Loyalty Programs and Healthcare: The Key to Unlocking Better Well-being
Most people see loyalty programs as a way to save money, but they can do much more than that. In fact, they could play a major role in improving millions of people's health around the world.
With loyalty programs, companies can gain insights into customer behaviours, track health outcomes, and create personalised incentives that encourage healthier decision-making.
Unlocking health insights
Research is currently investigating how loyalty program data can help identify individuals at risk of health issues. By collaborating with supermarkets that collect loyalty card data for marketing and sales, healthcare institutions can study the link between food choices and health.
According to Dr Michelle Morris, University Academic Fellow in Health Data Analytics at the University of Leeds, “if we can look in detail at the differences in lifestyle between people who have a serious health condition such as type 2 diabetes, and those who don’t, we might be able to uncover new patterns that could help us to treat or prevent these conditions”.
Another study found that loyalty card information is a valuable data source due to its size, coverage, objectivity and long collection time. Ultimately, it was concluded that loyalty card data is underutilised - and could be used for societal advantages rather than only for retailer purposes.
Providing proactive healthcare
By understanding individuals' food and medication purchases, companies can identify concerns and take proactive action. If a company notices a sudden change in purchase patterns that might indicate a health issue, this can be detected early on.
For example, a surge in iron supplement purchases may point to anaemia, which could also be a sign of an underlying condition. Early detection enables immediate medical attention, potentially preventing underlying or future illnesses.
Saving lives through early detection
In a noteworthy example earlier this year, Cancer Research UK used data from Boots and Tesco loyalty cards to identify women at risk of ovarian cancer.
By analysing purchasing habits, such as increased pain medication purchases, the study could detect early signs of the disease. Noticing the warning signs at this stage means healthcare institutions can respond with preventive measures, such as providing vaccination and screenings. Such intervention has the potential to significantly improve survival rates, showcasing the life-saving impact of loyalty card data.
Incentivising healthy choices
Loyalty programs can also provide incentives for healthy behaviours. Lifestyle choices play a major role in several illnesses; cardiovascular disease, obesity-related conditions, and certain types of cancer have been linked to unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, smoking, alcohol, and stress. Making better lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of such diseases.
For example, a pharmacy brand could offer rewards points to customers who enroll in a stop-smoking course, while a gym could provide discounts to members who exercise regularly.
Addressing privacy and security concerns
Using loyalty program data to improve public health has lots of potential - but only if people are open to sharing their data. Privacy remains paramount, and companies must keep personal data secure, use it only for intended purposes, and inform customers how and why they collect health data.
Remember - customer relationships are built on trust, so always make sure you put data privacy and security first.
Loyalty programs in the healthcare industry
Rewards programs are traditionally associated with retail or hospitality sectors, but they have gained traction in healthcare due to the many benefits they offer. Healthcare loyalty programs aim to create long-lasting relationships between healthcare providers and patients, improving patient adherence to treatment plans, and drive positive health outcomes.
Here are some examples of loyalty programs in healthcare:
- Rite Aid Rewards: Rite Aid, an American pharmacy chain, offers a digital rewards program that gives customer the opportunity to earn points through purchases, prescription pickups, personalised challenges and special members-only promotions.
- Fitbit Care: Fitbit, a consumer electronics and fitness company, offers a health and wellness program that targets both individuals and organizations. The program combines wearable technology with coaching and personalised insights to help individuals meet their health and wellness goals.
- Vitality: Vitality, a global health and wellness company, partners with various insurance providers to offer personalised rewards and incentives for healthy behaviour. Participants can earn points by engaging in physical activity, completing health screenings, and adopting healthy habits.
Looking to create a health or wellbeing rewards program?
Loyalty programs have the potential to improve the lives of millions of people.
By using loyalty program data to identify individuals at risk of health problems and intervene early, companies can improve health outcomes. This can benefit public health on a huge scale.
Also, by incentivising healthy behaviours, companies can help create a culture of wellness and encourage people to take an active role in their own health.
Loyalty programs offer an invaluable opportunity to leverage technology to better understand and predict health issues, while incentivizing healthy behaviours. In this way, they can be a powerful weapon in the fight against disease and poor health.
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Senior Content Marketing Executive
Helen is our Senior Content Marketing Executive. She shares valuable information about the Future of Loyalty and will keep you up to date on the latest industry insights...