EveryMove blog

It’s Not About Wellness vs. Disease Management – It’s Way More Personal

By Russell Benaroya



One of the problems that we have in healthcare is that we love labels (probably not restricted to healthcare).  Labels are easy because it allows us to classify groups of things without individual nuances.  That works for things like blocks (square blocks vs. rectangle blocks) or for technology (smartphone vs. tablet vs. desktop) but it’s really hard in healthcare to apply that to people.  But that’s what we have done.

We have created these very ambiguous silos in healthcare to help people better manage their health when they are not in a clinical setting (which most of us aren’t that often).  We call it wellness or disease management.  Unfortunately wellness gets assigned to people that are generally in a state of good health (let’s keep it that way) and disease management is about people that are in a state of bad health (let’s fix you).  Hmmm.    It’s just simply not that black and white.   The problem is even worse in that wellness tends to be an “employer” program and disease management tends to be offered by health insurance companies.  Hmmm.  It’s just not that disconnected.


The Affordable Care Act and Technology are converging these two disciplines into a single purpose:  PERSONALIZATION.

Let’s discuss how and why:

Providers
With outcome based reimbursement, physicians are motivated to keep track of patients that aren’t adhering to a course of prescribed care.  How are physicians going about doing that?  Well, they aren’t doing it that well.  Once the patient leaves a clinical setting, the data feedback loop that helps a physician intervene when there is an exception is far and few between.  Yes there is population health software that helps identify patients but the programs that actually activate and engage?  Not happening. 

Many patients don’t have a costly disease yet (a few risk factors maybe) but it might be incumbent upon the provider to recommend continued engagement around movement and nutrition.  Maybe one person also needs a bit of coaching support because they respond well to that.  Maybe one individual has a significant financial burden and would benefit from connecting to an advisor that could work with them.   We know that stresses in other areas of life can have a dramatic impact on health.  So what label would you place on these people?  Wellness or Disease Management?  Neither….it’s called PERSONALIZATION.

Health Plans
Health plans are also really motivated by personalization.  They have mandates through Medicare (STARS) to deliver individual programs that if not delivered effectively could threaten their status as a Medicare Advantage provider.  They also have ratings they are driving like HEDIS (Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set) which have a big impact on their marketability to employers.  Putting the right program in place for the right person at the right time (so that they actually use it) is essential.

Consumer Technology
Technology is also driving the benefits of personalization.  Millions of us are carrying around smartphones or wearable devices tracking certain health statistics (steps, heart rate, miles, etc.).  This technology is by no means limited to the wellness or disease management label.  The data is about each individual person, where they are in their life, what success looks like for them, and what value they receive from their progress. 


"Our personal health is not about living in labels."
Russell Benaroya  

Our personal health is not about living in labels.  It is about how my state of health is being supported by the connections around me (my family, friends, employers, health plan, provider).  What we need is convergence point (we call it a hub at EveryMove) where individuals are at the center and connected parties can participate/support at different stages of health.  Then we can get away from wellness vs. disease management and get to what really matters – a personalized prevention experience.

Posted on July 31, 2015 03:00 PM

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How I Move -- The Stories of People that Move us to Better Health -- Dan Price (Entrepreneur of the Year 2014)

By Russell Benaroya


photo credit:  Jose Mandojana

Sometimes a unique opportunity comes along that reinforces that strong link between a healthy body and a healthy mind.  Dan Price symbolizes that synergy as the leader of a high growth financial services technology company and national recognition as an entrepreneur making an impact.  

Dan Price founded Gravity Payments from his dorm room in 2004 and today serves over 12,000 clients across the nation with credit card processing services.  In 2010 Dan was recognized by President Obama as the Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2014 he was on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine as the Entrepreneur of the Year.  

Dan lives his philosophies on his sleeve and doesn't back away from sending a strong message for what is right.  His honesty and transparency is infectious.  In fact, in April of this year Dan made a bold move to pay all of his employees a minimum salary of $70,000 over the next three years because emotional well-being rises with income (up to approximately $75,000) according to a well regarded Princeton Study.   Now that is impressive. 

For Dan, being active and healthy fits into leadership in such a core way.  Being active is what Dan does when he's not working at Gravity.  His hobbies are about getting out and moving, whether hiking, playing soccer or going for a run.  Learn more about Dan's approach to physical activity in this week's edition of "How I Move". 

Thank you Dan.

What do you do to stay fit?
I love variety, so I’ll do anything to stay fit. I’ll do something as normal as going for a run or a bike ride, or something as crazy as jumping out of a helicopter and snowboarding down thousands of feet in the Alaskan wilderness. I love anything hardcore and extreme that challenges me. A great fitness accomplishment of mine was completing what has been considered “the most dangerous hike in the world” – a 26-mile hike on the Napali Coast of Kauai.

