Connected Health Market Insights - GiftCard Partners, Inc.

by Parks Associates | Aug. 7, 2019

Prior to Parks Associates’ sixth-annual Connected Health Summit: Independent Living and WellnessDeborah Merkin, Director of CEO, GiftCard Partners, Inc., shared her thoughts on the connected health market with the firm's analyst team.

Deborah will participate on the Employee Wellness Programs and Consumer Engagement panel on Wednesday, August 28, at 4:45 PM. Panelists who will join her on this session include:

  • Alexandra Frith, Lifestyle Medicine Consumer Marketing, Blue Shield of California
  • Kristin Torres Mowat, Senior VP of Corporate Development, Castlight Health
  • Steven Parker, SVP, Business Development, Virgin Pulse
  • Kristen Valdes, CEO and Founder, b.well Connected Health

Can you elaborate on your company’s role in the healthcare market? 
For over 10 years, we’ve worked on behalf of brands like CVS Pharmacy® to offer gift card incentives to companies in both the Corporate Health & Wellness and Medicaid & Medicare markets.
Our gift card brands have been used as incentives in the healthcare industry to encourage healthy behaviors, promote engagement in new wellness initiatives, encourage wellness visits, and much more.
How are you working with employers to have an impact on employee health?  
We believe that in order to make the biggest impact on an employee’s health, employers must take the time to develop and implement a well-thought incentive program that encourages ongoing engagement and uses incentives, such as gift cards, that allow for personal choice while leaving a lasting impression on achieving a health goal.
How are you working with employers to decrease absenteeism and increase productivity?
We encourage employers to look at their incentive program as a long-term investment where tangible incentives, like gift cards, can work in unison with education and upper management support to create these lasting behavioral changes.
What do you think is driving behavior change the most?
Behavioral science tells us it can take up to 24 months for habits to be adopted. 
A reward component is necessary in any successful program that takes steps toward behavioral change, along with using the best reward type for your audience and budget. 
Is there a specific gift brand that is desired more than others?
We’ve found that health-centric brands, like CVS Pharmacy®, are a popular incentive in programs related to wellness because they offer a way for employers to engage their employees with rewards that complement their overall wellness goal. Selectively filtered gift cards, like the new RxReload® Pharmacy Card, are becoming a popular choice. CVS Pharmacy developed this prepaid pharmacy card to help consumers budget for prescriptions and over-the-counter health expenses and is also redeemable for thousands of health-centric items at all CVS Pharmacy locations.
What are the top 3 most important services that are missing from health plans?  
Research company, Survata, in association with HealthEdge Software, conducted an independent survey of 2,500 healthcare consumers to find out what would improve the level of satisfaction with their health plan. They’re responses tied to both incentives and resources:
1. 37% wanted more incentives for healthy behaviors
2. 35% wanted tools and information to help them find less costly care
3. 32% wanted tools and information to help them understand their benefits

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