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Incentivising people to be more healthy: Discovery Vitality, South Africa

dianagosalvez Diana Gosálvez Prados — 4/10/2012

Other Organization

The South African insurance company Discovery, through its Vitality programme, has excelled in finding ways to incentivise people to live a healthier life. Those in the programme begin with a full health review, which assigns them a Vitality age and prescribes a pathway to better health – covering disease management, smoking issues, mental health, preventive health, nutrition, and physical activity. The Vitality age is an important innovation based firmly on scientific evidence and developed by the University of Cape Town: it is easy for patients to understand that to be assigned a Vitality age much higher than one’s chronological age is clearly a bad thing, and that the reverse is clearly good.

Diabetes, PATOLOGIA CARDIACA, Enfermedad cardíaca

Goals Prevention:
Funding for detection programs , Creates healthy environments , Promotes adecuate understanding levels on the community about the importance of prevention
Goals Detection:
Advances public education on the importance of early detection
Goals self-management:
Refocuses the health system to support self-management , Promotes patient involvement in planning services , Allows remote support to patients and their carers from health professionals

Through following their prescribed pathway, participants can reduce their Vitality age and earn Vitality points. Actuarial analysis awards participants a status of platinum, gold, silver, bronze, or blue. By achieving their health goals, exercising, and eating healthily, people gain points, improve their status, and are rewarded with travel and cinema tickets and cash-back in some shops. People can also receive a 10% discount on healthy foods.

Participation in the programme is free for those who are insured with Discovery, and the payback for the company comes through reduced medical costs. Compared with those who are inactive, participants who are highly engaged with the programme are 10% less likely to be admitted to hospital, spend 25% less time in hospital when they are admitted, and have medical costs that are 16% lower.

The programme continues to evolve, and Discovery has partnered with several prestigious universities both to develop the programme and to evaluate it. Several studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals.




Cape Town

Heron Crescent

Heron Cres
Practices Map



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