‘Consumers want help getting and staying healthy’
DALLAS – More than 6.8 million Fitbit users have connected their health data to the population health programs of employers, insurers and health systems, according to a report by market research firm Parks Associates.
The number of employer or insurer offered wellness programs are on the rise, and a recent webinar offered by Parks Associates addressed how technology is a crucial component to their success.
“Consumers want help getting and staying healthy,” said Jennifer Kent, director of research quality and product development at Parks Associates, in the webinar.
Kent said the report showed that 80% of respondents with chronic conditions said they want help to get healthier and that’s one reason many employers offer free or discounted health devices or online health coaching to members of their wellness programs.
Matthew Miller, vice president of behavior science at health empowerment company StayWell, said that it’s also important when designing an incentive program to align the potential outcomes of using a health device with the user’s intention.
“Tracker-heavy interventions are less effective when they are isolated from other behavior change techniques,” he said. “We use data to assess where a user is in their levels of motivation, skill and opportunity, then customize an intervention.”
Miller also said he’s excited about the bigger role that technology giants like Apple, Samsung, Google and Fitbit are taking in the employer health and wellness program and wearables spaces.
“In many cases they raise the bar and challenge us to bring our ‘A’ game,” he said. “They also present really interesting opportunities for partnership.”
But Erica Morgenstern, vice president of marketing and communication at Welltok, a health Software as a Service (SaaS) company, cautioned against large companies offering data points, but not solutions for engaging consumers in their health.
“They need to be part of a bigger program,” she said. “Working in isolation is not enough.”