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Sherri Dorfman, CEO, Stepping Stone Partners, Connected & Digital Health Innovation Specialist

My blog is designed to spotlight healthcare organizations with innovative uses of technology & data to drive Care Coordination, Collaboration & Patient Engagement.

These new approaches may influence your product & service roadmap, experiences, partnerships and marketing strategies.


While consulting, I leverage my extensive experience, knowledge and professional network to help companies make the right strategic product and marketing decisions. Services include:

> Strategic Planning Market Review: Competitive Assessments, Partnership Evaluations. Workshop facilitation. Insight drives product, partnership and marketing strategies

> Product Roadmap & Consumer Experience Planning: Conceptualizes, defines and validates solutions/experiences through Marketing Research and journey mapping.  Utilizes new innovative online and mobile research tools to co-create with target buyers and users, gathering input while understanding context to guide the development of personalized solutions & experiences.

> Strategic Product Marketing: Differentiated value proposition story incorporated into marketing & sales assets

Find out how I can help you. Call me at 508-655-6585. Email me at SDorfman@Stepping-Stone.net to set up an exploratory discussion.

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    Entries in Health and Wellness Incentives & Rewards (11)

    RediClinic's Connected Health Weight Loss Program Designed for Continuous Consumer Engagement

    You cannot turn on the television or look at a newspaper today without being reminded of the obesity epidemic facing our nation. According to a CDC study, over 37% of U.S. adults are obese, while about 70% are overweight.

     Obesity has been associated with certain chronic conditions such as diabetes (type 2), cardiovascular disease and stroke. Last summer, American Medical Association classified Obesity as a disease, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recently published guidelines recommending that primary care physicians provide obesity counseling to all patients with Body Mass Index over 25 (which classifies them as overweight).

    Many Americans try to lose weight but do not have the tools or professional guidance to be successful. Most physicians don’t have the training or tools to provide a comprehensive weight management program in their practice, and sometimes refer patients to commercial programs that are not clinically supervised.

    RediClinic has stepped in to help. “We have developed a medically supervised program which is not just about weight loss but about health management”, explains Danielle Barrera, Chief Operating Officer at RediClinic. “When we developed this program in 2009, we noticed that many programs on the market were missing critical elements of a successful weight management program, and did not incorporate healthcare professionals, who are well positioned to have a significant impact on their patients’ lifestyle and health decisions.”

    According to IDC’s Connected Health 2014 Predictions, “Retail Clinics Will Disrupt the U.S. Healthcare System”. Most people think about Retail Clinics as a place for getting flu vaccinations or addressing acute problems such as strep throat or ear infections. Retail Clinics are bringing more services to the community and some are now offering preventive services (i.e. physical exams) and chronic disease monitoring.  

    Over the past two years, RediClinic has been offering a weight management program called Weigh Forward. Shoppers walk into one of their 30 locations inside grocery stores to sign up for the 10- week program. During the initial visit, the clinician does lab work to establish a base line to monitor progress in key health measures.  Throughout the program, the clinician provides guidance and teaches life skills not only to lose weight, but keep it off.

    “Our program is a ‘Connected Health’ model. Participants use the MyWeighForward  platform to access educational information, track food and physical activity, and receive online coaching and social support between visits to the clinic. During weekly visits to RediClinic, the clinician reviews the participant’s program information (i.e. goals, lab work, tracking information and eCoaching activity) to deliver personalized guidance.”

    RediClinic’s Weigh Forward program incorporates four key components which are reinforced both in- person and online through the program’s technology platform – myWeighForward.com: 

    RediClinics Patient Portal on MyWeighForward Platform

    1. Medical. Initial medical assessment with a comprehensive set of lab work, regular biometric monitoring and measurement, and weekly counseling by healthcare professionals.

    2. Behavior Modification. Proprietary assessment tool developed at Yale's Prevention Research Center by Dr. David Katz (WeighForward’s Medical Director) to identify and address individual barriers to success and readiness to change, to create a personalized weight loss plan.   

    3. Diet & Nutrition. Online educational information on food choices, weekly meal plans with 500+ recipes, and access to a diet/nutrition e-coach.

    4. Physical Activity. Customized activity plan based on preferences and abilities, access to fitness videos and the capability to collaborate with a fitness e-coach.

