Health Care and Human Resources

Wellness firm measures effectiveness of businesses, leaders

January 1, 2016
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The key to solving a business’s challenges is to solve the holistic health of both its leadership and employees.

This is what Joel Robertson, CEO and founder of Nevada-based Robertson Wellness, has discovered in his more than 30 years of studying a behavior model he uses to help a business improve on its talent.

Robertson Wellness, an applied behavioral medicine company that provides predictive, personalized precision medicine programs, opened a location in Grand Rapids last year, and also has locations in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in Australia. The company is working to make a major impact in West Michigan, not only with large businesses but also small ones.

Robertson, a respected leader in the field of brain chemistry, author of a number of books and worldwide speaker on the subject, is also the founder and CEO of the Robertson Research Institute, which has been involved in research in the areas of addictions, compulsive disorders, predictive analytics and behavioral medicine for more than 10 years.

The institute has been the recipient of grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson and Johnson, World Vision and other organizations. Most of its work has been in the area of artificial intelligence, predictive medicine and diagnostics, and precision medicine.

With Robertson Wellness, Robertson narrows his focus on the human condition.

“Our technology is a comprehensive (brain, body, emotional, behavior and spiritual health) and personalized physiological assessment that addresses ‘the cards you’ve been dealt.’ Those five cards are brain, reward center, body, beliefs and environment. Out of that, we provide a precision medicine population health program that provides recommendations based upon what the participant will do, rather than what they should do,” he said.

“No other company evaluates brain health in combination with disease risk factors and predictive indicators to ensure the most successful outcome for each user. We evaluate over 287,000 variables to truly have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to tailored and precision-based population health programs. We have proven programs shown through various outcome studies all within a unique proprietary technology based upon 20 years of clinical research and assessments of more than 14,000 people.”

Just as a vehicle has a check engine light to indicate a problem, so too does a body, said Marc Decker, chief operating officer.

“RW works with individuals to address, manage and remove their performance inhibitors to optimize their performance and turbo-charge their business,” Decker said.

“Robertson Health has had satellite technology offices here since 2004, but as of 2014 moved to Grand Rapids. We believe that the move to Grand Rapids was natural. We had several business relationships here in town and with growth of the medical community over the years and spirit of innovation, we feel that we can create Grand Rapids to be a hub for behavioral health nationwide.”

Robertson developed what he calls “The Robertson Model of Behavior” in 1978. He had a private practice until going into business with Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, and Little Caesars Pizza. 

RW moved into corporate performance with companies such as Pfizer, Leo Burnett, Little Caesars, Dow Corning and Furniture Row Companies. Robertson then decided to continue the work at the corporate level while also expanding RW’s offering to small business, start-ups and family-run companies.

In 2016, RW plans to focus on three things in West Michigan, Decker said: partnering with an educator, which it’s already done and continues to do; working closely with a health care system to conduct clinical research protocols for reimbursement of the program, which it’s in the process of doing; and finding self-insured organizations in Grand Rapids to conduct demonstration projects with Robertson specialists and packaged reimbursable program, which it’s also in the process of doing.

RW’s education partner is Ferris State University, Decker said. The collaboration, which was done through RRI, started in summer 2015. It was created to develop applications of precision medicine in health care practices, with initial steps focusing on delivery of behavioral medicine to specific populations.

“We have certified four behavioral medicine assistants and 13 behavioral medicine specialists in Q4 of 2015,” Decker said. “We are moving into 2016 to conduct more certification for students and also facilitate a clerkship program with the 13 specialists within small businesses in Grand Rapids.”

RW’s first goal in working with a business is to provide an eight-week Peak program to determine what health and performance inhibitors are affecting executives. The program is designed to determine health and performance inhibitors, and to remove them. Upon completion of the eight-week program, RW deploys ongoing health and performance programs tailored specifically to the company/team aggregated data and conclusions of Peak Basic, Decker said. For a small business, the cost is $2,500, he said. Ongoing costs for further deployment phases are determined at the conclusion of the previous phase and dependent on level of engagement required to ensure optimal success.

The outcomes of these services are well worth the work, Decker said.

“In order to develop state-of-the-art programs, it is important that outcome studies are performed. These studies help to improve offerings and assess product effectiveness and use,” he said. “Robertson Wellness has more than 14 outcome demonstration studies that range from eight weeks to one year in follow up. All combined, studies show an improvement in performance in their job ranging from 85 percent to 92.3 percent.”

After years of treating people, Robinson stressed that the No. 1 problem he sees is people’s relational elements.

“Executives have found that relationships with themselves, God and people close to them are the No. 1 issue that has suffered while creating a successful business,” he said.

“We help them decrease their stress, get re-engaged with their families and develop a stronger purpose in life.”

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