Keys to Increasing Patient Life Time Value: Data-Driven Solutions for Improving Client Retention In Your Practice

Keys to Increasing Patient Life Time Value: Data-Driven Solutions for Improving Client Retention In Your Practice

Improving client retention and reducing attrition is a cornerstone of a successful practice in virtually any healthcare environment. Focusing on life time value (LTV) and facilitating client retention is one of the most powerful tools for building long term sustainability, particularly in the functional medicine space due to your unique business model needs.

Focusing on client retention is the best way to maximize lead generation and marketing efforts. With LTV calculated by multiplying the average value of the customer to the business by their average lifespan, it becomes far more cost effective to keep existing customers in your practice than to attract new ones. By fostering a long term relationship with your clients, you have the opportunity to achieve better health outcomes over time. Supporting clients long term helps ensure patient satisfaction and longevity for your practice. 

But in a world where practitioners and clinics are often stretched thin, what is the best way to retain clients over time? Of course, providing excellent service is essential, but an often overlooked LTV strategy is facilitating patient engagement. Building engaged patients leads to better treatment outcomes, improved quality of care over their lifetime, and more a successful healthcare practice.

Practitioner reviews notes for long term client retention

Patient engagement refers to involving patients in as many aspects of their own care as possible. The goal is to empower clients with knowledge and give them the tools to reach their health goals. Fortunately, the proliferation of wearable health technology and the unprecedented growth in telehealth now makes this easier than ever before and there is no better time than now to engage patients remotely.

Here are some strategies for fostering increased patient engagement and empowering patients along their health journey:  

1- Focus on communication points between practitioner and patient

Like all relationships, the practitioner-patient connection must be nurtured to thrive. All too often, patients reach out to care providers only during an acute episode or the onset of a chronic or life-altering illness when urgent attention is needed. However, developing a system of communication that emphasizes proactive wellness builds engaged clients and a robust relationship that leads to long term patient retention.

While lack of communication can lead to patient indifference, ongoing contact helps to keep patients engaged and forward thinking about their health. In addition to ongoing communication regarding appointments, upcoming treatments, and wellness reminders, providing personalized, proactive outreach gives patients a meaningful connection to care providers. Providing patients with relevant health information makes clients feel acknowledged, giving them the sense that they can connect with their care providers openly, even outside a time of crisis. 

READ MORE: Leading Medical Weight Loss Clinic Validates Protocols and Tracks Outcomes Remotely with Heads Up

Communicating with clients for long term client retention

2- Support patients over the lifetime of their health journey

With wellness at the forefront of people’s mind, perhaps more now than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting patients in times of health, as well as times of illness is increasingly relevant for client retention. It is all too common that patient relationships come to the forefront only in the face of an acute episode or chronic illness. However, developing a proactive wellness strategy with healthy clients leads to a robust lifetime relationship.

Giving clients support through their health journey extends beyond treating symptoms and writing prescriptions. Supporting patients in a time of illness is essential, of course. However, beyond the reversal of chronic conditions, supporting patients through health maintenance and working towards health optimization, truly builds a long term relationship.

Practitioner communicates with client for long term client retention

Cultivating relationships prior to an illness builds patient loyalty from the ground up. Having a strong relationship with clients when things are going well lets clients know they have you as an immediate ally if an issue should arise.

3- Empower clients to engage with their own health data

Contrary to the popular belief that wellness is in the hands of care providers, health is ultimately in the hands of the patient. With that in mind, there is no better client retention strategy than to empower your patients with access to their own health data. From the perspective of the practitioner, this means giving patients the tools to understand their data, sharing relevant knowledge, and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the patient.

To encourage consumers to have more agency in making decisions about their health, data needs to be transparent and actionable for the client. With more consumers using technology for health monitoring than ever before, both patients and practitioners have access to a host of real time data, generated by the patient and accessible by both the client and care provider.

Practitioner shares Heads Up data for long term client retention

The ultimate goal for both practitioners and patients is self-management, which both reduces costs and fosters a lifetime of wellness. Educating patients cultivates their curiosity and spurs engagement with their own health journey. Data becomes the tool for empowerment and connecting patients with their metrics gives them the opportunity to truly take their health into their own hands. 

Read More: Data-Driven Clinic, Podium Sports Medicine, Supports High Performance Athletes Remotely with Heads Up

Heads Up Health is one such solution that displays data for clear interpretation for both providers and clients. Data from health and wellness devices is elegantly showcased on the client-facing dashboard, making it easy for clients to monitor their own progress. The Heads Up practitioner portal allows for real-time access to health metrics from clients and serves as the touchpoint for communication for telemedicine practices and remote health coaches alike. Heads Up puts data in context, giving providers the tool they need to amplify patient engagement for a lifetime of wellness.

Conclusions

By improving the patient experience and clinician workflow, you will increase LTV and improve client retention. Satisfied patients generally stick with their current healthcare provider for longer and client retention is one of the most powerful tools for building long term sustainability for healthcare practices. 

