Smart wearables for customization of health insurance contributions
Background: Wearables, as small portable computer systems worn on the body, can track user fitness and health data, which can be used to customize health insurance contributions individually. In particular, insured individuals with a healthy lifestyle can receive a reduction of their contributions to be paid. However, this potential is hardly used in practice.
Objective: This study aims to identify which barrier factors impede the usage of wearables for assessing individual risk scores for health insurances, despite its technological feasibility, and to rank these barriers according to their relevance.
Methods: To reach these goals, we conduct a ranking-type Delphi study with the following three stages. First, we collected possible barrier factors from a panel of 16 experts and consolidated them to a list of 11 barrier categories. Second, the panel was asked to rank them regarding their relevance. Third, to enhance the panel consensus, the ranking was revealed to the experts, who were then asked to re-rank the barriers.
Results: The results suggest that regulation is the most important barrier. Other relevant barriers are false or inaccurate measurements and application errors caused by the users. Additionally, insurers could lack the required technological competence to use the wearable data appropriately.
Conclusion: A wider use of wearables and health apps could be achieved through regulatory modifications, especially regarding privacy issues. Even after assuring stricter regulations, users’ privacy concerns could partly remain, if the data exchange between wearables manufacturers, health app providers, and health insurers does not become more transparent.
Neumann, D., Tiberius, V., & Biendarra, F. (2022). Adopting wearables to customize health insurance contributions: a ranking-type Delphi. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 22, 122, doi:10.1186/s12911-022-01851-4.