Using Data To Strengthen Your Program

New to wellness or just not sure your leaders see the value of your wellness program?  Here are some tips for starting or strengthening your program outcomes.

What data do you have?

Consider all your data sources that tell you about your employees:

Healthcare claims:

  • Tells you if employees partake in preventative care
  • Tells you what issues are bad enough that your employees are seeking care
  • Tells you where employees are seeking this care

Wellness biometric data:

  • Tells you risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes
  • Combining this data with the Wellness Profile will indicate low, moderate and high-risk individuals that may require different types of intervention to reduce risky behaviors. For example, A high risk individual with multiple biometric data that needs work are also likely to have some medical conditions and would require more individual health coaching or disease management for better outcomes.
  • Gives you a baseline to compare population and cohort year to year risk reduction

Wellness profile/health risk assessment data:

  • Tells you what health habits your employees currently have
  • Tells you what health habits they are ready to change
  • Helps indicate with health care claims what individuals might need disease management strategies.

Interest survey:

  • Tells you ideally what they would like and when they would like it
  • Caution: doesn’t mean they will show up

What data do you show your leaders?

It is important to make sure that the data you choose to share with your leaders resonates with those leaders. Some leaders are very data driven and want to see data in graphical formats. Other leaders are more, big picture thinkers, relational or practical. Thinking styles can influence how people react to your data. Herrmann’s Whole Brain Model discusses how these thinking styles intertwine within us but we typically have a dominant style. For more information regarding Herrmann’s Whole Brain Model visit: http://www.hbdi.com/online-reference-and-activity-guide/a/index.html. Use this information to determine what type of thinking styles you will be presenting to and what data you have that would align with this thinking style.

What data do you track?

In order to show data outcomes, it is important to pick outcome measures that can allow you to show progress. For example, if your tobacco use is 10% and you choose this as a outcome measure you will have very little room for improvement as the national tobacco use rate in 2017 was 14%1and your company is already below this. This means most of those people still smoking will be hard to convince to stop. You will still offer tobacco cessation options to those that indicate they are ready to quit but your programming options will be less than a different data point that you choose as your outcome measure. Select outcome measures using all your data and resources available. What does most of your population need based on biometric data and/or claims data? What are they ready for based off the Wellness Profile?  What resources do you have to help support your employees with changing this measure?

What programming do you provide?

A well-thought out strategy using data and identifying resources resonates with most leaders. A well-rounded health and wellness program that addresses high-cost risks as well as low and moderate risk levels to prevent these individual from moving into higher risk/higher cost areas is important in order for your program to be successful. Focusing on just high risk does not stem the flow of moderate risk becoming high risk as well as just focusing on low risk does not help lower overall health costs for your company. 

Build your strategy:

It is also important to meet your employees where they are at. Not only physical location, but also meet their desire to choose to engage in wellness activities at their own pace. Providing a wide variety of online activities such as what Motivation Alliance® provides allows your employees to engage in one-time simple education or lengthier programs depending on what meets their needs. You may also need to provide some onsite services, especially for health coaching or physical activity to make it convenient for employees to engage in these activities.  It is also important to include activities in your strategy that enhance your culture, such as providing signage encouraging the use of the stairs as well as making sure the lighting and ambience in the stairways is comfortable for employees. It is amazing what a coat of paint can do – nobody wants to walk in dreary stairwell!

Next month: Population Health in Health care, Community and Workplace

References: 1https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm

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