Facilitating patient engagement through open communication, lifetime support, and the use of data leads to better treatment outcomes, improved quality of care, and a more successful healthcare practice. With patients involved in as many aspects of their own care as possible, engaged clients become empowered clients who tend to stick with their care providers long term.

About Heads Up

Heads Up Health is a seed-stage technology company based in Scottsdale, AZ. They are engineering an entirely new approach to personalized health by integrating clinical, lifestyle, nutritional, and self-collected data with personalized analytics and insights. 

Data-Driven Clinic, Podium Sports Medicine, Supports High Performance Athletes Remotely with Heads Up

Data-Driven Clinic, Podium Sports Medicine, Supports High Performance Athletes Remotely with Heads Up

Podium Sports Medicine provides progressive, data-driven medical care and performance advice to clients with a keen interest in health and vitality. With a specialized clientele comprised primarily of professional and highly competitive recreational athletes, Podium Sports Medicine focuses on individualized performance training using cutting-edge technology.

Founded by Dr. Kevin Sprouse, Podium Sports Medicine takes a uniquely evidence-informed approach to disease prevention and health optimization. Using state-of-the-art technology to track all aspects of fitness, including metabolic health, sleep, nutrition, and wellness, Podium creates fine-tuned health programming to meet their clients’ needs.

When Dr. Sprouse discovered Heads Up (HU), the industry-leading health tracking platform, he found the perfect solution for his data-driven clinic. HU created a custom dashboard for Podium that includes custom lab results, real-time health tracking, and tools for quantifying Podium’s client performance.

“What I love most about Heads Up is how malleable it is to the practice,” says Dr. Kevin Sprouse of Podium Sports Medicine, “Heads Up gives us a high level view of the patients and then we can zoom in on individual markers and take a dive deep as needed.”

If you run a health practice and are interested in a comprehensive remote data monitoring system, reach out to our New Accounts team at Heads Up here.

Doctor supports athlete during competition

Business Challenge

With clients all across the country, Podium Sports Medicine uses telemedicine and technology to remotely monitor their clients and maintain open and attentive communication. Podium tailors their programming specifically to client ambitions and needed a comprehensive system for real time monitoring. 

Podium uses a variety of state-of-the-art technology and health wearables to continually assess client data and monitor trends over time. After years of using traditional spreadsheet methods of tracking, they needed a more dynamic system to observe and interpret a broad range of health metrics to modulate treatments quickly and better serve their clients.

Technology Solution

When Dr. Sprouse approached Heads Up almost two years ago, he needed a tool that would allow him to monitor a variety of clients data and labs remotely. The goal for Heads Up was to create a comprehensive solution to meet Podium Sports Medicine’s diverse needs for their high performance client base. 

HU designed a custom dashboard that integrates with Podium’s smart devices that can be tailored specifically to each client, allowing Dr. Sprouse and his team to focus on each individual’s most crucial metrics. Additionally, HU integrates with Podium’s periodic lab testing and seamlessly adds data from diagnostics labs across the county giving them insight into patient health, no matter where the client is located.

“I’m truly impressed with how far Heads Up has come and where it is going. It’s a remarkable tool right now and they’re constantly evolving, adding new features and integrations,” said Dr. Sprouse. “I’m confident that Heads Up will be the data tool that I’ll use for years to come.”

    Custom Lab Results

    Podium Sports Medicine prescribes comprehensive blood work panels to monitor client health. With remote lab data coming in from all over the country, practitioners at Podium use Heads Up to monitor health metrics over time, creating a long term record of clinical markers. 

    Heads Up allows Podium full control over their health data with custom reference ranges and data specific to each patient. All of this is centrally managed for each client in the HU practitioner portal, giving Podium a powerful solution for remote monitoring patients.

    Heads Up portal on tablet and desktop

    High Performance Custom Dashboard

    Podium Sports Medicine focuses on individual goals and biometrics to tailor protocols specifically to their clients’ ambitions. With a focus on performance results and overall wellness, Podium Sports Medicine monitors a unique range of metrics using the Heads Up custom dashboard. 

    “When I come into the office first thing in the morning, I open Heads Up to see how my patients are doing,” said Dr. Sprouse, “first and foremost, I look to see if they are healthy and if they are meeting their metrics.”

    Heads Up’s custom practitioner portal gives Podium an instant overview of key health indicators:

    • Temperature Deviation
      • Podium is focused on disease prevention and when a client deviates from their normal temperature patterns by 0.6° to 0.8°, it can be an early marker of illness. Podium sees this as a particularly important metric during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
      • Podium finds that their athletes perform best when HRV is optimized. Related to the autonomic nervous system, monitoring HRV is an effective way of estimating clients’ heart activity as an indicator of stress and recovery.
    • Sleep Metrics
      • Using the Oura Ring, Podium monitors all aspects of sleep with a particular focus on deep sleep as it relates to recovery. During the deep sleep phase, blood flow to the muscles is increased, growth hormone is released, and cellular repair occurs.
    • Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
      • Variations in RHR may be a sign of excessive stress on the body from training or other lifestyle related fatigue and serves as a metric of recovery.
    Heads Up practitioner dashboard for sleep and meditation

    Sleep and Performance

    “Sleep and HRV have become powerful tools now that we have the technology to measure them easily,” said Dr. Sprouse. By using Heads Up’s integration with Oura Ring, Podium works with their clients to develop healthy sleep and recovery routines. “I almost found it hard to believe how closely linked HRV, sleep, and performance were related.”

