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What Health Plans Can Learn From Other Industries

posted by Alicia Caramenico

on December 12, 2016

Athletic footwear, virtual reality games, consumer electronics. Health plans can learn a lot from these industries, especially when it comes to engaging consumers. AHIP’s Consumer Experience and Digital Health Forum in Chicago showcased how businesses like these are using technology to empower consumers. With that kind of empowerment in health care, consumers can make informed decisions and improve their health.

“No matter what industry you’re in, consumers move very quickly. They have a significant amount of data, choices, and options,” says Nic Vu, direct-to-consumer general manager of adidas Group North America. He advises health plans to focus on what they can control, not fixate on what they can’t. “It takes a lot of courage to take that next step and really be consumer-focused.”

Adidas has won Most Relevant Brand, Best Collab, and Sneaker of the Year, and Vu credits much of this success to the idea of open source, which he defines as co-creating with the consumer.

“Empower your teams to listen to what’s going on with your consumers,” he explains. That’s why Adidas is allowing high school kids to help create future products and identify what they think is going to sell or looks cool.

Trapper Markelz, president and COO of MeYou Health, believes health plans can learn a lot from the recent Pokemon Go craze, which had people of all ages off their couches and out in the world. The app led to real changes in physical activity, with users taking an average of 1,400 extra steps a day.

By applying gamification to health care problems, plans can replicate some of the same kind of excitement. The app led to real changes in physical activity, with users taking an average of 1,400 extra steps a day. To create such impact, Markelz says plans should consider three Pokémon Go features: It has “ridiculously easy” activation, clear and consistent feedback, and a strong brand.

Borrowing best practices from Samsung Electronics America, health plans must first determine the needs of the individual, then figure out how technology can help. For example, Dr. David Rhew, Samsung’s chief medical officer and head of Healthcare and Fitness, describes a major unmet need for seniors: “Their number one fear isn’t death but being sent to nursing home.” So, think about what sends seniors to a nursing home – like lost confidence in their ability to take care of themselves – and find a way to solve it.

With that problem in mind, Samsung is now testing a tool to help seniors live independently. People of all ages go through a mental check list before they fall asleep at night – is the door locked, is the stove off, is the faucet running? Samsung’s technology solution, Rhew explains, goes through this list, checks off each item, and sends a message to seniors’ loved ones so everyone feels secure.

“When you enable technology to help and support people, it can lead to better outcomes,” Rhew says.


Interested in hearing more about innovation and consumer experience? Register for the 2017 Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum in Nashville.