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Walgreens Starts Steps with Balance® Rewards

Posted on May 3, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Walgreens has been rather savvy when it comes to mHealth. They have a great mobile app and website to help manage prescriptions as well as find answers to health questions. It was no surprise to me when I heard about their Steps with Balance Rewards program.

If you are familiar with Walk with Walgreens, Steps with Balance® Rewards replace that program. Basically, you get rewards for doing simple exercise and health “tasks” throughout the day. By walking, running, or tracking weight management, you earn points that can be redeemed for products and other rewards at Walgreens.

There are a few popular devices that can be associated with your Steps with Balance account — BodyMedia, FitBit, and Withings. This makes it easier to earn rewards and track your progress.

I’m not sure if this is something I’ll sign up for, just because I feel like I have so many other programs I’m involved in, but it seems cool. It sounds like a good way to track your progress toward certain goals, and earn rewards while you are at it. It has the typical features of a health tracking program – you can connect with others, set personalized goals, and see your progress. It looks like it has been pretty successful so far, as there have been close to 10 million miles logged and around 600 thousand users. So if you shop at Walgreens a lot, and you are wanting to be rewarded for living a healthy life, this may be the program for you!

If you want to sign up, it’s free! Just head over here and get started today (and yes, it’s free)

Lose Weight and Win Money With DietBet

Posted on April 19, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

After I posted about the study that found financial incentives to be a good motivator for weight loss, I have been on the lookout for more websites popping up like Gym Pact. I was curious to see how much something like this would motivate me, and since I no longer belong to a gym, Gym Pact was out of the question. Well, today a friend of my sent me an invitation to a website called DietBet, and I was immediately intrigued.

DietBet is a 4-week program, where participants need to lose 4% of their body weight (or more) in order to get any of the “pot.” You can create your own challenge, or join someone else’s, and pay a certain sum of money to participate. For instance, the one I joined was $25. And let me tell you, I’m more motivated than ever before to lose weight, even just to get back my $25.

Whenever a new person enters your group, the pot rises. I was looking at the top game, and it’s at almost $9,000. I wouldn’t mind being part of that group! When the date arrives for the contest to begin, you have to take two photos  — one full length photo of you on a scale in “airport security” attire, and one of the scale, the number on it, and a piece of paper with a weigh-in word, to prove it’s actually you. I was wondering how they would do this, actually, and it seems like they’ve got it under control! These photos are kept private, and you don’t have to share your weight with the others in the competition.

During the competition, you can post photos, write comments, and just interact with others in the game. There is also an iPhone app companion for the game, which I thought was nice.  Starting on the last day of the competition, you have 48 hours to “weigh out”

I really believe that money is a great motivator for just about anything, and I’m interested to see if I actually have any success using this site. (PS, if you want to join in, my group starts on April 29th. The more the merrier!)

Text Messaging as a Tool for Behavior Change in Disease Prevention and Management

Posted on April 29, 2011 I Written By

Recently I posted a few different pieces about technology being used to help people quit smoking, lose weight, and even manage their diabetes.  A new study is showing how valuable text messaging can be when it comes to managing your health.  It is by far the most expansive study I have read and makes a lot of interesting points and logical conclusions.

One of the biggest advantages to text messaging is that it is already widely used, and it is extremely inexpensive to use.  This low cost allows organizations without major financial backing to use text messaging as a tool for their patients.  There is no need create a new device or develop expensive software.  You simply use text messaging to distribute the desired messages to your patients.

The study specifically referenced studies that showed how text messaging was beneficial to people that were trying to quit smoking by holding them accountable for their actions.  The same principle applied to people that were trying to lose weight.  Taking responsibility for your actions is a huge part of both of these issues, and using text messaging allowed the affected people to accept that responsibility.

Text messaging can also be used to help manage diseases such as diabetes by sending out reminders to the patients.  There are so many aspects to properly managing diabetes that getting helpful reminders can only be a good thing.

While the study doesn’t compare text messaging to other technology that can be used for managing our health it does an excellent job of analyzing the benefits of this inexpensive and widely used technology.  The numbers that they present are quite staggering in some areas, and it is definitely worth a look at the complete study.

Weight Loss Compared to EMR Implementation

Posted on April 26, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I love to compare EMR implementation to other parts of life. It’s always amazing to me how similar other parts of life are to EMR selection and implementation. In case, you’re a newer reader, go and read my posts comparing EMR to Marriage (also talks about divorcing your EMR), EMR implementation to Pregnancy, and Marrying an EMR for Money (VERY important with all this EMR stimulus money). A presentation on comparing EMR to life would be a fun presentation to give, but I digress.

The other day I came across a comparison that will be familiar to all types of people, but doctors will be acutely aware of this comparison (even more so than I). EMR implementation is very much like weight loss. Yes, that’s right. Weight Loss!

Think about it, there are a lot of similarities. Most patients that need to lose weight know that they need to lose weight. Deep down they really know they need to lose weight, but a part of them is still trying to argue that they don’t need to lose weight. A part of them still kind of wonders, “what’s so wrong with being overweight?” Sounds like many doctors looking at an EMR implementation. They know deep down that they need to implement an EMR. However, they just keep asking themselves “Why can’t I just keep using paper charts?”

No doubt many older people that are overweight have basically given up the fight to lose weight. They figure that they’re older and they have no need for weight loss anymore. Sound a bit like older doctors and how they approach EMR?

Of course, the most interesting comparison between weight loss and EMR implementation comes when applied to the actual implementation itself. Weight loss requires a huge change in someone’s life. Thus, it usually requires a lot of “hand holding” and reminders about the value of losing weight. They’ll often lose motivation and need someone to pick them up and help them continue to make the changes in their life so they can lose weight.

No doubt implementing an EMR requires change. Weight loss is about changing habits. EMR implementations are about changing habits too. Often they are habits which were instilled many years ago during medical school. I don’t have to describe why changing habits are hard (although, here’s a couple change pictures to illustrate what I mean). That’s why so many people have a challenge losing weight and why so many people have avoided implementing an EMR.

Yes, and most EMR implementations require a certain amount of hand holding along the way. That’s more a feature of change than anything else. The real question a clinic should be asking themselves is who will be doing the hand holding. The answer might surprise you when you find out that it will likely not be one person, but many.