Insurance company Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), which offers insurance plans to residents of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, has made available its first wellness app for its members, called Centered. The app focuses on activity tracking and meditation.
The app will make use of the M7 and M8 motion coprocessors on Apple's iPhone 5S and newly released iPhone 6, respectively. Apple's previous motion coprocessor, M7, tracks activity with a gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass, but the M8 chip also takes in data from a barometer so it can track changes in altitude.
The inclusion of a motion coprocessor in Apple's mobile devices has led to a flurry of passive activity tracking app launches over the course of the past year.
Centered will display a daily summary of calories burned, miles walked, and time spent being active every day, but it also offers meditation sessions for users to complete every week that range from four to 19 minutes. The app will send users tips on how to have a successful meditation session and provide them with a history of meditation sessions completed. Before the session begins and afterwards, users can use the app to get their average relaxation rating.
An HCSC spokesperson told MobiHealthNews that the app was developed based on a study conducted by the Adler School of Professional Psychology and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The study found that short meditation sessions lead to reduced stress levels and an increase in a user's ability to focus.
This is the second digital health-related project HCSC has been involved in recently. In April, HCSC was part of a $7 million investment round in Healthbox Global Partners which has been the parent company of digital health accelerator Healthbox since 2013. It was the first time strategic investors invested in Healthbox’s parent company.