More than 70 percent of Walgreens Balance Rewards members participating in the healthy choices program with a connected device were still active in the program a year later, according to Walgreens. The retail pharmacy released data from a series of studies the company conducted in 2014, showing that their rewards program increased adherence to hypertension and diabetes medications.
One study analyzed 4,943 Walgreens Balance Rewards healthy choice members who logged activity, body weight, and blood pressure within six months of enrollment, but also filled at least one antihypertensive medication in 2014. The study found that participants who tracked blood pressure levels were 2.6 percent more adherent to their medication than those who did not. And participants' adherence was 2.4 percent higher if they logged more than 1 mile per day than if they logged less.
Walgreens also studied 1,855 members who tracked their activity as well as certain biometrics, including body weight and blood glucose, within six months of enrolling. These members must have also filled at least one oral diabetes medication in 2014. The study found that the participants who tracked blood glucose levels were 5.4 percent more adherent to their medication than those who did not. The study also found that the adherence rate of participants who logged more than one mile per day was 7.9 percent higher than those who logged less.
Another study, which looked at data from 100,069 members over an 180-day period in 2014, found that 45.8 percent of members tracked activity and 6.2 percent of members logged their weight. Participants lost an average of 3.3 pounds, though 27.2 percent of members lost more than six pounds and 16.5 percent of members lost more than 10 pounds. This study also found that members who tracked at least one mile a day lost an average of 3.7 pounds.
Walgreens first launched its Balance Rewards healthy choices offering in September 2012. Walgreens' service awards points for healthy behaviors, for example, setting health goals, tracking activity, logging weight, tracking prescriptions, and linking a third party device or app. In 2014, Walgreens updated the service to include behavior change expert Dr. BJ Fogg’s "Tiny Habits" methodology. As of April 2015, the Balance Rewards healthy choice offering is has reached 800,000 users and has 250,000 connected devices. Members have set 1.5 million goals and logged 73 million miles.
Earlier this week, Walgreens announced the launch of its new Apple Watch app and a forthcoming Apple Pay integration for the company’s Balance Rewards program. The Apple Watch app will help remind users to take their pills and also to refill their prescriptions when they run out.