Going the Distance With the modmed 5000

How an employee’s idea sparked a company-wide fitness competition

Employees in a collaborative, innovative and wellness-focused work culture and environment often come up with original ideas related to enhancing our products, focusing on client delight as well as creating engaging internal employee events. One employee’s idea that came to fruition includes the fitness-inspired modmed 5000.

Steven Sengberg, a business analyst by day and a cycling commuter and endurance enthusiast in his personal time, proposed the idea of a company-wide fitness competition. He coined “The modmed 5000.” Employees would form teams of 15-20 individuals to collectively reach 5,000 miles by running, swimming, cycling, walking, ellipticalling or stair-stepping. The first team to hit the mileage goal would be crowned champion.

With my background in marketing and as an avid cyclist and fitness enthusiast, I helped promote the event internally in addition to biking my weight in miles. I created the logo and flyers, registered co-workers at a table during lunch and sent out emails providing competition updates. Just over 100 employees signed up for this inaugural fitness event. Each team’s progress was visible on a private online dashboard, with data updated continuously through a popular activity tracking app that each participant used to log their personal activities.

According to Steven, “Team members motivated one another by giving tips, sharing routes, organizing group activities, discussing training strategies and most importantly making it fun. Participants kept track of their activities with a popular activity tracking app. Data from the fitness app was pulled into an application developed by one of our own. Results displayed in a dashboard where participants could see each team’s progress. From there they could strategize and decide if they needed to go on an extra run or two in order to take the lead. Whichever team completed 5,000 bike equivalent miles first would win. Since we wanted to include other fitness activities, we created a table to convert the distances from the activity to biking. For example, one mile running counted as four bike equivalent miles, one mile swimming counted as fourteen bike equivalent miles and one mile of rowing counted as three point two bike equivalent miles. We wanted it to be as fair as possible regardless of an individual’s personal activity preference.”

It was a true collaborative and cross-departmental effort to get this event up and running and lots of work went on behind-the-scenes.

Nick Caballero, a software engineer, applied his knowledge from our EHR system, EMA™, to capture the data from contestants. “I wrote code for a small website that collected the activity recorded by the participants. It connected to the fitness app’s APIs and loaded the data which included the 2,200 activities from 105 participants. I took this opportunity to test some technologies that could possibly be used with EMA. The research proved challenging since it was new to me, but also rewarding as it provided results that could potentially benefit our EHR. Once the website populated a database with the data from the fitness activity app, a member of our data team generated graphs that helped us visualize our progress to really help spark the friendly competition.”

Aaron Richter, a data scientist, utilized his skills to compile the data into user-friendly visuals. “I took the data from Nick’s database and made a dashboard to visualize the progress of each individual person and team. I utilized a framework to help create the dashboard, then Steven made some modifications to add more helpful visualizations as the competition moved forward. Teamwork made all of this possible.”

The race ran (pun intended) for a month until the results came in and we had a winner. Steven compiled the data from over 100 people across six teams and the results were astounding:

  • 6,627 total miles logged
  • 45 miles swam (Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest freshwater lake, spans 29 miles)
  • 88 miles rowed (it’s 50 miles from Miami to Bimini, Bahamas)
  • 3,132 miles biked (two miles less than traveling from Boca Raton, Fla., to Roseville, Calif.)
  • 256 miles stepped (approximately the distance from Boca Raton to Daytona Beach, Fla.)
  • 3,106 miles walked, ran or hiked

Everyone involved in the friendly competition was thrilled with the enthusiastic participation, especially Steven who spearheaded the event. “As a team we achieved our goals of having fun, bonding with colleagues, getting active and promoting on-going fitness. It was even more rewarding when participants shared their stories like how much weight they lost, experiences exploring new parks and trails, progress towards their personal goals, how they’ve continued running or rowing and how much they enjoyed the team bonding. We successfully achieved the objectives of the modmed 5000 and the next one is set to launch on June 30, 2018,” Steven shared.  

With the groundwork already in place, the goal is to make this a yearly challenge and a company-wide tradition. The combination of supportive employees, our skilled web development and data teams and a company culture that supports fitness and employee engagement activities, is a wonderful example of why I feel Modernizing Medicine is one the best companies to work for in South Florida.

Interested in experiencing our company culture for yourself? We’re hiring!

Simone Berger

Simone Berger

Video Producer and Editor

Simone Berger joined the Modernizing Medicine marketing department in 2017 as a video producer and editor. With over 13 years of experience in media production, she has a passion for visual storytelling and is proficient in a variety of media forms including videography, photography, graphic design and animation.

Working for an award-winning healthcare technology organization provides a perfect fit for her to focus her creativity through the lens of a camera. She uses her skills to create visually engaging material that help make the company shine. In her spare time, she is a competitive cyclist in both road and mountain biking.

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