Are you on board with the notion of paying people to do the right things in life? I'm asking because I'm about to announce beta testing of a new diabetes education website that will offer incentives for engagement and progress (that means prizes to you and me).
First, a bit about the whole notion of rewards:
A lot of large employers are experimenting with health and wellness rewards systems these days, providing incentives for their employees to take better care of themselves. There's also the new concept of "performance pay" for students for achieving good grades or high test scores.
To be honest, doling out study-money to students sounded a little over the top to me until I read this line in USA Today: "Students growing up in poverty in Tucson and elsewhere frequently lack role models who succeed in life by trying hard in school. Many of those students simply don't see the point in trying, which is where the prize strategy kicks in: It supplies a point."
The same rings very true for many people living with diabetes, I imagine: no good role models and no sense that they can possibly succeed against this "slow-killer" disease — so no point in trying, right? So maybe giving people a tangible short-term reward IS the ticket to motivating them to engage in diabetes education and better self-care.
That's what the new site Healthy Outcomes is all about, according to its creator David Kliff (yes, the Diabetic Investor guy who is referenced here often). He owns a majority interest in a little company called Healthy Outcomes Incentive Systems, LLC, which financed and developed this new venture for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics — which is now open for beta testing as of this past weekend.
The site features over 600 "educational modules featuring detailed information on the tools and medications you use each day." You earn points by viewing the modules and answering simple questions. You can earn additional points by participating in online surveys. Your points can be cashed in for all kinds of cool prizes — and we're not just talking diabetes stuff. Yes, there's a $25 pharmacy gift certificate and free glucose meters, but you can also get yourself everything from a new camcorder or GPS system to a personal espresso maker or a new set of luggage. The list of possible prizes is pretty mind-boggling. Kliff hopes to tie the site to a big drug store chain like Walgreens or Rite-Aid.
All the booty aside, the site really is focused on "helping patients with diabetes learn more about their disease state so they can take control of their health and wellness," Kliff assures me. He writes:
"I developed Healthy Outcomes because of the dismal state of diabetes education in this country. As you know, nearly two-thirds of patients are not achieving control. You are also aware that numerous studies have proven that education improves outcomes. In an environment where physicians lack the time and resources to properly educate their patients, Healthy Outcomes provides an easy-to-use portal for patients. As much as I admire CDE's they are vastly outnumbered: there are 15,000 CDE's and 24 million patients with diabetes. Hopefully patients who use Healthy Outcomes will be encouraged to meet with a CDE. The fact is that education is the key to successfully managing diabetes and Healthy Outcomes provides a cost-effective solution that reaches the greatest number of patients."
So you wanna join the beta? What they're looking for right now, in the early development stages, is "any and all feedback" that will be used to improve the site for the official launch, scheduled for early 2009, providing that all goes well.
All you do is log onto www.healthyoutcomes.com and click the registration button. The rest is up to you.