I take the exactly same approach to running my company, liveClinic. I want data on virtually every measure of financial and operational performance so that I can recognize emerging issues and deal with them in a proactive manner before significant problems develop.
It was analytics drawn from my medical experience that was the inspiration for forming liveClinic in the first place. On a typical ER shift, I noticed that only about 10% of patients could tell me their medical history and the medications they’re taking. We researched over 100 clinics in the US and found similar results. It’s a problem for both patients and their health care providers: people simply do not recall their medical histories and their current medications — nor do they have an efficient way to access the information.
Now, marketing insights derived through various initiatives help us understand our users better. We work to check what our users like about the benefits and functionalities of our application. We conduct qualitative interviews that later help us delve into quantitative information on the values we create for our users to drive business actions.
We frequently use A/B testing, which allows us to assess two similar, but slightly different website features, to determine the best approach to engaging our users.
For example, we initially had direct links for user signup from our website. After qualitative interviews we wanted to experiment with embedding direct signup ability for our users right from the website. We started seeing 20% jump in signups after making that change.
By analyzing user behavior on our website, we discovered people were unlikely to take the trouble of uploading their medical records unless they had a compelling reason to do so. To solve that problem, we developed a system that enabled people to earn and redeem points for rewards, much like airline or credit card rewards, based on their health. As a result, engagement on our site increased dramatically.
I fervently believe that in order to improve any element of life — from health to business — you have to focus on the quantitative, not just the qualitative.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
Collect data. Compare. Pivot. Remeasure. Pivot again if needed. It may save your business — or your life.