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An Apple a day keeps your employees productive

Healthcare giant Aetna is the latest company to use wellbeing technology to transform its employee and members’ health

Wearable wellbeing technology

US healthcare benefits company Aetna is providing its near 50,000 employees with a free Apple Watch to encourage them to live more productive, healthier lives.

The Connecticut-based company says it wants to revolutionise both its employees’ health by combining Apple’s iOS apps and products including the watch, iPad and iPhone with its analytics-based wellness and care management programmes.

The health apps offer a number of features including:

Care management and wellness, to help guide employees through new diagnosis or prescription medication with support from nurses and people with similar conditions

Medication adherence, to help staff remember to take their medications, easily order refills and connect with their doctor if they need a different treatment through their Apple Watch or iPhone

Personalised health plan onboarding, information, messaging and decision support to help employees and members understand and make the most of their benefits

Mark Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO, says the apps will “create simple, intuitive and personalised technology solutions that will transform the health and wellness experience’.

“This is only the beginning,” he adds. “We look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days.”

The initiative is supported by Apple. CEO Tim Cook said it “will be a powerful force toward creating better customer experiences in healthcare”.

Aetna is also making Apple Watch available to select large employer customers, subsidising part of the cost.

Companies are increasingly looking at wellbeing applications and wearables in the fight to keep healthcare and absence costs down and increase productivity. Josh Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte and an expert in HR technology trends, says the market for wellbeing applications is in huge growth.

“This is an emerging market and is not one focused simply on reducing insurance costs. We now know that helping employees feel good is a performance and brand enhancing strategy.”

Research by Deloitte in 2014 found millennials in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, UK and the US said ‘flexible working conditions and work/life integration’ were the number one way organisations would have to change if they wish to improve retention, and globally work/life balance was cited as a top three primary concern among millennials moving into leadership roles.

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