How much do you care about healthcare?

January 22nd, 2009 by Mimi Yin

It has always been our conceit that for most people, if they are unwilling to provide sensitive personal information, it’s just because you haven’t asked in the right way.

Tell me that you need my social security number to access my money and I’ll recite it faithfully to an automated voice system.

Ask me for my email address as I’m checking out of a store and I won’t even give you my never-check-it-spam-hotmail address.

(There’s also the issue of trust and security, but I’ll gloss over that for now.)

Personal information, like it or not, has become a commodity in the modern era. And like any commodity, individuals make pragmatic decisions about when and to what extent they exchange personal information for another commodity or service.

Like other market transactions, valuations are subjective and fickle. I have a friend who is a sweepstakes junkie and will give out every last detail about herself for a one in a million shot at winning a shopping spree or a sports car she can’t drive.

Others balk at sending anything over the wire, unprotected, and end up encrypting even mundane reminders to “Please remember to pick up milk on the way home.”

Our challenge for this pilot is to figure out how to make it compelling for people to contribute information about themselves vis-a-vis their healthcare.

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