Swiss Francs Seem to Make Insured Move: Comparing Daily and Monthly Financial Incentives of a Scalable Digital Health Intervention

Gisbert Teepe, Tobias Kowatsch

Abstract

Despite the widely known necessity to counteract the increase in physical inactivity, only small strides have been achieved so far. Digital health interventions (DHIs) are proposed to reach both healthy and at-risk populations on a large scale. However, designing scalable DHIs that are engaging in the long term remains a challenge. Small financial incentives may help to achieve such long-lasting behaviour changes. This work thusly investigates the effects of daily or monthly paid small financial incentives on step counts and goal achievements in physical activity. Six-month observational field data of a physical activity DHI (PADHI), offered by a Swiss health insurer, was used for this investigation. From 1623 contacted customers, 742 (45.7%) joined the PADHI. Step counts and times the challenging goal was reached were significantly higher in the condition of daily paid incentives. The findings from objectively measure daily step counts and goal achievements indicate better outcomes when incentives are paid daily. Further findings indicate the importance of recording various physical activities and not only step counts.

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