One Million Check-Ins Could Make all the Difference This Flu Season

Tuning into the live webcast of the ONC’s Consumer Health IT Summit earlier today, I had the pleasure of hearing how Vietnam veteran Randy Watson has used the VA’s Blue Button technology to better enable his healthcare. (He is one of the 1 million service members who have currently downloaded their own health information via the Blue Button initiative.)

I laughed when he called himself a “Facebook junky,” but the fact is Facebook and social media in general continues to play an important – and growing – role in patient engagement, and health and wellness efforts.

The social network seems to speak especially well to older adults like Watson. This demographic is just one that the folks behind the “A Million More” effort are looking to target. According to its website, AMM is a national population health initiative aimed at improving awareness and education in the areas of preventative health. Its Fall 2012 initiative is a million more flu vaccinations, and it is using Facebook to heavily promote and incentivize the project.

I had the chance to chat with Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness and a founder of the AMM effort, to learn more about the goal of reaching 1,000 people in 1,000 communities, and how social media is playing a part in incentivizng wellness.

How long has A Million More been around?

“We launched A Million More in a small California pilot last year in conjunction with California Pharmacy Association to test some methods of driving increased immunizations. Based on that experience, we decided to launch nationwide this year.”

Other than Prescribe Wellness, what other companies were founding sponsors?

“California Pharmacy Association was a founding partner last year and this year 10 other state associations have joined. If we are going to improve preventative health care services in America than access is a key element. A retail pharmacist is America’s most accessible health care provider.”

How would you counter the argument that these pharmacies have banded together in this effort simply to encourage people to shop at their facilities and thus increase their revenue?