Navigation Links
Akron researchers devise Rx for ailing wellness programs

Corporations sink millions into employee wellness programs that don't work.

They don't work because:

  • They are not personalized what motivates one employee to exercise may not motivate another colleague.
  • Managers lack real-time data to improve program effectiveness.
  • The programs often strive for optimal goals, when good-enough results would yield broader benefits.

A computer engineering professor at The University of Akron has devised a novel design for future wellness programs. The National Science Foundation praised the proposal and awarded $1.3 million to test and validate the Personal Wellness Management System.

"There is a critical national need for cost-effective programs that encourage exercise and healthy lifestyle behaviors," said the professor and principle investigator, Dr. Shivakumar Sastry. "The early results of our design show that it has the potential to fundamentally transform how wellness programs are designed and managed."

Sastry said companies and organizations that provide health insurance will be attracted to the Personal Wellness Management System because it will reduce costs. Employees will benefit from the holistic and customized approach.

"Many things must come together to make a person well: you need medical practitioners, nutritionists, exercise specialists, behavioral scientists," Sastry said. "At the same time, these systems need to be rigorous enough, because this is a healthcare business, with serious repercussions on cost for organizations. So if an organization can invest only $30,000 in a wellness program, the Personal Wellness Management system will show how to allocate those dollars precisely throughout a population for the very best outcome."

At its core, the Personal Wellness Management System is a professional who serves as the decision maker. He or she is armed with powerful software that allows rapid adjustments to each participant's "wellness prescription" based on real-time data. The data shows who is meeting prescribed goals in exercising, eating right and meeting medical needs. And significantly the software, aware of personal preferences, will recommend tailored incentives to keep each participant engaged and on track.

So sophisticated is the software that it will know over time who the influencers are within an organization that is, the people who have the ability to influence others' behavior. The software might recommend special incentives for the influencers to encourage them to rally others to walk the hallways with them at lunchtime.

(To achieve this, Sastry applies the goal-seeking paradigm, a theory better known to explain the spread of diseases and the economies of nations. Never has it been applied to human motivation in a wellness setting.)

For the Personal Wellness Management project, Sastry has assembled an impressive and multidisciplinary team of PhDs and graduate students from across the Akron campus in nursing, biometrics, health care, psychology, exercise science and computer information systems. The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron is also a partner.

"Personalized Wellness Management is focused on helping each individual determine and incorporate the physical and behavioral habits that will improve and sustain good health," said Dr. Frank Douglas, CEO of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron and a co-principal investigator on the grant. "It is the essence of healthy living."


Contact: Laura Massie
University of Akron

Related medicine news :

1. Studying marrow, URMC researchers accelerate blood stem cells
2. UNM Cancer Center researchers study new target for breast cancer
3. Barrow researchers successfully destroy brain tumor cells
4. Western University researchers make breakthrough in arthritis research
5. Researchers report first success of targeted therapy in most common non-small cell lung cancer
6. USC, Oxford researchers find high fructose corn syrup-global prevalence of diabetes link
7. Researchers study cry acoustics to determine risk for autism
8. Researchers explore social media as preventative method for infectious diseases
9. New mechanism for cancer progression discovered by UNC and Harvard researchers
10. Researchers identify physiological evidence of chemo brain
11. Researchers find chemical switches for neurodegenerative diseases
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios is back ... to choose from, the possibilities are endless. Users have full control over angle of ... Pulse masking effects, users are sure to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article published ... Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to wear ... explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while helmets ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss ... to treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. ... Zurich analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion ... off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a ... company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of its members are under ... under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population - are infected with ... infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle Li, Co-Founder of the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 --> ... blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer. ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... that immunotherapy can be efficiently combined with photodynamic therapy ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 --> ... use SyMRI to find optimal contrast weighting of MRI ... and has signed a research agreement with SyntheticMR in order ... Using SyMRI, it is possible to generate multiple contrast images ... the patient has left, thus making it possible to both ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 3D ... by 2022, according to a new report by Grand View ... Kidney Disease (CKD) which demands kidney transplantation is expected to ... cost effective substitute for organ transplantation. --> 3D ... by 2022, according to a new report by Grand View ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: