Category: Wellness

congressThis is not a political blog post.  This is a post about real-world problems that have readily available solutions.

A particularly nasty partisan political disease has infected the American government.  Regardless of one’s political beliefs, there is widespread agreement that the current budget crisis is solvable and politicians must work together to find the cure.  A solution can be achieved simply, or maybe not so simply, by agreeing on which path to take.

Reducing the proliferation and costs related to chronic diseases may not be an easy problem to solve, but like the budget crisis, solutions to this problem exist.  According to the CDC, 75% of America’s healthcare dollars are spent on the treatment of chronic diseases.  “Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S.”  As the CDC notes, chronic diseases are among the most preventable health problems, in other words, this is a problem we can solve.

Wellable believes that employee wellness programs are essential to solving the chronic disease problem.  The average American spends two thirds of his or her waking life at work and employers can use this time-intensive relationship to help promote healthy employee behavior.  The workplace can be used to facilitate team-based health competitions or converted into a lunchtime yoga studio.  Effective corporate wellness programs lead to healthy behaviors, which can decrease the likelihood of chronic diseases and their associated healthcare costs.  If we are serious about solving the chronic disease problem, than employee wellness can no longer be a nice-to-have, it needs to be a must-have for all American companies.

There are many political and health problems that can’t be solved, some because of lack of resources, others because of limited knowledge.  The budget and chronic disease crises are two problems that can be solved, and for this reason alone, Team Wellable is optimistic.

For more on the CDC and chronic disease: http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm


Category: Corporate Wellness

Company Wellness DayBefore Wellable, I worked for a large company of over 30,000 employees.  One of the best days of the year was not a day at work, but our community service day.  All 30,000 employees and summer interns were required to commit one day a year to community service.  Employees could choose from a long list of community service options spread across the summer months.  All service events were coordinated and vetted by our employer.  Options ranged from picking up trash along the Hudson River to putting a fresh coat of paint on a local elementary school’s classroom walls.  The commitment was a full day’s work, and if we were lucky we didn’t have to return the office to put in a few hours at night (though we usually weren’t lucky).

I looked forward to our community service day for two reasons – it was an opportunity to help others and it was a chance to bond with my team outside of work.  Our team bonded while struggling to weed a tomato farm in 90-degree heat and built camaraderie while organizing an elementary school’s summer carnival.  We returned from each service day mentally refreshed and ready to tackle challenges at work.

I imagine that many companies have similar community service programs, but how many firms have a required wellness day?  Companies will encourage wellness events like the JPM Corporate Challenge or team softball, but few firms require that all employees participate in one team-based wellness event each year.  A wellness day is a great way to build a culture of health and wellness and reinvest in employees.   Like a community service day, a wellness day is an opportunity for employees to interact across divisions, build new relationships, and strengthen friendships outside of the normal work setting.

Even if a company can’t commit to a required wellness day, there are still ways to use to wellness to strengthen the company culture.  A corporate wellness program should be used as an opportunity to foster teamwork and build employee camaraderie.  When designing wellness programs, Wellable often structures small team-based wellness competitions.  Team competitions drive higher employee engagement and more effective wellness behavior change, while also providing an opportunity for cross division interaction.


Category: Wellness

Wellable loves using Vine.  For those unfamiliar with Vine, think of it as Twitter with video.  With Vine, you can easily create and share short (~6 second) video clips from your smartphone.

Vine videos are interesting, concise, and fun.

Wellable uses Vine to connect with employer clients in interesting and unique ways.  The below video was sent to a few Wellable clients last week.

Watch “Is Wellable on your Fall To Do List?”

https://vine.co/v/hvzXYZ5WI9T

Many of the same marketing and public relations tools and strategies used to promote a business can also be used to drive employee engagement in a wellness program. Vine is a great way to quickly share a message, send a reminder, and catch your employee’s attention.

Are you using Vine as part of your wellness program?  Tell us how @GetWellable.


Category: Mobile Wellness

Apple M7On Tuesday September 10th, Apple made its most significant health and wellness announcement to date.  If you keep up with mhealth (mobile health) news, you’ve probably read plenty on Apple’s M7 processor.  If you’re not an mhealth news junkie, then you may have missed the significance of Apple’s M7 announcement and it’s impact on the wellness market.

Apple’s new 5s iPhone will have two processors, the A7 and the M7.  The A7 is the main processor.  The M7 is a motion co-processor and works alongside the A7.  The M7 continuously measures motion data coming from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass without having to wakeup the main A7 chip.  By not waking up the A7 chip, the iPhone consumes less battery power when measuring motion.

