Table of Experts: The Role of Technology in Workplace Wellness – Part II

Yesterday we published Part I of our roundtable discussion on the proper role of technology in workplace wellness?

  • How can advances in analytics and behavioral science be applied to workplace wellness?
  • If all health is personal, how can technology work seamlessly with the human component of a successful workplace wellness program from employee engagement to health coaching to personal action — and what’s next?
  • How should the next generation of technology advances be considered and implemented in workplace wellness?

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Our panel consists of experts from Interactive Health, the leading provider of workplace wellness solutions and Fuzzy Math, an industry-leading user experience design, strategy and innovation firm that has partnered with Interactive Health to enhance their member website:

Last time we talked about the human journey – the personalized journey – and an individual’s health. Workplace wellness programs are a part of that and particularly, the technology used.  

As you think about the full spectrum of a workplace wellness offering, what role should technology, like a member website, play as part of that overall wellness program strategy?

Jane Ruppert: When we looked at technology as part of a wellness program, the member website allowed us to implement timely interventions that engaged the member and would help to create behavior change.

People are engaging more and more with technology, and we wanted to be able to drive health outcomes by leveraging technology, like our member website, as a tool. With wellness programs, the number one priority is to get people to participate. How could we leverage technology to accomplish this and make it easy? We also thought about how can we get people engaged in the program components that we know are going to drive health outcomes. We found that you need to make it personal.

Ultimately we wanted to make sure that people are coming back to the website–that it’s not “one and done.” We created targeted messaging that’s relevant to each member’s situation to keep them engaged. We wanted them to use the website to continue to skill build, get connected to a variety of wellness and community resources and participate in activities, challenges and social interactions.

Thinking about success goals that include participation, engagement and improved health outcomes, how did you work across all those different areas to make the website experience a positive one for the individual?

Mark Baldino: It required tuning our ears towards the voice of the member and understanding their needs. We broke up parts of the website experience in terms of getting them through an onboarding process and into an application, as well as notifying them to come back into an application.

For Interactive Health and their member website in particular, we wanted to bring members back on a continual basis and motivate them towards achieving their goals. That’s the most exciting part about having worked in the health and wellness space; we were able to help people achieve some of the most important goals in their lives. We saw that as the bigger end goal. No matter where members are on the website and their particular goals at the time, we were always keeping the bigger picture in mind as we designed.

Isaac Steiner: Part of the amazing thing about this member website is that it’s just one opportunity to connect with the member and create a “wow” moment which creates additional motivation for re-engagement with the website.

The website is a critical component of the wellness program because members can interact with it on their own time. When we thought about the website design we wanted to create an experience that personifies some of the qualities that motivate people and create those intrinsic triggers that get them to re-engage.

Let’s look a bit into the future. What do you see as the next generation of ways technology will help advance workplace wellness programs further and help in new and better ways to reach the goal of driving healthy outcomes?

Tim Hardy: I think there will continue to be an evolution of new technologies for an individual to utilize to engage with their health. As more apps and devices are introduced, integration is is going to be vital so that wellness programs aren’t forcing individuals to use a certain technology. This goes back to the concept of personalization. Wellness programs serve large populations so technology integration and program accessibility will be the key to success.

Jane: I see a couple things happening. When you look at the employer space, often times employers have several different vendors doing several different things to engage their population. I see well-designed wellness programs and platforms serving as a hub—a link that brings together many of the employer’s resources in a seamless fashion. I even see this in the healthcare space itself. I also believe that through the use of technology, we will have even better insight into what’s important to an individual so we can predict the best interventions to engage and motivate.

Mark: The best user experiences are those you don’t notice. If you look at trends in the broader design and technology world, more means of accessibility and functionality are coming out and enabling people to interact with technology in more natural ways.

Design and technology are moving in a direction that is eliminating multiple interfaces and becoming better integrated. By becoming a hub you take a lot of the burden off of the users. They still need to go somewhere, like a specific portal or member website to access the information, but it’s reducing the number of steps and making it easier for them.

I think the seamlessness that integrated experiences and contextually aware software applications present are going to be really powerful to encourage engagement and motivate more people to use tools in the wellness space.

Isaac: One of the things that I think is really exciting is that we’re getting to a point where technology is able create an experience that feels human and relatable to people. Even with this member website, we’ve created a concierge-like experience that unifies the offline program with the online experience and reflects characteristics of actual human interaction.

We’ll always need to understand the motivation, the goals and the contexts in which people interact with technology and their health. The more that we do that, the more that technology becomes a natural extension of human connections to create a more authentic experience.

Isaac, Jane, Mark and Tim – thank you for your ideas and your time.