One of my recurring themes is that the focus of health and fitness tracking is rapidly shifting from personal choice to employers, insurers, and healthcare systems. This change is driven by the fact that these corporate entities are the ones that stand to benefit financially when their employees or clients are healthier. As a result, we’ve seen more and more partnerships designed to put fitness trackers and other wearables in the hands — or on the wrists — of individuals.
One of the most recent announcements comes from Garmin and Blue365. Blue365 is a health and wellness program that is available to more than 60 million Blue Cross Blue Shield subscribers across the US. Through the partnership, program members can purchase Garmin devices at up to a 35% discount. Participants have the option of sharing their data on the Garmin Connect online community or other apps.
Blue365 executives added the Garmin products to encourage their customers “to take a proactive role in maintaining and improving their health.” The company also stands to gain if their customers have lower healthcare costs as a result of that improved health.
We’re seeing market forces at work behind a shift to a wellness mindset and away from the traditional “curing illness” model. We have every reason to expect this trend to continue, and wellness programs will be funded through the reduced healthcare costs that they will bring.