    Consumer Experience with the Weigh Forward Program

    Deborah Hastings signed up for RediClinic's 10- week Weigh Forward program to start shedding 60 pounds. Deborah's daughter is getting married in six months and Deborah wants to get around without pain in her knees and to fit into a new dress for this special event.

    During her first appointment, she meets with a clinician for a comprehensive evaluation to discuss her health and weight loss goals and determine her overall health status and readiness for change. She learns that her cholesterol and blood pressure are both high and that she is at risk for Metabolic Syndrome.

    She uses the MyWeighForward.com portal to follow a meal plan suggested by the clinician and dietician eCoach, view exercise videos, and to track both her food and physical activity.  

    Patient prepares for visit with clinician at RediClinic

    Deborah is preparing for week #5 visit which is teaching her that it “takes a village” to help her achieve her goals, and she needs support from family, friends and office co-workers. She inputs her Visit objective, completes her checklist of specific tasks and selects a "Barriers to Bust", how to deal with family when they are sabotaging her diet. This barrier is posted on her Visit Plan which she will review with the clinician during her RediClinic visit. While Deborah finishes her homework, her clinician reaches out to the eCoach that Deborah has been working with to discuss nutrition concerns. Within the private clinical portal on the Weigh Forward platform, they discuss strategies for Deborah. During the upcoming visit, Deborah will work with the clinician on the barrier she has selected and will consider suggestions from her eCoach. 

    Deborah has taken advantage of the social community capabilities on the Weigh Forward platform. She created a profile with demographic information and indicated how much program information to share with other participants. Deborah has decided to share the “Busting the Barrier” badges that she has earned each week. Deborah searched to find others like her and has connected with over a dozen new friends. She has also found an online group with her same barriers and is looking to gain some new real life strategies to address them.

    During her week #9 visit, her clinician will take a blood sample to compare key biometric markers to those measured at the beginning of the program. She will be able to view these measures and see her progress in reducing her cholesterol and Metabolic risk in her MyWeighForward program account .

    With several months before her daughter’s big event, Deborah is motivated to extend the program. She is planning on paying for the "Boost Maintenance Program with ongoing access to MyWeighForward with e-coaching as needed, monthly clinician visits and weekly in-clinic visits for "body composition analysis/biometrics".  

    Connected Health Program Engagement & Results

    Although the Weigh Forward Program was launched in 2011, it wasn’t until RediClinic moved to the new MyWeighForward Platform powered by Wellness Layers in October 2013 that they were able to offer enhanced functionality and support for patients and clinicians including: 

    • Personalized Consumer Experience & Outcome: Participants create their own mini- electronic health record which collects program information, preferences, visit planning, tracking data, social engagement and progress through health measures. Program participants have the convenience of seeing different clinicians within the same clinic based on appointment availability or in a different location since all RediClinic clinicians have access to the participant’s program information to deliver a consistently high quality and personalized experience.
    • Social Engagement: WeighForward participants use the platform 24x7 for ongoing emotional and educational support through their weight loss journey.
    • Clinician Support and Collaboration: Clinicians have their own portal, giving them access to information to support and consistently deliver the program and to privately and securely collaborate on care. RediClinic's Clinician Portal on MyWeighForward Platform
    • Care Continuum: Participants can access a Program Summary with their program health measures to send to their own doctors. “If the patient has secure messaging with their physician, they can share this information to include in their EMR”, adds Barrera.

    “Our results have been very positive. On average, our patients are losing 1- 2 lbs per week which is considered to be a healthy rate of weight loss, and are significantly improving their cardio-metabolic risk factors. In many cases our patients have moved from pre-hypertensive and hypertensive to normal and pre-diabetic to normal”, exclaims Barrera.

    Comments from Program Participants 

    What I liked about the online part of the program was that it gave me homework to do to keep me accountable and focused.

    I had been the 'queen of couch potatoes.' The best things about the program were the accountability each week, recipes and shopping list, and incredible support from the staff

    Dr. David Katz's lesson on Trial by Aisle taught me to check ingredients lists for hidden sugars and salts, and to pick the shorter lists. The best thing about the program was it provided me with information to change my unhealthy lifestyle into a healthy lifestyle.