    “With Heads Up, our clients see their sleep metrics day by day, but I’m paying attention to the trends.” The Heads Up reporting features allow Dr. Sprouse to use his data-driven system of “try, measure, and try again.” By monitoring patent data in the HU dashboard, “we run trends over time looking at the high level metrics across the board. Based on that, we might set some parameters like bedtime alarms or wind down routines that we test for 6 weeks while implementing a sleep hygiene routine.”  

    Data-driven performance athletes at cycling event

    Conclusions

    Podium Sports Medicine is committed to providing progressive medical care and performance support to their clients. Dr. Sprouse and his team use Heads Up to support their uniquely evidence-informed approach to disease prevention and health optimization. The Heads Up platform is the perfect solution for data-driven health practitioners, providing real-time tracking and the tools needed for quantifying client performance.

    Interested in a custom data portal for your practice? Click here to learn more about the Heads Up platform and schedule a demo with one of our team members.

    Leading Medical Weight Loss Clinic, ThreeHealth, Validates Protocols and Tracks Outcomes Remotely with Heads Up

    Leading Medical Weight Loss Clinic, ThreeHealth, Validates Protocols and Tracks Outcomes Remotely with Heads Up

    Medically-supervised weight management clinic, ThreeHealth, Inc., takes a multifaceted approach to wellness. Focusing on the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of metabolic health and weight loss, ThreeHealth combines science and technology with personalized behavioral therapy to deliver outstanding results for a diverse array of clients.

    Founded by Brad Butterfield, Brandy Wiltermuth and Marlene Sexton, ThreeHealth treats diabetes, cardiometabolic, and weight loss issues with a uniquely client-focused approach. Taking into account medical conditions, behaviors, biometrics, and goals, ThreeHealth uses state-of-the-art technology to provide sustainable metabolic health results.

    ThreeHealth Weight Loss Practitioner Team

    Working remotely with clients, ThreeHealth needed a comprehensive way to upload, monitor, and interpret client data. When ThreeHealth discovered Heads Up (HU), the industry-leading health tracking platform, they found the perfect solution for their clinic’s needs. HU created a custom dashboard for ThreeHealth that included a bulk upload of client data, real-time health tracking, and tools for quantifying ThreeHealth’s performance.

    “The Heads Up dashboard is an incredibly powerful tool,” says Brad Butterfield of ThreeHealth. “The tracking of all this information can be extremely freeing. Maybe that sounds counterintuitive, but it works, it really works.”

    If you run a health practice and are interested in a comprehensive remote data monitoring system, reach out to our New Accounts team at Heads Up here.

    About ThreeHealth

    Comprised of licensed medical and behavioral specialists, ThreeHealth focuses on improving metabolic health, reversing diabetes, and developing sustainable weight loss programs. ThreeHealth uses a unique combination of metabolic assessment, behavioral health, and technology tools to support their clients’ goals.

    The founding team at ThreeHealth consists of Brad Butterfield, LMHCA and Brandy Wiltermuth, ARNP. Along with Marlene Sexton, LMFT, director of Behavioral Therapy, ThreeHealth has a thriving direct primary care practice and robust telemedicine program with a track record of success. 

    Beginning with cognitive-behavioral therapy to address the emotional responses behind eating, ThreeHealth helps clients understand their relationship with food. By uncovering the psychological factors of health, ThreeHealth then creates “individualized, medically-driven, holistic programs that treat the mind, the body, and the spirit,” says Marlene Sexton of ThreeHealth. “Everyone is different, and every patient requires an individualized program based on his or her personal medical conditions and profile.”

    In addition to behavioral counseling and personalized nutritional prescriptions, ThreeHealth uses state-of-the-art technology to remotely support and monitor patients. Through the use of smart devices and wearable technology, such as the Oura Ring and Biosense, they are able to detect trends in vital body functions including weight, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep quality, and ketone levels. 

    Business Challenge

    ThreeHealth needed a system for measuring progress on the individual and cohort level to validate their protocols and promote client retention. Proving the success and capability of their methods is integral to ThreeHealth’s business growth and development. 

    Because ThreeHealth provides their clients with a variety of tech tools to track health metrics, they also needed a way to compile client data for easy interpretation. “I can’t have six different platforms for the six different devices that I want people to use,” said Brandy Wiltermuth. 

    According to Wiltermuth, compiling and interpreting data “opens the window into exactly what people are doing.” Working remotely with clients, ThreeHealth needed a way to monitor client data in realtime, as well as upload historical data to create accurate baseline metrics and chart progress.

