ADVO Group interviews Patrick Watt, Bupa


Bupa are one of the most well known insurers in the private healthcare industry offering health insurance and medical subscription products, in addition to running care homes, retirement villages, hospitals, primary care and diagnostic centres and dental clinics. ADVO Group recently attended Bupa’s launch for their incredible new app, ‘Bupa Boost’, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of employees by enabling them to monitor their activities and set goals with their colleagues. Patrick Watt, who joined Bupa UK as Corporate Director in July 2012, provides some more detail into this fascinating new digital platform for the company.

How would you explain the core essence of the Bupa Boost app to someone completely unfamiliar with the platform?

Bupa Boost is a new digital innovation designed to support employers to improve the health and wellbeing of their entire workforce, from the CEO to frontline staff. It is available to all employees whose employer is Bupa UK corporate customer. Designed as a mobile platform, employees can set personal goals, monitor their activities and progress against colleagues and friends and motivate and inspire them, take part in team challenges, as well as integrate data from other apps and wearables.

Bupa Boost helps employers to create a more positive and proactive health culture across their organisation – improving employee engagement and motivating entire workforces behind health and wellbeing initiatives in a fun, engaging and accessible way.

Can you explain some more about the ‘four pillars’ that underpin Bupa Boost?

There are four core areas of health and wellbeing within Bupa Boost – mindfulness, nutrition, relaxation and fitness. We have incorporated these four pillars as we recognise that it’s important to take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing – considering both physical and mental wellbeing.

People can improve their health and wellbeing in many different ways so it’s important that each individual employee is supported to be healthy and happy in a way that suits them.

Employees using Bupa Boost will of course be in control as to what data on their health and fitness they publicly share with other employees and colleagues. Do you think the majority of employees using Bupa Boost will embrace an open ethos in sharing the majority of their data?

Our research shows that 85 per cent of UK workers say their employer has a responsibility to look after their health and wellbeing. And, more than half (57 per cent) of workers admit they would feel more motivated to achieve their health and wellness goals if they could team up with colleagues.

Users only share information with people they’re connected to via Facebook and LinkedIn. Also, when users set health and wellbeing goals they choose those they wish to share and those they wish to keep private – ensuring personal goals are kept that way.

A particularly interesting aspect of Bupa Boost is the integration of elements of ‘gamification’. Can you explain exactly what this is and why you think this is so important for generating greater levels of motivation and engagement with Bupa Boost, particularly on a long term basis?

Gamification sits at the heart of Bupa Boost as we believe long term behaviour change is best achieved through motivation and engagement, rather than through rewards and discounts. In addition, collaborating or competing with friends and colleagues can be an effective way to help achieve results.

Bupa Boost turns keeping fit, healthy and mindful into a game, challenging the user to unlock badges, complete personal goals and improve their position on the leader-board. Achievements are rewarded through ‘Wellness Points’, providing a friendly sense of competition amongst friends and colleagues.

One of Bupa Boost’s main strengths seems to be its ability to seamlessly work alongside existing fitness tracking devices. How exactly can users enable Bupa Boost to work with existing devices they might use and bring all the data into one place?

Bupa Boost has been designed to collect data from other apps and wearables to track overall health and wellbeing – ensuring employees can see all their fitness and wellbeing data in one place. It integrates with many of the UK’s most popular fitness wearables and applications including Moves, Strava, MapMyFitness, Fitbit and Jawbone, plus leading apps such as Apple Health and Google Fit – meaning many more apps will also feed through to your Boost account.

Apps and wearables are easy to connect and you need only log in once to sync your data to Bupa Boost. You can then connect to as many of Bupa Boosts as you want.

Employees using Bupa Boost are also able to benefit from Bupa’s wide selection of health information resources. Could you tell us a bit more about how this works?

Through Bupa Boost employees can link to Bupa’s health information pages covering topics from heart health and smoking, through to nutrition and exercise. Users can also access Bupa’s many health tools such as our BMI calculator and nutrition quiz to advice on becoming a smart runner or what to do if you have a knee injury.

There are more exciting developments planned for Bupa Boost this year – ensuring we provide employees with easier access to Bupa’s services and the health advice they need most.

Initial research that in part led to the creation of Bupa Boost found that 85% of UK workers think their employer has a responsibility to look after their health and wellbeing. Do you think the majority of employers realise that so many of their employees see them as being responsible in this way?

No. Many employers aren’t engaging their employees in their health and wellbeing and are missing out on the benefits this can bring. In fact, two-in-five UK companies (40 per cent) offer no health or well-being benefits, and three in 10 (28 per cent) employees said that when it comes to wellbeing, their company is all talk but no action.

While some UK employers realise that future success depends on a healthy, motivated workforce, far more need to take action. Employers need to lead the way and support their employees to lead healthier lifestyles and keep well both physically and mentally. Not only will this benefit the individual, but smart employers know that healthy employees come to work, perform at their peak and go the extra mile

Bupa Boost places an emphasis on integration with Social Networks. How important was it that it works alongside these popular services and websites?

Very important. Social sits at the heart of Bupa Boost – integrating multiple social networks from Facebook to Google+ and LinkedIn, and connecting employees to friends and colleagues so they can share their successes, motivate and compete against one another. It is this sense of collaboration and healthy competition that we believe can help drive long term behaviour change.

What kind of business benefits do employers see from implementing Bupa Boost within their workforce?

Bupa Boost has been designed to help improve employee engagement and health and wellbeing, which in turn will drive business performance.

By engaging staff and creating a more proactive and preventative health culture employers can reap the long term benefits as healthier employees come to work, have lower healthcare costs and perform at their peak.

What other unique benefits do you think Bupa Boost could bring to employees and employers?

In addition to the health and wellbeing benefits Bupa Boost can bring to both employees and employers, it offers a great sense of collaboration and healthy competition.

Through the platform you can connect with colleagues, compare and compete or create challenges whether it’s for the whole workforce or individual teams to compete against one another.

The first version of Bupa Boost has just been launched but do you know yet of any planned future development or additions to the platform?

There are exciting developments ahead which will enable users to create team goals and allow smaller teams and departments to compete in challenges together whether it’s leaving the office on time, enjoying healthy lunches for a month or abstaining from drinking for March. Future developments will also give employees direct access to a virtual coach ensuring quick and easy access to advice and information when they need it most.

How can people find out more about Bupa Boost?

To find out more about Bupa Boost visit: