Attain - New Apple Watch Health App from Aetna and Apple

Pearl Mccarthy
January 31, 2019

You'll need an Apple Watch Series 1 or later and an iPhone 5S or later to participate. 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.

That health history data is tightly regulated by the USA government, and Apple and Aetna had to enter into what is known as a business associate agreement in order for Aetna to share it with the Apple.

Attain by Aetna is designed for everyone "from fitness enthusiasts, to casual gym-goers, to parents who get all their exercise by keeping up with their kids", Alan Lotvin, executive vice president of transformation for Aetna owner CVS Health, said in a statement.

Participants will also receive "personalized health notifications" encouraging them to do such things as get a flu shot, refill medication prescriptions, and visit a primary care physician if it's been a while since their last visit.

Perhaps the best part about all this is that taking the app's advice will earn you points that you can then redeem to cover the costs of your next Apple Watch or score gift cards at "popular national retailers". Healthy behavior nudges can include improving nutrition, getting more sleep and other proactive health measures. Members who participate in the personalized experience that combines their health history with the power of the Apple Watch, will have a chance to earn their Apple Watch as a reward. Aetna also cited a study from RAND Corporation claiming an average activity increase of 34 percent when a "loss-framed incentive" like being forced to pay out of pocket for your ostensibly free Apple Watch was introduced.

So far, however, payer-orchestrated digital health programs have been built around incentives rather than punishments.

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As a reward, Aetna members will have the option of accumulating points in an easy-to-understand system. 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. But what is new and significant about the Attain app is the use of personal health data held by Aetna to provide customized goals and recommendations.

User privacy and data security are at the heart of Attain.

In addition, none of the data collected through the program will be used for underwriting, premium or coverage decisions.

About CVS Health CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health.

There are spots for about 250,000 to 300,000 of Aetna's 22 million members to start. CVS said 90% of participants reported a "health benefit" but did not elaborate on whether they saw improved health outcomes.

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