Blue Shield of California launches revised digital health coach

Non-profit health plan Blue Shield of California launched a new digital lifestyle medicine and health platform, which can be personalised to each members’ individual health needs and preferences.

There are a wealth of such health coaches on the market, with Amazon’s Alexa even getting in on the act, but San Francisco-based Blue Shield hopes to compete by guiding users towards apps and services backed by scientific evidence.

Created in collaboration with Solera Health, the platform provided members access to a tailored selection of clinically proven apps.

The idea is to use lifestyle to prevent, treat, and possibly reverse disease and is available free to Blue Shield’s employer-sponsored plans, or individual or family plans.

According to the firm there are more than 320,000 health apps available online for consumers to choose from, but there is a lack of trusted guidance to follow so they can achieve the results they want.

Wellvolution hopes to change this by selecting and recommending apps backed by scientific evidence, and matching members’ needs based on an online survey when they start their account.

The app then provides a step-by-step weekly action plan, acting as a personalised digital health coach.

Resources help users address issues such as sleep quality, stress management, physical activity, diet and nutrition, tobacco cessation, preventing cardio-metabolic diseases, and reversing chronic conditions.

Users also get access to a variety of other apps, and in-person health and lifestyle resources to help members improve their  health.

There are also links to more than 30,000 conventional services such as Weight Watchers, gyms, and community centres, and nearly 70 digital health programmes.

Bryce Williams, vice president of lifestyle medicine at Blue Shield, said: “Traditional wellness programs are clearly dead – too costly and ineffective – yet the zombie health management program epidemic continues. Enough already.

“With Wellvolution, Blue Shield members and their families can now meaningfully utilize lifestyle to meet their health needs whether they’re trying to reverse diseases such as diabetes or simply get a better night’s sleep, and it won’t cost them a penny more.”

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