Health engagement can be defined as a concept that combines a person’s knowledge, ability and willingness to manage his own health with interventions designed to increase adherence and drive behaviors.
- Employee health engagement is a critical component in building a highly productive and cost-efficient workforce and it helps improve culture.
- Patient health engagement is key to reduce re-admittance and improve patient adherence.
However, driving healthy behaviors has been the challenge for health and wellness engagement professionals for decades. Technology has come a long way by introducing new opportunities to really communicate, engage, reward and drive these positive behaviors. With this help, patient and employee engagement has been unified into what we call today “health engagement”.
A few decades ago, health engagement practices started with hospitals looking into reducing re-admittance, as these were crowded with patients, yet lacking personnel resources.
Nurses would have to make thousands of phone calls a month to be able to follow up with their patients — a daunting and far from realistic task. As a result, most patients would never receive a follow-up call, or have to deal with a traditional IVR system that was highly standardized would rarely lead to any relevant information collection.
On the employee engagement side, companies started to create in-house challenges that included gifts baskets or trophies that could be earned by employees when completing some physical activities. Those challenges were funded by the company and had no return of investment (ROI). None of this was very inclusive of all demographics or personalized.
Analytics or tracking was part of neither scenarios. Without that data, it’s was impossible to measure success.
We now have advanced technologies that allow us to drive behaviors, quantify health engagement, and, subsequently, be able to personalize the experience for both patients and employees. Today’s health engagement approach seeks to incentivize people to have healthy behaviors by giving all demographics the chance to participate in their own health.
All people are different. Some run, while others walk. Some prefer “X” type of diet, while others might love “Z”. We all drive our health in different ways because we all have different issues and needs. Personalizing health engagement in the professional and medical world is key to providing better care and opportunities.
How do we now project and visualize personalization? The answer is with a wellness dashboard experience. A wellness dashboard is an interface that shows the user the most relevant and important information about their health and where they are in their journey. Analytics and other elements are used to show these variables. The dashboard can also provide a sense of “north” to most individuals by showing them a full health history that they can take ownership on.
Engaging with patients or employees with a multi-channel approach is crucial in today’s social world. Creating multiple channels of communication with a core solution allows individuals of all backgrounds and ages to quickly log activities, receive phone calls or text messages, or do any other type of task in any type of situation or location. These channels can be web and mobile experience, chatbots, phone calls or voice, text messages, electronic health record systems, or others.
Machine learning is an area of artificial intelligence that gives a computer the ability to “learn” by using statistical techniques and data, all without having to be explicitly programmed. But, what does that mean for health engagement? It means that by tracking your daily activities and behavior, a system can “learn” your ways and be able to better guide you through your health journey.
Machine learning gives us the opportunity to drive a highly personalized experience for both employees and patients.
The future of health engagement will now include voice as the delivery mechanism for all types of information. Whether you are at home, or on the road, voice-activated virtual assistants and machine learning driven automated phone calls, will now take part of your health journey.
Companies have been developing voice technology for many years — trying to make it better, less robotic and include sentiment into the conversation. The world has heard lately of emotional AI, and other voice-activated health solutions that are seeking to better interact with people and learn from them to provide a better experience or health care.
The power of just one message placed at the right time could change a pattern, prompt action, or elevate our mindset for the better when it comes to our own health. We are now in a world where our voice can power experiences around us via voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Home, but also through our traditional home phones.
The future of health engagement pictures a Voice Operating System or “Voice-OS” domain for health and to truly enable adaptable, scalable, but human connection and follow-up between patients and their providers, and employees and their employers, so everyone is ascending within their own health story. Even though there is still lots of work in progress, voice platforms and other AI-driven features are already changing the patient-provider relationship, by providing meaningful healthcare interfaces that are powerful, rewarding, engaging, and allowing us to include healthier activities into our day-to-day routines.