    Future plans: New Business Model, New Technology Platform Capabilities

    Today, most program participants walk into to RediClinic. However, RediClinic is now licensing the Weigh Forward program to other healthcare providers. “We’ve had significant interest and many pilot commitments from large healthcare systems and physician groups, as well as companies that operate retail, urgent care and worksite clinics. Everyone is looking for a turn-key weight and lifestyle management solution for their patients because obesity is so pervasive and expensive. Weigh Forward is one of the few comprehensive programs that is designed to be delivered by clinicians with no previous background in weight management,” Barrera adds.

    Regardless of where the consumer is seen, in the clinic or in their PCP’s office, RediClinic is extending the capabilities of the WeighForward technology platform. “We are continuing to enhance the social networking capabilities of the platform, will introduce a mobile version later this year, and are beginning to develop modified versions of Weigh Forward that address chronic diseases, since the platform we’ve built is flexible and extensible”, concludes Barrera. 

    UnitedHealthcare Rewards Medicaid Moms for Healthy Behaviors; Baby Blocks & Community Rewards Programs

    Baby Blocks Rewards
    UnitedHealthcare has a track record of leveraging technologies to engage their members in their health through their OptimizeMe and Health4Me mobile initiatives. In addition to these broad based offerings, UnitedHealthcare has launched two programs targeting Medicaid moms, rewarding them for healthy choices throughout pregnancy and with their children. 

    “Over 40% of U.S. births are to women on Medicaid. We wanted to use technology to empower these women to improve access to appointment information and provide incentives to motivate them to stay engaged”, explains Brett Edelson, VP, Product Strategy & Management, UnitedHealthcare Community & State (Medicaid). “We specially developed the Baby Blocks program to ensure that babies have a healthy start to life.”

    "More and more Medicaid programs are looking to financial incentives to encourage Medicaid recipients to complete preventive screenings. These financial incentives have proven effective in the short term but longitudinal studies of other such programs show decreasing effectiveness over time. We created Community Rewards to build a relationship with the member beyond simply rewarding individual actions but encouraged life-long habits", describes Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Marketing Officer, UnitedHealthcare Community & State.

    Although these programs target different life stages, both are designed to define a healthy path which informs and incentivizes the member to complete healthy actions over time. This creates awareness for these behaviors and reinforces them with rewards. “Our research shows that these moms feel more connected to the program when they earn points and then pick out an award because it creates an emotional bond. We decided to structure our program this way instead of just rewarding with money,” explains Mackenzie. “Unlike many other wellness programs which give gift cards to patients for going to appointments, we’ve decided to design our programs for ongoing engagement with cumulative points and continuous education.” 

    The initial awareness and invitation for each program is through a direct mailing which explains how the program works and encourages them to enroll using their computer or smart phone. Additionally, Baby Blocks engages members through Ob/Gyn offices and outreach calls.

    Baby Blocks Program

    “The idea for Baby Blocks came from our focus groups with pregnant women who were overwhelmed with the 20+ doctor appointments they needed to keep track of during their pregnancy and the first 15 months of their baby’s life. We thought about our communication channels to support this group when one teen said ‘I never read my mail but I sleep with my cell phone’ ”, Edelson explains. 

    The Baby Blocks Program guides the expectant mother throughout her pregnancy, providing educational information and reminders for essential doctor visits pre and post-delivery. On the program website, the expectant mom sees pregnancy milestones with the number of weeks (i.e. 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 30 weeks, etc) on a baby block and can unlock the educational information as well as track her doctor appointments. She actually earns rewards from enrollment through her baby’s 15 month post pregnancy wellness visit. 

    Throughout her pregnancy, she sees health tips on her computer or mobile phone, for example: “It can be hard to wait for your baby to be born. It’s best to give birth after at least 39 weeks.  Your baby’s brain and lungs are still growing!” After birth, mom receives tips such as “Place your baby on its back to sleep. Don’t put a pillow in the crib until baby is over one year old. Ask your doctor about the shots your baby needs to prevent serious illness.”

    “When we were developing this program for the Medicaid audience, we expected most moms would use their smart phones to access the Baby Blocks website based on consumer research. Currently, about 40% of all visits to the Baby Blocks website are from smart phones", shares Edelson.

