March 11, 2014

How Novu is Gamifying Senior Health Insurance

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Novu, a wellness gamification company, and Gorman Health Group (GHG), a consulting firm specializing in government-sponsored health programs, announced a partnership last week.

The partnership highlights the growing influence of gamification in healthcare. While so called “serious games” have been used for some time to teach skills such as quarantine procedures, “gamification” has mainly been used in the private sector. Health insurance companies offer discounts on premiums, for instance, to policyholders that get annual checkups, lose weight, or make other healthy lifestyle choices.

Novu’s customer-centric approach to wellness is backed by thirty years of experience in loyalty marketing and consumer engagement. John Gorman, founder and executive chairman at GHG, said Novu’s “member-centric solutions are…proven to enhance member engagement and help beneficiaries live healthier lives.” Novu may be up for a challenge however, in convincing GHG’s clients to actually use their programs.

A 2012 study by North Carolina State University found seniors who play video games demonstrate gains in physical and emotional health versus non-gamers.

While it’s an encouraging result for Novu and GHG, they’ll still have to convince seniors to willingly participate. A Pew Research Center study found that of the 15% of Americans who don’t use the internet, the vast majority are 65 or older. That’s the exact demographic of GHG’s Medicare Advantage clients.

Many members of this age group are noted technology skeptics, but have been exposed to gamification techniques for some time. Seniors are familiar with loyalty programs such as credit card rewards or points cards, for instance. The challenge will be for Novu and GHG to reach seniors with a program that is relevant to their needs and addresses their fears. Getting seniors without online access to participate in an online program will be difficult. However, a straight forward gamification program that lays out the rules, goals, rewards up front could find success with the Medicare Advantage demographic.

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photo credit: jonrawlinson via photopin cc