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 health and wellness challenges (8)

    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.  

    New Directions in Employee Engagement: Competition, Coaching, Community & Compensation

    Our Panel at the 8th Annual Healthcare Unbound Conference 2011

    According to a recent Towers Watson survey, fewer employees have taken "action to improve their health” in 2010 than in 2008 (59% compared to 65%) which is a surprise given the rise in chronic conditions. Further findings are that “27% would not participate in wellness efforts without incentives”.

    What are employers and health plans doing to successfully motivate consumers to participate in their wellness initiatives?

    During this panel on employee engagement, you will learn:

    ·   How virtual coaches are getting personal and gaining results

    ·   Ways social graphs are being used to map and leverage influencers

    ·   How reward strategies and behavioral economics are being utilized to produce behavior change

    Moderator: Sherri Dorfman, MBA, CEO & Consumer eHealth Specialist, Stepping Stone Partners


    • Bryce Williams, Director, Wellvolution, Blue Shield of California
    • Pat Sukhum, Co-Founder & Director of Marketing, RedBrick Health
    • Lisa McGill, VP, Worldwide Human Resources, Brocade Communications Systems (Self Insured Employer)


    6 1/2 Secrets For Engagement from Top Consumer Driven Companies

    My client recently revealed that he really valued the different perspectives that I bring, from consumers and competitors to companies inside and outside of healthcare. There is so much that we can learn from an “outside- in” perspective.

    Last week, I led a panel at the Community 2.0 Strategies Conference and listened to engagement successes from the most innovative consumer driven companies in the World. Just like healthcare organizations, these companies are compelled to capture the mind -share and influence the mind -set of the incredibly busy and often overwhelmed consumer.

    6 ½ Secrets For Engagement

    As you review these consumer-centric examples, think about the healthcare opportunity that I have outlined under each one. What other ways can these success factors be leveraged to motivate engagement in your company? 

    1. Peer to Peer Influencers Are Powerful

    Microsoft has a vibrant online community of MVPs who are “independent experts” leading discussions and sharing advice with their peers. Microsoft has set up a formal program with processes to identify, reward and transfer knowledge with these Influencers.

    Healthcare Opportunity:  Imagine ways to leverage the “Patient Expert” to encourage and support others in the community. This Expert knows the topics of interest, understands the issues facing these patients and can speak the patient’s language.

    2. Education Builds Relationships

    Verizon Residential has created an online community called “Room to Learn” which teaches consumers about the evolving set of technologies that they need in their home and how these technologies play together.

    Healthcare Opportunity: With the expansion of the Patient Centered Medical Home, consider how we can educate consumers about technologies that will empower them from tele-health for chronic care management to technologies that support ‘Aging in Place’ for seniors and caregivers. After all, isn’t increasing self-management an important goal of healthcare? 

    3. From Crowd Sourcing to Friend Sourcing

    Trip Advisor shared their move to integrate their site with Facebook and bring consumers travel reviews from their own personal network. Although they are still evolving this capability, Trip Advisor understands the value of trust in the decision making process.

    Healthcare Opportunity:  When consumers participate in a coaching program, think about the role that their personal network can play in supporting their goals and celebrating their achievements. Although the consumer may interact with their coach a few times during the week, their personal support network is with them all week long.  

    4. Rewarding the Right Behaviors

    Dell, a veteran in the online community space, is working hard to define behaviors that they want to reward. Dell is most interested in recognizing “helpful” behaviors. For example, one community member shares advice with another which results in a positive behavior.

    Healthcare Opportunity: As employers look for ways to take their company- wide social challenges to the next level, imagine finding ways to reward team captains and co-workers who contribute to the healthy success of their fellow employees. 

    5. Employee Engagement Leads to Consumer Engagement

    Sega video games has created a “Wall of Awesome” which posts feedback, input and overall inspiration from their customers. As Sega employees continually visit this wall, they are more motivated to participate in the community and spotlight these members in the online community.

    Healthcare Opportunity: It takes a company to support a healthcare consumer. With care management so fragmented, employees often do not hear about the ways their co-workers have helped or about the appreciation that some have received. Imagine having an online intranet area where employees share these stories with their colleagues and bring the inspirational stories back into the online community.

    6. Content Driven Before Channel Driven Engagement

    Over time, Dell has taken a more holistic view of driving online engagement. Their approach entails starting with their content, of which 40% is “user generated”,  and then thinking through how the different platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and other public and private Dell communities) can use this information.  Dell is most interested in what content is being consumed and how their customers are interacting with their company through these different online touch points.

    Healthcare Opportunity: Innovative healthcare organizations enable consumers to set both their channel and content preferences. Instead of continuing to add content providers (which are the same information sources being used by their competitors), these healthcare companies are spending more time evaluating, organizing and highlighting unique content generated by their community members.  This “user generated content” delivers a valuable and differentiated experience for the consumer. 