    UnitedHealthcare continues to hear very positive feedback from the program participants: 

    No matter how many children you have, you can learn something new; each child is different and each pregnancy is different.
    Expectant mom actively using Baby Blocks program during her second pregnancy

    Life is so hectic with a 4 month old and a 3 year old. I like that the Baby Blocks program is so easy to use and I love the incentives that they offer. I have already picked out new books and toys for Athena 

    Since the initial launch November 2011, the Baby Blocks program has enrolled 3,000+ members in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The program expanded into additional states October 2012 (AZ, FL, TN, MI) increasing the program reach to new and expectant moms dependent on Medicaid from 12,000 to 50,000.

    “We were excited to see over a 30% response rate across all markets. Our program results to date have been strong with 10,000+ doctor appointments recorded and over 1,500 births to Baby Blocks participants, representing a 63% member engagement rate through baby’s birth”, explains Edelson. “We are working on motivating the mother to get her post pregnancy care which typically falls off since she is focused on the care for her baby. We’ve heard some mothers say that with previous pregnancies they only attended some of their prenatal appointments but with Baby Blocks, they are attending more of them”. 

    Community Rewards Program

    Community Rewards is designed to educate and motivate a group of consumers with similar health needs. For their first pilot in August 2012, UnitedHealthcare selected Medicaid moms, incentivizing them to follow healthy habits with their children under 13 years old, such as eating a healthy breakfast, getting 8-10 hours of sleep or simply washing their hands. On the program website, mom can see the checkups and vaccine reward opportunities, learn what to expect at each appointment and can track where (i.e. doctor’s office or clinic) and when this was done. This tracking is especially important for this patient segment who may need another option outside of their doctor’s office to get vaccines. 

    The program also rewards moms for “Knowing their Health Plan” (i.e. listening to a welcome call, reading newsletters and speaking with the Nurseline). Community Rewards “households” the points so mom can shop with the accumulated points that she and her child(ren) have earned. 

    “We have received encouraging results to date. Typically with incentive programs, 15% are engaged after 6 months. We are seeing double that, 30% sustained engagement”, explains Mackenzie. Here is a comment from a program participant: 

    Dear UHC Community Rewards, I want to say that I am appreciative of this program and the incentive it provides to make sure my child is consistent with healthy habits. 

    “As we review program participation metrics, one big surprise for us is that 30% of the moms enrolled in the program were not invited. Through word of mouth, moms came to our Community Rewards program website and joined which shows us the tremendous value of talk for referrals”, emphasizes Mackenzie.
    Expanding Engagement with Rewards Programs
    UnitedHealthcare is evaluating potential ways to enhance both programs to reach and motivate members to engage in healthy behaviors on an ongoing basis. 

    “The Baby Blocks Program will be rolled out to more states this year. We’re also considering extending the program to include well baby visits through age two”, Edelson shares. 

    “For Community Rewards, we see an opportunity to extend the program on the social front where moms can post their accomplishments to friends and family on Facebook. On the health side, we are considering ways to customize our Community Rewards Program to support high risk populations such as patients with diabetes or asthma”, explains Mackenzie. “By educating and reminding them about what they need to do every day and providing an easy way for them to use our resources as support, we believe that we can see better outcomes.” 

    Engagement Opportunities
    Healthcare Technology and Health Plans are quickly learning about the benefits of creating “programs” to drive technology platform usage. 

    Based on my review of UnitedHealthcare’s Baby Blocks & Community Rewards Programs, I see two key engagement drivers:  

    Segment Specific: UnitedHealthcare has packaged educational content, health actions and incentives that are tailored to the needs of their target consumer segments. They’ve designed Community Rewards to address a set of consumers with similar needs, which gives them many opportunities to extend this motivational program to other segments of members. 

    Health Rewards Program:  Although many rewards programs are focused on wellness, UnitedHealthcare is working on developing a program to support self-management and care management with incentives for engagement. Their approach will proactively lay out the care path instead of reactively delivering one off ‘gaps in care’ communications. Could this be the next frontier in population management? 

    Premera Blue Cross Motivates Consumer Health Engagement with EveryMove

    EveryMove Rewards for EngagementPremera Blue Cross’s subsidiary, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington has partnered with an innovative healthcare technology company, EveryMove to motivate and reward their members for being active.  

    When the program launches early this year, members will be invited to join the EveryMove program and track their activity to receive points which accumulate for rewards. The EveryMove program gives members points when they are active in different ways; from walking, biking and swimming to playing the Wii Fit or Kinect to checking- in (i.e. gym, track, park, pool).

