Apple, Aetna Create Wellness Program Based on Apple Watch

Aetna's Attain for Apple Watch benefits health — and privacy

After users have joined Attain, they will have the additional option to share their Attain program data and health history with Apple, enabling Apple and Aetna to collaborate, and over time, continue to improve the Attain experience. It's probably a good idea to already sign up here, even though the app will only be made available in the App Store sometime in the spring, as the number of participants is limited. "Every day, we receive emails and letters from people all over the world who have found great benefit by incorporating Apple Watch into their lives and daily routines", said Jeff Williams, Apple's COO.

The app - christened "Attain" - is yet another example of an insurer pursuing a creative means to keep their members healthy, out of hospitals and safely at home, especially as they age and develop more complex medical needs.

Apple and Aetna, newly acquired by CVS Health, have announced a new collaboration that will offer wearable-based wellness services to members.

Attain focuses on the larger picture of a user's health, not just the scale. Anyone looking to gamify their New Year's Resolutions and get a free Apple Watch out of it at the same time should be wary. Through analytics and machine learning, the collaboration will lead to new features for Attain, offering more personalized recommendations created to give greater context and decrease barriers to health care, the insurer said.

Data privacy is also a major concern, considering the whole selling point of Aetna's Attain program is personalization.

Basically, the app will pull your health records (with your approval, of course), also leveraging any other personal information considered relevant, as well as Apple Watch sensor data to devise the most appropriate ways of helping you stay healthy and fit.

The Attain program will have four main pillars, according to Aetna: to help members achieve activity goals, to sustain everyday health, to enable personalized health notifications for key health moments and to allow for rewards.

The app will also make recommendations based on both your health records and the activity measured by your Apple Watch. Healthy behavior nudges can include improving nutrition, getting more sleep and other proactive health measures. Information from this program will not be used for underwriting, premium or coverage decisions. CVS said 90% of participants reported a "health benefit" but did not elaborate on whether they saw improved health outcomes.

As part of the effort, CVS is building "health hubs" that will be staffed with a "care concierge", who might help individuals understand how their health insurance works or help them use health and wellness devices and technology.

There are spots for about 250,000 to 300,000 of Aetna's 22 million members to start.

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