In 2013, an African American, baby boomer named Tammy Williams, GPHR, PMP, president and founder of She’s It LLC® (Social Health Empowerment thru IT®), asked and answered the question, “Can tech change the way you think about yourself?” with the launch of her framework for a mobile application that would support and encourage personal engagement in one’s health and well-being. As the visionary force behind the native technology, Williams originally envisioned it being “by women, for women” but quickly recognized that an expanded platform to include women and men was vital leading to the launch of SHEapp Corporate®.
In November 2018, Williams and business partner, Carol Pate, Ed.D. and EVP successfully launched SHEapp® by She’s It, LLC®, designed to create a lasting engagement that would ultimately lead to positive and sustainable behavioral changes. She’s It® is a lifestyle technology and content media company focused on democratizing 360° well being by combining the strengths of mobile technology with the power of conversation.
Williams, a former HR and change management executive in the technology industry, was acutely aware of the dozens of wearables and apps on the market designed to track steps, sleep, calories, heart rate and a plethora of other health-related data. She showed off a bowlful of discarded devices to me on a recent visit to her office. And, she quoted statistics reported by Glassdoor, that corporations are integrating them into wellness programs at a rapidly increasing rate—from 200,000 in 2017 to an estimated 13 million in 2018. The key to unlocking the answer was that most of them are focused on the scale or on weight loss alone and when the question was asked “Do they work for weight loss?” the short answer was “No.”
The longer answer is tied to studies showing that people who didn’t use fitness trackers lost more weight than those who did. When combined with a monetary incentive, tracker-wearing employees lost more weight. However when the incentive ended, the numbers reverted. (September 2016 study, “Effect of Wearable Technology Combined With a Lifestyle Intervention on Long-Term Weight Loss.”)
On the flip side, a Forbes magazine article “The Benefits of Fitness and Activity Trackers in the Workplace” by Ron Goldstein says, “The good news is that the advent of fitness and activity trackers, along with other wellness devices tied to specific outcomes and insurance requirements, have moved health to the forefront of workplace cultures.”
Hence, the wearable market opened the door for the more advanced technology of the SHEapp® platform and the answer to the question, “Can tech change the way you think about yourself?”
It’s clear from research that if individuals only change health-focused behaviors to meet some incentive goal (such as reducing health insurance premium payments), they don’t move beyond the scale. Corporations have begun to understand that being healthy is more than the absence of disease or condition (American Cancer Society 2016, “Excess Body Weight: A Major Issue in America.”) Having health is a positive state of being where one’s environment supports individuals to be well—physically, mentally and socially.
Dr. Pate’s conversational brief, “Social Health Empowerment®: A 21st Century Framework for Increasing Employee Engagement,” postulates, “While employees primarily engage in wellness programs to improve their energy levels and overall health, an increasing percentage look for programs that empower them to take a more proactive role in their health and well-being.” Pate, a former educator, administrator and professor, partnered with Williams in 2017 and was responsible for weaving medical, educational and human services research into the Social Health Empowerment® framework of SHEapp®.
Williams and Pate believe that the key to disrupting the current focus on wellness from short-term goals to long-term engagement is an active sense of being empowered. To be empowered in general means that an individual or group has four key elements: 1) Knowledge; 2) Support; 3) Access and 4) Autonomy aka KSAA®.
Social Health Empowerment® connects the dots of: Knowledge through health data that provides a roadmap for healthier behaviors; Support through communities that care; Access to resources and meaningful measures of progress; and Autonomy that allows experience to drive choices.
SHEapp® by She’s IT® uses the KSAA® principle to change the way individuals feel about themselves, and seems to answer the question “Can tech change the way we think about our health?” with a resounding “Yes.”
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