Does problem-solving stave off mental decline?

MARIA COHUT | December 11, 2018

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As we get older, our bodies and minds begin to lose their suppleness slowly. This is a normal effect of aging, though sometimes, the decline can be steeper and related to neurodegenerative conditions. Existing research has suggested that people can prevent age-related mental decline if they take certain actions, one of the most important being training one's brain by challenging it through puzzles and similar problem-solving activities.

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Kalispell Regional Healthcare

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) is a 343-bed health care system located in Kalispell, Montana. KRH serves more than 170,000 people within a geographical region of 20,000 square miles and employs nearly 4,000 team members. Comprising the health care system are three acute-care hospitals (Kalispell Regional Medical Center, The HealthCenter, and North Valley Hospital), a skilled nursing facility (Brendan House), a fitness facility (The Summit Medical Fitness Center), a mental health and substance abuse facility (Pathways Treatment Center), a durable medical equipment company (Kalispell Medical Equipment) and more than 30 primary and specialty physician clinics.

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Post Pandemic Meltdown: Gamified Dieting Success Rates, Sign-ups Surge Amid ‘Quarantine 15’ Concerns

Article | December 8, 2020

Let’s face it. It’s been one tough year with too many of us sitting idle and indulging in calorie-laden foods for way too long as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe. For all too many, sheltering in place has prompted unwelcome weight gain—a troublesome truth as we head into the holiday season where gluttony oft reigns supreme. That said, many individuals did have foresight and motivation back in March and the months that followed, wisely leveraging that extreme downtime to “diet for dollars” with HealthyWage—a pioneer of money-driven weight loss contests and challenges for individuals, teams and business groups. In fact, those who started a 6-month HealthyWager challenge during the pandemic (late March through May) broke company records, spurring a dramatic increase in pound shedding success rates—and in-kind cash payouts—against the norm. So motivated became America to drop, or avoid, the so-called ‘quarantine 15’ and score some cold hard cash in the process, HealthyWage reports that this past May it logged a substantial year-over-year increase in challenge participants at large. This is not surprising given Google search trends indicates the portion of people searching for weight loss hit a 5-year high in May of 2020—a level even exceeding the quintessential New Year’s diet resolution season. Beyond the fact that people who started weight loss wagers during the pandemic achieved much greater success as compared to participant results the prior year, and earning hundreds and even thousands of dollars for their efforts, it is women and individuals under 30 years of age primarily accounting for the sustained increases. For example, among the litany of pandemic era success stories, Lisa S. won over $1,900 for losing 50 pounds in 6 months while Hayden T. won over $1,200 for losing over 62 pounds in 6 months—both during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the coronavirus rages on well into the fourth quarter, we collectively find ourselves again having to shelter-in-place. Those trying to reconcile how they will survive this next round of being home bound, and the holiday season at large, with mitigated waistline and budgetary wreckage—and who are even planning their New Year resolution approach just beyond—would be wise to consider the gamified dieting approach. “Loss Aversion is a powerful dynamic and the reality of having ‘skin in the game’ can propel the results of a gamified weight loss initiative,” notes HealthyWage co-founder David Roddenberry. The efficacy of diet gamification is well-proven. For one, according to study findings published by JAMA Internal Medicine, behavioral economics-based gamification led to “significantly” increased physical activity among overweight and obese Americans. In this particular study, pairing a step tracking device with social incentives led to sustained, long-term behavior change—prompting participants to take more steps then with a step tracking device, alone. While the report explains that “gamification interventions significantly increased physical activity during the 24-week intervention,” with competition being the “most effective.” That’s something HealthyWage has seen play out since launching its weight-loss gamification platform in 2009. HealthyWage is, in fact, founded on earlier substantive research and "double-incentivization" methodology that proves competition and rewards—especially the cash variety—can as much as triple the effectiveness of weight loss programs. “A key element for the success of a gamification program is giving participants something to lose if they fail to meet their goal—whether tangible or intangible,” notes Roddenberry. “In this particular study, it was just points at stake but even this effected behavior change. There are actually throngs of studies demonstrated that the threat of losing something of value is much more effective than the opportunity to win something of equal value. That’s precisely why we advocate that program participants ‘pay to play’ and make an investment out of their own pocket in order to win rewards—in our case large cash prizes—for losing weight and getting more active in the program.” A few other notable HealthyWager success stories (both female and male) are case-in-point. These include Jean N. who lost 71 lbs. and won $3,357.99 for her efforts, and Jeremy M. who also lost 71 lbs. and won $1,886.32 for his own slimdown success. From its website, HealthyWage.com shares yet more inspirational success stories of both women and men who gained financially for their pound-shedding achievements using the company’s unique gamification approach. This includes Kristin W. who lost a staggering 114 pounds and won $4,000 for her efforts, Anastasia W. who lost 41 pounds and won a whopping $10,000 in kind, and Blake S. who lost an impressive 151 pounds and won $4,670 for his own slimdown success. Figures that are tasty, indeed. These and other such HealthyWage payouts are proof positive. For their weight-loss achievements that collectively exceeds an astounding 1,050,000 pounds for this year, alone—269 of which losing in excess of 100 pounds (and nearly 7.5 million pounds lost since the company’s launch), HealthyWage has reportedly paid more than xx30,000 dieters over $13 million cash in 2020, specifically, and over $55 million cash since its inception in 2009. HealthyWage programs apply these principles: HealthyWager Challenge: participants commit to a weight loss goal and an upfront financial payment and get their money back plus a financial return if they accomplish their weight loss goal. The average participant loses 40.7 pounds and gets paid $1,245. HealthyWage Step Challenge: participants commit money and agree to increase their steps by 25% over 60-days. If they achieve their goal they get their money back plus the money from those who don't hit their goal. Upholding the new findings while also further validating HealthyWage’s well-honed approach, an additional study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine continue to prove that money is an effective motivator to “increase both the magnitude and duration of weight loss.” The same hold true in business for staff wellness initiatives. Results from one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicated that “Loss Incentive’ Motivates Employees to Take More Steps ,” finding that financial incentives framed as a loss were most effective for achieving physical activity goals. As a prolific corporate and group wellness purveyor, since 2009 HealthyWage has worked with an array of hi-caliber participants on workplace and staff wellness initiatives, including Halliburton, ConocoPhillips and more than 25% of the largest school districts in the country. HealthyWage has, in fact, formally created competitive, money-motivated programs for more than 1000 Fortune 500 and other public and private companies, hospitals, health systems, insurers, school systems, municipal governments and other organizations throughout the U.S., and their program has been more informally run at more than 7,000 companies and organizations seeking to bolster staff health and well-being, and boost bottom lines in kind. “Throngs of studies reiterate the importance of the 'stick' in the design of a wellness incentive program, whether for individuals at home or for employee groups,” Roddenberry says. “Many studies have demonstrated that the threat of losing something of value is much more effective than the opportunity to win something of equal value. That’s precisely why we advocate that program participants ‘pay to play’ and make an investment out of their own pocket in order to win rewards—in our case large cash prizes—for losing weight and getting more active in the program.” Studies do consistently show that monetary incentives serve to enhance the effectiveness of, and duly complement, weight-loss programs of any and all sorts, especially when paid out quickly like HealthyWage’s various programs. For its part, HealthyWage reports that the average participant more than doubles their investment if they are successful at achieving their goal. The financial upside potential is impressive. So, if this is the season when you would like to not only resolve to lose those extra lbs. but also actually achieve that worthy goal, consider a cash-fueled approach. It just might give you that extra dose of motivation that’ll truly help you stay the course, shed weight and make some extra money in the process. There’s no better time than right now to bank on yourself.

