Inspiring Millennial Health Engagement with Mobile Gamification

Millennials, age 21-32, are the new consumer group driving the shift towards patient-centered care. In order to meet their demands for a more personal healthcare experience, health insurers must first understand some of the unique behaviors of self-empowered millennials.

Millennials research their symptoms online before visiting a doctor and turn to their social communities for medical advice and medicine brand recommendations. They look to social media when making purchase decisions and in comparing products, services and experiences. They communicate transparently about their experiences. They use mobile health apps to track their fitness activity, monitor their nutrition and manage their diet programs. Most importantly, they are multi-device creatures, constantly shifting from one device to the next, if not using several at once.

What key facts about millennials can insurers take away from behavioral observations such as these?

  1. They have a higher expectation of what’s possible with technology.
  2. They have diverse networks that they like to exchange their successes and triumphs with.
  3. They are accustom to high-volume information exposure and powerful tools for helping them to process this information.
  4. They crave community and like to feel that they are a part of a larger entity.
  5. They like to feel in-control of their health and manage it far beyond the reaches of physician visits.

In order to address these facts, insurers need to get innovative to create millennial health engagement…they must design digital apps that can connect with their millennial members when, where and how they engage with their health, while permitting real-time resource and behavioral interventions, which naturally leads us to mobile.

Mobile apps have the ability to integrate smoothly into millennials’ busy daily lives. They also offer one of the most promising opportunities for addressing behavior change resistance: gamification. Health insurers can easily gamify healthy behaviors by developing health tracking apps linked to loyalty reward and incentive programs. Health insurers can exceed personal care demands by presenting members with tailored daily health and wellness challenges, integrated with GPS and activity trackers, which record and report on challenge completion stats and deliver personal health summaries.

Wellness app participation can further be encouraged by appealing to millennials’ competitive nature and enabling them  to share their challenge completions or daily health scores with other plan members and relatives or post their achievements to their social media accounts, thereby increasing accountability while allowing members to build a network of support that they can exchange their health journey experiences with.

Fitbit demonstrates the beginning of this movement towards wearable, GPS-integrated technology supported by mobile applications.  From tracking your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, active minutes and sleep, Fitbit is leading the revolution in leveraging gamification and mobile to motivate younger generations to engage in their health in fun, competitive and social ways. Fitbit users can add their friends and family and challenge them to fitness conquests, with leaderboards that display their ranking.  They can set goals and monitor their daily progress, earn badges and credits for reaching certain fitness milestones and set reminders to help keep them on track. This is where the future lies in motivating millennials to engage in their health…in the deployment of mobile applications that make engaging in healthy behaviors a both physically and emotionally rewarding experience tailored to one’s unique lifestyle….in associating healthy behaviors with both social and physical rewards as opposed to the potential negative consequences.

The benefits of mobile application development are not just to be reaped by members alone though. By deploying digital applications connected to real-time measurement analytics, insurers can better prove their health management models and scale to chronic conditions and unique health objectives. They can collect the data needed to focus on behavior profiles instead of age bands. More importantly, they can drive better outcomes and overall happier, healthier members. Mobile apps are the key to insurers becoming a greater part of their millennial policy holders lives and meeting millennial demands for a more personal relationship with their healthcare. Does your business have a mobile app development strategy?

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