With fitness trackers and smartphone apps, people increasingly have the opportunity to dive deep into the minutia of health data.
But one place the trend toward data crunching hasn’t quite caught on is personal hygiene — and more specifically, teeth brushing. But Beam Technologies wants change that by using free Bluetooth toothbrushes to make dental insurance more efficient, Fortune reports.
Beam debuted a smart toothbrush two years ago, but ran into a slight market problem. Bluetooth toothbrushes might be fun to try out, but they don’t really seem like a necessity for the average person.
But now Beam thinks it has found a perfect use for its brushes: dental insurance. Beam aims to become a leaner type of health insurance company by using data mined from toothbrushes that it will give to customers, Beam CEO Alex Frommeyer told Fortune.
By tracking how often you brush and for how long, customers will be able to receive discounts on their insurance premiums.
Frommeyer also plans to use rewards for things like brushing twice daily, which could also include discounts on premiums. This is similar to health insurance startup Oscar, which gives its customers fitness trackers and rewards them for walking a certain amount per day. Oscar recently raised $US145 million at a valuation of $US1.5 billion.
Fortune reports that Frommeyer was quick to emphasise that these rewards will be positive, not negative. “Nothing changes for the worse,” he said.
But some of that is semantics. Discounts and penalties are financially the same when a customer is assessing how much an insurance plan will cost them. The real question is whether the data analysis will make Beam’s insurance better and cheaper than others competing insurance plans.
Beam’s new insurance plan, set to start in August, will be similar to those offered by other providers — just 10% to 25% cheaper.
Right now, Beam’s brushes can tell how long you brush, but soon they will be able to tell what teeth you spend the most time on, and how much pressure you apply when brushing. These improvements fit into Beam’s basic theory: more data, more savings.