CVS-Aetna to offer Apple Watch app for members
- In collaboration with Apple, CVS said its insurance arm, Aetna, is launching an app to improve the health of its members by combining the Apple Watch capabilities with members' health history.
- Aetna's Attain app, due out in the spring, will use a member's health history to help them set activity goals, reach milestones and earn rewards. There are between 250,000 and 300,000 slots available for the initial program, a CVS spokesman told Healthcare Dive.
- After members join the Attain program, they will have the option to share their data with Apple. The company said it will help improve the platform, enabling more personalized recommendations.
Fitness trackers like the Apple Watch and Fitbit have exploded in popularity in recent years, giving consumers the power to count their steps, calories burned and even their heart rates.
But CVS is seeking to differentiate itself by integrating a member's health history into those technologies, analysts from Leerink said in a note Tuesday.
However, Leerink notes CVS competitors do have similar programs, such as UnitedHealth's Rally program that also seeks to rewards members for healthier lifestyle choices.
This is far from Apple's only partnership with established healthcare players. The company has worked to make it easier for patients to access their medical records via their connected Apple devices. Last year, it found 40 health systems to contribute medical records to its Health app, and the number of participants has skyrocketed since then to more than 500 hospitals and clinics.
Consumers can also integrate their lab test results into the Health app. Last year, LabCorp, one of the nation's largest clinical diagnostic labs, announced its collaboration with Apple and said it would make it easier for patients to see their lab data alongside other medical information such as allergies, immunizations and medications.
Apple is also looking for ways to get watches on the wrists of more seniors. The company is reportedly in talks with at least three Medicare Advantage plans to help them monitor their members health and fitness, CNBC reported. MA plans have proved to be a growth and profit sector for carriers as the population continues to age. This year, MA have more flexibility in offering nontraditional benefits to help improve the health of their members.
The move from CVS also further illustrates the push within the industry to make healthcare more user-friendly as disrupters like Amazon — a company obsessed with improving the consumer experience — moves into the sector with its purchase of Pillpack and other initiatives.
Despite the popularity of fitness trackers, a recent study found little evidence that they improve health outcomes for those that use them.
Three years ago, CVS made the Apple Watch available to some members as part of a program to better understand how the watch could help members "achieve their health ambitions." CVS said 90% of participants reported a "health benefit" but did not elaborate on whether they saw improved health outcomes.