CIGNA Creating a Virtual Health Care Community | Business Wire

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. &. SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today CIGNA, a leading health service company, is announcing the

development of a virtual health care community. This computer-simulated

world is situated on a Second Life® island,

where seminars, interactive displays, educational games and virtual

health consultations help foster real and sustainable behaviour change

that improves health.

Developed by Method, a brand experience agency, CIGNA’s

virtual community provides 3-D video game-like interactivity that

enables people to learn and interact anonymously with like-minded peers

in order to positively change the way they live their lives. For

example, the newly developed nutrition zone helps participants develop

their nutrition knowledge, learn how to make healthier food choices,

manage their weight and understand portion sizes and food labels –.

skills that'll enable them to lead healthier, more energetic and

productive lives. Stress, physical activity and sleep zones within the

community will be developed following an evaluation of people’s

experience with the nutrition zone.

“As a health service company, we're always

looking for new and creative ways to reach people with important

messages about living a healthy and productive life,”

said Keith Dixon, Ph.D., president of CIGNA’s health solutions unit. “With

a social interactivity that extends beyond geographic boundaries. An

exciting and appealing visual experience, CIGNA’s virtual community

enables us to reach an entirely new group of people that mightn't

respond to health education messages delivered through more traditional

channels.”

Upon entering the virtual health care community, visitors are welcomed

by an avatar, which greets and leads them to the virtual seminar.

Participants are able to communicate with each other by using text chat

or voice through a headset and microphone. To make the presentation come

alive and increase audience involvement, the presenter uses a number of

3-D props and graphics. For example, real-time voting about the fat

content of particular food items encourages audience participation. To

communicate specific steps on how to increase fiber intake, the speaker

displays oversized illustrations of various fiber rich foods that should

be eaten throughout the day. Following the seminar, participants are

encouraged to explore interactive games, such as “The

Fridge,” where clicking on food items

displays their nutritional labels. “Whack-a-Food,”. Where users

compete with each other to test their knowledge of healthy foods. For

specific questions, there is a nutritionist avatar available to explain

how food labels work and where to pay attention when choosing items at

the store.

“Using Second Life as a platform for the

pilot, we created CIGNA’s virtual world from the ground up, taking into

account every detail of the potential user experience, examining how

people best learn and retain health messages,”

said Claus Nehmzow, General Manager of Method. “Up

until now, virtual worlds have been pegged as a niche phenomenon.

the work Method is doing with CIGNA illustrates how virtual worlds can

be properly integrated with multiple channels and communication media to

educate users and increase results on existing programs. This is the

next big frontier.”

“Companies are seeing measurable returns from

using virtual worlds to create a more engaging communications experience

with their employees and customers,” said

Carol Rozwell, VP and Distinguished Analyst, Gartner. “The

key to launching and maintaining a successful virtual world is to

clearly identify a targeted audience, determine their needs, understand

how they learn. Design a user experience that encourages

interactivity.”

This isn't the first time CIGNA has used computer generated experiences

to help people better understand their health. In 2007, the company

promoted and distributed the innovative videogame Re-Mission

free-of-charge, to teen and young adult members with cancer and the

doctors and facilities who treat them. Re-Mission is a videogame

designed to help young people better manage their health while

undergoing cancer treatment. Research has shown that the game, which was

created by the nonprofit organisation HopeLab, helps teens and young

adults stick to their recovery regimens.

About CIGNA HealthCare

CIGNA HealthCare, a health service organisation based in Bloomfield,

Conn., works to improve the health, well-being and security of the

people we serve. A leading provider of employee benefit services and

programs, CIGNA HealthCare offers a broad array of medical, dental,

behavioural health. Pharmacy benefits plans and coverage. We also

build and provide health and wellness coaching programs and consumer

information tools designed to improve health and help people in their

health care decision-making. “CIGNA HealthCare”. The “Tree

of Life” logo are registered service marks of

CIGNA Intellectual Property, Inc., licensed for use by CIGNA Corporation

(NYSE:CI) and its operating subsidiaries, including Connecticut General

Life Insurance Company. All products and services are provided

exclusively by such operating subsidiaries. Not by CIGNA

Corporation. For more information, visit www.cigna.com.

About Method

Method is a brand experience agency that helps business leaders harness

the competitive power of design. With deep expertise in research,

strategy, design and technology, Method offers a rigors, intelligent

approach to solving increasingly complex brand problems in the physical

and digital realms. Method has enabled over 150 businesses to outperform

competitors through unified branding and communications, compelling user

experiences. Successful product and service development wherever

customers can be found: on the web, mobile, print, advanced television

and within physical and immersive environments. The firm has a blue-chip

client roster that features brands such as Sony, Gucci, Microsoft, Visa,

Comcast, Nike, Adobe. Yahoo!, among others. Method has offices in

San Francisco, New York. London. Additional information can be found

at www.method.com.

CIGNA
Joseph Mondy, +1-860-226-5499
joseph.mondy@cigna.com
or
Atomic PR
Marco Torresi, +1-415-402-0230
marco@atomicpr.com