Online Digital Health Platforms Help Businesses Better Understand The Physical And Mental Wellbeing Of Their Workforce

I had the pleasure of interviewing Davina Deniszczyc, Medical Director, Nuffield Health.

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Davina Deniszczyc, Medical Director, Nuffield Health.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

Nuffield Health is one of the leading not-for-profit UK healthcare organizations, looking after people for more than 60 years.

Through our experts, we link our sites and services up to offer connected healthcare provision, including nutritional therapy, emotional wellbeing, occupational health, comprehensive health assessments, personal training and hospital treatments.

Our aim is to ensure we offer the right services for your employees. We pride ourselves on our consultative approach, working with all stakeholders and health partners to truly understand your needs.

By connecting people to our experts and services, we help them achieve, maintain and recover to the level of health and fitness they aspire to. Last year alone, we saved our clients over £10 million in lost working days.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

We offer proactive lifestyle guidance alongside the traditional analysis of your health. We bring together the latest assessment technology, with the expertise of a team of experienced doctors and physiologists, specially trained in the delivery of our Health Assessments and lifestyle coaching.

Nuffield Health is unique in that we are an independent, not-for-profit organisation. We have neither shareholders, nor investors and our surplus are put back into improving infrastructure, completing refurbishments or enhancing the skills of our staff. Our independence from the government and the stock market, allows us to plan for the long-term and make rational strategic decisions that benefit the customer.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

Today, employers are increasingly being expected to support their employees’ health needs. Technology means we can provide this support in new ways and look at every aspect of health, including physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Nuffield Health has just developed a new personalised health assessment (PATH), which uses technology and large evidence-based algorithms. Completing a secure online questionnaire helps determine a comprehensive assessment of a person’s unique healthcare needs and risks.

This won’t entirely do away with the doctor. It might be at the end of the assessment, PATH recommends a personalised face-to-face consultation. The system will also suggest appropriate modules to benefit employees the most and set them off on their personalised journey to better health.

For organisations who offer this to their employees, it allows them to build up an anonymised picture of the health of their workforce and identify areas of organisational health risk data to drive future wellbeing strategy and provide market-leading wellbeing services to their employees.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

There are various ways you can keep employees healthy and productive in the workplace, so they thrive such as:

  • Providing support for stress and your employees’ personal problems by implementing employee assistance programmes (EAPs). EAPS offer direct, confidential contact with experts who can support individuals with areas causing emotional distress, from family issues to work-related problems, addiction and mental illness. Research has shown these benefits help to reduce the costs of presenteeism.
  • Allowing employees to practice flexible working, especially as it has been proven there is no difference in the perceived importance of flexible working options between those with children and those without. Often flexible working has a positive impact on overall productivity.
  • Wellbeing is strongly tied to feeling valued and appreciated. Employees want to know their employer has their best interests at heart and if they get sick, they’ll be met with understanding and assistance. Set about developing a workplace culture that celebrates and nurtures wellbeing and encourages employees to take the time off they need.
  • Diet is a key factor in a well workforce. Start by making sure employees have access to healthy food onsite. Consider collaborating with nutritional experts to develop a balanced offering that they’ll enjoy and will help them manage their own health and weight. Employees who are overweight or obese are more likely to get sick or injured and take time off work.
  • Bringing the health professionals in-house. Many forward-thinking businesses now provide onsite clinics staffed by health professionals a few hours a week. An onsite GP makes afternoons off to visit the doctor a thing of the past. While physiotherapists can help employees recover from injury during their lunch break. The presence of an emotional wellbeing therapist within the workplace communicates the message that a dialogue about mental health is both welcomed and expected.
  • Offer extras like personalised health assessments, education seminars, beauty therapy and nutritional services. They might seem like unnecessary extras but it’s all part of creating a culture of health and wellbeing where employees are empowered to take care of themselves.
  • When employees do get sick or injured, help them to get back on their feet as soon as possible by providing a private medical insurance package and partnering with a private provider of clinical services. Choose a partner that offers a holistic end-to-end service to make sure your employees are fit and ready to return to work.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

As a trading charity, we do not have investors or shareholders to answer to — our customers and patients come first. We invest all our income back into running and developing our health and wellbeing sites and services and pioneering new models of care and delivery so that more people can benefit.

