By Adam King
It seems like a simple prospect, remembering to drink 64 ounces of water each day. But from the comment section in the new Your Plan for Health website, a little prompting from Ohio State doesn’t hurt.
“I used to be great about this and have fallen off it lately,” wrote user ortiz84, who joined the “Stay Hydrated” challenge at yp4h.osu.edu. “I definitely don’t feel as good now that I haven’t been drinking as much water. Looking forward to being more aware of it.”
“I now keep one of those LARGE bottles on the desk with volume indicators on it,” noted BigJim. “There is no doubt now that I am getting enough water… and feeling better.”
The redesigned YP4H website launched Feb. 25 with an approach that the university hopes faculty and staff and their same-sex domestic partners or spouses will fully engage in to maintain and improve their health.
The challenges add a community angle to the website and encourage use of the site daily. Users can see how many people have joined a challenge and add their comments about their progress or approach. People also can create personalized challenges and invite other users to join them.
There is a range of difficulty among the challenges, which are added to an individual’s My Plan section of the website when users join — from merely drinking water and making sure to get adequate sleep to more strenuous activity such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and exercising regularly.
“The My Plan section will make it fun to take steps toward better health, and the new incentive program, My Health. My Plan. My Actions., offers rewards for continuing to perform healthy actions on an ongoing basis,” said Tara Anderson, a benefits engagement and communications specialist in the Office of Human Resources.
The challenges also seamlessly integrate with many existing health and exercise-tracking devices, including Nike+, Pebble and Fitbit Zip/Ultra/One, and more than 30 apps, such as Runkeeper.
“Linking fitness apps to the site enables faculty and staff to continue using tools that they may already be using, and it leverages the infrastructure of these experts in the field,” said Amy McKay, another OHR benefits engagement and communications specialist. “It offers one more tool to help faculty and staff focus on their well-being, and it makes it even easier to participate in challenges to earn rewards.”
Those rewards are obtained as users reach certain point benchmarks and complete certain tasks. The first achievable reward is similar to one offered in recent years, where faculty and staff enrolled in an Ohio State medical plan will receive an annual premium credit of up to $360 for taking the Personal Health and Well-Being Assessment (PHA). But for the first time, an additional $120 credit is available if an employee’s enrolled spouse or same-sex domestic partner takes the PHA as well. The credit for spouses and same-sex domestic partners will be applied in the 2014 plan year for PHAs taken in 2013.
“Last year, 70 percent of faculty and staff participated by completing the PHA,” Anderson said, “and we hope to increase that each year.”
The PHA was renamed and reworked to reflect a person’s overall well-being and looks at six areas: Reaching potential, emotional, physical, capacity for change, work satisfaction and health risk.
“Well-being is multi-faceted, and the new PHA addresses these different aspects,” McKay said.
The PHA is worth 480 incentive points, and securing 20 more points to reach the initial “Get In” level is easily achieved by just signing in for the first time and joining a single challenge. That nets the 2014 PHA premium credit. If an employee missed the Sept. 30 deadline to take the PHA for 2013, their premium credit will begin within 30 days from taking the new PHA.
The next level, called “Get Going,” is achieved by amassing 2,000 points through the challenges. The carrot dangled for incentive is a $75 Amazon gift card. “Get Results” is the final level and is earned by achieving 3,000 points. Points from each level count toward the next level. People who reach that level receive a FitBit and an entry into the grand-prize drawing. The grand prize has not been finalized yet, but there will be more than one chance to receive a prize.
Benefits-eligible faculty and staff and their enrolled spouse or same-sex domestic partner can qualify and earn the incentives for all three levels. There will be separate grand-prize drawings for the faculty/staff group and the spouse/same-sex domestic partner group.
Faculty and staff can use their current name.# log-in for the site while enrolled spouses and same-sex domestic partners can use the login names and password they previously created if they used the online tool to schedule an on-campus biometric health screening in 2012. If a spouse or same-sex domestic partner does not currently have a login for this system, they can register anew.
“A thoughtful approach was taken to planning the new site to ensure it leveraged evidence-based practices, both on the health improvement side as well as the engagement and communications side,” Anderson said. “To ensure the site reflected Ohio State, we engaged partners across the university, including HR, the OSU Health Plan, the College of Nursing and the Wexner Medical Center. We also gained input from stakeholders such as the Health Plan Oversight Committee, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, University Communications and Wexner Medical Center Communications. All feedback was considered, and we made adjustments where feasible to arrive at the best end-product.”
YP4H Champions: Their stories, your inspiration
I’d like to begin my journey with a little history. I was raised in a single parent home by a wonderful mother and an exceptional grandmother. Grandma was from an era where simple values and common sense were tools used in everyday life. Coming from a meager background, Grandma Willa preached, “Don’t waste any food — that’s your mom’s hard-earned money.” I’ve nicknamed this philosophy the Clean Plate Club, in which I was a devout member. Read more
I have always heard that you can’t change for someone else, only for yourself. However, I was certain that my decision to lose weight and change to a healthier lifestyle was for my grandchildren. What I discovered was, by making myself a priority, I was giving them the best gift I could give — a healthier, happier and more active grandma. Read more
All of my adult life I was really good at knitting and getting out of exercise. I fell all the time and twisted my everything. I had migraines that were so severe it interfered with my life and caused me to miss several days at work. My cholesterol was terrible, triglycerides SEVERE and I always held my breath when my blood glucose came back because I was just HOPING it would still be in the “pre-diabetic” and not the “diabetic” range. I also held my breath every time they took my blood pressure because I thought the results came in “better” if you did that. Read more
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” — Norman Vincent Peale.
This quote has always been an inspiration to me, but with the demands of life, somewhere I lost the meaning of its power. Read more