UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm integrate wearable devices from Samsung and Garmin into wellness program

James Mault of Qualcomm Life

UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm Incorporated, through its subsidiary Qualcomm Life, have integrated wearable devices from Samsung Electronics America Inc. and Garmin International, Inc. into UnitedHealthcare Motion™.

UnitedHealthcare Motion is a national wellness program that provides eligible plan participants access to activity trackers and enables them to earn more than $1,000 (€843.63) per year by meeting certain daily walking goals.

The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro and the Gear Sport, as well as the Garmin vivosmart®3, have been integrated and validated with Qualcomm Life’s 2net™ platform for medical-grade connectivity that features multiple safeguards to help keep data secure. UnitedHealthcare Motion participants who already own one of these devices may be able to use them with the program.

UnitedHealthcare Motion is available to employers with self-funded and fully insured health plans nationwide.

The program enables employees to earn up to $4 (€3.37) per day in financial incentives based on achieving the F.I.T. goals:

  • Frequency: complete  500 steps within seven minutes six times per day, at least an hour apart);
  • Intensity: complete 3,000 steps within 30 minutes; and
  • Tenacity: complete 10,000 total steps each day).

The integrated activity trackers, which are available to plan participants at no additional charge or through upgrade options that enable people to purchase leading activity trackers at preferred prices, have been customised to enable users to see on their wrists how they are tracking against the program’s three daily F.I.T. goals. Research shows people who consistently achieve F.I.T. goals tend to improve their health and reduce their medical expenses.

All the activity trackers are available to people via a dedicated website that offers device options, including previously available activity trackers from Fitbit and Striiv.

Since UnitedHealthcare Motion launched in 2016, participants have collectively walked more than 130 billion steps and earned more than $19 million (€16.03 million) in rewards. Among eligible employees, 66% registered their devices, with more than two-thirds of those staying active with the program for more than one year.

“The enhancements to UnitedHealthcare Motion enable the program to offer companies and their employees more digital health and wellness resources that are personalised, connected and intuitive,” said Sam Ho, M.D., chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare. “We are expanding the portfolio of available devices to make UnitedHealthcare Motion more flexible, convenient and consumer friendly.”

Qualcomm Life, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, leverages its global connected health ecosystem and connectivity expertise to provide secure data transfer from the devices, to the Motion app and to UnitedHealthcare. Qualcomm Life also enables the BYOD model to allow the integration of more activity trackers into the 2net Platform and UnitedHealthcare Motion, providing participants with more choice.

Thomas Williams

“This program highlights the value of combing UnitedHealthcare’s pro-consumer benefit designs combined with Qualcomm Life’s expertise in providing seamless connectivity across a growing ecosystem of wearable devices to help people pursue their health and wellness goals,” said James Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Qualcomm Life. “Studies have shown walking can be an effective way to help improve well-being and reduce health care costs, and we are seeing how UnitedHealthcare Motion helps people take charge of their health.”

Employers are expected to incorporate more than 13 million wearable and fitness tracking devices into their wellness programs by 2018, according to technology consultancy Endeavors Partners. A related study published in Science & Medicine showed people tend to overestimate how much exercise they get each week by more than 50 minutes, and they underestimate sedentary time by more than two hours, underscoring the importance of a wellness program like UnitedHealthcare Motion.

“Our motivation for implementing this program was simple: help create a happier and heathier workforce,” said Thomas Williams, director of finance of Wayne Densch, a Florida-based distribution company that adopted the program in 2016 and has seen a significant reduction in health care costs.

“We recognise that wearable devices can help reduce our company’s overall health care costs and engage employees in our wellness program, enabling them to track their daily activity levels and improve their health and well-being.”

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