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The Future of Technology and Health:  Incentivizing the Usage of Cost-Saving Health Technology

Recently, many healthcare providers have integrated biometric readers or have incentivized customers to track health and wellness to some degree. And the trend is rolling out to almost every other industry as employers realize that keeping their staff fit and healthy is not a expense but a huge long-term cost saving initiative.

Even better, this trend is also positively impacting the loyalty space with opportunities for marketers to leverage data collected by these health tracking devices. Whether an employer-to-employee relationship or a brand-to-consumer one, there’s a lot of incentive for both users of this symbiotic tech tool.

The Role of Smartphones and Health Trackers

According to Forbes, the next generation tracking devices from innovators like Fitbit will play a large role in how health insurance costs are determined. Last year, there were over 19 million registered Fitbit devices and usage is estimated to increase over the next decade. Aggregating and leveraging data acquired by these tracking devices will continue to grow, while providing invaluable benefits such as standard vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.), pedometer tracked steps, sugar levels for diabetics and smartphone facilitated exams.

In fact, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the recently developed has had significant success testing visual acuity, which is the most well known and most important measure of visual function. Similar tests performed in doctors’ offices can cost more than $1,000, thus offering huge cost savings for insurance companies and patients alike. Can you imagine a day when basic physicals to ensure patient health will be done via smartphone and health tracking device? That day is on its way.


Leveraging Data for Loyalty

Corporate wellness programs are growing in number with more employers issuing fitness trackers to monitor data generated by Fitbits and similar products, which hold employees accountable for healthy living while offering rewards and incentives. As marketers become more knowledgeable about engagement and leveraging customer data, we know there will be untold opportunities in this arena.

These programs drive gamification and gratification from achieving health-related milestones with badges or earned currencies. Understanding the data and creating a complete customer profile can help us communicate in ways that are meaningful. For example, geo-tracking on devices could help marketers build local and national partnerships, such as notifying customers that it’s time to hit the gym they’re nearby. Or they could receive a personalized push notification from their local health food store with a special limited-time.  This data will enable marketers to customize loyalty programs and incentivize customers to earn more points for responding to notifications.

Technology is changing the way we look at the benefits of healthy living. Fitbits and similar devices will change the way we manage our health while providing companies ways to incentivize healthy living for insurance benefits. Marketers will benefit from more efficient campaign management, including customized messaging with the usage of predictive analytics and preference data.

Author: Kobie Marketing

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