A study, conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada, looked at 140,000 potential users of an online health intervention called My Health eSupport. About half of the patients were recruited via an airline miles website, with the promise of 10 frequent flyer miles for completing a health risk assessment and an additional 10 miles for enrolling in the support program. The other half were simply recruited via the Heart and Stroke Risk Foundation website.
The rewards were successful in getting sign-ups: 52 percent of the experiment group enrolled in the program, compared to just 4 percent of the control group. Researchers found people gaining rewards were 27 times as likely to enroll. Both groups dropped off dramatically before the next step after enrolling, “assessing their readiness for change and selecting a priority area for lifestyle change.” Only 13 percent of the rewards group and 8 percent of the control group completed that step.