    Patient Working on Metabolic Health with Caring Doctor

    Technology Solution

    The goal for Heads Up was to create a comprehensive solution to meet ThreeHealth’s diverse needs. HU designed a custom dashboard that integrates with ThreeHealth’s smart devices. Additionally, HU designed a system to bulk upload client data that allows ThreeHealth to measure performance over time, both for individual clients and for the clinic as a whole. 

    Heads Up delivers a clinical-style effectiveness proving platform, giving ThreeHealth all the tools they need to validate their protocols and verify the success of their methods. 

    • Data-Driven Key Performance Indicators
      • Using HU, ThreeHealth can define and measure progress against their program KPIs for business planning and adjustment to better serve clients.
    • Data-Driven Protocol Validation
      • With HU, ThreeHealth can validate their protocols on the individual and aggregate level, giving them the tools to guide business development and growth. 
      • ThreeHealth providers can continuously engage patients, increasing LTV by providing positive reinforcement in real time, based on graph data and metrics.
    • Data-Driven Client Acquisition 
      • With HU, ThreeHealth now has social proof of protocol efficacy that goes beyond written testimonials and before/after pictures. 
      • ThreeHealth can attract new clients based on quantified evidence of their success.
      Heads Up Custom Metabolic Health Dashboard on Tablet, Mobile, and Desktop

      Validating Protocols with Historical and Real Time Data  

      With years of data ranging from lean body mass to ketone levels, ThreeHealth needed to assess their clinic and client performance based on historical, as well as real-time, data. To address this, HU custom-designed a system for ThreeHealth to bulk upload client records, thereby giving ThreeHealth a holistic view into each client’s progress and a tool for validating the overall success of the clinic. 

      HU’s bulk upload solution allows ThreeHealth to easily track individual and aggregate success through the practitioner portal. With HU, ThreeHealth is able to customize thresholds and reference ranges for tailoring KPIs to their specific needs. This gives the clinic the ability to: 

      • Define the KPIs to track to validate programs at individual and aggregate levels
      • Provide TheeHealth with the tools to easily see results in real time
      • Display the clinical and functional data for metabolic health monitoring 
      • Dig deeper into each client’s health with markers specific to the ThreeHealth program

      ThreeHealth generates graphs showing individual or aggregate weight loss over any time frame, be it a week or the duration of the program. In looking at the data point of weight, or other biomarkers like BMI or blood glucose, ThreeHealth can see overall trends over a given period of time.

      Using Heads Up to gather and track their clients health information, providers can not only see progress at the individual level but also validate and improve their protocols by looking at their clients’ data holistically. In 2020, they saw a significant drop in weight correlated with increased Aces gathered from clients’ Biosense devices. Using this kind of information to feed their programs means they can deliver a more competitive, data-driven approach.

      Client Metabolic Health Progress Charted on iPad

      Custom Lifestyle Dashboard

      Heads Up displays data for clear interpretation by ThreeHealth providers and clients alike. Facilitating patient engagement, data from smart devices is elegantly showcased on the client-facing dashboard, making it easy for clients to monitor their progress. That same data is available through the practitioner-facing portal, allowing ThreeHealth coaches to interpret and clarify metrics for their clients in real time.

      The HU custom lifestyle dashboard was preloaded with tracking tiles specific to the clinic’s needs. ThreeHealth is committed to empowering their clients with information and they track not only weight loss and blood pressure, but other unique metrics including sleep and ketone levels.

      Having a full suite of health information at the fingertips of both the clients and practitioners on one central platform, ThreeHealth can then easily interpret and explain metrics to their clients. The data becomes the foundation for curiosity and a tool for education, empowerment, and understanding about how lifestyle changes affect metabolic health.

      With the HU custom dash, the clinic gives their clients the tools for success, fostering client engagement and increasing LTV. By detecting data trends in vital body functions and promptly intervening when needed, treatments can be easily adjusted and administered quickly based on insights gained from HU’s customizable reports.

      Heads Up Lifestyle Dashboard for Metabolic Health on Computer

      Custom Dashboard Metrics for Metabolic Health

      HU integrates seamlessly with a wide range of wearable health devices and ThreeHealth’s custom dashboard gives an in-depth platform to record and interpret client data. The clinic uses a unique set of metrics from smart devices and wearable technology to optimize clients’ health and weight loss. Beyond the obvious weight management metrics of body weight and blood pressure, ThreeHealth provides their clients with BIOSENSE ketone monitors and Oura Ring sleep monitors. 

