Technology and Rising Cost of Sick Care Creating New Opportunities

For all the wrangling and complaining about health care reform, an important fact is rarely included in the discourse. The one thing that could really reform health care is people living healthier lives.

As much as three quarters of U.S. health care costs are preventable. With most of the expense going to treat a few chronic diseases that are closely linked to behavior, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

The good news is a “pay for prevention” industry is emerging, offering organizations ways to reward workers with cash or reduced premiums for exercising more and eating wisely. Some of the early competitors in the space are RedBrick Health, Tangerine Wellness and Virgin HealthMiles.

At the center of this emerging business opportunity is technology. Smaller and more powerful devices and the ubiquity of the Internet are converging to deliver new solutions for the user that can impact behavior and outcomes.

In a recent NYT article, Sean Forbes, president of Virgin HealthMiles said, “We’re trying to create the good-driver discount for health. One reason that’s been so difficult is there’s never been a way to really measure things before, but that is changing because of technology.” Watch Kyle Rolfing, CEO of RedBrick Health explain the opportunity these new business models offer.