Health-care kiosks are as old as the primitive blood-pressure machines in drug stores or airports that offered an instant reading. They were fun to use, maybe, but the technology was basic and the results were questionable.
Now, health insurer Anthem Inc. is hoping that it can encourage members to use latest-generation kiosks at any Walmart store in Indiana to take a health risk assessment and manage their maladies—especially expensive, chronic conditions.
The Indianapolis company this month launched a program in Indiana to reward new members in its Medicaid programs. Members who agree to take a health-risk assessment on the kiosk and share the results with Anthem will get $10 reward to use in the Walmart.
The idea, Anthem says, is to identify members that might suffer from a chronic disease—such as diabetes, for example, and get them enrolled in an Anthem wellness program that could help them keep their blood sugar on an even keel, exercise and manage their diet.
Anthem is required under state law to do a health-needs assessment of new Medicaid members. Previously, the company would contact the members by letter or phone and hope they would answer questions.
“The kiosk is an attempt to find more convenient ways to reach members and get them the help they need to manage their health,” said Anthem spokesman Tony Felts.
It's long been a challenge for health-care providers and insurers to reach certain patient groups: people who might be undiagnosed or unmotivated to get care. The kiosks are designed to go to where they are and entice them to learn more about their health risks.
The way the program works is that new members can take their Anthem Rewards card to a kiosk near the pharmacy in a Walmart. They activate the card by scanning it at the kiosk and earn a $10 reward loaded to the Anthem Rewards card. The card can be used in that store and applied to most merchandise.
The questionnaire is designed to identify members who might need help managing pregnancy, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health conditions.
Anthem has about 386,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Indiana through its Hoosier Healthwise, Health Indiana Plan and Hoosier Care Connect plans. There are 133 Walmart stores in Indiana, according to the company's website, and each will have a kiosk.
Anthem said it is not paying anything for the new kiosks. The vendor, Pursuant Health, had some reserve equipment and was willing to install it, Felts said. Pursuant received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Health in 2010 to develop an interactive kiosk offering vision, blood pressure, pulse, weight, symptom checking, body mass index and overall health assessments.