      The Three Health client dashboards consist of the following metrics:

      • Sleep and Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
        • Disrupted (e.g apnea), insufficient sleep and chronic stress all have an adverse effect on metabolism and appetite control. All ThreeHealth clients are given an Oura Ring to accurately monitor sleep quality, circadian rhythm and HRV. ThreeHealth practitioners use this data to detect sleep and stress issues and work with clients on corrective measures
      • Ketosis
        • Entering into a state of nutritional ketosis is an important part of the ThreeHealth program. ThreeHealth uses the BIOSENSE breath acetone meter to teach clients how to maintain a state of ketosis for optimal weight loss, blood sugar control and energy levels.
      • Macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs, and calories consumed)
        • ThreeHealth clients maintain a food journal using the Cronometer app. This allows ThreeHealth practitioners to optimize macronutrient ratios for optimal weight loss.
      • Blood Pressure
        • When needed, ThreeHealth uses the Qardioarm blood pressure cuff to remotely monitor blood pressure on clients.
      • Weight, Lean Mass, and Body Fat
        • ThreeHealth makes a keen distinction between weight and body composition. Clients use the Withings scale for monitoring weight at home, in addition to an Inbody clinical grade scale for more in-depth analysis of body fat and lean mass. 
      • Lab Testing
        • Clients also obtain periodic lab testing (cholesterol, Hba1c, etc.) to ensure all clinical markers are improving as their clients body composition, diet, sleep and stress improve during the course of the program.

      All of this data is centrally managed for each client in the Heads Up platform. This gives ThreeHealth a powerful solution for remote monitoring and tracking outcomes at the individual and aggregate levels.

      Woman at Home Using Telemedicine Portal for Weight Loss

      Conclusions

      ThreeHealth is committed to solving the metabolic health challenges with a multifaceted approach to wellness. By combining health data with behavioral counseling and nutritional programming, ThreeHealth delivers industry-leading weight loss results for their clients. HU designed a seamless user experience on both the frontend for clients and backend for practitioners, allowing the team at ThreeHealth to focus on supporting their clients, improve metabolic health, and keep weight off for a lifetime.

      Clarifying data and making it accessible to clients and practitioners paves the path to success. Like so many clinics working in functional and integrative medicine, ThreeHealth needed tools to validate their protocols and verify the effectiveness of their methods. Heads Up delivers a business development tool for new client acquisition and a data-driven platform to validate their methods and engage their clients.

      Interested in a custom data portal for your practice? Click here to learn more about the Heads Up platform and schedule a demo with one of our team members.

      The Science of Saunas: 10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits

      The Science of Saunas: 10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits

      What is a Sauna?

      Heat therapies have long been used for healing and wellness, dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Mayans. The sauna is simply a small or large room designed specifically to help you sweat. What’s more, science stands behind saunas, and modern medicine has proven 10 clinical health benefits of saunas that will leave you wanting to get your own sweat on soon.

      Different Types of Saunas

      Today, saunas are an everyday part of many cultures, from the Finnsh outdoor saunas to the Swedish batsu, the Korean jjimjilbangs, and Japanese sento. Variations of the dry and steam (or wet) saunas, as well as the latest infrared saunas, all offer a variety of health benefits, even after only a few minutes a day of use. Users report that a deep, healthy sweat generally relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, and delivers an overall sense of relaxation and well-being. 

      Over the ages, various types of dry and wet saunas have been invented, along with the latest infrared saunas that deliver direct heat to the body versus heating the air and room temperature. 

      Here’s a look at the types of saunas to consider as you evaluate incorporating them into your health regimen:

      1. Dry saunas are heated with fire, hot stones, gas, or electricity
      2. Steam saunas generate steam by applying water on the heating element
      3. Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit light that delivers radiant heat that’s absorbed by the surface of the skin

      Infrared saunas are further broken down into the following types:

      • Near infrared saunas
      • Far infrared saunas (FIR)
      • Full spectrum infrared saunas

      Infrared saunas deliver direct heat via the infrared light and at lower temperatures versus dry and wet saunas that heat the air to increase the room temperature. 

      What Happens in the Body?

      Whatever type of sauna therapy you choose, and regardless of the humidity level, the effects on the body are similar and create a variety of well-documented health benefits, such as releasing the ‘feel good’ endorphins, in addition to widening the blood vessels to improve circulation and blood flow.

      Depending on the duration of sauna use, you will see circulation improvements that are similar to the effects of moderate exercise. Your heart rate may increase to 100 to 150 beats per minute while the growth hormone release increases by as much as 200 to 300%. Sauna use can also help improve athletic performance and stamina due to that increase in circulation. 

      Still not convinced? Then let’s dive into a few more proven health benefits of sauna use, and how to accurately measure the effects.

