"We want this thing to be part of people's lives. Because you're going to invest a lot into it—putting your images and you music and your quotes and your journal entries. And it really is touching on all aspects of your life," Hewett said. "It's got to be focused on outcomes, behavior change, and it's got to be cool and interesting and engaging and leverage some of the consumerism trends right now for it to work."
Initial numbers suggest the companies are meeting the goal of sustained engagement: 15,000 beta testers visited the site an average of 3.5 times a week and spent about 15 minutes on the site. In all, they scheduled 1.3 million daily intentions or tasks (such as drinking more water) and 75% of those tasks were completed. The average user stayed on the site for about 16 weeks after he or she first registered.
Aetna is pleased with those stats and recently released a suite of new features it hopes will keep users around even longer. One of them is custom content. Aetna can populate its customers' sites with articles about certain health topics, for example. Large employers, hospitals and health systems, or other sponsor organizations can also offer content such as articles and videos for their target audiences.
"We're thinking about it as a wellness [program] that could be distributed through our large B2B relationships. But at the same time we're also thinking about it as a consumer-oriented platform. Because that's how we started this concept inside Aetna before we ever partnered with MindBloom. It was all about creating a consumer oriented experience," Brostek said.
"The interesting thing with solutions like this, interactive health [and] broader well-being solutions, is there's a fine line between individuals as users and what they want from the experience and what a sponsor or carrier may want or even healthcare professionals. How do you walk that fine line so they don't feel like they're in their insurance company's back yard or their employer's back yard? They actually feel like they're in a very immersive, safe environment where they can share to the extent that they want to share with colleagues, friends, family," Brostek said.