    “By helping people be more active, EveryMove has the potential over time to lower costs and, in general, lower costs will lead to a positive effect on premiums,” Jeff Roe, CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Washington recently shared in a Fox News interview.

    Initially, Premera’s LifeWise will reward members for their physical activity with Amazon Gift Cards when reaching target point levels. “The great thing about EveryMove is that it applies to all of our members, whether they are part of an employer group or an individual plan. As part of our ongoing work with EveryMove, we are interested in becoming a companion in the day-to-day lives of our members”, explains Kent Marquardt, CFO at Premera Blue Cross.

    EveryMove was launched last Fall at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco and is designed to make it easy for consumers to get both recognition and reward for their physical activity. EveryMove gives members credit for many different types of activity beyond the usual walking and running, such as biking, swimming and even dancing.

    “Success for Premera, in terms of our relationship with EveryMove, is ultimately showing that our members’ healthy activities are reducing their healthcare costs and the healthcare costs for the entire system.  In the near term, our focus is on engagement. We want to make sure our members are responding to the opportunity to be recognized for their healthy lifestyle activities and that our members see us as a partner in obtaining better health”, adds Marquardt.

    EveryMove Engagement

    After reviewing the EveryMove program through the eyes of the consumer, here are some key engagement drivers that I see. Health Plans have the opportunity to customize these engagement capabilities to meet the needs of their specific members.   
    Easy Tracking with Options for “Proof of Activity”: Consumers can automatically track and upload their activity on EveryMove with one of 10 different devices including FitBit, Nike+ and BodyMedia. Consumers are rewarded with additional points when using one of these “proof of activity” devices, although they also have the option to manually enter their activities.

    Social Motivation & Gain: EveryMove gives users the option of tying into their Facebook network and inviting others via email for friendly competition. Currently, users can invite up to 50 friends with EveryMove to share their lifestyle changes with their select group. Unlike other wellness programs that I’ve seen, consumers can earn “Friends points” when their social network is active too. This is a positive spin on Christakis's “Connected” social influence.

    Rewards for Reinforcement: Each participant can select the reward that she would like to work towards such as a gift card from the featured merchant or a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation.  When the member logs in, she sees an ongoing tracking of her points towards the selected reward for ongoing motivation.

    Intensity- Driven Rewards: With EveryMove, users are given more points when completing a more intense workout. This differs from most wellness programs which reward consumers based on the number of steps regardless of their pace.

    Milestone Rewards: EveryMove presents a Facebook like personalized page with a timeline format to display their activity information and that of their friends on EveryMove. Just by moving, the user can be rewarded with bonus points and thumbs up; for “moving for an hour”, an “active day” and the “4th active day this week”. EveryMove plans to introduce more milestone driven recognition in the coming year.  

    Gamification & Unlocking Rewards: Within EveryMove, the user sees the opportunity to unlock a new reward which generates curiosity and motivation to continue coming back for more. (Notice the big lock in the picture above)

    Health Plan Opportunity for Member Engagement

    With health reform and insurance exchanges around the corner, health plans are actively searching for ways to build relationships with their members and to be viewed as a health partner and not just an insurance company. Health plans also want to provide wellness initiatives that will attract and support consumers who are interested in maintaining their health.

    Although they can sign up online for EveryMove without going through their health plan, consumers have an opportunity to gain more value if their health plan incorporates rewards into a comprehensive wellness program. I can envision health plans using a platform like EveryMove to motivate and reward members for every type of healthy behavior including taking an assessment, getting a screening, participating in a social activity challenge with co-workers, going to the gym or working with a health coach to lose weight or manage diabetes.

    This is in fact the direction that I see innovative health plans moving in this new year. Payers are most interested in engaging consumers in their health and are looking for ways to sustain engagement through motivation and rewards. A few enlightened health plans want to tap into and leverage their member’s social network to influence and reinforce healthy behaviors.  

    Walmart Drives Consumer Health Engagement Through Partnerships with HumanaVitality & SoloHealth  

    SoloHealth Station
    Recently, Walmart announced new collaborations in the Health & Wellness space; extending Humana’s Vitality Program to reward members for healthy eating and bringing a SoloHealth station into select stores for health screenings and assessments. 

    Walmart & HumanaVitality- “Vitality HealthyFood” Program

    Last month, Walmart collaborated with Humana to launch “Vitality HealthyFood”, a “first of its kind healthier food program” which incentivizes HumanaVitality members to make healthier food choices. 

