Is there an opportunity to augment traditional wellness programs with digital tools?

Traditionally designed wellness programs, often based on short-term fitness challenges or weight-loss competitions, are motivating and effective for a significant swath of employees but also miss entire populations with serious health concerns.

Bolstering these programs with more inclusive approaches like mid-day yoga, stress management education, and healthy recipe sharing captures an even broader employee population.

But it’s difficult for traditional approaches to address the particulars of each employee’s health situation. When companies augment their wellness programs with the array of emerging digital tools, they create a more welcoming, more personalized program that attracts employees at all levels of health.

How Employee Wellness Programs Can Differentiate Themselves and Achieve Even Greater Success

There is an opportunity for employers to leverage digital tools to create a truly individualized approach to employee wellness

Offering digital health management tools as part of your wellness program gives employees a way to access personalized treatment guidance and engage in their own well-being. As a result, employees take ownership of their health situation – whether their goal is increasing wellness, managing disease, or getting more out of their relationship with their physician.

Digital health tools serve several functions. Incorporating them into an employee wellness program will expand its reach and effectiveness. Here are some of the functions and related tools.

Disease management

Chronic disease sufferers are constantly managing their health situations. Digital tools can be of great help. Two examples of effective, individualized solutions are:

Livongo – An internet-connected blood sugar meter for diabetes patients that includes personalized insights, context, and coaching support.

Cohero – A medication tracker and notification solution optimized for respiratory health. Cohero offers mobile hardware and software to detect how open an asthma patient’s lungs are and tracks that data over time.

Cost transparency

Patients often fail to follow up on treatment guidance because of cost uncertainty. Several digital tools help with this, giving patients a clear picture of the financial impact of their treatment plan and improving compliance. Examples include:

Healthcare Bluebook – A price transparency tool that gives users a clear expectation of the cost of procedures specific to their location.

Healthsparq – A tool that synthesizes insurer and provider information to improve the health-care shopping experience.

Appointment-scheduling and health record access

The ability to schedule appointments online and see the availability of a preferred provider is a key component to treatment compliance and follow through. Also, having real-time access to test results and a patient’s overall health record bolsters patient engagement.

A patient portal that is accessible by mobile app provides these services, and more.

Treatment guidance

This tool synthesizes an employee’s specific diagnoses and demographics and produces individualized, evidence-based treatment options.

WiserTogether’s Return to Health platform facilitates the steps for patients to move forward with their treatment options, including appointment scheduling.

View a video of how Return to Health works for employees and healthcare consumers here. 

Employees spend so much of their time at their workplace. Employers can help their teams utilize some of this time for health enhancement and management. Introducing digital health tools to employees is a valuable, personalized benefit. Employees may never be exposed to them otherwise.

Employers can play a key role in their employees’ well-being by understanding and offering these tools in the workplace. Making them available through employee wellness programs removes barriers to participation and leads to optimal workforce health and productivity.

Let us know what you think.

Thank you,

Max Kahn