Can you share the top five ways that technology is changing the experience of going to the doctor?

Robot-assisted surgery

  • Robots are fast becoming handy assistants in our operating theatres, but they are still controlled by surgeons with years of training and experience.
  • A robot’s job begins long before the patient arrives for surgery. In the weeks ahead of the operation we take a 3D CT scan of the patient’s body and feed the information into a robot’s computer. Surgeons can then plan the operation to within fractions of a millimeter with the robot’s assistance.
  • Matching the planned surgery to the live environment is what makes robot-assisted surgery so useful. Surgeons use robot arms as an extension of themselves, guiding surgical tools to the correct position.
  • For patients, this surgery’s been shown to result in shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery and higher satisfaction. There’s also strong evidence of decreased pain and complications following surgery

 The growth of bespoke

  • The use of online digital platforms such as our personalized health assessment PATH technology is starting to track historic and real-time health data to help businesses better understand the physical and mental wellbeing of their workforce.
  • PATH uses a number of evidence-based mathematical algorithms to determine a person’s risk factors and generate a completely bespoke assessment for them. The data collected is used to drive an organisation’s future wellbeing strategy, increasing its success rate and return on investment.
  • Our hope is, businesses will be able to create a more tailored approach to corporate wellbeing strategies, which will help employers reduce absenteeism and increase staff productivity.

Virtual GPS

  • Thanks to developments in technology it’s now becoming possible to access doctors online. At Nuffield Health we’re starting to offer this as a service to businesses, so no matter where you are in the world it will help you to look after your employees, provide duty of care when they are travelling abroad and support them to take control of their wellbeing.
  • The Virtual GP service also provides healthcare management tools, whilst seamlessly integrating into the real world for in-person GP consultations, health assessments, diagnostics and further treatment.
  • Virtual consultations are changing the healthcare industry as with easier access to a UK-trained GP, employees will be able to fit their appointments around their work and lifestyle commitments. No more needing to take hard-earned holiday leave purely to address health concerns — or putting them off altogether due to work commitments.
  • By providing a truly valued benefit, you can increase employee satisfaction and support your workforce to take proactive action in managing their health. A healthier and happier workforce will, in turn, increase productivity.

Ambient Technology

  • Having a CT or MRI scan can be a little intimidating. That’s why we’re using technology to improve the patient experience. Our Manchester Diagnostic Suite has installed ambient technology to help put control back into the hands of the patient.
  • With a combination of lighting, soundscapes and video projections, the room is transformed into a beach, a forest or a desert canyon at the touch of a button.
  • Ambient technology is a decade-old invention, but some healthcare providers have struggled to make it work in the MRI environment. For cranial scans patients are required to go head-first into the bore and stay there for prolonged periods of time. With their field of vision narrowed to the space immediately in front of them, ambient technology that transforms the room outside the bore is useless.
  • The breakthrough was as simple as it was effective — a mirror placed over the patient’s head — enabling them to see out the back of the machine to the wall behind, where the video could be projected in an unconfined space.


  • Wearable technology plays a prominent role in today’s healthcare transformation and is closely intertwined with a growing, new healthcare delivery model. Now care is being provided to the patient, wherever they are, rather than them having to visit a medical facility.
  • Many devices are undergoing exciting design refreshes to improve the patient experience. They are becoming smaller, more mobile and creating new alternatives to the traditional ways providers have interacted with patients, collected data and performed tests.
  • Soon medical-grade wearables will become more mainstream, transmitting regular readings about patient conditions to their doctors, who could use these algorithms to provide accurate diagnoses or treatments upon their next doctor’s visit.
  • The concept is that patients will be able to wear wearables outside of the doctor’s office to continuously gather relevant data instead of only getting measurements at their next check-up. It produces opportunities you can’t have when you perform intermittent annual data sampling.

Jilea Hemmings CEO & Co-Founder of Best Tyme. She is running a series on how diversity can increase a company’s bottom line

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