MassChallenge Company FitVirtual Uses Social Media to Crowdsource Customized Exercise Programs that Really Work

8/30/10Follow @xconomy

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working closely with companies to design wellness programs tailored to the needs of employees. It’s focused on enabling healthcare plan administrators at companies to submit instructional workout video content for employees, and combine the different elements or programs to create structured exercise plans. Employees will also be able to interact and share their routines with family and friends outside the company through FiVi.com. The platform also aims to determine users’ adherence to exercise plans over time, by following how much they continued to log their exercise routines.

The platform will also help employers use competition to fuel employee wellness, by letting them set up fitness contests among workers and groups, or create events that fuel debate surrounding different exercise schools of thought.

Other software-powered sites are also out to help companies design customized health and wellness plans for employees. Such wellness program offerings have generated much buzz amid current healthcare reform efforts, as effective ways to keep healthcare costs down. Other players include Boston-based Healthrageous and Providence-based Shape Up the Nation.

Aidoud says there are several things that distinguish his startup—which has been accepted to the state startup program MassChallenge and operates out of its building in Boston’s seaport district—from others in the space. He says it is priced below many Web-based health programs, and that the company is looking to work closely with company health administrators to develop customized, advanced programs, rather than offer a one-size-fits-all product.

Ultimately, FitVirtual is hoping to study the data gathered from company wellness platforms and FiVi.com to learn which types of workouts are most effective with particular populations or demographics. It plans to use that knowledge to create crowdsourced health and fitness programs to power its Web service later this year. The company’s algorithms will then track users’ interest and interaction with a particular workout, and adapt to automatically offer them the most effective programs, Aidoud says. “The more you use the site, the more intelligent it becomes.”

And the smarter it becomes, the healthier you should be.

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