EveryMove blog

Successful Employee Wellness Programs Embrace “Value on Investment”

By Russell Benaroya
Recently I attended the HR Health and Benefits Leadership Conference in Las Vegas and listened to some of the leading companies in America talk about their investments in employee health and wellness.  The topic is hot these days as more and more companies redistribute their healthcare dollars to prevention from insurance premiums.  I’m encouraged to see prevention being so valued inside of an organization and it bodes well for making employers a safe and supportive place for individual wellness.  Much of the discussion at the conference was how to value the investment in wellness.

So what’s at play here in the employer market?  First, we are starting to see the inevitable move to consumer directed health plans where employees are making their own benefit plan decisions and employers are contributing a monthly amount to an employee (think 401K contributions for health insurance).  There is a re-distribution happening here where the employee is bearing more out of pocket costs.  Wellness programs can offset some of that employee cost.  Second, regulation is accommodating more employer flexibility for incentives tied to wellness (up to 30% lower premium for participation) so the dollars can be meaningful for an employee.  Third, employers are recognizing that happy, productive employees contribute best when they are healthy (no surprise) so it’s worth the investment. 

We are all motivated to lower healthcare costs and investments in employee wellness are well aligned with that purpose.  However, many of the employers presenting challenged the group to appreciate that there is a lot of value to be gained along the journey to reducing healthcare expenditures.  It's like climbing Mt. Everest.  You can’t get to the summit unless you make it to the basecamps first.  In other words, if success if only defined as lowering healthcare costs (the summit) then employers will miss the other necessary milestones (basecamps) along the journey.  These milestones include:

  1. Success Stories:  Employees lives can be changed for the better because of employer sponsored programs.  Whether the success is losing weight, running a first 5K, or just being happy, unlocking these stories and sharing them throughout an organization are powerful waypoints toward better health.
  2. Feedback:  Are you offering something that employees enjoy?  Are you soliciting their feedback to make your program great.  Wellness is a great vehicle to get employees contributing to their organization.  Surveys can be effective here.  
  3. Engagement:  Are people actually using the program and how are they engaging with it?  Did the program attract a majority of employees?  Does the data show that we’re getting “activation” not just sign-up or participation? 
It is indisputable that active, healthy individuals cost less.  80% of our healthcare dollars are spent as the result of poor lifestyle decisions.  We shouldn’t argue this point.  What we should argue is how to best value the dollars spent on promoting a workplace that values healthy, productive employees.  While we all want to make it to the summit, let's makes sure we get to the basecamps first.

Posted on June 30, 2015 01:47 PM


Wearable Tech and Corporate Wellness Week in Review -- Week of 6/22/15

By Russell Benaroya

Lots of action packed information this week on the back of Fitbit's IPO the prior week.  More and more attention is getting paid to the growth in wearable technology and its role in the corporate environment.  I hope you find some interesting articles in the roundup.

Author: Cheryl Swanson (@uthorcdswanson)
Summary: According to a report, over 20% of Americans own a fitness tracker, and another 80% are familiar with at least one wearable health device on the market. These products cover every sport and some even include social features. Fitbit claims to own up to 68% of the total market.

Author: Eamon Kunze (@eamonkunze)
Summary: Applications, wearables and nanotech are revolutionizing healthcare by empowering the consumer to take care of themselves and to perform better in their personal and professional lives.

Author: Rachel Metz (@rachelmetz)
Summary:  With one of the sensor-filled gadgets on the wrist, surely the user could get accurate information about the body. That’s the idea, at least. There are many reasons that may lead to inaccurate data/vital information.

Author: Frank Espinoza (@TexasFES)
Summary: Wearable technology can serve as a great motivational tool for many, but the experts are skeptical about its overall effectiveness.

Author: Matt Hamblen (@matthamblen)
Summary: Companies are encouraging their employees to use wearable fitness technologies by completing health focused challenges that can be converted to various rewards.

Posted on June 26, 2015 05:14 PM


How I Move. The Stories of People that Move us to Better Health -- David Nilssen (CEO, Guidant Financial)

By Russell Benaroya
How I Move is a new series we are kicking off at EveryMove to learn how business leaders stay fit and healthy and how that contributes to their success in the workplace.  

