Health insurers are stepping up efforts to get members actively involved in managing their own wellness, according to a new report from Chilmark Research. Having long struggled to get members to change unhealthy behaviors with only mixed results, payers are now leveraging social media, mobile apps and games to increase the success of their member engagement strategies, Chilmark researchers reported.
While most of the projects are still in the early stages, some are showing promise, the report said.
"The passage of the Affordable Care Act is forcing a major restructuring of the healthcare sector and health insurers must innovate to demonstrate value to their customers [employers] and improve margins," said John Moore, founder and managing partner of Chilmark Research. "As the industry shifts from a fee-for-service to outcomes-based reimbursement models, insurers are implementing several strategies to survive in this new world order."
The study, titled "Benchmark Report: Payer Adoption of Emerging Consumer Tech," examines more than 40 programs through which insurers are using common consumer technologies to encourage consumers to participate in wellness and disease management programs.
The Chilmark report found that improvements in these consumer technologies, their growing adoption and use and the introduction of low-cost, biometric devices are making it easier for health insurers to see results from their deployment. Many payers are partnering with third parties or developing applications in-house. A few have even acquired software companies.
Still, said Moore, "the industry is still very much in the early-innovator, adoption stage. The vast majority of health insurers remain sitting on the sidelines."
For more on the report, click here.