Why is it important to you? 
Health has become a huge part of preparing for those crucial moments in life you cannot control or predict. When I am working or living my life, the stakes can feel high. I know I can only do my best when I perform at the top level. When those critical moments finally arrive, if I’ve exercised, ate and slept well, I am ready to step up to the plate and face whatever obstacles or challenges present themselves.

Do you have any fitness goals in your sights?
First and foremost, I want to focus on having fun. I do not have any specific goals I’d like to achieve, other than being able to enjoy the process. I want to push myself as hard as I can every day (or at least every other day) while limiting injuries where I’ll be able to recover within weeks instead of months.

How do you track your workouts?  Do you use any apps or devices?
At different times in my fitness journey, I’ve tried some apps and devices. Currently, I am not using anything, but I am a prime candidate if anyone has any recommendations. I think I would enjoy my workouts even more if I did start to use a tracking mechanism. Right now, everything is very spontaneous and fun.

What does Gravity do to promote health and fitness at the Company?
A great program we’ve set up is the “Good Health Challenge”. Every two weeks, our team elects to fill out a survey about healthy choices they’ve made. This includes abstaining from tobacco, drinking eight glasses of water per day, sleeping at least seven hours a night, and putting in at least 140 minutes of exercise. For every good health choice, they receive a bonus in pay for that pay period.

We also offer subsidized health club memberships, a fully stocked kitchen with “better-for-you” snacks and beverages, and a weekly running club. Every Friday, our team, is excused to go on an organized run around the neighborhood for an hour. We find this helps clears minds, increases camaraderie and provides a mental break.

One of the biggest mental health perks we offer is unlimited vacation days. This allows our team to take a break when they need it instead of working long stretches of time to save up for one big trip. We’ve found people come back with a renewed sense of energy and an increase in productivity.

How does your commitment to health help you at your job?
It gives me perspective and clarity amidst pressure and high stakeswhile providing energy and endurance to put in the type of effort I can be proud of.

Any advice you would give people that are trying to be more active?
Just enjoy it and have fun. There is a goal-orientated piece to fitness, but if you can do something you get much joy out of with people you love spending time with, that is a great place to start. Then if you want to commit to a goal, be very clear on what it is, get committed and then start working backward until you figure what steps you are going to take to reach your ideal end result.

Posted on July 30, 2015 05:53 PM

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Wearable Tech and Healthcare Week in Review -- Week of 7/20/15

By Russell Benaroya



Summary: Although golf may not be as far ahead of the curve as running or cycling when it comes to available technology, golfers still have more tools, data and information at their fingertips than ever before. Check out this article from Brett Zika.

Summary: Tracking fitness levels is not a new concept. It has just become easier and more high-tech. In fact, it has become quite the rage. See how the technology is improving fitness awareness in this article from Jill Starbuck.

Summary: The recent launch of the Apple Watch generated huge amounts of media hype, suggesting that a growing number of organizations could be playing host to wearable devices over the coming months and years -- if they aren’t already. More in this article from Sean Ginevan (@sginevan).

Summary: Wearable devices are expected to represent the next wave of m-health solutions and will potentially act as the gateway to the connected health world says a report from Frost & Sullivan. More details in this article from IT-Online.

Summary: But as the development and use of smartwatches, smartphones, and digital and wireless technology increases, it could enhance traditional patient/physician communication, improve patient adherence to medication regimens, and ideally lead to better health outcomes. More details in this article from Jim Butschli (@PackagingDr).

Summary: There are a growing number of companies spending on wearable technology to encourage its staff to lead a more active lifestyle. They provide staff with a pedometer as part of its corporate wellness programme, taking the view that having healthier, more active workers is good for productivity. Read more on the trend in this article by Emily Young (@EmilyLYoung).

Summary: Doppel — a gadget using award-winning technology has a double beat pulse inside of the user’s wrist to control various aspects of life, More information on this and other applications in this article from Susmita Baral (@sushbaral).

Posted on July 27, 2015 03:00 PM

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How I Move. The Stories of People that Move us to Better Health -- Russell Benaroya (CEO, EveryMove)

By Russell Benaroya

Well this week for How I Move I’m going to profile someone that I talk to often, who frustrates me at times and every so often bats a single of two.  Russell Benaroya is the CEO of EveryMove, a company on a mission to improve the lives of 10 million people in 10 years.  We are doing that by delivering technology that helps individuals track their prevention activity and align it with financial benefits from employers and health plans.  Movement is a cornerstone of prevention and we take wearable devices and applications and make them purposeful in people’s lives. 