This week I'm excited to introduce you to David Nilssen, CEO of Guidant Financial.  Guidant Financial helps entrepreneurs around the country start businesses (over 10,000 to date).  They provide the financing needed for visionaries to follow their dreams.  David is an accomplished author, speaker and business leader.

Here in his own words is how fitness contributes to David's success:

What do you do to stay fit?
I’m an avid cyclist. I hit the local Flywheel studio a few times a week and enjoy a long ride outdoors on weekends.  In addition, I try to lift weights a few times a week. My wife and I live in a very walkable community and we certainly take advantage of it.  

Why is it important to you?
Owning a business is stressful. Being fit – mentally and physically – is a must.  I have three daily goals that help me feel stronger and ultimately make good choices.  First, drink half my body weight in ounces.  Second, stretch for twenty minutes.  And lastly, make sure I get seven hours of sleep.  If I don’t, everything else suffers.

Do you have any fitness goals in your sights?
I’m currently training for the Seattle to Portland (STP) ride July 11.  It’s 200 miles which is more than I’ve ever done.  I’m excited to test my abilities and overcome the challenge.

How do you track your workouts?  Do you use any apps or devices?
I use FitBit to ensure I’m consistently being active.  I worry less about logging a specific workout.  It’s been even more fun since learning I can put the device on my shoe when cycling so it gives me credit for the work!

What does Guidant do to promote health and fitness at the Company?
We do but can always do better.  Each team member has access to our gym and we encourage our managers to conduct 1:1’s by walking around the block.  Each summer we offer “walking groups” and I’m excited to share that a few years back – two of our employees lost about 100lbs each.

How does your commitment to health help you at your job?
After a workout I’m a better version of myself.  The mind is calm, the body is strong and the energy is high.  It’s noticeable the days I’ve “done the work.”

Any advice you would give people that are trying to be more active?
What gets measured – gets managed.  And, if you don’t have a goal then the destination is unclear.  I have noticed significant improvements to my overall fitness since implementing the FitBit.  And, I’m training much harder with the STP on the horizon.

Thanks for contributing David.  You're an inspiration!

Posted on June 23, 2015 04:45 PM


Wearable Tech and Corporate Wellness Week in Review -- Week of 6/15/15

By Russell Benaroya
Week in Review -- Week of 6/15/15

Here are some of the highlights for the week in wearable technology and corporate wellness. 

Fitbit goes public.  Here is a great article in the Economist that talks about the opportunities and the risks ahead for Fitbit.  There is a lot of competition ahead in a pretty new industry.  Watch what happens.  Article.

IDC predicts huge growth in the wearables market.  IDC estimates that 72 million devices will be shipped in 2015, up 173% from 2014.  That’s pretty huge.  Article.

Individual fitness tracking turns social.  Debora Gardner (Northwest Public Health) wrote an interesting article about the role of fitness tracking, data analytics and population health.  Check it out.  Article.

EveryMove Launches 3.0.  Exciting week for us here at EveryMove.  We launched our 3.0 product that improves the social fitness experience for everyone.  We hope you enjoy it.  Blog Post.

Posted on June 19, 2015 03:23 PM


Congratulations Fitbit. An Industry Validated.

By Russell Benaroya
Today Fitbit went public and priced its shares at $20.  At the time of this post they were trading at approximately $29/share.  That values Fitbit at approximately $4 billion at its IPO price.  They just raised $730 million.  That is impressive.  What does this mean for wearable technology and the fitness tracking market?

  • Huge validation that fitness tracking is here for real -- By 2018, global shipments for wearables will reach 144 million units according to IDC.  We've got a big and growing market here.  
  • More competition is coming -- Fitbit was smart to raise so much capital.  The consumer products market is incredibly competitive and they will need to innovate ahead of the competition.  They are well positioned.
  • The employer market is going to be huge.  Employers are rapidly adopting innovative wellness programs to improve productivity and lower healthcare costs.  Expect to see significant consumer adoption coming through the enterprise market.
EveryMove is helping individuals make that Fitbit data purposeful by using it to build a social community that drives inspiration and motivation to achieve individual goals.  We then help individuals connect to their employer or health plan to drive financial incentives around their fitness.

