1. “A method, system, and program for providing consumer healthy habits incentives are provided.”
Well that sounds fine. I mean, who can argue with the benefits of that? We need incentives to eat better, exercise, take a nap sometimes, (well maybe not that). So, how will the system work?
2. “A consumable item, consumed by an individual, is detected. A health factor is detected for the consumable item.”
So by consumable item, I take it you mean a hot dog, latte, apple, fried stick of butter at the fair – is that the idea? And by ‘detected’ I take it to mean something a little more advanced than lying, I mean self-reporting what I eat on the ‘wellness’ portal. But it sounds like by also detecting a ‘health factor’, it won’t be so easy to keep arguing that beer is really a health drink.
3. “An electronic incentive is selected for the individual according to the health factor, such that the individual is encouraged to consume a healthy selection of consumable items.”
An incentive? Awesome, I love me some incentives. So eat the ‘right’ things and I can score some incentives? Let’s hope the incentives come in the form of cash. Or pizza. If you dig deeper into the patent filing, you’ll see the system included methods to integrate the healthy consumables purchases with the organization’s payroll system, thus making possible the ‘Have an apple, earn a quarter’ HR promotions possible.
4. “An electronic incentive may be further specified according to the individual health history, exercise history and consumption history of an individual.”
I like this even better. As someone that perhaps occasionally makes the wrong food choices, (ahem), I bet I would score even better incentives for picking the ‘consumable items’ with greater ‘health factors’. This is cool.
There is a ton more detail about the ‘incentives for healthy eating’ system in the patent text, and while the actual application of such a complex system that could track the food purchases of employees, assign health factors to these foods, assess them in the context of the employee’s medical and dietary history, and finally define, assign, and issue incentive payments through the company payroll system based on the employee food choices seems a little far-fetched, (or at least distant); there is little doubt that technological advances coupled with corporate mandates to rein in health care costs could make a system like this attractive to employers.
The real question is not whether employer-sponsored systems like these are coming, it’s whether they will be smart enough to scour the employee’s Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare feeds to check for all their unauthorized and unreported food and drink updates.
Keep that in mind all you Mayors of Krispy Kreme out there…
Steve Boese is fondly known to many as the HR Technology blogger. By day, he is the Co-Chair of Human Resource Executive’s HR Technology Conference. He is also a former Director of Talent Management Strategy at Oracle and an HR Technology instructor. Steve can also be found hosting the HR Happy Hour Show and Podcast … you know, where a bunch of HR pros get together and call in to talk about HR stuff. Sounds like an SNL skit, we know. But when you have Dave Ulrich, the grandfather of HR as show guests, well, I guess you’re doing something right. Talk to Steve via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.