Blending Social Media and Healthcare

There is certainly lots of talk in healthcare around incentives.  What incentives will drive people to behave healthier – peer pressure, cash, non-monetary incentives, competitions (e.g., The Biggest Loser), or lower copays and deductibles.

There is also lots of talk about social media.  There have been lots of studies showing the power of your friends to influence your behavior – smoking, weight loss. 

Separately, I continue to hear more and more stories about agencies and lawyers using social media to find out about what people are really doing.  For example, my friend’s mom was recently on a jury of someone suing a physician for malpractice.  She claimed she had limited use of her legs.  But, the physician’s lawyer accessed her facebook page and saw her talking about all the stuff she was doing now that she felt better.  Oops.

Before I paint my future scenario, let me toss out one example that really got me thinking.  Burger King recently created the “Whopper Sacrifice” application for Facebook.  You received a free Whopper if you would delete 10 of your friends from your Facebook account.  23,000 users did it before they took it down.

So, if people would “sacrifice” their friends for a Whopper, what would people do for a 10% reduction in their premiums [or some siginificant savings on healthcare]?  Could companies get people [and use social media to track it] to spend more time with their thin friends that don’t drink or smoke and regularly exercise and get 8 hours of sleep a night?  Assuming the research is true, this would dramatically reduce costs and make those people healthier. 


One Response to “Blending Social Media and Healthcare”

  1. Safeway is the model for utilizing incentives to control healthcare costs. Why don’t more companies follow their lead? Too expensive to manage? Liability?

    However, incentives don’t always work according to recent Businessweek article:

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