About This Blog


Sherri Dorfman, CEO, Stepping Stone Partners, Connected & Digital Health Innovation Specialist

My blog is designed to spotlight healthcare organizations with innovative uses of technology & data to drive Care Coordination, Collaboration & Patient Engagement.

These new approaches may influence your product & service roadmap, experiences, partnerships and marketing strategies.


While consulting, I leverage my extensive experience, knowledge and professional network to help companies make the right strategic product and marketing decisions. Services include:

> Strategic Planning Market Review: Competitive Assessments, Partnership Evaluations. Workshop facilitation. Insight drives product, partnership and marketing strategies

> Product Roadmap & Consumer Experience Planning: Conceptualizes, defines and validates solutions/experiences through Marketing Research and journey mapping.  Utilizes new innovative online and mobile research tools to co-create with target buyers and users, gathering input while understanding context to guide the development of personalized solutions & experiences.

> Strategic Product Marketing: Differentiated value proposition story incorporated into marketing & sales assets

Find out how I can help you. Call me at 508-655-6585. Email me at SDorfman@Stepping-Stone.net to set up an exploratory discussion.

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    Entries in employee ehealth engagement (2)

    Carolinas HealthCare System Pilots Prevent PreDiabetes Program via Virtual Group Coaching


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that 86 million, 1 in 3 Americans now have prediabetes, and 9 out of 10 of them don’t even know they have the condition. Unless there is an intervention, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. The CDC predicts that if current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2040.  On average, diabetes patients cost approximately $10,000 more every year than those without the condition. Like many chronic conditions, risk for type 2 diabetes can be reduced through lifestyle changes.

    “We knew that we needed a way to leverage technology to assist our employees who have prediabetes. With our employees spread across 900 locations in North and South Carolina, one huge challenge was figuring out how to motivate employees to participate in a prediabetes program that required them to go to a defined place (building) at a defined time, every week, and do this for 16 weeks.” explains Dr. Zeev Neuwirth, Senior Medical Director of Primary Care at Carolinas HealthCare System.

    Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) was approached by Omada Health with a solution. Omada's online Prevent platform delivers a 16- week National Diabetes Prevention Program recognized by the CDC, with two years of peer-reviewed published data demonstrating effectiveness.

    Neuwirth explains further, “We were very interested in the Omada solution.  First, it had some really sophisticated and elegant behavior change mechanisms making it much easier for people to create and maintain healthier habits.  Second, it was online and asynchronous – meaning that people did not have to show up at a certain time,or certain place. They could use the program from the comfort of their home, and at any time of day or night which makes it much easier for people to sign up and stay with the program. Third, Prevent is based on a proven 16-week program. The Omada platform provides the social connection with a health coach and other participants to sustain behavior change, continuous real-time feedback and daily tasks for habit formation."

    “When I participated in the program, I looked at my weight on the Omada scale daily. This led me to be much more aware of my eating and exercise habits. But even more than that, having the bluetooth enabled scale in my house, connected to the coach, I felt like I was part of a larger community, all focused on becoming healthier. Stepping onto that scale almost felt like being transported – the social connectivity factor was much more powerful than I anticipated”, Neuwirth shares. 

    In early 2015, CHS began offering this solution to employees (called teammates) at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. To promote this new program, CHS leveraged their LiveWell Team which had trusted relationships with teammates across different locations for a “boots on the ground” approach. CHS teammates were emailed a complete Prevent program description, with their participation responsibilities clearly communicated.  

         Prevent Program includes:
    • Short online health assessment to determine if you are a candidate
    • Wireless scale provided to you, for daily weigh-ins
    • Group of peers who will be your online “team”
    • Online interactions with a dedicated, professional health coach
    • Daily and weekly tracking of your progress with your coach and team
    Interested teammates clicked on the email link to answer the Prevent screening questions. Qualified teammates enrolled into a cohort of 10-12 anonymous teammates, were assigned to a coach from Omada Health and received a Welcome package with a bluetooth scale.

    During the 16-week Prevent “Core” phase, participants complete one interactive health lesson each week, covering physiological, social and psychological aspects for change reinforced with interactive games. After the Core phase, teammates move into the “Sustain” phase with access to more education and a broader peer group for ongoing support.

    OMADA HEALTH COACH VIEWTeammates and their coach collaborate via the Omada Health platform. The coach monitors progress and gives real-time feedback via private messaging, group discussion board, text messaging or by phone. Teammates use food and activity trackers to capture high level daily eating, drinking and movement and engage in “healthy competition” messaging with other group members. Cohorts keep them motivated and accountable. Teammates can see the cohort member’s progress towards the weight goal displayed on the group dashboard by a green circle around their profile picture. Only the coach can view each teammate’s detailed progress page with tracked weight, food and activity information.

    Prevent Program Positive Response

    To date, over 400 teammates have participated in the Prevent program, with 245 completing the 16-week program. 

    “Teammates have found it beneficial to participate in the program”, explains Kati Davis, Director Benefit Planning and Wellness at Carolinas HealthCare System. “They are guided by trained coaches, supported by cohorts and can participate when it is convenient for them, from wherever they are.. at home or the work.”

    CHS is evaluating the program success through quantitative measures (i.e. weight loss, program engagement) and qualitative feedback.

    “Although the primary goal was to engage teammates in the program, we have been very happy with the results - 40% of our Prevent participants have lost more than 5% of their weight.  When you are considering the risk for prediabetes, this weight loss has a big impact on the health of the teammate.”

    “Our teammates are engaging with the Prevent platform an average of 12+ times each week, completing educational lessons, weigh-ins, tracking food/activity, participating in discussions and exchanging private messages with their coach”, Davis adds.