Here are my answers to the weekly “How I Move” Questions:

What do you do to stay fit?
I am an avid trail runner.  I started running on trails about 7 years ago because it always looked fun.  I had a friend who was experienced and he took me under his wing.  I went from running a few miles on a trail to last year running a 75 mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail in 24 hours.  It’s where I find my happy place.  During the week I also do some short, high intensity workouts at home (home dvd’s) because I don’t have a lot of time. 

Why is it important to you?
Oh, let me count the ways.  Building a company is hard.  It’s stressful.  Trail running for me gives me time alone to think, to be out in nature.  I am able to approach problems with more patience.  When work is tough I always feel better that I’m investing in my health.  Health is a competitive advantage in business and I’m going to realize it. 

Do you have any fitness goals in your sights?
Funny you should ask.  I’m heading out today to run the White River 50 Mile (www.whiteriver50.com).  It’s a 50 mile trail run in the Cascade Mountains.  Next month I am planning to run around Mt. Rainier (93 miles) in 30 hours.  We’ll see. 

How do you track your workouts?  Do you use any apps or devices?
I use a Garmin Vivosmart and Apple Health for my daily steps.  I use a Garmin GPS watch for my trail runs.  If I don’t have the watch I’ll usually use MapMyRun or Runkeeper. 

What do / did you do to promote health and fitness at your Company?
EveryMove attracts a pretty active employee already.  We run challenges on our platform and that can spark some good friendly competition.  We’re all active users on EveryMove so the conversation is very often around fitness and what great adventures people had on a given weekend.  It's inspiring to learn from others and we promote that conversation.  All employees receive a Fitbit when they join and we also pay for people to enter organized events throughout the year.

How does your commitment to health help you at your job?
Like I said, health is a competitive advantage.  Being active and fit definitely reduces my down days of being sick.  I’m more alert, energized and willing to take on the next challenge without freaking out.  My job is also my passion so I like that I’ve married my profession with what’s important in my life.

Any advice you would give people that are trying to be more active?
Talk to other people about it.  Socialize what you’re trying to accomplish and get others involved and encouraging you.  It might be your spouse, relative, coworkers or other group of friends.  The #1 thing you can do is enlist peer support.  People love to talk about their fitness.  

Posted on July 24, 2015 06:56 PM

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Our National Healthcare System Requires Active Lifestyles to Survive

By Russell Benaroya




Healthcare reforms over the past five to six years are changing in monumental ways how healthcare is delivered and paid for in America.  We still have a long way to go but today the infrastructure is set up to support individuals buying insurance in a marketplace, compensating physicians based on outcomes, and bringing more transparency to the cost and impact of medical interventions.   All of these changes will have an impact but no impact is greater than curbing preventable healthcare costs through lifestyle activity.

According to the American Medical Association, 25% of every healthcare dollar is spent on diseases from preventable behaviors.  I have heard upwards of 60%.  Physical activity is arguably the most significant element to prevent disease.  So how do we build in this preventable strategy into healthcare?  Here are 5 ways:

  1. Physicians should prescribe activity.  Wearable and smartphone technology has made it very accessible for consumers to track their fitness.  Physicians are a very trusted source so when they “prescribe” activity are get reports on progress, there is an impetus to change.  Physicians need to see that this data can help them better manage to outcomes without feeling drowned in data that is not accessible or actionable.
  2. Insurance products should include benefits around activity.  Innovative health plans like Premera Blue Cross have launched insurance products that give monetary benefits to members for being active and to the employer for having an active company.  There is perfect alignment of interests here and health plans are in a great position to embed physical activity as an insurance feature that employers purchase.
  3. Employers should pursue outcomes base incentive programs.  The Affordable Care Act gave the greenlight to outcomes based incentives where verifiable achievements can result in up to a 30% premium (50% for smoking cessation) reduction for employees that meet the targets.  That’s real benefit.
  4. Government mandates.  We spend all this energy trying to restructure the sickcare system but a fraction of the energy on attacking the underlying causes of rising healthcare.  It’s easier to fix a broken model I suppose.  The problem is that unless we create an environment where prevention is not just encouraged in healthcare but mandated, we will not see significant change.  Scoring and rating systems for public and private insurance should specify physical activity programs (and measurable activation) as a requirement.
  5. Make success stories transparent.  Humans are storytellers.  We love the comeback kid.  We yearn for purpose and meaning and nothing is more inspiring than hearing about someone that changed their life by changing their lifestyle.  We need to make these stories more visible in healthcare, promote them, honor them, and draw inspiration from them.  We need onramps in healthcare for people to amplify their achievements so they can impact many people in their community. 
We need to keep pushing prevention because without a national debate it is difficult to see how we are going to materially impact the health of our country to achieve our individual and collective goals and ambitions.

