Apple, Aetna partnership yields new Apple Watch initiative for CVS

CVS Health has a new deal for its customers: active participation in its new health program might help them earn an Apple Watch.

Under a new program that enables CVS to keep track of their activity, send them notices about refilling prescriptions and remind them to stay healthy, participants might be able to learn credits toward an Apple watch.

The partnership with Apple is a part of the drugstore, pharmacy-benefits and insurance conglomerate’s effort to keep a closer eye on its customers, managing their health while making sure they keep using CVS’s services. For Apple, it’s a way to add new functions and customers for the popular wristwatch as the tech company touts its potential as a wellness tool.

Apple-Watch3-CROP.jpg
Apple Watch Series 4 Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

The new app introduced Tuesday will be called Attain. It grew out of a collaboration between Apple and Aetna, the health insurer that CVS acquired last year for about $68 billion. Attain will track physical activity like steps and exercise, send health reminders about things like refilling prescriptions or getting a flu shot, and urge people to improve their wellness with steps such as getting more sleep or eating better. The app can be used on iPhones or on Apple watches.

In return, CVS customers will get credits that they can use to buy gift cards or help pay for Apple Watch.

While the app will collect location and activity data, that information won’t be used to make decisions about the insurance premiums and costs Aetna customers pay, CVS said in a statement Tuesday introducing the app.

Initially, the app will have data on users’ age, gender and weight, drawn from Aetna’s records. Recommendations the app sends to users will get more personalized as it gathers more information about their habits.

Attain consists of four main pillars:

Achieve activity goals. Attain provides participants with personalized daily and weekly activity goals, based on their age, sex and weight. Attain’s definition of activity is not restricted to steps taken, and includes other activities measured by the Apple Watch, such as swimming and yoga.

Sustain everyday health. Attain offers weekly challenges, where participants earn points for taking actions that improve their overall health and well-being. Challenges may include getting more sleep, increasing mindfulness and improving nutrition.

Receive personalized health notifications. Attain recommends personalized healthy actions based on an Aetna member’s health history as well as their Apple Watch sensor data. The recommendations are based on clinical guidelines. Healthy action notifications will include reminders to meet activity goals, get vaccinations such as the flu shot, notifications to refill medication prescriptions when they’re scheduled to run out, suggestions to visit a primary care physician.

Earn rewards. As they complete their activity goals and recommended healthy actions, participants earn reward points, which can be redeemed to defray the cost of the Apple Watch or for gift cards to popular national retailers.

After users have joined Attain, they will have the additional option to share their Attain program data and health history with Apple, enabling Apple and Aetna to collaborate, and over time, continue to improve the Attain experience. Through analytics and machine learning, the collaboration will lead to new features for Attain, offering more personalized recommendations designed to give greater context and decrease barriers to health care.

“As we learn over time, the goal is to make more customized recommendations that will help members accomplish their goals and live healthier lives,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in the statement

The Attain app will be available for download this spring, CVS said.