    “We are dedicated to exploring innovative ways to bring down the cost of healthcare in America. This program offers a new way to help us accomplish this goal”, shares Danit Marquardt, a Walmart spokesperson. 

    Over a million members of the HumanaVitality program receive a 5% savings for buying healthy foods and beverages at Walmart with the ‘Great for You’ icon. This program is designed to inspire Americans to eat well and increase their awareness around healthy, affordable food and beverages. 

    Humana members interested in participating in the program sign up online. After completing a health assessment, members receive a Vitality HealthyFood Shopping Card to begin saving on ‘Great For You’ items throughout Walmart stores. The shopping card leverages gift card technology at the point of sale, but also captures transaction details for tracking the reward and reinforcing healthy behaviors when a member views their participation in the program online.

    “We ran focus groups with our members and talked about ways to improve their wellness. We heard a strong interest in a ‘supportive health plan making healthy foods more available’ ”, explains Stuart Slutzky, Chief of Product Innovation, HumanaVitality.  ”We modeled this Vitality HealthyFood program after a similar, successful program run by Discovery Vitality in South Africa, with whom Humana originally partnered with on the joint venture to develop HumanaVitality. “We have purposely designed the program to be personal and relevant to each person and have issued separate program cards to track the shopping behavior of each adult”, adds Slutzky.
    Currently, program members can view a list of the items purchased through the program and the savings. “In the future, we are looking to bring more value to the program with recommended recipes which tie- in with the member’s health issues and with the capability to view a shopping list with the ‘Great For You’ items”, describes Slutzky. 

    With insurance exchanges around the corner, Humana is motivated to partner with an innovative retailer to build consumer awareness and interest in their brand as well as better serve their existing plan members.

    Walmart & SoloHealth – Health Station with Free Assessment & Screenings
    At select Walmart stores throughout the country, shoppers in the pharmacy area are invited by the virtual assistant on the SoloHealth kiosk to screen their vision, measure their blood pressure, weight and body mass index and take a free health assessment. 
    Sara, a Walmart shopper, sits down at the kiosk and touches the screen. She answers a series of demographic and healthcare related questions about her age, gender, ethnicity, lifestyle and behavior to make her experience more relevant. Since she has hypertension, Sara uses the kiosk to measure and capture her blood pressure and body mass index and then learns what these measures mean through educational content and videos. Then Sara reads about what to do next and who to contact with a list of accredited local clinicians either within or nearby the Walmart store. “We are trying to provide access and convenience to help consumers identify health issues and then direct them to the appropriate health experts for care”, explains Bart Foster, CEO of SoloHealth. 

    When Sara is done with her assessment and screenings, she has the opportunity to either save her information for a future in store kiosk visit, or she can receive her information via email, text or online. “We enable her to take a picture of a QR code on the kiosk screen to access the online area at any time”, describes Foster.  
    Any Walmart shopper in these select stores can use the HIPPA compliant SoloHealth station to get support for their hypertension or other health issues such obesity. “We will be rolling out a pain management module next, that will walk a user through various questions to help identify pain and provide educational health information”, adds Foster.

    “From our experience with the SoloHealth Station in other retailers across our network, consumers typically spend over four minutes interacting with the station and about 38% return to use the kiosk a second time”, Foster shares. 
    The SoloHealth station, also in Sam’s Club stores, enables shoppers to self -serve. The consumer’s strong interest in self- service and having access to their own health information is a key trend that Accenture confirmed in their Connected Health Pulse Survey earlier this year. 
    Great for Walmart, Their Health Partners & Consumers
    By strengthening their positioning as a Health & Wellness destination, Walmart has an opportunity to build a relationship with their shoppers and generate sales for relevant products and services. 
    Walmart has so much to offer healthcare companies at the same time. While shopping in their store pharmacy, consumers have a healthcare mindset which is a perfect time to help support their care needs. As B.J Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University espouses, why not put health behavior triggers right into the consumer’s path to motivate positive behavior change?
    Imagine the value to the shopper who sits down to measure their blood pressure at the SoloHealth station, learns that he has hypertension and is directed to a nearby clinician. Or think about the Humana member who is determined to eat more healthy and is now incentivized through the HumanaVitality Program to purchase more nutritious food for her family. 

    As Walmart presents more opportunities for better health to their shoppers, it is a win-win all the way around.