Posted on July 21, 2015 03:33 PM

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Wearable Tech and Healthcare Week in Review -- Week of 7/13/15

By Russell Benaroya




The Wearable Tech Market Could Reach 385 Million People
Summary: In just a few years, there could be more people using wearable tech devices than there are in the US and Canada. This growth will largely be fueled by wrist wearables like smart watches and fitness bands. In all, they believe the target market for wearable tech includes all people 15 years and older living in developed nations — or around 1.08 billion people. Check out this article from Corey Stern (@coreyjstern).

Summary: Companies like Google are pioneering this approach to so-called "people analytics," layering analytics on top of employee behavior. What's the purpose of all this tracking? Some companies frame it as a perk to workers, through recognition or rewards for physical activity. Others use platforms like Calorie Cloud to turn employees' collective burn into donations for worthwhile causes. This article from Heather Franzese (@heathering) and Tom Rausch (@Tom_Rausch) talks about other applications of wearables.

Summary: According to three recent studies, enterprise wearables are set for heavy growth within the next few years. The drivers for the growth include health care, government, energy, industrial and field-service heavy sectors such as oil and gas companies. More details in this article from Carl Weinschenk (@ITBusinessEdge).

Summary: From technology firms such as Adobe and Box to traditional corporate giants, including BP, companies have been lining up to fit their employees with Fitbit’s fitness trackers. Thought of as an employee benefit, they’re handed out along with a company-wide fitness social experience where teams of workers can club together and compete on daily, weekly and monthly challenges. Read Samuel Gibbs’ (@SamuelGibbs) for more information.

Summary: Keeping fit and knowing how well you are doing with your fitness goals are now directly connected to, and measurable through, your smartphone, tablet or PC untethered by wearable technology. Read more on this article by Heather Watson (@HeatherWats0n) and Michael J. O’Farrell (@MobileInstitute).

Summary: A study by senior advocacy group AARP reveals that the over-50 demographic found wearable activity and sleep trackers effective in encouraging better health habits, but many found the devices lacking in ease of use. See more in the article from John Laposky (@johnlaposky).

Posted on July 20, 2015 07:29 PM

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How I Move. The Stories of People that Move us to Better Health -- Lee Handke (CEO, Nebraska Health Network)

By Russell Benaroya

Lee Handke is an extraordinary individual and leader.  He is the CEO at Nebraska Health Network, an organization set up to deliver exceptional, high quality healthcare where patients, physicians and insurance plans are all aligned with the goal of better outcomes.  Working as an executive in healthcare is a maze and people that achieve need to stay focused, determined and vigilant.  Lee is that guy.  Before his new role as CEO, Lee was a senior executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska.

Here is what moves Lee to better health (caution -- this guy loves EveryMove!!):

What do you do to stay fit?
My main source of physical activity is running – I typically average 20 miles a week and more when I am training for an event.  I also do more casual activities like playing basketball with my sons in the driveway, a “less frequent than I would like” round of golf or walking our dogs.  As far as diet goes – eating better is probably my biggest opportunity.  My wife is vegetarian – which helps, but I also am never one to turn down a bowl of ice cream, a slice of deep dish pizza or a great dinner out. 

Why is it important to you?
Simply stated, I just feel better and have more energy when I exercise and weigh less. But I also have a family history of heart disease and diabetes that I am trying to reduce my risk for developing.  I also try to be a good model for my family and others regarding the importance of an active life.

Do you have any fitness goals in your sights?
I have two half marathons that I will be running in Omaha this Fall.  One in September and one in October.  I have found these organized runs to be fun events where everyone supports each other and the finish is rewarding.  And, I know if I have a run on the calendar, it will keep me focused on training in the weeks leading up to the event.  I am on track with my mileage as of now, but would like to drop about 10 pounds prior to race day.

How do you track your workouts?  Do you use any apps or devices?
I have been tracking my running mileage on an old fashioned Excel spreadsheet for 11 years now.  I am on track to break 1,000 miles for this year – which is a big year for me.  I also wear a Garmin GPS watch and track my runs on MapMyFitness which I sync to EveryMove.

