Cigna is launching a pilot project that will use a virtual health care community in an effort to positively change health care behaviors, Healthcare IT News reports.
The program is located in Second Life, a three-dimensional virtual world where users are represented by avatars. The pilot will provide virtual seminars, interactive displays and educational games to encourage preventive care and health care behavior improvements, as well as assistance to maintain these changes.
Peter Mills, chief medical officer of Cigna Vielife Division, said the pilot, which will be conducted in the U.S. and United Kingdom, aims to encourage more communication among users, health care providers and peers.
Cigna hopes the program will offer individual virtual health consultations in the future, and the pilot will help explore the option, Mills said.
Mills added that it is unclear whether Cigna will use the online community as a product that health plans offer to employers, as an element of a health plan package or as an offering provided at no cost to Cigna members (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 7/1).
Method, a brand experience agency, developed Cigna's virtual community (Centre Daily Times, 7/1).