Future of Healthcare
MERILEE KERN | December 08, 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. Read More
MERILEE KERN | September 03, 2020
As COVID-19 rages on, warning sirens have sounded of late amid a flurry of headlines surrounding Ultraviolet-C (UVC) light device safety issues. Rightfully so, as the current pandemic has ushered in a veritable “wild west” of UVC gadget deployments with subpar consumer safeguards, instructions or guidance. So important are the concerns amid this rapidly proliferating product sphere, the FDA recently issued a consumer advisory regarding UVC light technology that’s applicable for industrial, business, travel and residential use.
Once largely a germicidal method leveraged in hospital, industrial and other commercial settings for its extreme efficacy, today’s breed of UVC technologies are small, portable and inexpensive enough to be making their way into businesses of every type across the globe—and even traverse with individuals while they’re out and about. This, as generalist retailers like Amazon and Walmart have joined the fray in their attempts to divert market share from the more specialized, expert-driven, safety-focused UVC purveyors.
While germ-killing UVC technologies do proffer tremendous advantages and results for users—serving as a potent tool for easily and effectively eradicating harmful viruses, bacteria, pathogens and microorganisms—there are a number of considerations a business (or employee) should heed before procuring and using such a powerful device. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, why; when; where; and how it will be used—variables that impact safety and risk concerns related to UVC wavelength, dose and duration of radiation exposure.
Shopping in this category can be equally overwhelming. One need only Google “UVC lamps,” which delivers nearly 100,000 results, to realize how bloated this category has become. Amid the chaos, I did happen upon a highly targeted, category-dedicated source wholly dedicated to UVC technologies: CureUV.com. This company draws on over 20-years of expertise in the design, development and provision of technologically advanced UV products and solutions. Today, they are a premier provider of germicidal UVC light solutions for commercial, industrial, portable, residential and even water applications.
While its form factor catalog is copious, below are a few of CureUV’s more popular UVC devices starting under $90 that proffer chemical-free disinfection, which can help ensure your spaces remain free of illness-causing microbial contaminants like viruses, bacteria, mold and other fungi:
Rechargeable Handheld UV Sanitizer Wand With Digital Timer
Here's a highly portable way to eliminate germs and have a cleaner environment no matter where you may be. This powerful UVC illumination system, which retails around $89, eradicates up to 99.9 percent of viruses, bacteria, germs, mold, dust mite eggs and flea eggs on surfaces. This non-chemical option adds an extra layer of safety to you with no hazardous residue. It contains a 6-inch UVC lightbulb allowing for a wider coverage of area as well as accelerating sanitation in the process. A built in timer inside the device allows you to keep track of desired dosage creating precise sanitation sessions-- anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes to indefinite. Its silent operation allows for a noise free solution for sanitation, and sleek and cordless and lightweight design is perfect for travel however near or far--daily around town or those hotel visits. Sanitize how you want in your desired target area or on your personal items keeping them germ free. An internal rechargeable battery saves money on replaceable battery purchases as compared to various other handheld wands on the market.
GermAwayUV 18-Watt Handheld UVC Surface Sanitizer
This device offers reliable and highly portable sanitizing performance at an entry-level price. Indeed, at under $120, this is an affordable, dual-bulb, handheld UV sanitizer that still maintains power levels similar to more industrial UV surface sanitizers. This lightweight and ergonomically designed 18-watt UVC sanitizer will give you much peace of mind. It has a 6-foot cord adequate for most applications, but the sanitizer will run easily with virtually any simple power extension. Its two 9-watt UVC sanitizer bulbs are guaranteed to produce UV light in the 253.7 nanometer (nm) wavelength, which has been consistently proven to eliminate all illness-causing microorganisms. It's the perfect tool to disinfect high use and traffic areas, as well as locations where bacteria and viruses congregate like bathrooms, door handles, seating areas and cooking/dining spaces. It'll prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and microorganisms, or simply add an extra layer of cleanliness and protection to your cleaning procedures. It comes bundled with protective amber UV safety glasses.
Deluxe GermAwayUV 95-Watt UVC Surface Sanitizer with Cage
With a 95-watt bulb, this chemical-free, tabletop UV room and surface sanitizer is the strongest of its kind. It will result in effective room sanitation by killing up to 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses, mold spores, yeasts, C. diff, odors and other harmful microorganisms. With a simple touch of a button you'll be able to leave the room while the entire space is cleaned and disinfected in a matter of minutes. The device has five time settings: 10, 20, 30 and 60 minutes; and hold for indefinite run time. After the selected dosage time has elapsed, the device will automatically shut off. You can use it regularly to ensure a consistently clean room.
Heavy Duty Dual Bulb 72-Watt HVAC UV Air Purifier
Suitable for use anywhere, including schools, offices, work-floors and medical rooms to sanitize air and environmental surfaces, this device is effective in small and large rooms/buildings alike, up to 2,400 square feet. With a powerful 72-watt bulb and a standard electrical unit, you can insert this premium UVC bulb into any HVAC system as an easy add on to sanitize the air in the system. Typical air purifier units and HVAC systems are definitely useful, designed to filter and ventilate air well. But even the finest filters can’t stop atomic sized bacteria and viruses. This device is therefore a great extra add on because it really does target and stop bacteria and viruses from circulating. It sanitizes and disinfects air passing through the HVAC system. Its 72-watt bulb emits UVC light of 254nm and is the most powerful bulb. Most devices are typically only effective in small rooms, but with this level of wattage you can use this device in large rooms and building types. At its wavelength, the emitted light is able to penetrate and kill the DNA of atomic sized organisms that create problems for humans. UVC emission also acts to eliminate mold spores, yeast and fungi. So, inserting this unit device into your existing HVAC system ensures that not only will the air that moves through your building be ventilated, it will also be irradiated and disinfected as it passes over the bulb. Instead of just filtered air in your system, you’ll end up with sanitized, healthy air. Add on (retrofit) features like this one are great because you can just insert them into an already installed and operating HVAC system with minimal additional running costs. This device is easy to install and is capable of DIY application. Other available HVAC retrofit air sanitation and purification solutions include a coil scrubber or 36-watt HVAC UVC air purifier.
GermAwayUV High Occupancy Wall Mountable 150-Watt Air Purifier and Sanitizer
This is a safe and efficient way to sanitize and disinfect the air in high traffic occupied areas. Simply mount the sanitizer on the wall as you would hang a TV or mount a standalone AC system and let the system do its magic. The air purifier will use its powerful, yet quiet, fan to continually cycle all of the air in the room through the system. Once the air does so, it will be met by a quintuple filtration and sanitation system that culminates in a full 150-watt UVC germicidal irradiation. Put this system in a busy hallway, a crowded restaurant, a veterinary clinic with high traffic, a busy office, etc… and it will eliminate bacteria, viruses and harmful pollutants as quickly as possible without exposing anybody to any UVC rays. It proffers optimum perf Read More