The new iPhone is optimized for mobile wellness. 

Mobile health and wellness apps like Moves, which functions as a smartphone pedometer and uses the iPhone’s technology to track movement 24 hours a day will be able to do so while draining less battery power.  The M7 is a big win for mobile wellness apps.  Apple’s motion processor will lead to improved mobile wellness experiences and encourage users who had been concerned about their phone’s battery life to give mobile wellness another shot.

For Apple’s announcement of the M7: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2013/


Category: Engagement

The engineers behind the next generation of technology-powered smart cars know what their consumers demand: a high level of innovation in interface, experience and convenience. Why should wellness solution providers, who handle our most precious commodity – our health – be any less cutting-edge?

Veronica Combs wrote an article titled, “What the Car Industry Can Teach Healthcare About Appealing to Millennials.”  In this article, she notes the similarities between the “challenges car makers face and the ones healthcare leaders are trying to figure out.”

back-to-the-future-deloreanAccording to Combs, one of the similar challenges is that “young people have high expectations about interface, experience, and convenience.”  While these three qualities may be particularly true for a young population, Wellable believes they apply broadly, to all age demographics.  Interface, experience, and convenience must be carefully crafted to enhance a health and wellness experience that drives user engagement.

Below are a few ways that Wellable thinks about interface, experience, and convenience:

Interface
Wellness resources must be accessible.  Accessibility starts and ends with the user interface.  If the user can’t intuitively navigate the interface, frustration ensues, and user engagement diminishes.  Wellness data must tell a personal wellness story and be presented in an accessible and digestible format.

Experience
Wellness needs to be as enjoyable as possible.  A well-constructed wellness program optimizes the experience through a number of means.  Some users will enjoy the social experience while others will be motivated by peer-to-peer competition or personal goals and achievement.  A personalized wellness experience drives engagement.  Each individual’s wellness experience must be uniquely tailored to his or her needs, goals, interests, and lifestyle.

Convenience
Wellness must be convenient.  Mobile wellness allows for users to engage in health and wellness resources on-demand 24/7.  On-demand 24/7 doesn’t mean wellness needs to be used around the clock.  In fact, the important of convenient wellness is that engagement occurs on each user’s terms – when he or she wants and not when it’s inconvenient.

Accessible interface, enjoyable experience, and convenient solution are cornerstones of Wellable’s high-engagement mobile wellness experience.  To find out more, reach out to Wellable today.

For Veronica Combs’ article: http://medcitynews.com/2013/08/what-the-car-industry-can-teach-healthcare-about-appealing-to-millennials/


Category: Mobile Wellness

In a recent article titled, “Why Can’t All My Sensors Get Along?” Michael Essany highlights the lack of meaningful connectivity among mobile wellness apps and devices.  Essany argues that while health and wellness resources are available, they are fragmented, live in their own bubble, and have yet to be connected to provide a holistic wellness solution.

man putting puzzle together

Wellable is the answer to Essany’s call for an interconnected “24/7 mobile health platform.”

Wellable’s mobile wellness platform connects health and wellness mobile apps and provides a meaningful, interconnected wellness experience for each user.  As mentioned in a previous blog post, Wellable builds a customized health and wellness ecosystem around each user.  This individual mobile wellness ecosystem learns, evolves, and becomes smarter as it matures.

Wellable believes there are a few features that are essential to achieve what Essany calls “interoperability among today’s leading and emerging mobile health technologies.”

Connectivity – seamless integration across multiple mobile wellness technologies

Aggregation – one place for the user to view, track, and assess health and wellness activity

Goals – ability for the user to set meaningful health and wellness goals and track activity in relation to those goals

Feedback – a technology platform that communicates to the user and provides user-specific advice and encouragement to optimize the mobile wellness experience

Customization – a platform that uses data, goals, and feedback analysis to become smarter and provide a unique and more customized experience for each user

For Michael Essany’s article: http://medcitynews.com/2013/08/why-cant-all-my-sensors-get-along/

To find out more about Wellable’s 24/7 mobile wellness ecosystem, reach out to Wellable today at info@wellable.co.


Category: Wellness

Nick Patel from Wellable answers this question for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s Make Americans Healthier Challenge.

