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.

Follow me on Twitter @SherriDorfman





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    Entries in social eHealth gaming (3)

    HumanaVitality Paves the “Personalized Pathway” With Rewards to Engage Employees

    With the weak economy and strong pressure from healthcare reform, employers are investing in new approaches to lower healthcare costs and lift employee productivity. Increasingly employers are investing in strategies to engage employees in their own health and reward them to motivate needed behavior change.

    According to the recent Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Healthcare, employers indicated that two of their top three healthcare strategies for 2012 are to develop/expand healthy lifestyle activities” and “adopt/expand use of financial incentives.”

    In July 2011, Humana launched their HumanaVitality program, which is designed to both guide and reward the employee for participating in their health and making better lifestyle decisions. “Our members tell us that they are hooked as soon as they use the Vitality Age app to determine their age and learn about how their behaviors influence their health. And as they participate in the HumanaVitality program, members interact with the Vitality Age app to see how they are positively impacting their age,” explains Stuart Slutzky, chief, product innovation, HumanaVitality.

    Although employee incentive programs around health are not new, Humana has incorporated several innovative strategies into their Vitality solution.

    Personalized Program Design: “We are using information from the employee’s health assessment, claims information and online health behaviors to personalize their pathway,” describes Stuart. Each member sees a set of recommended activities and has the option to select any of over 30 activities to gain points.

    In addition to an individualized approach, Humana has decided to test a segment strategy after determining that the pathway is similar for members that are moving through a life stage change. Humana has created a special pathway for expectant mothers, as their first target segment. This means that members who are pregnant view a special set of activities and programs that are relevant to remain healthy throughout their maternity.

    Program Reward Structure: Humana has designed their program with different status levels for reward attainment. “Our members begin with a blue status and can move up four tiers to platinum over time as they collect enough Vitality Points™.  When climbing to a new status level, they unlock a larger discount in the rewards mall,” shares Stuart. “Humana is also working closely with small group employers in select states to offer a premium reduction based on the percent of employees that achieve silver or higher Vitality Status. Employers may choose to pass the premium reduction to employees reaching silver, gold or platinum Vitality Status."  This premium discount is in addition to rewards individual employees can redeem in the HumanaVitality Mall based on their own points earned.  

    Humana has defined the mall to appeal to members that have different motivations. “Spenders” can get instant gratification by purchasing with their Vitality Bucks.  “Savers” can accumulate their bucks for larger prizes. Soon “Givers” will be able to donate their rewards to charity.

    Through their “Jackpot Rewards,” Humana uses a gaming mechanic of randomness to select a program participant to win prizes, which are based on their status level. For example, blue status member can win movie tickets or yoga mat but a platinum status member can win a flat-screen television or iPad.

    Program to Program Connection: “Our members get rewards points when they enroll in one of our health programs. We are working on rewarding the member with more points for ongoing participation in our health program such as Weight Management. In addition to tying rewards for coaching program usage, our coaches can see the member’s efforts and earnings to date and can promote different point opportunities during their interactions to motivate the member,” Stuart explains.

    Consumer-Driven Program Development: The HumanaVitality team listens closely to members participating in the program. They have set up a process to gather feedback that members share through the email and call center channels, as well as Facebook and Twitter, and the team discusses these ideas and suggestions to define program enhancements. “Recently, we heard one of our members ask us to provide points when their kids participate in athletic events.  This was a great suggestion and is now another activity that we reward under the program.” 

    Program Success Evaluation: One key program measure is participation. Humana has expanded the ways that members can participate to earn points including obtaining preventive screenings, exercising regularly, donating blood, getting CPR-certified and quitting smoking. The newest way for members to earn points is by playing their Ubisoft “Your Shape” fitness game on their Xbox.

    HumanaVitality’s Future Direction for Engagement

    The HumanaVitality team is working on developing a deeper personalized experience by looking at the member’s past behaviors and recommending healthy activities, which match her interests. This is similar to the way Netflix suggests movies based on past viewing behavior.

    Humana is also gathering lots of data on how consumers are using their rewards program. “We are applying data analytics to evaluate program engagement beyond participation. We will look at status level movement and actions tied to behavior change,” explains Stuart.

    “In the future we will continue to expand the program to ensure we’re providing support and optimizing outcomes for all members – from members with severe conditions to marathon runners,” added Stuart.  “New reward partnerships will ensure the program provides relevant and aspirational rewards that foster improved health.”