EveryMove and Fitbit are nicely aligned.  Choose the tracker that works for you and plug it into the EveryMove network to amplify the impact of your fitness.  Tracking provides a whole new world of communication and social relationships that will help people be more successful in living an active and healthy life.

Congratulations Fitbit!

Posted on June 18, 2015 03:21 PM


Welcome to EveryMove 3.0!

By Russell Benaroya
We’re excited to announce a new release of EveryMove today. We've made a big effort to help you connect and share your fitness life with the people that inspire and motivate you.  As many of you know there have been a lot of changes over the last several months and we’re excited about the stage that is being set with this latest version on iOS, Android and Web.

EveryMove is the best way to track and share your fitness journey. Because we connect to virtually every fitness tracking app and device it is easy to have one place to track your fitness and connect with others. Inspiration, support and accountability are the pillars of achieving your health goals and that is what you'll find at EveryMove. Whether it's your spouse, groups of friends, or people that do similar activities, you will find your tribe on EveryMove.

Here are some of the updates that you will see:

  1. You are in Focus:  We have cleaned up the visual design to make sure that your comments and photos are the star of the show.
  2. From Friends to Followers:  Following allows you to find people that motivate you and stay connected to their activities.  People will also follow you because you inspire them.
  3. New Add Activity:  We significantly improved the add activity feature on web and mobile.  You should find it very intuitive and easy to populate with additional information from pictures to people to locations to notes.
  4. Active Days and Very Active Days Simplified: We’ve simplified the formula we use to calculate an Active Day and a Very Active Day. To be awarded an Active Day, you must earn 20 activity points. To be awarded a Very Active Day, you must earn 55 activity points. Points earned for non-activity actions (like check-ins or Sharing the Love) do not contribute to earning an Active Day or Very Active Day.
  5. Public / Private Settings:  We simplified privacy settings so you can either be private and keep most of your activity solo or you can set it to public and put yourself out there to get a greater amount of community support.
  6. Sponsored Challenges on Mobile:  For those lucky enough to have their employer sponsoring incentives or team challenges on EveryMove we have gone mobile with our most popular challenge, Movetastic.  If you’re interested in our employer offering you can learn more here.

Until EveryMove there has been no digital destination to connect all of your fitness activity to a personal social network. Your friends. Your data. Your goals. Welcome to EveryMove 3.0.  

Posted on June 16, 2015 03:38 PM


NEW: Get Fit for Summer with EveryMove Goals

By Bailey Nelson
Could your workout schedule use a little spring refresh? Our newest feature, EveryMove Goals, provide all the tools to stick with an amped up workout routine - plus, you can invite friends to join you in your new pursuit of fitness!

We’ve built Goals to help you form healthy habits by committing to doing certain activities consistently: think running, swimming, weight lifting, or biking three times a week and short sessions of planking, burpees, or yoga every day.  When you join a goal, your tracked workouts will count towards completing your winning streak and help you rank on your Goal Leaderboard.

Need a reason to start? With EveryMove Goals you can:  
  • Look & feel great at upcoming event: try daily burpees Goal along with a T25 Goal
  • Give an inactive friend some motivation: do a step counting Goal together
  • Train with a long-distance workout buddy: use a running Goal to keeps tabs on each other’s runs
  • Challenge your fittest friends: start burpee Goal and see who earns bragging rights
  • Go on more walking meetings: invite some coworkers to join you in a walking Goal

Goals are available in our latest iOS and Android apps as well as on the web.
To tackle your first goal, visit Goals, choose an activity to do either daily or three times a week, invite some friends to join you, and get moving!
For more detailed info on EveryMove Goals, visit our Goals FAQ: https://everymove.org/goals/faq

Posted on March 24, 2015 05:48 PM


Clinton Foundation -- Health Matters Annual Activation Summit

By Bailey Nelson
Post by Russell Benaroya, EveryMove co-founder & CEO
Exercising our bodies.  Stretching our minds.

“And lift and tuck and lift and tuck.  You got it everyone.  Okay, now extend.  Keep holding it…..holding….holding….awesome."  And so began a very full day at the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Activation Summit where Cassey Ho (the YouTube and social media fitness sensation behind Blogilates), kicked everyone into high gear right before President Bill Clinton stretched us even further.