Nick discusses using mobile wellness to make prevention a priority and help keep Americans healthy.  Watch Wellable’s video to learn about the 6 key elements that make mobile wellness effective:

  • Distribution
  • Automated tracking
  • High engagement
  • Analytics
  • Feedback loop
  • Flexibility


Category: Corporate Wellness

Wellness programs allow hospitals to improve the health and lower the medical expenses of their patient population as well as employers, including their own.

hospital-art-toyWith the emergence of the ACO model,hospitals will broaden their focus beyond just treating the sick to keeping people healthy by preventing expensive hospital visits.  With most of the resources for a traditional wellness program (flu shots, biometric screenings, etc.) in-house, hospitals are well positioned to engage in population health management, and progressive institutions have already begun to deliver wellness programs with existing resources.  For example, two Florida hospitals have been experimenting with patient wellness programs.  “Since 2010, Florida Hospital has been offering a wellness program called ‘Change Your Life With Florida Hospital’ that provides rewards and encouragement for patients to make positive lifestyle changes.”  Another hospital in Florida, Halifax Health, just launched a similar program.

As hospitals begin to embrace more innovative technology-driven wellness solutions to drive higher engagement and more effective behavior change, progressive and modern solutions, such as mobile wellness, will be particularly helpful in engaging with and reducing the healthcare costs of difficult to reach populations.

biometric-screening

Like other employers, hospitals want their employees to be healthy because healthy employees are cheaper to insure, more productive, miss fewer days of work, and are generally happier.  With the same resources used for population health management, hospitals can deliver wellness programs internally and externally to other employers.

As the mobile wellness movement continues to pick up steam, hospitals will be well positioned to deploy high-engagement mobile wellness to themselves and other employers.  According to one study, “By next year, 9 in 10 healthcare providers will use smartphones.”  With high employee smartphone adoption, hospitals will be able to seamlessly deploy mobile wellness solutions to employees.

For more on hospital wellness programs: http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20130809/BUSINESS/130809450/1024?p=1&tc=pg&tc=ar

For more on healthcare provider mobile technology trends: http://www.epocrates.com/oldsite/statistics/2013%20Epocrates%20Mobile%20Trends%20Report_FINAL.pdf

Reach out to Wellable to learn more about mobile wellness and how your hospital can offer high-engagement wellness programs.


Category: Mobile Wellness

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, each state is required to have an insurance exchange or marketplace where individuals can purchase health insurance.  The rise of individual health insurance marketplaces presents an opportunity for insurers to capture a new market of previously uninsured individuals.

With many insurers offering similar products on the insurance exchange, finding ways to differentiate from competitors will be essential.  Insurers will need to think beyond price and provider networks and find creative and innovative ways to differentiate and gain market share.

Wellness is a tool insurers can use to capture market share and differentiate from other competitors in the marketplace.  A properly designed wellness program encourages and rewards healthy behavior while simultaneously lowering health care costs – a win for consumers and a win for insurers.

Below are a few ways that an insurer can benefit from including an innovative mobile wellness program as a health plan feature:

Member Satisfaction
A wellness offering demonstrates a health plan’s alignment with member health.  Members will appreciate the opportunity to receive rewards for being healthy.

Big Data Care Management
Health insurers can leverage wellness data to provide real-time care management analytics to help manage members’ health and offer more robust, timely, and accurate services.

Lower Medical Expense For Health Plans and Consumers
Wellness programs can help improve the health of plan members by encouraging and rewarding members to track healthy activities through mobile apps.  Health plans benefit from healthy members who are less expensive to insure.

Attract The Elusive Young Adult Population
Insurers have had difficulty enticing young adults to purchase insurance on the individual market.  An innovative wellness program that leverages mobile smartphone technology will particularly resonate with a younger population.


Category: Mobile Wellness

Monday: You run 3 miles during lunch
Tuesday: You bike 2 miles to work instead of taking the bus
Wednesday: You read an article about the benefits of sleep
Thursday: You go to bed an hour earlier than normal
Friday: You opt for a spinach salad instead of a hamburger for lunch
Saturday: You refill your blood pressure medication at CVS
Sunday: You use coupons to buy locally grown avocados at Whole Foods

Your life is full of fragmented health and wellness decisions and activities.  Connecting these activities and making sense of them is a challenge.  With the help of innovative new technology, connecting these fragments in a meaningful way is now possible.

Wellable has built a technology platform that allows users to seamlessly connect fragmented health and wellness activities, decisions, and behaviors.

We call this an individual health and wellness ecosystem.UntitledThrough a platform that integrates with mobile apps, users can engage in, track, and improve health and wellness behavior across multiple apps.  Each user has a unique mobile wellness experience that is customized based on the user’s health and wellness needs and behaviors.

Ask us how Wellable can help build a health and wellness ecosystem for your employees.