Written by

Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity. He is a best-selling author of 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has over 2 million social media followers, 1 million newsletter subscribers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.

Bernard’s latest book is ‘Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That Are Redefining Organisations’

View Latest Book

This Health Insurance Company Tracks Customers’ Exercise And Eating Habits Using Big Data And IoT

2 July 2021

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:

  • $4.7 million in medical cost savings
  • 23% increase in verified workouts
  • 92% increase in engaged participation levels

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.

Data Strategy Book | Bernard Marr

Related Articles

Should I Choose Machine Learning or Big Data | Bernard Marr

Should I Choose Machine Learning or Big Data?

Big Data and Machine Learning are two exciting applications of technology that are often mentioned together in the space of the same breath [...]

What Are The Latest Trends in Data Science | Bernard Marr

What Are The Latest Trends in Data Science?

Here’s an overview of how this usage is evolving – signposts that point the direction of travel between where we are today and where data science will take us tomorrow [...]

3 Key Ways to Monetize Your Data | Bernard Marr

3 Key Ways to Monetize Your Data

I’ve written a book on data strategy, and one of my primary jobs is guiding businesses through the process of using their data effectively. [...]

The Future of Quantum Computing | Bernard Marr

The Future of Quantum Computing

A Chinese team of researchers has recently unveiled the world’s most powerful quantum computer [...]

How Facebook Is Using Artificial Intelligence

Every day, nearly 2.5 billion people log in to one of the [...]

Amazon: Using Big Data to understand customers

Amazon has thrived by adopting an “everything under one [...]

Stay up-to-date

  • Get updates straight to your inbox
  • Join my 1 million newsletter subscribers
  • Never miss any new content

Social Media



View Podcasts