Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has launched a secure health and wellness website, ahealthyme, which aims to help members reach their personal wellness goals.
On the website, members can do a variety of things related to wellness: they can take a health assessment that looks at eight different areas of health and provides results in a health index score; participate in wellness forums that offer topics such as mental health, fitness and nutrition, and diseases; take quizzes or risk assessments; and explore different programs that their employers offer.
Ahealthyme also provides members with a personalized action plan and workshops on topics such as getting active, losing weight and maintaining mind-body health as well as nutrition. Through the workshops, members can also access tools such as exercise logs, meal planners, and grocery lists.
On top of these member tools, employers can further customize the program for their employee population.
"Ahealthyme is really a secure health engagement website for our members, yet it's delivered mostly through our employer accounts so it really is a site that is finely configureable for each of the employer accounts that we work with," VP of Health and Wellness at BCBSMA Cathy Hartman told MobiHealthNews. "We have a team of wellness consultants who work with our accounts to develop their strategy around health and wellness and they can configure the portal to meet their needs. That's kind of the big differentiator for us -- how configurable the portal is."
Employers can put the company's logo on the portal and further customize it to link to health and wellness programs specific to that company, such as an on-site tobacco cessation class. Some of the accounts, Harman said, have integrated with Fitbit programs, so the portal also offers Fitbit integration for those employers.
"Most importantly, there's an incentive tracking system built in, so we designed each employer's program to an extent and then we're able to help them track how [their employees] are doing in relation to the incentive program," Hartman said.
Ahealthyme can track participation, for instance whether employees took a health risk assessment or completed an online behavior change workshop, and the portal can also receive data feeds from other partners, such as Weight Watchers or other programs that employees do outside of the platform.
Since launching in January, 70 employer customers have customized the portal to meet the needs of their employees. While other Blue Cross Blue Shield branches have wellness tools, Hartman explained that each branch makes specific vendor contracts and the timing of this makes it difficult for the branches to share tools.
"We were ready to end our current vendor contract and find our partner and at the point that you go out to find that, you want the freshest, most up-to-date idea and technology platform," Hartman said. "So I was most interested in making sure we had the latest and greatest, but in addition to that, every market is unique and our Massachusetts market is really different from some of those other Blues plans. We were really addressing the market need that we see here in Massachusetts."
In the employer space, Hartman said Massachusetts was looking for Blue Cross Blue Shield to offer comprehensive programming and provide a more robust set of tools than other wellness platforms out there.
"A lot of the platforms and vendors out there are more siloed and focused on team challenges," Hartman said. "That's their main platform and engagement approach -- challenges. We found that our employers were looking for something broader, so it has a health risk assessment, it has workshops, it has challenges, it has tracking. It's more of one stop shopping and it can be a real hub for our employer accounts."
While the program is open to around 1.6 million BCBSMA members, ahealthyme is not open to Medicare and the Federal Employee program because both of those groups have special requirements and regulations.