Can technology help engage employees in their overall wellbeing?
According to a piece in the recent USA Today supplement Future of Health Care, “With the ongoing trend toward digitization in health care, employers are looking to emerging technologies to improve quality of care.”
The piece states: “Incorporating emerging technologies linked to wellness programs and health coaches, for example, can result in improved productivity, less absenteeism and reduced health care costs. Identifying an individual’s health risk is crucial as part of an overall strategy, along with helping him or her understand those risks and assisting the employee in making the necessary change.”
Says Interactive Health Chief Information Officer Tim Hardy: “Technology is a tool, not a panacea. We must be careful about having an over-reliance on technology. The wave of new apps and technology can cause us to think that the technology alone will cause individuals to make changes. Utilizing technology to enable individuals and make it easier to make change is important, but it must go beyond that. Having a variety of modalities to deliver those resources is also extremely important.”
Of course, as technology increasingly gets integrated into corporate wellness programs, data privacy requirements necessarily must become a greater part of the overall focus.
Hardy adds: “There must be a higher and higher premium on security of information. Without question, there absolutely have to be strong security controls, encryption, etc. Providers of technology must understand they’re holding these individuals’ personal health information, and they have to regard it as such. It’s crucial to understand this, and make sure all safeguards are in place.”
The piece also quotes Rose Stanley, senior practice leader at the nonprofit human resources association WorldatWork, “We live in a world where security concerns are real, and we must go into that with that knowledge. Having very reputable organizations that are either the ones that created the technology and/or the organizations offering the technology for use to their employees is paramount. However, there are no guarantees. Diligence and constant protection of privacy should be a mainstay of any strategy.”