By Johan Kleu – Executive Head of Solutions at Momentum Health

The term “Prevention is better than the cure” was coined by Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus in the early 1500s. Almost 500 years later, this is more applicable to society than ever before. I recently had the opportunity to attend the SyncHealth Conference in Prague, where I presented on behaviour change for better health outcomes.  

In the context of health care, behaviour change speaks to changing attitudes, habits, and beliefs to prevent the onset of disease and the burden it encompasses physically, mentally, and financially. 

The various behaviour change models are well established, but what does this mean in the context of members of medical aid schemes? I firmly believe society can change its behaviour based on incentives. People act the way they do because of habits formed in the context of their lives; however, behaviour can be influenced and changed through rewards rooted in: 

  • Behavioural Psychology 
  • Behavioural Sociology 
  • Behavioural Economics 

It’s about knowing your health status through self-awareness and the need to motivate yourself to take action based on your lifestyle habits and choices. This then leads to an improvement in both your physical and mental health. 

This is why promoting behaviour change is important. It helps healthy individuals maintain their wellbeing and motivates those at risk to improve their health. Taking proactive steps to maintain and improve health can have long-term benefits for individuals and healthcare systems. 

Incentive programmes empower people with choices to achieve physical, mental, and social wellbeing. These are beneficial to people in terms of both health and financial savings. Our data shows that the average Multiply member claims less than the average scheme member not on Multiply. This speaks to the power of incentives for behaviour change. 

Offering small rewards can nudge people to adopt healthy habits, and over time, these external motivators are replaced by an internal drive as individuals experience the positive effects of improved health, like increased energy, weight loss, and better mental wellbeing. 

Healthy habits like regular physical activity, a well-balanced diet, and regular health check-ups can improve personal health and reduce the strain on healthcare systems globally.  

Together, we have the power to build a strengthened and more robust community where each person can flourish by focusing on early measures rather than crisis intervention and supporting wellbeing instead of just treating sickness.