      10 Proven Clinical Health Benefits of Sauna Use

      1. Supercharge your cell power. Heat has been proven to positively impact your mitochondria, the ‘batteries’ powering your cells, helping your body naturally produce more energy and stay fit. 
      2. Slow down Father Time (aka: aging!). Cell regeneration means you slow the aging process. And if you’re not quite convinced, check out the 20 year study of Finnish men that links two to three sauna sessions per week with a 23% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. 
      3. Detoxify heavy metals and chemicals. Everyday exposure to potentially toxic heavy metals through a variety of sources means even the most health conscious people still have toxins in the body. Regular sauna bathing helps excrete toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. 
      4. Make your heart happy and healthy. A 2018 study found that sauna bathing four to seven times per week reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by as much as 58%. 
      5. Reduce blood pressure. Sauna heat helps widen blood vessels and improve circulation, which reduces blood pressure. 
      6. Optimize athletic performance. Blood flow improvements from hyperthermic conditioning (heat conditioning) sends more blood to the heart, leading to an increase in plasma and red blood cell volume. That process delivers more oxygen throughout the body, fueling athletic performance.
      7. Improve muscle function and recovery. As more blood flow and oxygen is delivered throughout the body, muscles increase in size and muscle breakdown is diminished. One study showed that two, one-hour sauna sessions for seven days straight increases production of the human growth hormone (HGH) by two to five times
      8. Fuel weight loss. Regular sauna use is shown to regulate the appetite, increase metabolism, and improve oxygen utilization, helping to fuel weight loss along with a reduction in body fat.
      9. Boost brain function. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF increases with regular sauna use, activating the growth of new brain cells, better maintaining existing cells, and improving neuroplasticity, the brain’s process for forming new neural connections. 
      10. Ignite your immune system. Heat exposure from sauna use increases the heat shock protein, stimulating antigen-presenting cells, along with releasing cytokine, thus stimulating the body’s natural immune system. 
      11. BONUS BENEFIT: improve emotional health and mood. When your body and brain are healthy, detoxified, and destressed, and you’ve boosted endorphins, your overall mood and emotional health improves.

      Who Should Sauna, and Who Shouldn’t…

      Due to the extreme heat, certain people should avoid sauna use of any type, including pregnant women and those with specific health conditions such as low blood pressure and heart conditions. As with anything, it’s always wise to consult your medical practitioner before beginning sauna treatments.

      How to Track Your Sauna Health Benefits 

      Everyone is unique and may have very different outcomes from sauna use, so track your key metrics before and after use, as well as over a period of time, to understand specifically how sauna use is impacting you.

      For example, the Heads Up app gives you a way to enter the type of sauna you’re using, the room temperature, date, and duration. From there, you can check health stats such as blood pressure, heart rate, and more. You may even see improvements in the quality of your sleep over time

      Sauna tracking

      Ready to get started?

      If you’re ready to ‘dive into’ sauna bathing of any kind, grab a 30-day free trial of Heads Up first and decide on some of your goals for sauna use, then monitor your key health metrics before and after. You may also want to monitor various durations and frequencies, and the correlated effects on those same metrics to determine which type of sauna and frequency level is right for you. And as we always say, be sure to consult your health practitioner before starting any new health regimen! 

      ? Namaste my friends!

      – Dave

       

      Whittling Down Waist Size Using the Glucose Ketone Index with Keto-Mojo and Heads Up Health

      Whittling Down Waist Size Using the Glucose Ketone Index with Keto-Mojo and Heads Up Health

      The real power in using Heads Up Health with Keto-Mojo is being able to track and correlate biomarkers you care about, such as the GKI (Glucose Ketone Index) with other major health metrics, like body measurements.

      The leader in consumer software for personal health data analytics, Heads Up Health allows you to see your progress over weeks, month, years — all in one place. When used together with Keto-Mojo, the leader in affordable, accurate blood glucose and ketone testing meters, they’re a powerful force for helping you get into ketosis, maintain keto-adaptation, and see the big picture of your metabolic health and body composition.

      For example, our Social Media Manager, and avid Heads Up Health user, Lily Chien-Davis, correlated her GKI with her waist circumference measurements, whittling down her waist size while staying keto-adapted.

      In the graph above, Lily shares how she used Keto-Mojo to track her glucose and ketones over the past 12 months, uploading those results to Heads Up Health where we automatically calculate the glucose-ketone index (GKI), a powerful biomarker for tracking your metabolic health. 

      The graph speaks for itself as Lily slashed over five inches off her waist circumference!

      Lily first discovered the glucose ketones index as a biomarker when her husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. They used a therapeutic ketogenic diet as an adjunct to conventional treatment, consulting with Miriam Kalamian [1] and following the advice of cancer researcher, author [2] and inventor of the GKI, Thomas N Seyfried and his advice to keep the glucose ketone index low, “tracking the ratio of blood glucose to ketones as a single value”, in an effort to blast the tumors near her husband’s aorta. [3]

      As they both carefully monitored his glucose ketone index and watched his tumors rapidly shrink, she began eating keto too, surprised, as someone diagnosed with pre-diabetes, to watch her own HbA1c go down, from 5.9% to 5.2%. In 2016, she discovered Heads Up Health while listening to keto podcasts (i.e., Jimmy Moore, Ketovangelist, 2 Keto Dudes). Both she and her husband immediately signed up, excited to track their glucose, ketones, and GKI alongside their medical records and body composition data, such as weight and waist size.

      Since then, Lily has never looked back.

      Instead of using a scale to track her weight every day, which can be maddening because weight loss is never linear, she tracks her GKI alongside her waist circumference and weight once a month using our measurements feature. In the beginning she also tracked her macros, but now relies solely on eating an intuitive keto-paleo and sometimes carnivore diet, preferring to track her GKI regularly, using the graphing feature in Heads Up Health’s Analyzer to reflect on her progress, helping her stay motivated.

