Life is sport. Sport is life. Today, sport is recognized as a critical part of being healthy both physically and mentally. Our well-being depends on it.
— Stacey Burr (General Manager Adidas Digital Sports)

There is tremendous potential within the health and fitness market to promote physical activity and to create a fully integrated and holistic customer experience for society, especially to benefit millennials. De facto, it is a necessity. According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity has been identified as the “fourth leading risk factor for global mortality”. Over the last few years, an increase of physical inactivity combined with a rise of unhealthy life choices have lead to prevalence of non-communicable diseases (“NCDs”) and decrease in the general health of the population worldwide. NCDs are known as chronic diseases, so they tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors. “The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes“.

Leveraging existing Mobile Health (“mHealth”) technologies and integrating them into a holistic and consumer-centred system hold great possibilities to create a healthier society. Whilst the Internet of Things, such as fitness wearables, offer the tools to collect data, Behavioural Economics  paired with gamification provide the psychological elements to help individuals create healthy habits and support them on their journey towards a healthy lifestyle. At the moment the health industry is very much fragmented. Touch points are dealt with in silos and micro segments are not linked, such as doctor’s appointment, gym visits, or food purchase. Connecting individual Information and Communication Technology solutions and integrating such into one cohesive Information System will provide immensely powerful synergy effects that can be utilised by a variety of business, in order to provide a well-balanced and tailor-made experience for the individual consumer. 

We have an app for visiting a doctor, or searching for the right food for our diet, just like we do for meditation, for running and a different one for workouts and for tracking our sleep. Whilst the hoped outcome of those apps is obvious, i.e. improve our health and fitness, there are a number of paths that lead to the desired destination and various angles to look at it. Using big data and applying artificial intelligence will create unique user profiles. In line with such the customer journey can be customised and focused upon the individual. The aim of my PhD research is to create a concept for a holistic health system that improves the customer journey, as we begin to understand that the path to living a healthy life is not about looking at one element by itself, but balancing the whole. Instead of dealing with each touch point individually, organizations should aim to coordinate amongst each other to effectively integrate information from the various pillars, in order to offer millennial a more meaningful holistic solution.

A possible solution could be to develop an on-boarding experience that could be facilitated by a medical professional. Then, a continuous engagement can be achieved by applying insights from behavioural economics and gamification to nudge the user in the right direction. The full journey will be rounded up with customised marketing campaigns that target the customer with specific products based on activity and lifestyle. The result shall be a holistic customer journey that moves people away from health intervention. Instead, a newly established and personalised experience shall act preventive in the first place.