People who use Walgreens’s iPhone and Android apps have long been able to renew their prescriptions with the app, and the company opened up its API to third parties last year. We’re now seeing that the app connects to a wide range of wearable devices — and the company is paying customers for healthy behaviors.
The Walgreens Balance Rewards app will pull data from devices made by Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, and iHealth, and from the popular apps MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and RunKeeper. Participants get 20 points per mile, 20 points per daily logging of their weight, and 20 points daily for tracking blood pressure or glucose levels. Earn 5,000 points for a $5 rebate and $50 for 40,000 points. (There are other ways to earn points, too – mostly by spending money at Walgreens.)
We note that the points are awarded for checking in, not for weight loss or maintaining healthy blood pressure. That makes sense, because health goals differ and not everyone’s targeted behavior is the same. The program, instead, rewards awareness, which is an important first step in health maintenance.
But what’s interesting for our purposes here is that the world’s largest chain drugstore is using wearables to encourage healthy living — which is what people have been predicting (or hoping) would happen.