MeYou Health is a ‘well-being company’, in their own words. Their offerings help users engage in a healthy lifestyle, using their social network support. If you are like me, that doesn’t really tell you what they do. So I decided to find out more.
MeYou Health started in 2009, and is funded by Healthways, Inc. Healthways is a 30-year old, publicly traded health services company based in Franklin, TN. They main business is to provide disease management and wellness programs to managed care companies, self-insured employers, governments, and hospitals. MeYou Health seems to be a good extension to what they do.
The current ‘products’ being offered are all aimed at fostering behavior change and provide social support. The available lineup is:
- Daily Challenge: Released September 2010. Sign up through a Facebook account, and you get daily emails encouraging one small ‘positive’ action like eat an apple, rearrange your desk. Points, badges and levels are achieved as actions are completed. There is added social functionality of peer-to-peer competition, benchmarking etc.
- Community Clash: A web-based game that allows players to discover their communities’ health to other U.S. cities by choosing “cards” that represent health indicators such as obesity, smoking, diabetes, etc. The goal of this poker-like game is to bet on which city is more healthy. Underlying data for it is sourced from several databases that were promoted by the HHS led challenge, the Community Health Data Initiative (CHDI). This page lists those databases, and I found it to be a good bookmark of what open-databases are available around certain health-related topics like diabetes, uninsured etc.
- Change Reaction: Another Facebook app that lets you record a small ‘positive action’ and pass it on to your friends. The idea is to create a growing chain of people who do it, and hopefully create a big trend.
- EveryDRINK: A slick Adobe AIR desktop widget that lets you set a daily goal of drinking water, and then subtly reminds you to get a drink periodically.
They have some other under development, listed here. There is no doubt that behavior is a critical factor for healthy lifestyle. And changing behavior is about influencing the micro-choices we make hundreds of times every day (like taking the stairs instead of elevator or skipping soda for water). So there is a role for services that guide and encourage individuals making the right healthy micro-choice.
But such guidance source needs to be omnipresent in order to be effective. What if I end up ignoring my email or desktop alert after the first few times? Or don’t really care about Facebook? Intelligent mobile platforms, ubiquitous connectivity and sticky networks are promising trends that will eventually pave the way for viable solutions. Ones that consumers may even be willing to pay for.