It was an honor to be invited to the Health Activation Summit 2015, a convening of health leaders from around the country with one purpose: to ask the important questions and seek clarity on how to improve healthcare for all Americans.  It is an emotionally powerful event that forces us all to face the difficult realities that plague our healthcare system.  President Clinton also has a certain magic that not only shines light on the progress and innovation but tackles head on our misaligned health system.

From farmers to wireless execs, academics to entrepreneurs, the guests here represented a broad section of stakeholders.  Only when we come together can we have a dialogue that can drive systemic change.  The Clinton Foundation is clearly capable of uniting that constituent group and delivering a dynamic conversation.

Here are a just a few “tip of the iceberg” things we should be thinking about: 

  1. Failure Facilitates Success.  Large health systems and health plans must be willing to try things, fail, and celebrate (or even reward) the failure.  The institutional mindset of the long-time corporate veteran is to play it safe because there are no rewards for risk.  Senior leadership must encourage failure with learning.  We must be willing to fail in order to know success.
  1. Privacy is Important, but Transparency is Paramount.  We have been a bit brainwashed into thinking that we must protect our information at all costs around health.  However, companies like PatientsLikeMe have shown the power of the crowd when people come together to share their information for the purpose of advancing outcomes.  We need to keep pushing for transparency in appropriate and thoughtful ways.  More data = more understanding = more action! 
  1. We Need a Preventative Care Infrastructure.  There's too much conversation is about how to triage people once they are in the healthcare system.  Success is keeping them out of the healthcare system.  Success is making most of our jobs obsolete.  We need to put more energy into a culture of prevention vs. prescription. 
There was so much rich conversation that I’d love to relay.  The best way for me to do that is share some of the comments I heard or read on Twitter that really struck me.  I hope they strike you as well. 

  • "Lots of people in this industry are just evil." - Joshua Kushner (Oscar Health)
  • “The problem with healthcare in America is…loneliness.”  - Peter Moore (Smacktive)
  • “We waste more money on healthcare than we spend on education.”  - President Bill Clinton
  • “Diabetes could obliterate the economy.” - President Bill Clinton
  • “We should not be living in a world where we know more about our credit card account than our blood chemistry.”  - Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos)
  • “We need to think in terms of health as a basic human right.” Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos)
  • “Our primary health care should begin on the farm and in our hearts, and not in some laboratory of the biotech and pharmaceutical companies.” – Gary Hopkins
  • "To make public private partnerships work, have to get past the notion that it will be simple."  - Dr. Brent C. Williams
  •  “Exercise isn't just a great way to get healthy; it's a way to build connections/relationships.” – Blayne Smith (ED of Team RWB)
  • “We must change from a sickness model to a wellness model.”  - President Bill Clinton
  • “Transparency of data will lead to better information and better systems.”  - Bruce Broussard (CEO, Humana)
  • “The biggest thing we could do about diabetes is to look at our agricultural program." Meredith Rosenthal (Harvard)
  • “It’s not about insurance, it’s not about treatment, it’s about how do we help people stay healthy”  -  Bruce Broussard (CEO, Humana)
  • "We're astonishingly impervious to what works elsewhere"  - President Bill Clinton
  • "You cannot have a quality workforce if you don't have a healthy workforce." - Governor Steve Besear (Kentucky)
  • "Our children may live 5 years less than their parents due to inactivity.” -  Jorge Casimiro (Nike)
  • "We will always need the disruptive innovators in healthcare.” – President Bill Clinton
  • "Now you have to choose to be physically active" - Caitlin Morris (Nike)
  • "We may cut our physical activity levels in half in just two generations." - Caitlin Morris (Nike)
It’s hard to absorb these statements and not get energized to act. We will innovate out of our current crisis and the structural walls that have created massively perverse incentives must crumble. 

So yes, Cassey Ho got everyone moving in the morning but President Clinton stretched our minds with the knowledge that we have a lot of work to do.  It is an obligation that we have to strive for a story of healthcare saving our nation, not destroying it.  There is great promise ahead and we’re seeing the tides turn with new payment models, private/public partnerships, innovative enabling technologies, and the commitment of policy leaders.

It is our time to act.  Joyce Chang (Editor-in-Chief of SELF Magazine) said on stage, “Coding is cardio for our minds.”  If that’s the case, let’s program a new healthcare system.

