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Activision Blizzard incentivises employees to track their health via software apps

Activision Blizzard is rewarding its employees with a daily $1 gift cards for those prepared to use health-tracking software that its HR team can later analyse in an anonymous format.

The company has been tracking health monitoring for some time now, starting with an initiative in 2014 with Fitbits, but according to the Washington Post (thanks, Activision Blizzard is currently incentivising employees to use Ovia, a pregnancy tracking app that helps women track ovulation, sleep patterns, diet, weight, and how often they have sex from when trying to conceive right up until after they’ve given birth.  

Activision Blizzard then pays Ovia to access some of that aggregated data in an anonymised format, including information about how long it takes for women to get pregnant, as well as the number of resulting c-sections or premature births, high-risk pregnancies, and how long it took new mothers to return to work.

“Each time we introduced something, there was a bit of an outcry: ‘You’re prying into our lives’,” said Milt Ezzard, Activision Blizzard’s VP of global benefits. “But we slowly increased the sensitivity of stuff, and eventually people understood it’s all voluntary, there’s no gun to your head, and we’re going to reward you if you choose to do it.”

“I want them to have a healthy baby because it’s great for our business experience,” Ezzard added, confirming the app saves the company around $1,200 in annual medical costs. “Rather than having a baby who’s in the neonatal ICU, where she’s not able to focus much on work.”

The Post purports that Ovia offers this services to Activision Blizzard as a way of managing medical/insurance and pre-natal costs, such as infertility treatment. However, critics are concerned the information could be used to discriminate against pregnant women or those trying to conceive, especially in circumstances where, due to small numbers, women might be identifiable even in anonymised data.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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