    HumanaVitality Paves the “Personalized Pathway” With Rewards to Engage Employees

    With the weak economy and strong pressure from healthcare reform, employers are investing in new approaches to lower healthcare costs and lift employee productivity. Increasingly employers are investing in strategies to engage employees in their own health and reward them to motivate needed behavior change.

    According to the recent Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Healthcare, employers indicated that two of their top three healthcare strategies for 2012 are to develop/expand healthy lifestyle activities” and “adopt/expand use of financial incentives.”

    In July 2011, Humana launched their HumanaVitality program, which is designed to both guide and reward the employee for participating in their health and making better lifestyle decisions. “Our members tell us that they are hooked as soon as they use the Vitality Age app to determine their age and learn about how their behaviors influence their health. And as they participate in the HumanaVitality program, members interact with the Vitality Age app to see how they are positively impacting their age,” explains Stuart Slutzky, chief, product innovation, HumanaVitality.

    Although employee incentive programs around health are not new, Humana has incorporated several innovative strategies into their Vitality solution.

    Personalized Program Design: “We are using information from the employee’s health assessment, claims information and online health behaviors to personalize their pathway,” describes Stuart. Each member sees a set of recommended activities and has the option to select any of over 30 activities to gain points.

    In addition to an individualized approach, Humana has decided to test a segment strategy after determining that the pathway is similar for members that are moving through a life stage change. Humana has created a special pathway for expectant mothers, as their first target segment. This means that members who are pregnant view a special set of activities and programs that are relevant to remain healthy throughout their maternity.

    Program Reward Structure: Humana has designed their program with different status levels for reward attainment. “Our members begin with a blue status and can move up four tiers to platinum over time as they collect enough Vitality Points™.  When climbing to a new status level, they unlock a larger discount in the rewards mall,” shares Stuart. “Humana is also working closely with small group employers in select states to offer a premium reduction based on the percent of employees that achieve silver or higher Vitality Status. Employers may choose to pass the premium reduction to employees reaching silver, gold or platinum Vitality Status."  This premium discount is in addition to rewards individual employees can redeem in the HumanaVitality Mall based on their own points earned.  

    Humana has defined the mall to appeal to members that have different motivations. “Spenders” can get instant gratification by purchasing with their Vitality Bucks.  “Savers” can accumulate their bucks for larger prizes. Soon “Givers” will be able to donate their rewards to charity.

    Through their “Jackpot Rewards,” Humana uses a gaming mechanic of randomness to select a program participant to win prizes, which are based on their status level. For example, blue status member can win movie tickets or yoga mat but a platinum status member can win a flat-screen television or iPad.

    Program to Program Connection: “Our members get rewards points when they enroll in one of our health programs. We are working on rewarding the member with more points for ongoing participation in our health program such as Weight Management. In addition to tying rewards for coaching program usage, our coaches can see the member’s efforts and earnings to date and can promote different point opportunities during their interactions to motivate the member,” Stuart explains.

    Consumer-Driven Program Development: The HumanaVitality team listens closely to members participating in the program. They have set up a process to gather feedback that members share through the email and call center channels, as well as Facebook and Twitter, and the team discusses these ideas and suggestions to define program enhancements. “Recently, we heard one of our members ask us to provide points when their kids participate in athletic events.  This was a great suggestion and is now another activity that we reward under the program.” 

    Program Success Evaluation: One key program measure is participation. Humana has expanded the ways that members can participate to earn points including obtaining preventive screenings, exercising regularly, donating blood, getting CPR-certified and quitting smoking. The newest way for members to earn points is by playing their Ubisoft “Your Shape” fitness game on their Xbox.

    HumanaVitality’s Future Direction for Engagement

    The HumanaVitality team is working on developing a deeper personalized experience by looking at the member’s past behaviors and recommending healthy activities, which match her interests. This is similar to the way Netflix suggests movies based on past viewing behavior.

    Humana is also gathering lots of data on how consumers are using their rewards program. “We are applying data analytics to evaluate program engagement beyond participation. We will look at status level movement and actions tied to behavior change,” explains Stuart.

    “In the future we will continue to expand the program to ensure we’re providing support and optimizing outcomes for all members – from members with severe conditions to marathon runners,” added Stuart.  “New reward partnerships will ensure the program provides relevant and aspirational rewards that foster improved health.”