Posted on January 29, 2015 05:42 PM


New Year, New Tracker?

By Bailey Nelson
Happy 2015, EveryMovers!

We kicked off the year with a bang at CES International as a finalist at the Everyday Health Digital Health Summit Awards for Innovation.  

At CES, we saw a plethora of new wearable fitness technologies - check out this VentureBeat article for the low-down on devices!

With so many options, how do you choose which trackers and apps are YOUR fitness forte? Since we consider ourselves fitness tracker aficionados, we’ve recently  made some big updates the EveryMove Fitness Tracker Comparison Tool - the fool-proof way to find and compare fitness trackers & apps in a flash.

The tool, which encompasses more than 250 fitness-tracking apps & devices, offers:
  • A concise look at all the features (GPS, water-resistance, battery life)
  • Links to reputable reviews from experts at sites like Mashable, Yahoo! Tech, and Engadget
  • The ability to compare 2 or more devices side-by-side

Not sure where to start? Check out these latest & greatest devices from some of the biggest names in tracked fitness, all of which connect & sync seamlessly with your EveryMove account:

On the subject of fitness trackers - did you know that EveryMove is the largest integrator of fitness apps & devices? This means that you can connect the MOST apps and devices to your EveryMove account and interact with friends, family, and coworkers. #Winning!

Posted on January 15, 2015 05:17 PM


EveryMove & LifeWise Health Plan of Washington Are Light-Years Ahead in Promoting Active Lifestyles

By Bailey Nelson
Written by EveryMove CEO Russell Benaroya

Back in 2012, many health plans were beginning to talk about how to build a new kind of relationship with their individual members.  Why?  Even then, it was undeniable that consumers were taking more control of their health and health plans had little connection with most individuals beyond claims issues.

EveryMove had been thinking about this for some time and built a mobile and web application to connect wearable and app fitness trackers to health plan benefits and rewards.  Recognizing healthy, active lifestyles is a critical imperative if we are going to change the game in health care. 
LifeWise of Washington, an affiliate of Premera Blue Cross, took a forward-thinking approach to its relationship strategy. Building on the growing interest in wearable technology and fitness tracking apps, LifeWise partnered with EveryMove to deliver rewards for being active.

The concept was simple: members could connect any fitness tracking app or device to the EveryMove platform, and once they earned 750 points on EveryMove (the equivalent of approximately 30 minutes of exercise, 3 days a week), they would receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

Here’s what is so significant about this partnership: EveryMove was the first consumer app that allowed individuals to connect directly with their health insurance plan and earn recognition for their active lifestyle, and LifeWise was the first health insurer to embrace wearable technology to drive incentives and rewards to its members.

Today, other companies are catching on, but as pioneers in the health plan and wearable technology game, we’ve learned a few things along the road:

  1. Engaged members stay with their health plan– Members that engaged actively in the sponsored program on EveryMove stayed with their health plan 20% longer than average.

  2. People define “fitness” uniquely – Members of LifeWise participate in many different activities ranging from walking to dancing, running to basketball.  Meeting members where they are in their life is essential.

  3. Avoid locking users into one device  – With hundreds of different fitness tracking apps and devices on the market today, being open to all devices (and there reducing the barrier to capturing activity data) increases adoption.
  4. It’s not about the money – The Amazon gift card is icing on the cake. The actual reward should become secondary to the motivation and inspiration that comes with being part of a community that values activity and making physical activity a daily part of a person’s life.

  5. Keep it simple – Complicated programs that require a steep learning curve and offer less than “consumer-friendly” technology, simply put, aren’t going to work!  Install an app.  Open it.  Connect to your health plan.  Go!  The name of the game here is motivating action because that’s what really matters.
Dave Young, the VP/GM – Wellness and Consumerism at LifeWise Health Plan of Washington agrees.  “EveryMove provided us the platform to better align with our community in a way that encourages and rewards healthy living.    They made it easy for us to meet our members in a different way and it’s just the beginning.”

We were excited to be on the forefront of the wearable technology movement and we’re thrilled to be in a position today to continue building on it with great partners like LifeWise and Premera. 

Posted on December 16, 2014 04:14 PM