SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Kevin Jackson

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One-Third of Colorado State Employees Get Involved With New Health Incentive Program

UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente Co-Sponsor CafeWell Platform to Drive Healthy Behaviors

DENVER, CO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/03/14 -- Welltok®, Inc., the pioneering Social Health Management company, announced today it has reached key milestones in its efforts to support Gov. John Hickenlooper's goal to make Colorado the healthiest state in America. More than 10,000 state employees (30 percent of the qualified population) have started participating in a range of health activities since the launch of Welltok's CaféWell health incentive program in July 2013. Half of participants have completed a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) with their insurer through CaféWell, which is more than a 650 percent increase in HRA completion compared with the prior year.

Sponsored by UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente, which provide health insurance for Colorado state employees, the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform provides employees with a variety of health activities, incentives for participation and access to valuable resources, including health coaching.

"As one of the largest employers in the state, we have a unique opportunity to improve the health of state employees and lead the way as a wellness-focused employer," said Hickenlooper. "The ultimate goal of the program is to be a leader in helping support work environments across the state, including our own, to be conducive to choosing healthy behaviors."

Program engagement rates have been impressive, with employees participating in numerous challenges, activities and programs, ranging from nutrition and stress management to smoking cessation.

  • Nearly 20 percent of participants have joined the "Drink Water" challenge, committing to drinking 64 ounces of water each day
  • Thousands more are participating in nutrition challenges such as "Eating Leafy Greens" and "Healthy Snacking"
  • Stress was also a leading area of interest for employees, with programs such as "Lights Out! Sleep Challenge" earning rave reviews from participants

"My success is quitting smoking," said Carol Vigil, Department of Human Services employee. "However, CaféWell also helps remind me to eat better, exercise more and drink more water."

Given the early success of the program, the State of Colorado recently launched a new walking initiative in October titled "Reach for the Peaks." Initial results have been outstanding, with participants walking more than 112 million steps in the first two months of the program.

"I like reporting my progress, so I tend to make sure I get my lunchtime walk in so that I can track it," said Tanya O'Connor with the Department of Public Health and Environment. "Also, I like thinking about what I ate during the day to make sure I am getting all of my colors of fruits and vegetables. It makes it fun!"

The first thousand employees who joined the CaféWell walking initiative on launch day were issued free pedometers, sponsored by UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente. Subsequent registrants were invited to participate in the program using personal pedometers or fitness tracking apps that could be linked to CaféWell's online service.

"We worked closely with employee organizations and Welltok to ensure that this program would actively engage state employees," said State Personnel Director Kathy Nesbitt. "We are thrilled that more than 10,000 state employees signed up in the first four months of the program and are excited to see the results of that momentum over time."

"This is a great example of how CaféWell's platform as a service model makes it easy for healthcare organizations to get their members better engaged with their health, reward them for healthy behavior and integrate all the health and wellness assets in which they've invested so heavily," said Scott Rotermund, Welltok's co-founder and president.

"UnitedHealthcare's goal is to help all Coloradoans live healthier lives through incentives and innovative programs, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with Gov. Hickenlooper to help state employees get and stay healthy," said Robert Beauchamp, M.D., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare of Colorado. "The partnership between Welltok and the state offers employees an exciting way to make healthy choices a part of their everyday life. The initial result of having more than one-third of employees participating in the program is encouraging."

"We are pleased to partner with the State of Colorado and Welltok to provide an engaging platform that offers a variety of opportunities to be healthy at work," said Eric France, M.D., Kaiser Permanente chief of population care and prevention services. "This program helps create and promote a culture of total health -- something that's in our Kaiser Permanente DNA. Employees can motivate each other to make positive changes that can ultimately result in a healthier workforce."

About Welltok®, Inc.
As the pioneering Social Health Management™ company, Welltok is revolutionizing the way population managers optimize consumer health by aligning activities and behaviors with the right incentives and rewards. CaféWell, the company's Health Optimization Platform™, is an ecosystem of resources and programs that drives consumer engagement through a novel combination of social, gaming and personalized activities. Welltok provides population managers with a platform-as-a-service solution that enhances revenue growth, increases administrative efficiencies and delivers health care value.

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