Last year, I had a chance to do some consulting for my previous employer (Express Scripts). One of the areas that I helped them with was CDHC (consumer driven healthcare). I worked on competitive intelligence, framing the opportunity, and creating the strategy pitch including evaluating a technology investment. Recently, I have ended up in a few conversations about this topic so I thought I would spend a minute on it.
Incenting people to get serious about health and wellness is an interesting challenge. You have a handful of questions to answer:
- What behaviors do you want to encourage?
- How can you shift behavior? (And who are you - employer, insurance company, disease management, marketing company?) This has to take into account messaging, channel, timing, value proposition, demographics, etc.
- Is there a return for your money?
- Will consumers allow you to step in in a big brother type role to tell them what to do?
There are some interesting players out there. I was always fascinated when I saw that Humana (who is progressive in many things) was working with Virgin to offer airline points for working out at a gym (for example).
Now, there are several companies focusing specifically on creating wellness incentives (IncentiveLogic, Hallmark Insights, Healthpoints). There is even a Wellness Council of America. I found an article on their site that provides a good overview - click here.
Some related information:
- 2001 article on wellness at work
- AON article on creating an effective wellness strategy
- Elizabeth Boehm who is a good Forrester analyst has an article about this
- A story about a specific company example and results
- National Wellness Institute
- Horizon BCBS points program
- Humana's Virgin LifeCare
- Lots of the managed care companies are offering health discounts (e.g., BCBS VT)
I could go on. It is an interesting topic. As the focus grows, you will see your consumer experts begin to focus on this problem. It is not unlike the move from defined retirement to 401K. With CDHC and other programs, the consumer is becoming more important in making healthcare decisions. With that, an understanding of the health consumer is important. This is not done well at most companies today especially with any of the typical marketing rigor that you would expect - segmentation models, campaign management, database analytics, etc.