Skip to Content
Vitality Logo

Next Best Action explained: Why personalisation is the future of healthy living

Published: 22/11/2022

We recently sat down with Vitality Programme Managing Director, Nick Read, a year on from the launch of Next Best Action to hear more about the latest evolution of Shared Value Insurance.

When it comes to health and wellbeing, none of us can actually predict the future. But one thing we can do is identify the single, most important lifestyle change your client can make today to improve their chances of remaining in good health. The answer to this lies in harnessing data in a way that helps them make choices that are going to make the biggest impact for them.

Last November saw the introduction of ‘Next Best Action’ to the Vitality Programme, which is built on exactly this premise. Whether it’s quitting smoking, losing weight or getting more active, we’re now using the information gathered during an online health review to guide individuals (your clients) towards a journey that is most suited to them. Not only that – we then help make it easier for them to achieve it by providing practical support pathways through a range of evidence-based support partners and incentivising it too.

“The challenge we set ourselves was to identify the one thing that a member can do to maximise the number of years spent in good health”

- Nick Read, Managing Director, Vitality Programme

To make all this even more meaningful, in some cases, we’ll boost a member’s status to Platinum, as an incentive that allows clients to unlock richer benefits and therefore more value from their plan long before a claim needs to be made, while more effectively encouraging behaviour change. We sat down with Nick Read, Managing Director of Vitality Programme to hear more.

What is Next Best Action and why has it been introduced?

With personalisation becoming increasingly more sought after, we set ourselves a simple but profound challenge: to identify the one most important thing a member can do to maximise the number of years they live in good health. By predicting the most important action a member can take and providing the support they need to make that change, while incentivising it, we can significantly improve their health and unlock greater Shared Value.

How does it work?

“There are three simple steps to Next Best Action:

1) Predict the most important action a member can take to add healthy years to their life.

2) Recommend a specific health improvement journey which provides the support and guidance for them to act through a curated pathway which provides the support and guidance for them.

3) Incentivise them to take action through added points and status boosts which reflect the value of their individual health improvement.

“We’ve used data insights to create new outputs from the Vitality Health Review, which will now tell members the most important action they can take to add healthy years to their lives. Each recommended action corresponds to a curated health improvement experience.”

What journeys do you offer and how are they personalised?

“By offering personalised health improvement journeys tailored to each individual’s specific circumstances, we are able to recognise that each individual’s journey needs to be different to ensure it has most positive impact for their health. So far, we’ve launched two journeys:
  • Our Vitality Healthy Weight Journey is a 12 week one-to-one coaching programme supported by a new partner, Second Nature: an evidence based sustainable weight management solution. Members will benefit from intensive coaching as well as a range of tools and content, and a welcome pack including Bluetooth weighing scales.
  • Our Stop Smoking Journey is a 12 week one-to-one coaching programme delivered by Quit Genius – a digital, CBT based smoking cessation experience. This also includes range of materials and communications from Vitality to support the coaching journey.
“In addition to this, we’ve been working closely with our coaches and partners to develop new journeys which will be rolled out in due course, as well as carry out pilots. The results have given us confidence in the ability for these interventions to deliver real impact.

What’s the science behind it?

As with all Vitality Programme innovation and enhancements, this is deep rooted in behavioural, clinical and actuarial science. Next Best Action has a number of layers to it.

“Firstly, we’ve updated the science of Vitality Age to incorporate Vitality Healthspan – the number of years we are likely to live in good health. Our models today are fully calibrated to the latest Global Burden of Disease study and predict life expectancy, healthy life expectancy and risk of specific diseases based on an individual’s lifestyle behaviours.

“We also use advanced machine learning techniques and combine this with the science to make projections about changes in behaviour and future health outcomes. We can then reach into the data and determine the single action today that will have the biggest impact on the number of years that the individual will live in good health – a member’s ‘Next Best Action’.

“For each recommendation, there is a corresponding journey to support and guide members to take action. We’ve brought together new partners and we’re working with Vitality Coaches, clinicians, and more, to deliver these experiences. Members who engage in and complete certain Next Best Actions are awarded a status boost – all the way to Platinum in some cases.”

“Those who would particularly benefit from increasing their levels of physical activity will be provided with weekly nudges to try a particular activity the following week. These nudges are themselves powered by a data science model that propels members along a pathway to the ideal frequency and intensity of exercise. A member is rewarded with extra Active Reward points for completing the recommended activity.

“The Vitality Programme as we know it today, with its target behaviours of physical activity, healthy eating and mental wellbeing, remains the foundational pathway for all members.

“While there’s a huge amount of actuarial and clinical science and sophistication behind its design, what’s critical for us is that Next Best Action is surfaced to your clients in a way that is completely intuitive and easy to use.”

Why is behavioural science such an effective way to encourage positive lifestyle choices?

“Vitality has a very clear core purpose: to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives. Based on the simple insight that incentivising members to adopt healthy behaviours unlocks value for them, for us as an insurer, and for society as a whole. We call this Shared Value Insurance.

We all know that making healthy choices is not always easy, but our data proves that a simple nudges through a structured behaviour change programme is highly effective. The Vitality Programme can demonstrate tangible impact on the health and productivity of individuals with recent data demonstrating the impact of Vitality Programme on key lifestyle behaviours and life expectancy. For example, for those who do engage with the Vitality Programme, we’ve seen members on average increase their life expectancy by 1.5 years; enjoy an additional 5.2 days of productive time per year for employees and +14% higher job satisfaction for employees.”

What does the future have in store for the Vitality Prgramme?

“We will be continuing to roll out to members the other signature experiences over the course of the next six months or so as we gain insight and learnings from what we have in flight. Going forward, we expect the Vitality Programme to evolve further as we increase levels of personalisation across all of its facets. We look forward to sharing this with advisers soon.”
Find out more about our latest enhancements to the Vitality Programme and how we are encouraging your clients to take the ‘Next Best Action’ for their health and wellbeing.

Where to next?

  • Five ways you can support your client this winter

    Whether it’s making sure they are properly covered or delivering tangible value during the cost-of-living crisis, there are a number of ways you can support your clients this winter.

  • Putting prevention into IP

    With more reasons than ever to talk about Income Protection with clients, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore it, writes Vitality’s Nick Telfer.

  • Insights Hub

    Our Insights Hub brings you our range of adviser content - from video series to articles & blogs.