The Why Behind Vitality: A deep dive into our core philosophies on behavior change


Vitality is committed to improving the lives of our members. From our market-leading engagement rates and our high member satisfaction scores, to our proven ROI and the decades-long relationships we’ve built with our clients – we’re proud of all we’ve accomplished. We’re not ones to rest on our laurels, however, and we are hard at work leveling up our user experience and can’t wait for you to see the new features we have in store.

As we look forward to the exciting rollouts ahead, we also wanted to share a peak under the hood to what makes Vitality Vitality! Our program is rooted in clinical and behavioral science, and our science-backed approach to changing behavior and making people healthier is foundational to who we are and what we do. Get ready for a deep dive into Vitality’s core philosophies on behavior change.

An Opportunity Exists to Improve the Health and Healthcare of People with Chronic Conditions

Vitality was founded 30 years ago by actuaries with the sole purpose of making people healthier. Every program is grounded in core principles of actuarial efficacy. In our home market, and in partnership with risk-bearing entities around the globe, we’re delivering on that promise for over 40 million members. Vitality was built to change member behavior at the intersection of wellbeing and care, using a sophisticated understanding of incentive design and behavioral science to influence the modifiable behaviors that matter. We are helping people make better decisions more often, both during and outside of care-seeking moments, and we’re proud that we’ve been able to help our employer and plan clients in the U.S. manage the health risk of their populations and reduce claims costs by 4% on average. It’s no secret that living a healthy lifestyle reduces risk of premature death and disability and promotes health and wellness. Globally, each year, 15 million people ages 30 to 69 die prematurely due to chronic conditions that could potentially be ameliorated through the practice of healthy lifestyle behaviors and chronic condition and medication management. With the opportunity to impact millions of lives, Vitality is focused on reducing and freezing health risks through prevention, reducing risk factors for chronic conditions, and preventing disease progression.

Combining Clinical and Behavioral Science for Healthy Habit Formation

Changing behavior and promoting healthy lifestyles is not easy. It requires a solution that combines clinical rigor, behavioral science and human-centered design. Vitality’s personalized and humanized digital behavior change platform bridges the gap between knowledge and practice. Our clinical team, led by Dr. Alan Spiro, guides Vitality’s clinical approach to behavior change. The team combines their expertise with national guidelines and healthcare quality measures to ensure members are receiving the right preventive care recommendations at the right time. We identify member health risks and health needs, and then provide recommended personalized content that drives engagement and behavior change within specific areas of focus. We meet members where they are by directing members to activities along their personalized pathway that will have the greatest impact on their health.

We then layer on the behavioral science principles that move the needle from inaction to action. As a champion of sustained healthy behavior change, Vitality knows that habit formation necessitates a comprehensive approach that considers the whole person – their environment, their unique health goals and their known and unknown barriers to success. Healthy behavior change is a long-term investment. Our goal is to make this investment of time and energy as simple and natural as possible for the member.

The Science of Behavior Change

It is human nature to favor the status quo over performing a new behavior that requires time and energy. We all know it’s much easier to sit on the couch than it is to get outside for a run! Timely and resonant incentives can inspire an individual to get started and practice a new behavior. We incentivize our members to take action to improve their health, and then reward them for doing so. This positive feedback loop helps to further motivate individuals to stay on track in forming healthy habits.

But while behavioral science is a critical ingredient of behavior change, it is not the only one. To create healthy behavior change at scale, Vitality leverages a combination of cutting-edge human-centered design, robust clinical science, and behavioral science. Habits are not formed just by doing something over and over again – they are actions filled with purpose and individual goals. Consequently, they need to be embedded in a framework that celebrates them as such.

Vitality embeds its behavioral science principles in a framework that removes barriers, keeps members engaged, rewards them, and promotes health. In this regard, personalization is core to Vitality’s strategy, as we know that once personal motivation is present, habits become more meaningful. This human-centered approach to health is sincere, poignant, relevant and offers choice – through its messaging, goals and other activities – that are intelligently surfaced to members. Vitality’s platform provides ongoing interactive opportunities for members to practice healthy activities based on their unique health status and goals along with learned preferences and behaviors.

Vitality is committed to improving the health of all its members, and our platform makes healthy habit formation attractive, engaging and rewarding. We remain steadfast on our mission to improve the lives of our members, and we’re excited to continue on this journey of improving health with you – we look forward to continuing to share the exciting updates on the horizon.

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