What do / did you do to promote health and fitness at your Company?
I have recently changed jobs – from a company of 1,200 employees to 12.  So that is a big change.  My previous company had great resources to promote health and wellness across the company, and EveryMove was a big part of that program and a strong motivator for myself and other employees.  We have the opportunity to build a culture of wellness at my new company.  Thankfully we have active and engaged employees, and we have open dialogue about our health goals and are planning community health events to participate in as a full team. 

How does your commitment to health help you at your job?
It gives me more energy and focus to perform well and I firmly believe it helps with creativity also.  Since I am in the healthcare field and give a lot of presentations to healthcare professionals and consumers, it probably helps with credibility also – that those audiences see that I am trying to walk the walk, but face the same challenges as they do in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Any advice you would give people that are trying to be more active?
Start slow and set incremental goals.  Get out of your comfort zone, and try something new.  Enlist a support network – EveryMove is great for this as I know my friends will see my activities, and it keeps me motivated to make sure I have activities to be seen!  Make time for physical activity – it will make your other hours more productive as you will feel more energetic. 

Posted on July 17, 2015 04:23 PM

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Do You Want Your Corporate Wellbeing Program to Succeed? Do Less!

By Russell Benaroya



We continue to receive inquiries from employers that want to promote prevention to their employees through physical activity.  It is understandable.  Traditional corporate wellness is fairly broken due to low participation rates that yield low returns.

I wrote an article recently with Andrew Sykes, a well known wellness actuary, where we took a position that the best thing that an organization can do to help employees prevent chronic disease is to encourage movement!

Here are some highlights from the article:

1.  Exercise prevents more conditions than anything else.  There are over 45 diseases that are less likely to arise because you are physically active.  Depression, chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes and more.

2.  Exercise is a catalyst for better nutrition and quitting smoking.  People who exercise tend to have greater willpower to resist temptations for unhealthy foods.  They also have more energy and energy is necessary to any kind of habit change.

3.  Exercise is the key driver of positive performance.  Forty minutes of walking, three times per week, has been shown to improve memory function by 20%.

These are just a few of the highlights that we go into more detail on in the article.  If you are interested in reading more, you can access the full article here.


Posted on July 16, 2015 04:38 PM

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We Launched the Calendar View -- Get a Quick Glance at Progress

By Russell Benaroya

I'm excited to share that we launched the EveryMove Calendar (beta) to give you an easy to see view of your week or month of activity.  Activities are captured in green.  Check-ins are captured in purple. Steps are represented in footprints and your active day hearts are, well.....orange.

We've been wanting to find glanceable displays that give you a quick snapshot of progress and nothing beats the old fashioned calendar.  Let us know what you think.


Posted on July 14, 2015 04:00 PM

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Wearable Tech and Healthcare Week in Review -- Week of 7/6/15

By Russell Benaroya




Summary: Nearly 70 percent of Internet users look up health information online. However, only 20 percent have an app downloaded on smartphones to track health. This points to the disconnect between personal technology and personal healthcare, despite the increasing popularity of wearables.  Check out this article from Brian Tilzer (@btilzer123)

Summary: wearable gadgets could open a new frontier in workplace analytics, albeit one that would further blur the lines between our work and private lives. For employers, the simplest way to use wearable gadgets is to give them to staff and try to nudge them into healthier lifestyles — a financially worthwhile goal if the company is on the hook for their health insurance.  Sarah O’Connor (@sarahoconnor) digs in to uncover the opportunities and concerns of wearables in the workplace.

Summary: Medical devices are getting smarter and more connected than ever, which is great for patients who wear them. But how will the healthcare providers react to these new innovations? It is difficult to tell how willing providers will be to accept new technological advances into their practices, as providers can be very resistant to major changes that have the potential to disrupt the way that they practice medicine.  Read this terrific article from Brian Feroldi (@tmftypeoh).

Summary: Wearable technology continues to affect a variety of health-related practices including the prevention of disease and the advancement of fitness and wellness throughout the nation. With the ongoing rise in obesity rates in the developed world, wearable technology could play a key role in keeping people fit and active.  Read more from author Very Gruessner (@hitanalytics).

Summary: Smartwatches, fitness trackers, iGlasses, goggles and even “smart” diapers are among the many wearable electronics products already available to consumers, but analysts and researchers say it’s too early to determine whether the gadgets will transform the marketplace.  Read more from Brennan Weiss (@brennanmweiss).

Summary: Personal health and wellness technologies are projected to be a $5 billion business this year. But, as it turns out, wearable technologies have a big obstacle to overcome.  Specifically, how do you make the data more insightful beyond just steps?  Read this insightful article from Nova Safo (@nova_safo).

Posted on July 13, 2015 04:00 PM

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