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Will regulation limit the impact in health care?

Article | March 2, 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) introduces some important concerns around data ownership, safety and security, and with so much at stake, meaningful regulation should be expected. The pharmaceutical, clinical treatment and medical device industries provide a precedent for how to protect data rights, privacy and security and drive innovation in an AI-empowered health care system. We should expect the continued growth of AI applications for health care as more uses and benefits of the technology surface. I’ve given more than 100 presentations on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) this past year. There’s no doubt these technologies are hot topics in health care that usher in great hope for the advancement of our industry. While they have the potential to transform patient care, quality and outcomes, there are also concerns about the negative impact this technology could have on human interaction, as well as the burden they could place on clinicians and health systems.

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Can EHRs Stand Up Marketplaces for Innovation?

Article | February 26, 2020

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) continues to advocate for improved data exchange, with the interoperability and information blocking rules being the latest federal push. One of the ONC’s goals with its latest guidance is to establish an ecosystem of innovation, with electronic health records (EHRs) serving as the foundation — i.e., the platform enabling application development and user access. But when it comes developing an EHR-based marketplace for innovation and mandating open APIs, there are many challenges for all players involved — including EHR vendors, tasked with standing up these sustainable marketplaces for innovation, and third-party developers, forced to bet big on which EHR platform(s) to innovate for and hope they chose right. How could the latest interoperability and information blocking guidelines impact the likelihood EHRs will be successful in developing sustainable innovation marketplaces?There are four key factors that stand to impact the success of EHR-based marketplace development, including:

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Transforming Healthcare From A ‘Service’ To A ‘Product’

Article | April 20, 2020

Healthcare is top of mind as the coronavirus hits hard everywhere. The inefficiencies of the system itself are on full display during the pandemic — where testing is hard to come by, diagnoses and treatments are reactive rather than proactive, and many people do not get the care they need, when they need it. Adrian Aoun, CEO and founder of Forward, a tech-driven healthcare startup, told Karen Webster that it’s possible to build a completely new healthcare ecosystem, beginning with primary care — and the overhaul needs to leverage data and artificial intelligence (AI).

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Spotlight

Kalispell Regional Healthcare

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) is a 343-bed health care system located in Kalispell, Montana. KRH serves more than 170,000 people within a geographical region of 20,000 square miles and employs nearly 4,000 team members. Comprising the health care system are three acute-care hospitals (Kalispell Regional Medical Center, The HealthCenter, and North Valley Hospital), a skilled nursing facility (Brendan House), a fitness facility (The Summit Medical Fitness Center), a mental health and substance abuse facility (Pathways Treatment Center), a durable medical equipment company (Kalispell Medical Equipment) and more than 30 primary and specialty physician clinics.

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