      Here’s Lily’s before/after photos and you can see how great she looks. Most importantly, she FEELS awesome, both mentally and physically.
      “Tracking with Keto-Mojo and Heads Up Health helped me to stay in ketosis and keto-adapted for over a year, giving me accountability and motivation to keep keto-ing on. Although I’m not completely where I’d like to be just yet, I’m free of all prescription meds, happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. My husband is now almost 4 years in remission and we recently sold our house to move into, travel and worldschool our kid in a RV, a dream we hatched up during long days of chemo infusions. People say keto is restrictive, that it’s a fad diet, but because I’ve used it for mental and physical health, it’s just a way of life for me now. The rest — feeling younger, more energy to actually want to exercise, mental clarity, and better body composition — is just icing on the cake!” – Lily Chien-Davis
      It takes a lot of courage to share this information so please give Lily a shout-out on Instagram (@hellbentonbliss). We love you Lily!

      Ready to get started? Enter your first set of baseline measurements, get yourself into nutritional ketosis and track your success!

      We’ve included a little video tutorial below to help you get started.

      Questions? Hit us up!

      Keto on!

      Dave Korsunsky | Founder  
      VIDEO: Gimme that Mojo! Tracking the GKI and Your Waist Circumference
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      Tracking the Oura HRV Coefficient of Variation (HRV CV)

      Tracking the Oura HRV Coefficient of Variation (HRV CV)

      Written by Andrew Flatt, Dave Korsunsky and Chuck Hazzard

      Overview

      We’ve released an experimental feature in Heads Up Health which automatically calculates the HRV coefficient of variation (CV) based on the data from your Oura ring.

      Why track HRV CV?

      Looking at daily HRV readings enables you to note short-term fluctuations relative to your baseline. This can be useful for observing the effects of various stressors and lifestyle factors which can help inform on behavior-modification strategies to optimize your HRV.

      Due to daily fluctuations, an isolated (i.e., single time-point) HRV measure may not truly reflect an individual’s typical HRV. Thus, some researchers and practitioners are moving towards averaging a series of daily measures to better characterize one’s autonomic activity. In turn, most HRV apps are now reporting a rolling weekly average of your HRV values.

      Tracking the rolling weekly average provides a better indication of whether your HRV is actually changing in a given direction. In addition, instead of reacting to an isolated change in HRV, a more conservative and convenient approach would be to react only when the rolling average starts to change. One low HRV reading may not be of much concern and would have little impact on the weekly average. However, a series of low scores will reduce the rolling average and may indicate that it’s time to do something about it.

      Along with your rolling weekly HRV average, further insight can be gained by monitoring the Coefficient of Variation (CV) among the rolling HRV values. This is because the magnitude of HRV fluctuations can change from week to week, with or without out much change in the rolling average. How much your HRV fluctuates on a day-to-day basis is quite meaningful. Large fluctuations increase the CV while smaller fluctuations lower it.

      Interpreting HRV Coefficient of Variation (HRV CV) values

      Typical HRV CV values range from 2 – 20%. If we were to take a random sample of adults and measure their HRV for a week, we would probably find that individuals who are younger, healthier (i.e., without disease), leaner and more aerobically fit will fall on the lower end of that range and less-healthy individuals on the higher end.

      Regardless of what your CV is at a given time, it’s important to know that it can and will change. Now, whether an increase or decrease in your CV should be interpreted as good or bad is entirely context-dependent. We’ll use some practical examples to explain.

      Among healthy individuals, an increased CV is typically associated with greater stress, fatigue, and lower fitness. Vice versa for a lower CV. Thus, the CV is a useful value for assessing adaptation to a new fitness program or lifestyle change. For example, unfamiliar stress will typically cause greater fluctuations in HRV (i.e., increased CV). However, as you become familiar with the new routine, there should be less fluctuation (i.e., decreased CV) which is a sign of positive adaptation. What was once quite stressful to your body is no longer as stressful.

      Reductions in the CV are typically good, indicative of increasing fitness, lower stress (or improved stress tolerance) and so forth. There are exceptions, however. For example, suppose your new training program or work schedule is overbearing. Accumulating stress causes an initial increase in your CV. As things continue, your healthy eating habits start to wane, your sleep deteriorates and you become rundown. In this context, your HRV readings may become chronically suppressed, failing to bounce back to baseline. Thus, your rolling average has now decreased, as has your CV.

      How we calculate Oura HRV CV

      At the time of this post, Oura currently does not report the HRV CV in their app. Thus we are calculating this in Heads Up Health using the average HRV value during the sleep cycle as reported by the Oura app:

      Oura HRV Coefficient of Variance (CV)

      Figure 1: Oura HRV Average

      Using these average HRV values we then calculate the Oura Coefficient of Variation (HRV CV) as follows:

      • Calculate the natural logarithm (ln) value of the nightly HRV average as reported by the Oura app (figure 1)
      • Calculate the mean and standard deviation from the prior 7-day HRV values
      • Divide the standard deviation by the mean
      • Show as a percentage

      Note: Some experts in the field have suggested a more accurate method would be to look at the Oura HRV readings from the deep (slow wave) sleep states or by looking at the HRV readings just prior to waking. We are open to changing our approach here based on feedback from users. Feel free to send us your comments.

