- More than 60% of consumers are interested in incentive programs exchanging connected device data with their health insurer for rewards — higher than for automobile, home and life insurance, according to a new report from business research firm Aite Group.
- And 90% of consumers said they would be interested in learning more about such offerings from their health insurer, according to Aite's survey of nearly 800 Americans with connected devices. Payers offering a rewards program could entice up to 58% of consumers to switch plans.
- The higher the reward, the stronger consumer interest, Aite found. More than 50% of consumers were interested in a rewards program resulting in an up to 5% discount in annual premiums. When the discount was raised to 10%, 21% of the remaining holdouts were interested in enrolling. For a 15% discount, 69% of consumers were interested.
With the rise of consumerism and personalized healthcare, patients are more interested in taking control of their health data. Connected devices, or gadgets that connect directly to the internet, are one way of doing so, and traditional industry players such as health insurers are jumping on the bandwagon.
Running the gamut from smart beds to AI-enabled doorbells, the devices are woven into the fabric of many Americans' lives. Three-quarters of consumers owning a connected device report using them at least once a week, Aite found, and report a very high level of satisfaction with the devices.
Digital voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home and fitness trackers like FitBit and Apple Watch are the most widely used smart devices, with almost 40% of consumers owning them, according to the report.
Insurers have largely turned to the latter option for partnerships, as wearables may provide a steady stream of user data throughout the day.
Aetna rolled out an app for the Apple Watch earlier this month. The app, called Attain, combines wearable and claims data to allow users to set health and activity goals while earning gift card rewards for reaching them. UnitedHealthcare, Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans also offer mobile apps, but few include a wearable feature.
And companies such as Samsung, Apple and Fitbit that offer wearables are adding electrocardiographic and fall-detection data collecting capabilities to their devices, in addition to heart rate, activity, nutrition and sleep monitoring.
Interest in connected devices is higher among tech-savvy younger consumers, but Aite found all ages expressed interest in the programs. They also also appealed to all rungs of the economic ladder.
And the seductiveness of rewards programs extends beyond just money. Aite found 45% of overall customers were moderately, very or extremely interested in trading personal data merely for targeted advice or information about health and safety.
Yet data security and privacy remain huge barriers to widespread adoptions of internet-enabled technologies, with a majority of respondents uninterested in rewards programs due to concerns around those issues. Nearly 60% of consumers reported worries their data would be hacked or stolen, 53% didn't feel comfortable sharing personal information with a company and more than 40% had concerns about how payers would manage and use their information.
The last few years have been characterized by a slew of high-profile data breaches (mostly due to human error) embarrassing healthcare companies and bringing to light the need for stronger security in health IT systems.
Connected medical devices are particularly low-hanging fruit for nefarious hackers. Though the medical device connectivity market is projected to surpass $1 billion by 2022, the industry has been criticized for adoption these technologies before they've been properly secured. Cybercriminals have been found to exploit data in error messages, manipulate 3D lung cancer scans, hack into network traffic and use that to access devices and other techniques to compromise connected devices.