Wellocracy launches at CES

Self-help movement promises 'stickiness factor'
By Bernie Monegain
10:01 AM

Wellocracy, described as a new self-help movement for health and wellness that employs technology to motivate participants and help them reach their goals, launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 8 with an online community and the first in a planned series of e-books.

The idea, says Joseph Kvedar, MD, founder and director of Center for Connected Health – part of Partners HealthCare in Boston  and co-founder of Wellocracy, is to help the average Joe become slimmer, stronger, fitter, happier and healthier using digital health, motivational self-awareness and non-disruptive strategies to increase activity.

“There are millions of people struggling to eat well, exercise, manage a chronic disease or decrease other health risks. Wellocracy will help them select and use digital health tools, understand their individual motivations and make incremental lifestyle changes that can easily be incorporated into busy schedules,” said Kvedar. "The truth is, we all need to work at maintaining health."

“From my work researching and operating connected health programs over the past decade, I've learned the formula for successfully changing behavior and making it stick," said Kvedar. “This is information everyone can use.”

[See also: Automated care: thermostat of health or Ponzi scheme?]

"Wellocracy will help you find your 'stickiness factor,' the particular motivational strategies that will inspire you to stay on-track to achieve your goals – even if you’ve never been able to do that before," said Carol Colman, Wellocracy co-founder and author of several national health best-sellers. "For too long, the domain of health and wellness has been ruled by the concept that we should be slaves to the gym, when research shows that people can significantly boost their activity level – and health – by making little changes to their daily routines.”

Wellocracy’s first e-book, Move to a Great Body, is written as a guide to understanding and selecting digital health and activity trackers: tiny, wearable biosensors that monitor activity levels throughout the day, such as steps walked and calories burned. The tracker sends this information to a computer, tablet or smartphone where it can be accessed any time to give an accurate picture of key health indicators. 

Wellocracy.com, which also launched today, provides tips, product reviews, health and wellness information, professional and community support to help consumers start and maintain a healthy lifestyle with digital health. 

[See also: This innovator’s dilemma.]

"Today’s personal health technologies can shine a light on our blind spots, providing us with much greater insight about our behavior and how it impacts all aspects of our lives,” said Justin Mager, MD, Wellocracy co-founder and specialist in integrative and lifestyle medicine. “For instance, a step count below 2,000 steps per day indicates a very sedentary lifestyle. By tracking activity, it's easy to identify missed opportunities to increase activity, such as stairs you could have climbed rather than taking the elevator, as well as to understand what inspires and obstructs us in pursuing better health."

To help get people started, Wellocracy is offering the FitLinxx Pebble activity tracker via the website.

"FitLinxx is excited to partner with Wellocracy, an organization dedicated to empowering, educating and engaging people to manage their personal health and wellness," said Dave Monahan, CEO, FitLinxx. "We believe Wellocracy’s community-based approach to health, along with FitLinxx’s Pebble activity tracker, will help provide the motivation people need to lead more active, healthy lifestyles."

FitLinxx develops health and wellness technology aimed at motivating people to live actively and improve their wellbeing.

Besides Kvedar and Mager, Wellocracy co-founders include Carol Colman, co-author of more than two-dozen books on technology, diet, health and fitness, including several New York Times and national best-sellers; and Gina Cella, a healthcare communications executive who has worked in the health and pharmaceutical industry for two decades.