Blue Shield’s Wellvolution Gamified!

Social apps and rewards engage employees, Blue Shield sees potential for its insurance customers

Via Ken Terry, InformationWeek @InformationWeek

A major West Coast health plan has jumped on the social gaming/networking trend in fitness and wellness applications. Blue Shield of California is already offering one such program to its employees and will soon provide two more. The company is also trying to sell its employer customers on the idea that this approach can help engage workers in their own healthcare.

Blue Shield launched Wellvolution, a wellness initiative for its own employees, in 2009. This program had some impact, but the company eventually realized that it could do even better, Bryce Williams, director of Wellvolution, told InformationHealth Healthcare.

Recent research had shown the power of social connectedness in improving health outcomes, and mobile health apps were suddenly catching on among consumers. “So it made sense to take the technology that people were already using and comfortable with and migrate that to a health platform that included social media and social gaming,” Williams explained.

Blue Shield’s first move was to try an application called Shape Up Shield that focuses on increasing physical activity. “This is an eight-week-long, social-media-fueled challenge that uses an online platform to let employees form teams, post comments in forums, set team and personal fitness goals, and give virtual ‘high fives’ for encouragement,” a Blue Shield spokesman said. “In 2011, over 1,800 Shape Up Shield participants walked, hiked and ran 600 million steps,” about 300,000 miles…

Read the full article on InformationWeek

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