Health Care Service Corporation, which operates Blues plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, is offering members and all other consumers a free mobile app to track physical activity and aid in stress management and mental wellness.
The app, called Centered, works on iPhone5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and is available at AppleApp or by texting to 33633 to get a link. HCSC launched the app in August.
The app enables users to use their iPhone to set goals for walking and to track steps taken daily and during the past seven days. Time spent walking, miles walked and calories burned also are tracked. Two circles on the screen show improvement in meeting goals as the circles increasing come closer together and eventually become centered as one circle if a goal is met. Motivational messages also appear with the circles, such as You are so close to completing your goal to be centered. Keep up the good work.
To better manage stress, the app also offers four guided meditations covering focused breathing and body awareness. The sessions last 4, 14 or 19 minutes. As with the tracking of steps, users set their own meditation goals and can track every week progress toward meeting the goals, says Patrick Feeney, director of mobile and emerging technology at HCSC. Users can adjust their goals based on performance from the past week.
HCSC does not know who is using the apps, but can track the level of engagement and user-indicated value of the sessions through a user relaxation rating before and after a meditation, Feeney says.
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