      Tracking Oura CV in Heads Up Health

      You can now add the Oura CV metric onto your Heads Up Health dashboard:

      Add the Oura HRV CV to your dashboard

      Figure 2: Add the Oura HRV CV to your dashboard

      You can also graph this marker on the Analyzer next to any other health metric to explore your own correlations:

      Compare your Oura HRV CV metrics on the Analyzer

      Figure 3: Compare your Oura HRV CV metrics on the Analyzer

      Moving the needle

      Why would these numbers increase or decrease? The CV reflects the fluctuation in your day-to-day HRV over the last 7 days. High or low HRV readings relative to your baseline will, therefore, contribute to a higher CV whereas more consistent or stable HRV readings will contribute to a lower CV.

      Why is lower better?

      When the rolling average is stable or increasing, a lower CV reflects less disturbance in autonomic homeostasis. This may mean that you are experiencing less stress or simply coping with it better.

      The CV must always be interpreted in context. For example, a night of high-quality sleep may increase HRV well-above baseline, contributing to a higher CV. In a situation like this, the elevated CV is obviously not reflecting higher stress. In addition, stress is important as it stimulates adaptation. Therefore, an increased CV is a normal response to a greater or novel stimulus. However, repeated exposure and adaptation to the stimulus should provoke smaller HRV fluctuations over time and therefore a lower CV. Here, the reduced CV reflects an improved ability to tolerate and recover from the stressor and thus a capacity for greater stress.

      Important lifestyle factors which can affect HRV CV

      Any factor that alters HRV from baseline contributes to an increased CV. Common factors that affect HRV include:

      • Travel/jet lag
      • Physical stress such as high-intensity exercise
      • Mental and emotional stress
      • Over-training / injury
      • Sleep quality and quantity
      • Illness
      • Drastic changes to daily routines
      • Pain
      • Blood sugar fluctuations
      • Hydration

      Heads Up Health can help you holistically track these other lifestyle factors to help identify areas that need attention.

      Summary

      The HRV CV is another powerful biomarker we can use to further understand how we are managing the stressors in our daily lives. Heads Up Health now supports this metric. This is an initial implementation and we will further refine this feature as required.

      Ready to start tracking your Oura HRV CV? Start your free trial using the button below!

      START TRACKING!

      References and Recommended Reading on the CV

      Flatt, A.A. Improving HRV Data Interpretation with the Coefficient of Variation https://elitehrv.com/improving-hrv-data-interpretation-coefficient-variation

      Buchheit, M., Mendez-Villanueva, A., Quod, M. J., Poulos, N., & Bourdon, P. (2010). Determinants of the variability of heart rate measures during a competitive period in young soccer players. European journal of applied physiology, 109(5), 869-878.

      Flatt, A. A., & Howells, D. (2019). Effects of varying training load on heart rate variability and running performance among an olympic rugby sevens team. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 22(2), 222-226.

      Flatt, A. A., Esco, M. R., Allen, J. R., Robinson, J. B., Earley, R. L., Fedewa, M. V., … & Wingo, J. E. (2018). Heart rate variability and training load among national collegiate athletic association division 1 college football players throughout spring camp. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 32(11), 3127-3134.

      Flatt, A. A., & Esco, M. R. (2016). Evaluating individual training adaptation with smartphone-derived heart rate variability in a collegiate female soccer team. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 30(2), 378-385.

      Flatt, A. A., Hornikel, B., & Esco, M. R. (2017). Heart rate variability and psychometric responses to overload and tapering in collegiate sprint-swimmers. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 20(6), 606-610.

      Flatt, A. A., Esco, M. R., Nakamura, F. Y., & Plews, D. J. (2017). Interpreting daily heart rate variability changes in collegiate female soccer players. J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness, 57, 907-915.

      Flatt, A. A., & Esco, M. R. (2015). Smartphone-derived heart-rate variability and training load in a women’s soccer team. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 10(8), 994-1000.

      Nakamura, F. Y., Pereira, L. A., Rabelo, F. N., Flatt, A. A., Esco, M. R., Bertollo, M., & Loturco, I. (2016). Monitoring weekly heart rate variability in futsal players during the preseason: the importance of maintaining high vagal activity. Journal of sports sciences, 34(24), 2262-2268.

      Plews, D. J., Laursen, P. B., Kilding, A. E., & Buchheit, M. (2012). Heart rate variability in elite triathletes, is variation in variability the key to effective training? A case comparison. European journal of applied physiology, 112(11), 3729-3741.

      Tonello, L., Reichert, F. F., Oliveira-Silva, I., Del Rosso, S., Leicht, A. S., & Boullosa, D. A. (2016). Correlates of heart rate measures with incidental physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness in overweight female workers. Frontiers in physiology, 6, 405.