Discovery’s edge garners global approval at Davos

Discovery Health’s Vitality Group has scored a global first in being named a ‘leading health innovator’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, a major affirmation of its highly effective cost-mitigation and client-support strategy. While not in the core business of philanthropy, the company has held up a global torch in showing how you can link your bottom line to the wellbeing of your clients and that the two can fly together. So much so that it’s outdone most of its still-surviving local competitors in both business and philanthropy, funding a host of cutting edge scientific researchers and academics in South Africa’s most needy health fields, supporting promising healthcare workers and promoting robust health journalism via annual awards. If incentivising your customers (aka Behavioural Economics), and staying at the cutting edge of cost-effective medicine is the name of the game, then Discovery must surely be where start-up healthcare company’s go to learn. – Chris Bateman

Vitality media release

DAVOS – January 19, 2017 In alignment with using behavioral economics to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives, Vitality Group has been featured as a leading health innovator in a report by the World Economic Forum. Published in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson, the report was released today at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“Leveraging principles of behavioral economics, including incentives and rewards, can activate people to change their health behaviors,” said Dr. Derek Yach, Vitality’s Chief Health Officer and member of the Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum’s Council on Human-centric Health. “Our study is the first of its kind to establish that increases in physical activity can trigger improvements in other health-promoting behaviors and overall health status.”

The Vitality study analyzed data from 100,000 US Vitality members over a five-year period. It concluded that the greatest improvements in health occurred among members who were the least physically active, and that incremental physical activity led to changes in other health behaviors. Successes in the Vitality program were attributed to high employee engagement within companies that leveraged behavioral economics strategies. Strategies included: promoting participation through a comprehensive health communications strategy; providing upfront incentives and a rewards platform for healthy behavior; recruiting internal health champions; and offering health services such as on-site screening.

Vitality’s ability to change health behaviours has been independently shown to increase healthy food purchases, reduce hospitalisations and length of hospital stays, and lower medical and prescription costs. The science and behavioural economics strategies embedded within Vitality provide the basis for the program, which covers 4 million lives in 15 countries.

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