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SummaCare and WebMD Health Services: Checking in On SummaCare and Mary Jo

Last year, we featured a story from one of our clients, SummaCare, and how they used our wellness challenge to help increase company culture and engagement. We also heard from one of their incredible employees, Mary Jo, who participated in the challenge and made changes that improved her quality of life. This June, we met up with them again to see how they’re doing and what they’ve been up to.

We were so happy to present with SummaCare and Mary Jo at the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) virtual conference last month. During the presentation, we learned a lot about COVID-19 and how it’s affecting well-being right now—for both health plans and individuals.

Health plans are innovating to meet demand.

Our very own Director of Product Management, Christiane Jones, described how COVID-19 is affecting health plans right now. She explained that the pandemic “has thrust employers and health plans into uncharted territory. … They’ve had to pivot quickly to provide things like virtual coaching, and how to think through a communication strategy to help make their members and their employer groups aware of all of these new programs and services that are available.”

She went on to say that, right now, it’s critical to give populations the well-being tools they need to not only navigate this crisis, but to navigate through the long-term changes that are likely to take root in our daily lives.

WebMD Health Services provides the tools members need.

To help populations with their well-being, Christiane said that we first need to help individuals learn about their own health, their personal goals, and how they can start making long-term habit changes. At WebMD Health Services, we use wellness challenges to engage populations and meet them in their well-being journeys.

One of our wellness challenges is The Invitational Team Steps Challenge. When a participant signs up, they can either join a team or create their own. There are five participants per team, and they compete against a different team each week for five weeks. SummaCare uses this wellness challenge for their members and their clients, and it’s always a hit!

Jen Yates, the Manager of Health and Wellness at SummaCare, explained that for them, a critical component of this challenge is the smart logic that matches teams up with others of comparable step counts. “This was important for a hospital system, as we have lots of nursing staff, housekeeping staff, even security that are on their feet a lot,” while others, such as desk staff or health plan employees who are behind a computer all day, may not be able to reach these higher step counts. The smart logic makes the game more fair while also providing competition in a reasonable, reachable way.

Checking in with Mary Jo.

Mary Jo works at SummaCare and participated in the 2019 Invitational soon after experiencing a heart attack. She appreciated the support and camaraderie her teammates provided.

“I had to make a lot of health changes, and I have an amazing team that I work with. … Every day, Dawn would come in and say, ‘How many steps did you take? Did you track them? Did you report them?’ We would go down to the gym and walk on the treadmill at lunch. We didn’t win a lot, but we kept ourselves accountable, and we had a great time doing it and facing a different team each week.”

This year, her team participated again and even won a few of the challenges. She said that overall, “this helped me get to where I need to be. It’s a journey. And I am so grateful that I work at SummaCare and that I have WebMD and I have Jen Yates to keep us on track and help us achieve all of the wellness things that we need to do.”

We’re so happy to see that Mary Jo has continued her well-being journey! It’s all about small choices every day that leads to a bigger goal. And to have the help and support of her coworkers is incredible. Mary Jo, we’re so proud of you!

Checking in with SummaCare during COVID-19.

Once the pandemic began, SummaCare realized they needed to increase their online presence. They promoted our products and services, shared our stress management tips on social media, and sent our on-demand webinars to all their employer groups to bring awareness to their well-being tools and resources.

Beyond that, their clients continued their scheduled wellness challenges. “They did not want to disrupt their wellness activities—they wanted to keep a sense of normalcy and add that comradery to the workforce and bring some joy back into a hospital systems workforce.”

Way to go, SummaCare! We’re so honored to partner with you and develop strategic methods to engage your populations and promote well-being—especially during this unprecedented time.

We think Jen said it best when she noted that Mary Jo’s story “truly reminds us why we are in the wellness industry and why we do what we do.” The conscious choices people make each day lead to habits that can ultimately change—and save—lives. And it all starts with engaging populations in strategic, educational and fun ways. We’re proud to be part of that journey.

Want help developing your own wellness challenges? Take a look at our e-book, How to Plan and Implement Wellness Challenges.

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