WebMD's app-enabled weight loss pilot helped 800 Verizon employees lose weight

By Jonah Comstock
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WebMD partnered with Verizon to offer digital health coaching to 1,100 of Verizon's employees in a recent pilot, Employee Benefit News reports. The program led to weight loss for 73 percent of participants.

Verizon employees were invited to participate after taking a health assessment if they had a BMI over 30 or a blood glucose level above a certain threshold. The program included one-on-one coaching over the phone and digital coaching via an app, which allowed employees to set goals and work toward them through various baby steps. At the end of 12 months, 800 of the 1,100 participants had lost weight.

The coaching program, designed to help employees lose weight in order to avoid a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes, will be expanded to the rest of Verizon's employee population, EBN reported.

“We never do a one-and-done [program],” Audrietta Izlar, manager of global health and wellness at Verizon, told EBN. “We piloted this program with the intention of identifying those success markers so that we could expand it to the rest of the population. … The pilot for us was a success for WebMD to demonstrate the coaching philosophy as well as the supporting tools and experts that they brought to the table.”

In other WebMD news, the company launched some big updates to its WebMD Baby app last week, including an Apple Watch integration.

As we noted in our recent in-depth report on the company, WebMD launched WebMD Baby in January 2012, and it's steadily added new features over the years. The app now includes text and video educational materials, a virtual baby book for capturing moments and milestones, and several different trackers. These include feeding, nursing, sleeping, diaper, and growth trackers.

As of the newest update, users can update these trackers, get reminders, and view daily totals all from the Apple Watch. It also added backup and photo sharing capabilities to the baby book feature, allowing parents to more easily share and store photos. Finally, the new app is integrated with the spotlight search on the phone.