         Teammate comments:
    • The information has been helpful. I know that if I do what it says, I can avoid diabetes. If I don't, I am almost sure to be a diabetic.
    • Nice to have others going through the same struggles and working together for improvement
    • Currently in the 9th week of the program and I have lost 17 pounds. I love the app. I hope that at the end of the 16 weeks my scale will continue to work with the app and the tools I have been using will still be there.

    Future Direction for Carolinas HealthCare

    “We're working to move away from self-reported health activities to activities that require additional accountability and social support”, describes Davis. “We feel the support from the coach and cohort is very powerful to rejoice in the teammate’s success”.  

    CHS is currently considering to offer the Prevent program to a wider population at risk for Metabolic Syndrome, where weight is an important factor to monitor and manage.

    Neuwirth concludes, “From the perspective of a forward-thinking healthcare provider organization, we are excited about the potential of making significant improvements in the health of the multiple populations we care for – our employees, our much larger patient population, and the communities that we serve in the Carolinas.  Reducing the number of people who transition from PreDiabetes to Diabetes is one of the largest levers we have to improve the health of populations and communities. What makes this particular Omada Prevent Program attractive to providers and employers is that it makes it a lot easier and much more doable for the people we are trying to help.”

    Note: The Omada Health screen shots above do not display real health data. 

    Premera Blue Cross Motivates Consumer Health Engagement with EveryMove

    EveryMove Rewards for EngagementPremera Blue Cross’s subsidiary, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington has partnered with an innovative healthcare technology company, EveryMove to motivate and reward their members for being active.  

    When the program launches early this year, members will be invited to join the EveryMove program and track their activity to receive points which accumulate for rewards. The EveryMove program gives members points when they are active in different ways; from walking, biking and swimming to playing the Wii Fit or Kinect to checking- in (i.e. gym, track, park, pool).

    “By helping people be more active, EveryMove has the potential over time to lower costs and, in general, lower costs will lead to a positive effect on premiums,” Jeff Roe, CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Washington recently shared in a Fox News interview.

    Initially, Premera’s LifeWise will reward members for their physical activity with Amazon Gift Cards when reaching target point levels. “The great thing about EveryMove is that it applies to all of our members, whether they are part of an employer group or an individual plan. As part of our ongoing work with EveryMove, we are interested in becoming a companion in the day-to-day lives of our members”, explains Kent Marquardt, CFO at Premera Blue Cross.

    EveryMove was launched last Fall at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco and is designed to make it easy for consumers to get both recognition and reward for their physical activity. EveryMove gives members credit for many different types of activity beyond the usual walking and running, such as biking, swimming and even dancing.

    “Success for Premera, in terms of our relationship with EveryMove, is ultimately showing that our members’ healthy activities are reducing their healthcare costs and the healthcare costs for the entire system.  In the near term, our focus is on engagement. We want to make sure our members are responding to the opportunity to be recognized for their healthy lifestyle activities and that our members see us as a partner in obtaining better health”, adds Marquardt.

    EveryMove Engagement

    After reviewing the EveryMove program through the eyes of the consumer, here are some key engagement drivers that I see. Health Plans have the opportunity to customize these engagement capabilities to meet the needs of their specific members.   
    Easy Tracking with Options for “Proof of Activity”: Consumers can automatically track and upload their activity on EveryMove with one of 10 different devices including FitBit, Nike+ and BodyMedia. Consumers are rewarded with additional points when using one of these “proof of activity” devices, although they also have the option to manually enter their activities.

    Social Motivation & Gain: EveryMove gives users the option of tying into their Facebook network and inviting others via email for friendly competition. Currently, users can invite up to 50 friends with EveryMove to share their lifestyle changes with their select group. Unlike other wellness programs that I’ve seen, consumers can earn “Friends points” when their social network is active too. This is a positive spin on Christakis's “Connected” social influence.

    Rewards for Reinforcement: Each participant can select the reward that she would like to work towards such as a gift card from the featured merchant or a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation.  When the member logs in, she sees an ongoing tracking of her points towards the selected reward for ongoing motivation.

    Intensity- Driven Rewards: With EveryMove, users are given more points when completing a more intense workout. This differs from most wellness programs which reward consumers based on the number of steps regardless of their pace.

    Milestone Rewards: EveryMove presents a Facebook like personalized page with a timeline format to display their activity information and that of their friends on EveryMove. Just by moving, the user can be rewarded with bonus points and thumbs up; for “moving for an hour”, an “active day” and the “4th active day this week”. EveryMove plans to introduce more milestone driven recognition in the coming year.  

    Gamification & Unlocking Rewards: Within EveryMove, the user sees the opportunity to unlock a new reward which generates curiosity and motivation to continue coming back for more. (Notice the big lock in the picture above)

    Health Plan Opportunity for Member Engagement

    With health reform and insurance exchanges around the corner, health plans are actively searching for ways to build relationships with their members and to be viewed as a health partner and not just an insurance company. Health plans also want to provide wellness initiatives that will attract and support consumers who are interested in maintaining their health.

    Although they can sign up online for EveryMove without going through their health plan, consumers have an opportunity to gain more value if their health plan incorporates rewards into a comprehensive wellness program. I can envision health plans using a platform like EveryMove to motivate and reward members for every type of healthy behavior including taking an assessment, getting a screening, participating in a social activity challenge with co-workers, going to the gym or working with a health coach to lose weight or manage diabetes.

    This is in fact the direction that I see innovative health plans moving in this new year. Payers are most interested in engaging consumers in their health and are looking for ways to sustain engagement through motivation and rewards. A few enlightened health plans want to tap into and leverage their member’s social network to influence and reinforce healthy behaviors.