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Walgreens program promotes healthier behaviors

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White paper shows impact of Balance Rewards for healthy choices

Walgreens Balance Rewards Healthy Choice Devices_featured

Digital devices and apps have been key to helping Balance Rewards for healthy choices members track their activity, Walgreens said.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — A new white paper from Walgreens finds that its Balance Rewards for healthy choices (BRhc) loyalty program is encouraging healthier behaviors by members, including weight loss and improved medication adherence by those with hypertension and/or diabetes.

The drug chain said Thursday that the white paper data, from a series of related Walgreens studies conducted on BRhc participants last year, shows that active members who tracked weight measurements lost an average of 3.3 pounds, with 27% of participants losing six pounds or more. Nearly 17% lost over 10 pounds. Also, those who also logged at least one mile of steps per day lost an average of 3.7 pounds.

Meanwhile, BRhc participants taking diabetes medications who also tracked blood glucose levels demonstrated 5.4 percentage points higher adherence, and participants who logged steps for walking and running saw 7.9 percentage points higher adherence. BRhc members taking antihypertension drugs who also tracked blood pressure levels had 2.6 percentage points higher adherence, and those who logged steps for walking and running demonstrated 2.4 percentage points higher adherence.

Walgreens Balance Rewards cardThe Walgreens Balance Rewards for healthy choices program, launched in September 2012, awards loyalty points for healthy behaviors and activities as well as for taking part in tracking activities and biometrics, such as walking, running, cycling, body weight and sleep. In April 2014, the program was expanded to offer members points for connecting biometric devices and tracking both blood glucose and blood pressure.

“These exciting results demonstrate how an easy to use, wellness program that integrates incentives, like Balance Rewards for healthy choices, drives engagement and positive behavioral change. Tthis creates a more enjoyable experience for participants that ultimately leads to better health outcomes,” Harry Leider, chief medical officer at Walgreens, said in a statement. “The results also underscore the program’s value for health plans, employers and other payers. It’s a big step toward reducing health care costs when you can effectively promote more active lifestyles among members in a cost-effective manner.”

Other key findings in the white paper included the following:

• Of 100,069 active participants examined, 45.8% tracked activities and 6.2% tracked weight measurements.

• Among 1,855 participants who filled at least one oral diabetes medication, participants who tracked blood glucose levels were 82.9% adherent, compared with 77.5% for those who did not. And in the same sample group, participants who logged more than one mile of steps per day were 86.4%  adherent versus 78.5% for those who did not.

• Of 4,943 new participants who filled at least one antihypertension medication, participants who tracked blood pressure levels were 81.7% adherent, as opposed to 79.1% for those who did not. In the same sample group, participants who logged more than one mile of steps per day were 81.5% adherent, compared with 79.1% for those who did not.

Connection to digital devices and apps has been key to helping BRhc members track their activity, Walgreens noted. The company said that as of April, more than 250,000 devices are connected to BRhc, and over 800,000 users have accessed the program. To help these and other customers more conveniently find and access apps and wearable devices that link with BRhc, Walgreens recently launched the Walgreens Partner Marketplace.

“We want our customers to enjoy a seamless and convenient user experience, and bringing this selection of connected devices together in one easy to find portal furthers that goal,” stated Adam Pellegrini, divisional vice president of digital health at Walgreens. “Our BRhc partners share our vision of encouraging healthy lifestyles and behaviors. As we approach 1 million customers enrolled in BRhc, we’ll continue to find innovative ways to bring the program to more people through more channels.”

Walgreens added that Novo Nordisk, a leading provider of diabetes care products, is a featured sponsor of the diabetes category on the Partner Marketplace, which features a link to the company’s free, personalized diabetes support program, Cornerstones4Care. The website provides access to the Diabetes Health Coach, which offers an online customized learning and action plan to help patients better manage their diabetes, as well as outbound calls from a Certified Diabetes Educator for patients with type 2 diabetes starting a Novo Nordisk product.


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