Humana is teaming up with health data company Validic to allow its members to connect a slew of wearable devices to the insurer’s Go365 wellness program.
Through the partnership, Humana members will be able to connect hundreds of smart devices, ranging from high-tech smartwatches to more simple blood glucose monitors, the companies announced Wednesday. The goal is to grow access to Go365 and thus grow the data the program has available, as members are not restricted to high-end devices.
In the announcement, Humana notes that it’s critical to allow members to connect a wide range of devices, as 96% of Americans have a smartphone and 35% of people who use wearable devices have one that is not made by one of the top vendors.
“In broadening the accessibility of Go365—both in terms of connectivity and membership—we enable more people, including those with different socioeconomic backgrounds or health challenges to achieve better health in a premiere wellness program,” Jeff Reid, Humana’s senior vice president of wellness solutions, said in a statement.
There have been plenty of questions on how effective workplace wellness programs are, and if they pay off in clinical results for employees. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that they offer little clinical value.
Employers are committed to them regardless, however, as they make for an effective recruiting tool to lure in high-caliber employees.
Humana tracked Go365 over the course of five years and found that in that period participating members increased their intake of healthy food and exercised more often. Participants also saw improvements in high-density lipoprotein (or “good” cholesterol) counts.
Go365 participants were also slightly less likely to smoke by year five and slightly more likely to report low-stress levels, the review found. About 5 million Humana members participate in the program.
UnitedHealthcare adopted a similar “bring-your-own-device" approach in its wellness program in 2017, integrating Samsung and Garmin wearables into a program that operated previously with a custom-made device. UnitedHealthcare also allows users to connect Fitbit and Apple Watch devices to the program.