Let’s start with a simple idea-your doctor wants you to be healthy and the healthier you are the better. No disputes so far, right? Now imagine your doctor gives you a $500 voucher that can be redeemed for either free gym membership for a year or an elliptical machine in the house for free.

The goal is to stimulate good healthy exercising practices from every patient. Let us fast forward a few months and either the gym manager has not seen you recently while gladly collecting monthly fees or the elliptical has become a nice coat-hanger… 


This is true for about 50% of the population according to a recent study by the University of Scranton, PA. See figure 1 below. So far this is not surprising human behavior to us. Good intent and initial momentum is not adequate enough for some and we need periodic reinforcements.

“Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage” -Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit, why we do what we do in life and business

Let us ask a few questions:

  • How would we respond if the gym membership rate increased 2% for every month we do not go to the Gym at all?
  • How would we respond if the gym gave us a 5% discount for every month we were there for at least 12 hours? They define this as “meaningful use” of gym subsidies
  • Would we consider it to be fair if the 12 hours was considered as adequate for normal healthy 25-45 year olds and was adjusted by doctors for those with existing medical conditions, etc.
  • Do you care which treadmill you are on? Would you negotiate for ellipticals to be included in the same mix? What about stair climbers? What if these machines cost more than $500?
  • What reporting requirements would we ask of the exercise machine manufacturers? Obviously this is good news for them and they should ostensibly expect incremental sales from this stimulus exercise
  • What if we asked exercise equipment manufacturers to automatically report activity levels of each machine they sell? This is good since they can truly assess the utilization of the health devices they sell, right?
  • What if we gave permission for gym companies to call us or text us if our treadmills are gathering dust? Would we look for sell back offers from them?
  • What if gym managers could now be offered an incentive for being responsible for patient activity and health? They could make more money if folks exercise more in their community
  • Would you still redeem the $500 voucher if you knew all of this upfront? After all, the goal is to make you healthier than you are currently and even helping get you moving!

All humor aside, consumer engagement is a real issue, since a good subset of consumers are also patients. Patient apathy is literally killing over 100,000 patients a year since we do not engage with those who want to help us stay healthy. Patient medication adherence costs, traditionally costs the US economy about $300 billion a year and does not account for increased hospitalization risks and costs. New technologies like the wearable revolution offer a strong glimmer of hope for those of us willing to literally take a few steps in the right direction.

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.

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