admin on February 27, 2015

Joining the Misfit Ranks: An Interview With NaviNet’s Mark Lo…and a Challenge for a Flip-Flop-Wearing Second Baseman

Smart WatchAuthor: Laura McCaughey, Senior Director,Corporate Marketing​, NaviNet, Inc.

When customer Oscar Health announced that it would be providing free Misfit Flash activity trackers to encourage its members to stay physically fit—and that members would earn $1 in credit every time they met their activity goal, we applauded another innovative approach to keeping members at any level (bronze through platinum) healthier. Members can earn up to a maximum of $20 per month ($240 annually). Payments are made in the form of Amazon gift cards, and members don’t pay a forfeit if they fail to reach their goals.

As Oscar Health co-founder Mario Schlosser told Fast Company, “If you just get a bit more physically active, you can avoid those conditions [obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, for example] getting worse, or making them better.”

Whenever there is big news like this in the NaviNet healthcare collaboration network, we amplify it. Once we did, Mark Lo, Principal Technical Writer here at NaviNet, came right over, showed me his Misfit, and started telling me how great it is (I am known around here for wearing flip-flops as a second baseman on one of the NaviNet intramural softball teams…). I asked Mark if I could share his thoughts with you.

(1) What prompted you to purchase an activity tracker?
First of all, I am not a fitness buff. While I had always been a fairly active person, I started becoming more and more sedentary after becoming a parent. I was so busy shuttling my son to hockey, baseball, and soccer that I didn’t have time for exercise myself. Second, I am naturally disposed to tracking stuff. Recording gas mileage, weather data, or restaurants I have visited just appeals to me. I figured that keeping track of my daily activity might give me the extra incentive I needed to get back in shape.

I started tracking health statistics when I got my iPhone because of all the cool apps out there, but I have to give my doctor some credit, as well. “Your cholesterol is creeping up,” he said during one checkup. “But I bet it will go right back down with a bit of regular exercise.” So, I started walking before and after work, instead of taking the subway, and used Track My Fitness to monitor my progress. Sure enough, my cholesterol was fine on my next physical.

Next, my doctor asked me how much sleep I was getting. I had actually started tracking my sleep habits using an app called iHome+Sleep, so I told him I was getting 6.6 hours per night. “Try to increase that to 7 hours a night,” he said. “You’ll see a big difference.” After a year, I hit my goal, and I found I no longer needed that afternoon soda as a pick-me-up.

The downside of these tracking methods was that I had to remember to fire up the apps to record my walks and my sleep data, and I would frequently forget and have to try to recall several days from memory. I figured that an activity tracker would make the process much easier.


(2) How did you decide to purchase the Misfit Shine activity tracker versus some of the other well-known trackers?

I started researching fitness trackers last summer. I knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I compared the Misfit Shine with the Jawbone Up and the Fitbit Flex, which were in the same general price range. (The Misfit Flash had not come out yet, but it has similar capabilities as the Shine, at an even better price point.)

I really liked the sleek look and feel of the Misfit. It is just like wearing a watch. The Fitbit Flex is ugly, and the Jawbone is bulky and can get caught on your clothes or otherwise get in the way of daily activities. The Misfit also runs on a watch battery, so you don’t have to remember to charge it. After all, your fitness tracker is not tracking anything if it is attached to a charging cable. The Misfit is waterproof to 50 meters, instead of being just “splash-proof,” so you never have to take it off. You can even wear it swimming.

The sleep tracking feature was also key for me. The Misfit can automatically detect when you go to sleep, so you don’t have to remember to put it into sleep mode when you turn in for the night.

(3) How long have you had the Misfit, and what are your impressions so far?

I have been using the Misfit since December, and it is really a pleasure to use. If I have Bluetooth enabled on my phone, my data gets synced automatically to the iPhone app, so I barely have to think about it.

I am still playing around with the different goals. I started out with lowest suggested activity goal, which is 600 “points,” but I discovered I could meet that on an average workday without doing any exercise at all. Now, I can easily top 1,500 points (about 10,000 steps) by adding on an hour of walking or 45 minutes on the treadmill. I would like to increase my sleep goal, too, but I find that more time exercising means less time available for sleep.

I have to say that the Misfit iPhone app is not very good. I would like more charts and graphs so I can see longer-term trends, instead of just trying to meet my daily goals. Fortunately, the Misfit also syncs activity data with Apple’s Health app and with MapMyFitness, so I can also use those as tools. I wish that sleep data would sync to the Health app, as well. I hear that is the number-one feature request from Misfit users, so I hope they will comply.

(4) What would you recommend to people considering purchasing one?

I would say that you need to think about what features are important to you and what your budget is. Then go out and see what trackers are on the market, as the landscape is always changing.

For me, the Misfit is ideal because it sells at a great price point, does what I need it to, and is close to hassle-free. I found the Misfit Shine on sale for $79, and the Flash retails for $49, but if you’re willing to pay $175-250 for a tracker, you can get additional features, like heart rate monitoring, GPS, and advanced sleep tracking.

Thank you so much, Mark.

As fate and the HIMSS15 organizers would have it, there is a “Wellness Challenge at HIMSS15 (With Misfit Flash Activity Tracker).” How could I not spend $39 and take the challenge, given Oscar Health’s initiative and everything Mark had said...and living in a town where they don’t even bother to report upcoming snow anymore, making comfort food king. I know I’ll be walking a lot…not so sure a sleep tracker would get much use….LOL!...Especially if I run into Matthew Holt and crew after dinner again.

Stay tuned to learn more about how NaviNet will be participating in the "Wellness Challenge" at HIMSS15 where you will be able to follow the NaviNet team’s progress at HIMSS15!   


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