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Personalizing Member Wellness Programs: Why a Wellness Platform is Key

Member satisfaction and reenrollment—the holy grail for health plans—is becoming more challenging. Today’s health plan members are concerned about value. They want the best health outcomes for the lowest cost.

Employers and brokers have a big stake in the game, as well. It’s their job to select plans that offer the most holistic, equitable care for everyone.

Health plans must be able to meet the needs of members where they are, which includes accounting for social determinants of health (SDOH) and the pervasiveness of chronic disease. And, they have to deliver customized content in a way that is centralized and easy to access.

That’s no small feat, but there is a solution.

You already know data and predictive analytics are key to personalizing member wellness programs. As it turns out, your wellness platform can be a vital tool for collecting data and delivering unique services that help members improve their health.

Let’s take a deeper look at the role your wellness program can play.

How a Wellness Platform Supports Personalization

A well-executed wellness platform can be a data mine of information about your members because it’s built around engagement, as well as their daily actions and behaviors.

A Wellness Platform Focuses on the “Personal” in Personalization

Wellness platforms are designed to engage members and gather information for the purpose of developing personalized member wellness programming.

But instead of gathering retrospective data about doctor visits, diagnoses, and procedures, wellness platforms gather information about how people’s behavior leads to their health and wellbeing. They help create a dynamic picture of each subpopulation, so you can customize relevant messaging that lands and leads to action.

Using our example, let’s say you’re promoting a heart health awareness campaign specifically for women. It should be fairly easy to determine which members identify as women from your member database, and you can further categorize them by disease state using your claims database.

But … neither of those data sources will identify what those women want to know about heart disease and even which group of them are most at risk.

Combining quantitative and qualitative data points from dynamic sources—like a wellness platform—provide enough detail to segment specific subpopulations and develop ultra-personalized messaging.

That’s where a wellness platform delivers:

  • Biometric screenings that gather blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels, and other measures to catch early signs of heart disease.
  • Members’ self-reported symptoms and SDOH factors (such as housing, transportation, and other stressors) through health risk assessments.
  • Health surveys that highlight concerns, interests, and heart health awareness.

Combining quantitative and qualitative data points from all sources provides enough detail to segment very specific subpopulations and provide health equity. From there, you can develop targeted messaging that appeals directly to each group’s health care needs, limitations, and concerns, giving everyone the opportunity for good health.

If this sounds daunting, you don’t need to go it alone. A health data analytics solution (like our trusted partner, Springbuk) can generate immediate insights about plan design, program selections, and metrics to sharpen your strategies, improve your members’ health, and contain costs.

Reinforce Program Messaging With Health Coaching

As much as a wellness platform is a tool for gathering information about your members, it’s also a source of support for the member wellness programs you’re promoting.

One of the best ways your wellness platform can support member wellness programs is through health coaching. We recommend providing your health coaches with all the collateral and materials you share with members, so they can answer questions and empower your members on their health and wellness journey.

When providing options like digital coaching and mental health services, offer expanded options, especially to those in diverse groups like BIPOC members, individuals with disabilities, the LGBTQIA+ community, etc. Research shows that clients prefer to work with mental health providers they trust. The digital element vastly expands employees’ selection so they can work with providers who are culturally competent and knowledgeable about the unique needs of your organization.

“When members feel heard and understood, they are more comfortable participating in programs,” says WellRight Chief Medical Officer, LouAnne Giangreco, MD. “That trust-based relationship plays a significant role in delivering equitable health care and improving health outcomes.”

Build Communities Through Peer Support

The concept of meeting members where they’re at is at the heart of personalization and often leads to the most engagement.

Another source of engagement? Peer pressure—the good kind, that is.

A great wellness platform lets members engage in group challenges and invite family and friends to participate or provide support to members along their health care journey. The same principle applies to incentivizing behaviors that lead to healthy habits. All these elements build on each other to improve member wellness.

What Health Plans Should Look for in a Wellness Platform

Of course, not every wellness platform is the same. Make sure the one you choose is a fit with your organization and member population. Just as your members expect personalization, you should expect customization and personalization from the wellness platform you choose.

Look for Points and Incentives

It’s been shown that incentives can help shape behavior, including new healthy behaviors. A program where participants practice healthy behaviors to earn points can then take advantage of WellRight’s reward infrastructure that is designed to inspire change.

Look for Opportunities to Transform Knowledge into Action

Knowledge alone does not change behaviors, but knowledge can inspire change. Wellness programs that offer formal coursework, video training, and other learning opportunities help deepen members’ understanding of their own health. By then putting that knowledge into practice through relevant challenges and activities, members can transform daily activities into lifelong habits.

Look for Full Customization and Flexibility

A great wellness program should be tailored to the population you’re serving. For that, you’ll need to lean on experts.

“Wellness consultants can be a valuable asset for personalization,” says Dr. Giangreco. “They help identify goals, assess member and/or employee populations, and customize accordingly.”

That customization is key.

For example, a wellness consultant can conduct an assessment of your existing content and determine what else should be developed with the help of subject matter experts in your company or from partners.

Based on your member and/or employee demographics and needs, they can help you choose the appropriate communication channels to encourage the most engagement. From online banners and internal web pages to email campaigns and text messages, you can engage employees in a multitude of ways. In-person events, educational challenges, and even partner communication ensure that everyone feels like they belong.

Look for a Wellness Platform That Offers White Labeling

Another factor to look for and consider is whether you want your branding on the platform. A wellness solution that can be white labeled opens up a world of options, whether it’s with your organization’s branding or for self-insured groups that want to have their own identity.

Not only does white labeling reinforce brand awareness, but it also improves the member experience.

There’s no need to wade through multiple systems and logins—a surefire way to reduce engagement. One login is all it takes to access everything regarding health and wellness. With white labeling, you can plug into other digital solutions and seamlessly centralize everything your members need in one place.

Once you have adopted a wellness platform for personalization, you can make an even bigger impact by engaging all stakeholders in its implementation.

Personalization Relies on All Stakeholders

A truly personalized approach to communication about a member wellness program is going to take a group effort from your stakeholders, including employers and providers.

Here’s why that’s important:

The disease-specific member wellness programs you offer are designed with a particular population in mind—and that population is almost certainly spread among different member groups. As such, reaching them with personalized messaging can be challenging.

So, in addition to the communication channels you use to share program information with members, it helps to have advocacy from other stakeholders. For example, you might offer program information to employers to help minimize their health care costs. The same goes for providers, who can leverage the programs to reinforce care plans. Ultimately, your members receive aligned, evidence-based messages from a variety of trusted sources and channels about those disease-specific member health and wellness programs.

The key here is repetition.

Experts agree repetition is how we learn and develop new habits, which leads to better disease management and overall wellbeing. And the more personalized that repetitive messaging, the more effective and impactful it becomes.

To learn more about how WellRight can help you drive engagement among health plan members and personalize your member wellness programs, contact one of our health and wellness consultants. At WellRight, we’re here to help.

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