September 21, 2020

    User vs. Non-user Engagement and Medical Cost Savings

    The Challenge

    With over 1000 student-athletes and only 4 full time performance staff, the University of Pennsylvania was experiencing difficulty in the ability to:

    • Assess each individual frequently

    • Identify individual deficiencies objectively

    • Provide individualized training plans and monitor engagement

    The top priority of the athletic department was to improve the health and wellness of their student-athletes. In order to do this, the staff was looking for a way to eliminate “guesswork” by identifying an individual’s weak link, but the ratio of student-athletes to staff alone made this an impossible task with their existing protocols.

    The staff was tasked with finding a central, scalable system to enable the athletic department to be more efficient, and actionable.


    “We have the ability (with Sparta) to put in a place a program that will assess the deficits and train them appropriately to minimize that risk.”

    — Dr. Brian Sennett: Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Head Team Physician

    The Solution

    With the intent to provide individualized programming to reduce injuries, the staff introduced the Sparta Platform in 2015. Penn used the suite of Sparta scans to assess each student-athlete to identify injury risk, and create an individualized training program. All 1000 student-athletes were scanned throughout the year as determined by the sport, but some teams had better usage than others. The data was shared among the athletic department (athletes, sports coaches, sports medicine/performance staff, Administration) and implementation strategy and compliance depended on the performance and sports coach of each team. With 33 varsity sports, all teams were able to utilize the Sparta system but some teams had more consistent usage than others. In future analysis, teams were split into two separate groups: Sparta user teams and Non-user teams.

    By measuring engagement, scanning every 3-4 weeks and adjusting programs based on scan changes, the university was able to identify that Sparta users saw a decrease in the volume of injuries and the cost of those injuries vs the non-user group.

    On top of that the University, as a whole, experienced drastic reductions in the number of total insurance claims due to injury and the total dollar amount billed.

    As a result of the longitudinal success of Sparta’s implementation, University of Pennsylvania’s Health System, Penn Medicine, has authored and published several research studies using Sparta data, including:

    Tag(s): Sparta Science

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