Employee Health and Well-being Programs – Just Right Approach | MOBE

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Lessons from Goldilocks: The Three Cares Approach to Employee Health That’s Just Right

By Bria Gali

Finding the “just-right” fit when it comes to health and well-being programs can sometimes feel like stepping into a fairy tale. From “too-big” one-size-fits-all programs that get lackluster engagement, to “too-small” point solutions that are narrow in scope and don’t work for people with multiple chronic conditions. It can be overwhelming! However, buried within the story is a population of frequent utilizers of health services that are commonly poly chronic and/or trying to piece together multiple factors impacting their health. These individuals defy the typical structures of health and well-being programs, presenting a challenge to achieve improved health and lower health care costs. Fortunately, a just-right approach exists—one that cares about data, people, and outcomes. 

Caring About Data: Finding the “Just-Right” People

A significant challenge in health care today is the one-size-fits-all approach that many employee health and well-being programs offer. While this broad brushstroke provides general support, it does not typically account for the diverse needs and interests of these complex individuals. According to the CDC, more than half of adults have at least one chronic condition, and nearly 30% of adults have multiple chronic conditions. The number of people with three or more chronic conditions is expected to reach 83.4 million by 2030—that’s up from 30.8 million in 2015.

Just like Papa Bear’s chair, the one-size-fits-all approach is too big and unwieldy, failing to provide the right support for those with unique needs. In contrast, condition-specific care is often siloed and focuses on a singular health condition or challenge without considering the individual’s full health profile. This siloed approach prevents a comprehensive understanding and treatment of interrelated health issues, which is problematic for those with multiple chronic conditions. 

Many individuals with complex health issues often fall through the cracks with traditional approaches that don’t address their entire health picture to uncover the underlying factors that are impacting their health. These individuals are typically unengaged or unsuccessful in the long-term with such solutions. 

By analyzing data beyond the traditional verticals of condition, cost, or risk, organizations can identify these individuals by looking at historical health care consumption as they are not typically high-cost claimants. This lens provides a “just right” approach, like Baby Bear’s perfectly fitting chair. 

The good news: Once identified, this formerly hidden population’s needs can be effectively met with a human-first, whole-person, condition-inclusive lifestyle and pharmacist-supported solution.

Caring About People: Helping Individuals Holistically

As the market shifted towards digital-centric health and well-being solutions, apps alone can be cost effective and support from a broad health perspective, however, they cannot replace the power of human intervention. Human connection can foster the empathetic, personal relationships necessary to effectively deliver care that creates long-term behavior change and sustainable health outcomes.  

Human-first connections allow for personalized attention to unearthing and addressing the root cause of people’s health ups and downs—paired with blending the day-to-day lifestyle, social, and environmental factors that impact their clinical health decisions and outcomes. Empathy is also crucial for that “just right” temperature porridge—not too cold and not too hot—to create an optimal path forward to improved health.   

For example, digital-only solutions do not always work to drive sustainable change, especially for complex conditions like obesity. Medications like GLP-1s are only effective longer term when used with behavior and lifestyle changes. 

Pairing expert human support that includes both lifestyle (health guidance) and medication management (pharmacists) allows for a comprehensive foundation to setting and achieving health goals customized to each individual’s unique needs and goals. Without fully understanding all aspects of lifestyle and consumption of prescriptions, OTCs, supplements, and herbals, it is easy for people to get stuck in a cycle of setbacks. But don’t ditch digital—add to it. By combining human-led care with custom digital support encompassed by a whole-person lens, organizations can ensure that employees receive the personalized support and accountability they need. The goal is to achieve a balanced, “just-right” approach where technology supports, rather than replaces, human interaction. 

Caring About Engagement: Redefining What’s Real

Many existing health and well-being programs often suffer from low engagement rates and a lack of transparency in tracking and measuring outcomes. These programs primarily focus on engagement as an output, as an end rather than a means to achieve tangible outcomes and savings. Real, meaningful engagement is much more than clicks and downloads.

A click, however, is a powerful knock at the front door. For individuals who can benefit the most from personalized human care, going beyond the click is where we start to see change really happen. By understanding the needs of these populations, leveraging personalized engagement strategies, then supporting with customized comprehensive support, we can drive more meaningful engagement that leads to better health outcomes and savings.  

What We All Care About: Better Outcomes

The future of effective health and well-being programs lies in leveraging data to personalize care, integrating human-led approaches with digital support, and focusing on strategic engagement and transparent tracking. By moving away from one-size-fits-all and siloed solutions, and toward tailored, empathetic, and data-driven strategies, organizations can better address the diverse and complex needs of their populations, leading to improved health outcomes and cost savings. 

For people who are struggling to achieve optimal health, finding the “just-right” balance—like Baby Bear’s chair, porridge, and bed—means engaging in a more meaningful, individualized way through whole-person, human-led care that moves the needle not only for individual health, but demonstrates long-term savings, too. The fairy tale of health and well-being programs can have a happy ending after all—for Goldilocks and for organizations, too. 

About the Author

Bria Gali | VP, Alliances & Consultant Relations | MOBE 

With 15 years of experience in the health and well-being space, Bria champions employers’ and health plans’ desire to provide high-quality, cost-effective health and well-being programs for their people. Bria is all about helping others live healthier and happier lives and driving positive health outcomes and financial savings for clients.

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