      6½ Integrated Content and Community for Impact (Extension of # 6)

    NBC shared the redesign of their iVillage women’s community where they connected their content,  member community and experts to motivate much higher participation. Now in one place, members can now read an article with comments from their community members and experts.

    Healthcare Opportunity: Instead of forcing consumers to find content across separate online spaces, leading healthcare companies are starting to connect these content sources to present different perspectives on the health issue from various authorities both personal and professional. As a result, consumers are spending more time exploring the information to support their health decisions.

    Although you may not have the budget to fund all of these engagement opportunities, you can learn from the successes of other consumer driven businesses. With this new insight, your company can make better investments in the game of consumer engagement which will result in a win-win. 

    Employee Engagement Series: Motivating Through ‘Comparative Data’, ‘Messaging’ and ‘Educational Information’


    Shape Up The Nation Comparative Data

    According to Hewitt Associates’ survey with employers, A Road Ahead- Emerging Health Trends 2010, “changing employee behaviors related to health (e.g. encouraging employees to live healthier lifestyles and manage chronic conditions) will continue to be top of mind for employers over the next several years”.

    Medium and large employers are evaluating different cost effective approaches that leverage technology to engage employees in their health. One approach that has generated results at the work place is social competition. Employees that participate in social competitions between co-workers and other companies gain the support and encouragement from their teammates to realize personal benefits such as getting more exercise, eating healthier and losing weight.

    GTECH, a global technology company with over 3,000 employees in the U.S., piloted Shape Up The Nation’s platform back in 2007 in their headquarters office in Rhode Island.  They noticed their employees were actively participating in the program and decided to roll it out to all U.S. employees located in 24 states the following year.

    “Our employees tell us that they like to have a structured program with the option of participating in any of the three options (e.g. weight, exercise and nutrition) with the team aspect”, explains Leo Perrone, Director, Employee Benefits at GTECH Corporation.

    Through the technology, employees can track and monitor their progress. “What they really like is the comparative information because it motivates them to strive harder, serves as positive peer pressure and it helps the team captains to send out motivational messages”, emphasizes Perrone.

    In fact the team captains are an essential piece of the social competition. GTECH recently had a meeting with their team captains to share best practices and make sure they have the tools that they need.  

    Team captains regularly send out messages to encourage their teammates to try harder together and to congratulate them on their past efforts. Employees also send virtual ‘high fives’ and messages of support to their teammates.

    Perrone discussed the employees’ response to the nutrition information that was tested in the platform this summer. “Our employee loved it. They entered in their meals and saw the calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates and sugar breakdown for the foods they are choosing. Our employees became more aware of what they are really eating on a daily basis”.   One of GTECH’s benefits for employees is the option to participate in six nutritional sessions each year. We agreed that the nutrition information from Shape Up  The Nation’s platform would be valuable to share with their nutrition educator for further insight.

    GTECH plans to continue with this social competition approach. “This is a foundational program for us since it makes a difference in the personal health of our employees and it also helps with team building. Our employees get to know each other through these competitions and this helps our business” concludes Perrone.

    More on employee engagement as the series continues...

    Have you seen "Challenge Me" as an engagement driver?


    UnitedHealth Group Launches OptumizeMe Mobile App to Motivate Healthy Behaviors

    During my panel at the World Congress mHealth Summit in July, Bud Flagstad, VP Strategic Initiatives at UnitedHealth Group mentioned their upcoming mobile app which is designed for healthy challenges.

    OptumHealth, a business unit of UnitedHealth Group, has just launched the free OptumizeMe app for Windows Phone 7 devices, which will be followed by Android and iPhone platforms in 2011. OptumizeMe is a unique health and fitness app designed to make health both fun and social.

    The idea of challenges and trackers was tested with UnitedHealth employees last summer. UnitedHealth found that the challenge participants tended to meet and exceed their fitness goals faster.

    With OptumizeMe, you can create challenges and invite others in your social circle to participate. If you are planning a run challenge in Central Park, you can extend your invitation to others in the geography who then opt in to join you. You can use a map to show the location of your event and to check out other events in the area. You can also send motivational messages to your friends and family around the challenge and post your progress to Facebook. Others can respond with a “thumbs up” or a “butt kick” to move you closer to your fitness goal.

    Once you complete your first Challenge, you receive your first virtual trophy, a Pioneer badge. Some badges are won based on your efforts and others are a surprise which keeps fitness fun.

    In addition to social challenges, you can use OptumizeMe to manage your personal challenges such as training for a marathon or accelerating your physical activity during the holidays. Think about how you would use the OptumizeMe app. What personal challenges and social challenges would you choose to manage?