SSM Health is one of the largest health systems in the Midwest. As part of their Affordable Care Act requirements, SSM must perform a Community Health Needs Assessment to determine opportunities for improving public health in their area. Essentially, SSM wanted to know, “How do we partner with our patients to proactively manage health needs rather than reactively respond after they become sick?” SSM’s assessment showed obesity was a top area for needed improvement in the community.
To address this, SSM decided to run an initiative that would instill the desire to be more active by helping community members incorporate more exercise in their daily or weekly routine. Rather than focusing on steps, SSM decided to make the goal centered around reaching 30 active minutes per day. “Research shows that moving 30 minutes a day is really beneficial for the human body.” They sought a fitness challenge platform that would facilitate an active minutes competition and connect to a variety of devices while also being intuitive enough for anyone to use. MoveSpring was the perfect fit.
“There is a need for this type of service. People are looking for an excuse to workout. They need motivation. We created that. We wanted it to be easy, to break down barriers.”— ssm health admin
SSM used our Stick to it! challenge mode to nudge participants towards a 30 active minutes per day exercise routine. Stick to it! was particularly effective for a group of participants with a wide range of fitness levels, as it doesn’t punish users for occasionally missing their goal. Instead, participants are rewarded and celebrated for every day they did achieve their goal, regardless if they missed a few earlier in the week. This was key to maintaining motivation and engagement with a group of participants that may have been new to regular exercise.
SSM took full advantage of MoveSpring’s content feature that allows clients to upload their own articles, videos, or posts. They saw content as a way to keep participants motivated and as an opportunity to educate. SSM posted three times per week: Motivational Monday, Wellness Wednesday, and Fit Friday. They created custom videos with their physicians who provided simple health tips and personal words of encouragement. “We’re always looking for new ways to market our physicians so we can promote access to care, another key part of our ACA needs assessment,” the SSM admin said.
Among the many resources provided to our admins, MoveSpring offers a detailedRewards Strategy to help foster an effective and engaging prize plan. This helps steer clients away from rewarding just the top stepper, which usually leads to cheating and lower engagement among users who will never achieve marathon-worthy step averages. SSM greatly benefitted from this resource and was able to avoid the top stepper pitfall.
Instead, SSM used a raffle model for determining prize winners. For every 5 days participants achieved 30 active minutes or more, they received one entry into the raffle. Participants were able to accumulate a total of 6 entries during the 42 day challenge. If you reached 30 active minutes every day of the challenge, you could earn a bonus 7th entry.
At the end of the challenge, the SSM admin team pulled winners from the raffle. “Everybody was really excited who won. All three winners were really active and had many entries in the raffle.”
Having enticing prizes also helped maintain motivation. Prizes included a fitness mirror that turns into a virtual fitness studio, an apartment-friendly collapsible treadmill, and a one-year gym membership.
Local news heard about the SSM initiative and featured their challenge in a news segment. Check it out:
MoveSpring enabled SSM to uphold the high standard of community care mandated under the ACA. They were able to identify and fulfill needs in their community by providing an inclusive platform that promoted a key form of preventative care: daily exercise. Additionally, they were able to address a second critical need in the community: access to care.
By showcasing physicians in their custom challenge content, they were able to foster a relationship with the community and caregivers, a core component of improving access to care.
The program was a success across multiple measures. Participation “exceeded expectations,” the SSM admins explained, “There is a need for this type of service. People are looking for an excuse to workout. They need motivation. We created that. We wanted it to be easy, to break down barriers. It was a really practical option for them.”
SSM expected 300 participants, but ended up with nearly 600 people in the challenge. SSM was strategic and creative in their challenge promotion, which helped produce high participation rates. Among their many tactics, SSM promoted the challenge via paid Facebook ads, a booth at a community health event, a press release, a blog post, banners throughout the hospital, and by swapping out all the screen savers in the hospital with the challenge sign up info.
Participants raved about the program saying things like, “I love this challenge, thank you SSM Health for giving me the motivation to move,” and “This is such a fun challenge. It got me thinking about what I was going to do to be active every day.
Internally, the success of this challenge caught the attention of the broader health system leadership. SSM admins said the CEO expressed that, “[…] this is where we want to go. We want to be engaging people in a different way, by being partners in their wellness.” They’re now looking at rolling out their 2020 challenge to the entire St. Louis region. A big win for all!
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