Some of the incentives for participation include premium reductions, cash and bonuses, health-account contributions and gift cards as well as asking employees to fill out a health risk assessment and the problems lie with retention as drop out rates are high. Health-Net is turning a new program lose on their own employees. Ingenix (the statistical wholly owned subsidiary of United HealthCare) said it has developed a data analysis tool that helps companies more effectively communicate with employees in a way that motivates them to improve their lifestyles, but would not disclose its methods, so here we go once more, no transparency, but just “trust me”. UnitedHealthCare or one of their subsidiaries keeps showing up with ties into so many different financial sectors of healthcare and just bought out another similar firm like Ingenix in Tennessee.
Let’s not also forget the nationwide telehealth network they are financing through an agreement with Cisco to build which was in the news of late and they also own the Lewin research group that the Republicans rely on for their data relative to sectors of healthcare in Congress.
Red Brick, who recently received a big contract from Target is a client of Ingenix and is using their marketing techniques, again the ones we don’t know about. The only thing disclosed is that the company can be more successful in getting the employee’s attention. In the example below, how does the insurance company go about finding out you subscribe to a golf magazine? Good question on where they could be getting their information.
“ Marketing data help RedBrick communicate a message about a person’s health that motivates them. “If a person subscribes to Golf magazine, we can customize messaging to use golf to get their attention,” Mr. Rolfing said.”
“Redbrick’s methods for tracking employees’ commitment to these health plans are surprisingly detailed (though they may smack a bit of Big Brother). For example, it offers an iPhone application that records progress on a person’s walking exercises and beams the data back to Redbrick’s system. Pedometers and watches that do the same are also in the works, VentureWire reports. This might sound a tad invasive, but the company says that employers have the choice whether or not to make employees prove that they are following their custom health maps.”
Perhaps the secret is in the iPhone, from a prior post referenced above? Is part of the plan to involve devices that report data back to the Wellness Coach and again why would Ingenix refuse to disclose how their program works? The company has been sued recently for the data base used to create millions of dollars of balance due medical bills by charging above the customary charges for out of network services, so again it makes one wonder now what is going on in the “under tow” backside of business intelligence for profit. BD
Employers and the health-care management companies they hire are using data on consumer behavior to cost effectively identify employees with health risks and craft a message that can get them to change their unhealthy ways.
"This is what the tobacco and food companies do to us all day long," said Betsy Barbeau, senior vice president for health and wellness at Boston-based Health Dialog Services Corp., a health-care management and data analytics company. "They don't just think about age and gender; they know what else we buy and what our habits may be, and they use [the knowledge] to create advertising that gets us to buy their product. We are trying to take Madison Avenue sophistication about engaging the consumer market and [use] it to engage our members and our clients."
Health-data companies such as Health Dialog and Ingenix say their methods offer a solution. Health Dialog said it has developed a predictive model that uses health-claims data in combination with demographic “psychographic data,” as Ms. Barbeau put it, to capture people's attitudes.