    Aetna Grows Engagement With MindBloom’s Social Gaming, Networking and Rewards

    "I do not want to disengage with my life to engage with my health…you want me, find a way to weave it into my life.“ ~ Quote from 2010 Health 2.0 Conference

    As I viewed an in-depth demo of Aetna’s new social solution, I immediately noticed the unique approach they are taking with the Mindbloom platform.

    My Tree

    Mindbloom uses a tree metaphor to represent the different areas or branches of a person’s life. Let me share my thinking as I envision “My Tree”.

    I am empowered to design my tree with branches that are important to me; health, relationships, lifestyle, leisure, finances, spirituality, creativity and career.

    As I identify and complete an action of my choice, a new green leaf appears on the related branch. For my health, I may decide to add my own action to “complete my dance class this week”.  When I overlook an area of my life, over time my leaves turn brown on that branch.

    There are other trees from friends and family that I have invited to join my forest. I control what each of them sees. My closest friends and family view each leaf and can comment to acknowledge my accomplishments and support me when there are setbacks.

    As I grow my tree, I strive for balance. I begin with a few branches and get them strong before adding others. In time, I envision having a vibrant tree.

    When completing actions, I receive rewards that unlock new features including the option to select a new forest background or the ability to upload my own photos for inspiration. 

    Through my mobile phone, I can update my actions, journal my progress, view my friends' progress and send messages for encouragement. This lets me “grow on the go”.  Beyond the existing mobile web capabilities, Mindbloom will be launching a much more robust native iPhone application in the fall timeframe. 

    “People will not track every day” explains Kyra Bobinet, Medical Director eHealth & Wellness at Aetna. “This tool is a repository where they will come in and out. We will give consumers reasons and stimuli to continue their journey for a healthy balance”.

    Elements of Engagement

    Although I have seen many health related games, this one is customized, comprehensive and compelling.

    Here are five elements to drive consumer engagement:

    1) Personal. My tree looks different than yours. It has specific branches and leaves that are important to me.

    2) Holistic. I extend my tree with branches from different aspects of my life beyond health. In fact, the growth of one branch influences another. When my health branch is under stress, my relationship branch is impacted.

    3) Social. My forest has trees representing my friends and family. We are all there to support and strengthen each other. This forest is changing all the time and I am drawn back to take a look.

    4) Rewarding.  As I reach new milestones or succeed in maintaining a healthy balance, I am rewarded in many ways. In addition to feeling better, I receive points as well as recognition through my private forest and public social communities (e.g. Facebook). And I am also rewarded seeing my “Tree Summary” displaying my accomplishments.

    5) Fun. Like any interactive game that keeps my attention, this one is full of surprises. My points take me to new levels which reveal new opportunities for growth.

    Engagement By Design

    Before designing this solution, Aetna conducted extensive research with consumers. They learned that consumers want Aetna to make it “more fun”, “easier” and “rewarding”.

    I am most interested in seeing how engagement grows and which segments of consumers are motivated to develop and nurture a balanced tree of life.

    Disclosure: I worked with the Aetna team on concepts before the Mindbloom partnership.

    New Models for Leveraging Social Media for Consumer Engagement


    Healthcare Unbound Conference Panel, San Diego, CA   July 19th

    Leaders in the healthcare industry are using social media in entertaining, educational and emotional ways to engage and empower the consumer. 

    Research has shown the cost savings resulting from consumers' use of  social media to support each other. Consumers experience less depression and isolation as they navigate their own health issues. However, social media has moved beyond support to motivate consumers in new, exciting and very personal ways which will be measured through “social analytics”.  

    Where are we headed with social media and how are these leaders planning to get there?

    During this panel, you will see and hear about examples:

    • Social Media designed to attract and motivate specific consumer “segments” such as teens, seniors, caregivers, employees and patients
    • Social Media intervention developed by teens for teens
    • Gaming and social networks with competitions and rewards for healthy behaviors
    • Differentiated “private” and “public” social media initiatives which span business goals
    • New framework for generating consumer engagement incorporating financial, social and personal dimensions

    Panel Moderator: Sherri Dorfman, MBA, Consumer Engagement Specialist, CEO, Stepping Stone Partners


    • Paul Puopolo, Director, Consumer Innovation, Humana
    • Eric Zimmerman, Chief Marketing Officer, RedBrick Health
    • Rick LeMoine, MD, FACP, Chief Medical Information Officer, Sharp HealthCare
    • Paul To, CEO & Founder, Emota.net
    • Kendra Markle, Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, AlterActions.org