— By Denise Adamson, Corporate Vice President of Sales, BioIQ —

 

Looking back at the SHRM conference in Las Vegas, I find myself reflecting on the common concerns of HR professionals from a variety of geographies, industries and responsibilities. I walked away from the conference with a deeper perspective on the wellness needs within most organizations and the importance of using technology to streamline wellness initiatives.

This stuff is too important to stay in Vegas, so I’d like to revisit the important learnings here.

In our discussions with attendees, many people said they value a health care system that directly incentivizes healthy behavior through cash payouts and insurance premium discounts. This ties into a related discussion about the importance of rewarding wellness outcomes rather than mere participation (to me, a bit like attending school but never being tested on what you learned).

Outcomes-based wellness programs not only require participation; they also require individuals to achieve specific goals and health metrics. To execute these programs, wellness administrators need to be able to track activities, rewards, and incentives. They also need to verify that participants have made the appropriate “next steps,” which often involve interventions supplied by other wellness vendors.

This brings us to our next important topic: sharing data. Wellness programs often involve multiple wellness vendors. Do all the vendors associated with your wellness program share data seamlessly? If they don’t, how do participants know what to do next?

Data management technology is the answer. A wellness technology platform can collect wellness data from biometric screening programs and health risk assessments, create electronic health records, and pass pertinent data to physicians, health coaches, exchanges, health plans, and health services companies. This is the foundation for the guidance that participants need to move on to those essential next steps.

Tracking health metrics over time—and matching that data with relevant experiences—becomes the basis for achieving health improvement goals. It works in theory, and here’s the key to making it work in practice: The participant experience and the corresponding data should always be in sync.

This brings us back to technology. Your wellness technology platform should connect biometric screening results with individual risk profiles in order to make recommendations for each participant. For example, if a participant has borderline lab results and moderate risk factors, the system would suggest a follow-up appointment with a health coach, targeted education curricula, or enrollment in a diet/weight loss program. In more extreme instances, the participant would be directed to a disease management program or prescription drug compliance program.

All of these handoffs should be automatic, and the data should move with the participant. This is the basis for attaining that holy grail of wellness (and another big topic at the SHRM conference): sustained engagement.

Does your wellness program keep participants engaged long past the health screening event? How important is wellness education, and how do you sustain interest in wellness during year-round wellness programs? Stay tuned for my next blog post, in which I will tackle these topics.

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