How to Create Sustained Patient Engagement in Your Wellness Program
Each New Year millions of people set long-term health goals, but the majority are often left uncompleted. Most of these goals are attainable but lack a realistic, strategic plan that’s engaging and can be incorporated into a daily routine. The initial drive is often lost for a variety of reasons; some people loose motivation and interest or simply get overwhelmed by the goal itself. Goals are a key component to making significant behavioral changes that benefit one’s health. However, if the member is unable to see progress or feel empowered by these changes, it is likely the newly adopted behaviors will be temporary. Ensuring these behaviors are long lasting begins with engagement strategies that speak to the individual and help lay the ground work for incremental goal setting.
With the right amount of support, members remain engaged and continue to actively pursue their ultimate wellness goal. How do you provide support without hindering the member’s independence and motivation? Balance is essential; a strategic plan is often needed to provide effective guidance for specific health conditions, and these plans must also be flexible so each member gets a personalized experience that is customized for their ever-changing needs and unique preferences.
Here are some suggestions on how to support your members and keep them engaged:
It is easy for the member to take their eye off the prize when their goal extends over a longer period of time. An effective way to combat the fatigue from pursuing a larger goal is by setting milestones. If a member is trying to lose 25 pounds over 5 months it could be empowering to set a 5 pound per month milestone. This will help the member keep track of their progress and accomplishments on the way to fulfilling their ultimate goal. It is important to acknowledge these smaller accomplishments because it helps provide the continual encouragement a member might need to remain engaged.
Providing small incentives can go a long way in keeping the member engaged. Whether these incentives include recognition in a game-like points system or carry some monetary value such as partial or full reimbursement for a gym membership, they can be a powerful engagement tool. People are more likely to participate in a wellness program when the rewards and benefits go beyond personal satisfaction. It’s a part of human nature; people like recognition and free stuff.
Establish New Goals
Often times when a goal is accomplished people feel a sense of empowerment. A good way to channel this energy is to help members focus on a new goal that can build on the previous goal or even one that is new and completely unrelated. This can cause a domino effect for each goal that is accomplished and they begin to look forward to accomplishing more as time goes on—inevitably helping adopted healthy behaviors more permanent.
Ultimately, a one-size-fits-all model for wellness does not work. The success of any program will truly depend on how well you engage each member and work with them to achieve their personal health and wellness goals. Personalization and effective communication is key. It is essential for the member to understand the importance of continual commitment and how it is vital in the transition from where he/she is to where he/she wants to be.
Are you looking for engaging, interactive wellness solutions for your members?
Health Dialog can help you drive positive lifestyle behavior changes, improve wellness results, and maintain population health with customizable wellness programs.