Last month UnitedHealth Group (UHG) updated its mobile health app, OptumizeMe, for its employer customers. The new version of the app, which is available for iPhone, Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 users, enables employers to conduct drawings or prize giveaways for those employees that meet their goals, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal this week. The prizes could be as valuable as a car, according to the report.
The OptumizeMe app enables users to challenge friends to fitness competitions and trade “encouragement and digs” as they compete. Users can pick preloaded challenges like: "Who can walk the most steps? Who can be first to run 100 miles? or Who can eat 6 servings of vegetables a day?” OptumizeMe users (or their employers) can also create new challenges.
UHG made an unusual move when it launched OptumizeMe in late 2010: It was originally only available for Windows Phone 7 users. The app's launch coincided with the launch of Microsoft's new smartphone platform.
This week's WSJ report focused on health gaming offerings from various payers -- a trend we chronicled in our mobile health gaming report last year. The WSJ noted that WellPoint is developing an exercise program for kids that leverages Kinect. While the payer has begun piloting the program in California and has seen "promising results," it would not disclose any specifics around a potential launch date.