Independence Blue Cross Test Markets New Ways To Enhance Consumers' Health
July 20, 2011
PHILADELPHIA – Independence Blue Cross, in collaboration with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is exploring new ways to enhance consumer health, through two pilot programs available to travelers and employees at Philadelphia International Airport. An innovative kiosk offers health and wellness information 24/7, and a series of free public health fairs are underway to educate and inform consumers about health care topics that matter to them. Participants report positive consumer feedback.
"We are test marketing new ways to reach consumers who access health and wellness information in a lot of ways. We live in a world where we are accustomed to getting information immediately through the latest technologies," says Linda Taylor, chief sales and marketing executive at Independence Blue Cross. "Through our IBX Healthy Steps kiosk and health fair projects, we are piloting innovative ways to get wellness information in the hands of consumers to help improve their health. Here, travelers may be on a layover or may have some down time at their gate – the health fairs and kiosk offer ways to pass the time productively."
Both of these programs are firsts of their kind and help Independence Blue Cross fulfill its mission to enhance the health of the people in the communities it serves. The kiosk and the wellness fair bring together wellness and fitness for consumers at Philadelphia International Airport, which services about 87,000 travelers a day and employs more than 30,000 people.
The IBX Healthy Steps kiosk, available for use 24/7 and located near Philadelphia Terminal B/C Food Court, was introduced in late April and has had a steady stream of visitors, including travelers and airport employees, since its debut. Participants can:
- learn how far they walked using a virtual map of the airport – or plan a walk to burn off a meal;
- get quick responses to questions they may have about health symptoms and other hot health topics;
- watch brief videos targeted to the concerns of many travelers: stress, relaxation, and nutrition on the go;
- get a quote for an individual health plan or leave email for a call back from an IBC representative;
- find answers to health care reform questions.
Reaction to the IBX Healthy Steps kiosk has been positive, Taylor says. The idea was developed to help consumers get answers to their health questions, and to offer wellness tips geared to the traveling population. Airport personnel are even using the walking map to plan fitness walks for their breaks. Regular walking groups of employees at the airport use the kiosk to boost their exercise routine and better track their progress. Participants report they are encouraged to walk more after seeing how the steps they take can add up to valuable exercise.
"Statistics show the most popular feature for the kiosk is the interactive walking map," Taylor says. "This fun-to-use, touch-screen map helps travelers and employees chart their walk within the airport to learn how many steps they took and what percent of their daily walking goal they completed."
Kiosk participants were asked about their use of the kiosk information and 96 percent said they were either "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their interactive kiosk experience.
"So far, travelers and airport employees have been very receptive. We designed the kiosk and the health fair series so that people can get great health and wellness information in just a few minutes' time as they stop by on the way to their gate or during their work break," says Taylor. "We are pleased to see they are doing just that and responding positively to what they see and learn."
At the health fairs, travelers and airport employees learn more about healthy eating on the go, how to stay fit while traveling, and stretching for good circulation. Participants are given a stretch band to take with them as part of a fitness demonstration activity. They are encouraged to learn how to fit in exercise while traveling or during their hotel stay. Nearly every participant surveyed at the most recent fair stated they were either "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the fitness demonstration which gave them ideas for exercise and stress relief, even for the most hectic business travel schedules.
As part of the health fairs, participants can learn about Independence Blue Cross' new IBX Healthy Steps app, a free pedometer app they can download to their smart phone to help plan their workouts. It tracks distance traveled during a workout and offers tools to determine their Body Mass Index, hydration levels, and more, while texting or posting completed mileage to social media sites.
Taylor explains that these health fairs and kiosks may become models for other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans around the country. She says the next health fair is scheduled for July 21 at Philadelphia International. The kiosks and the health fairs are accessible to travelers and airport employees who have cleared the airport security checkpoint.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The company and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 106 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.