If you had the chance to lower your health insurance premiums or to receive incentives for behaving healthily, would you do it? Vitality Health is counting on your answer being “yes.” The company believes the way to revolutionise healthcare is to pay for wellness rather than pay for sickness as traditional insurance companies do. They use technology and data to track—and reward—healthy behaviour.
Owned by Discovery Holdings, a global insurance provider with 4.4 million clients, Vitality Health is the first insurance company to reward people for healthy living. The company offers health and life insurance. The goal of this shared-value system is to improve the health of the insured by providing health insights from data, give rewards for good behaviour, and keep premiums and costs low.
Technology and Data-Driven Approach to Promote Healthier behaviour
Technology and data are essential to Vitality’s approach. First, a member’s baseline health is assessed by taking into consideration lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and eating habits along with biometric measures including height, weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. From this data, the member's Vitality Age is determined; in the United States, 79% of people surveyed have a higher Vitality Age than their biological age.
Next, Vitality creates a Personal Pathway plan for each member to improve their Vitality Age by using the data collected in the assessment and determining a personalised plan to making healthier choices. The company provides tools, resources, and partners that offer discounted services to Vitality members to support their health journey.
By using integrated data feeds from its partners including its network gyms, biometric screening service providers plus more than 100 wearable technologies including the Apple Watch, Vitality can cheque a member’s progress toward the established health goals in real time. For example, Apple Health from the Apple Watch can connect to the Vitality Member app, that allows members to set up video consultations with a GP, schedule appointments, get referrals to specialists and find trusted health information. By doing so, members can earn Vitality Points for how many steps they take and the heart rate information from workouts their Apple Watch tracks.
The Vitality Points reward system for healthy behaviour is an essential element in Vitality Health's service. It's designed to keep members engaged, and at this point, it's completely voluntary to participate. These points can be redeemed for gift certificates and other perks through Vitality’s partners. Not only do these partners provide service and products that support a healthier lifestyle, but Vitality Health members can also save money when they use these providers. For example, Vitality Health partner Ocado offers participants of particular Vitality Health healthcare plans a 25% discount and free delivery on healthy food. The healthier your lifestyle, the bigger rewards you receive as a member of Vitality Health.
Does Vitality Health’s System Work?
Since Vitality Health is a pioneer with this type of health insurance model, you might wonder, does this actually work? According to a study conducted by RAND Europe, it does. The study found that incentivizing physical activity such as Vitality Health does can lead to better activity levels. The Vitality Activity Rewards system, used by 5 million people globally, is grounded in behavioural science that includes micro goals and rewards as motivation to help change and maintain positive behaviour.
The company asserts that its incentive-based solution can lead to significant reductions in hospital admission costs and costs per patient as well as shorter hospital stays. McKesson, one of Vitality Health’s customers, had these results:
The data Vitality Health collects also allows it to better price out policies and premium adjustments based on a member’s engagement with the programme.
Next Steps for Data Analytics to Promote Healthy Lifestyles
As other insurance providers determine ways to use data and technology to help them provide incentives for healthy behaviour, Vitality Health will face increased competition. Vitality Health and others in the space will look to expand health monitoring technology and grapple with other concerns such as privacy, how to deal with biological differences that make some members predisposed to being healthier or experience better outcomes than others for similar activity, and more.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.