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    The Mobile Future of Workplace Wellness

    Five tips to create engaging apps for wellness programs

    Stuart SlutzkyThe future of healthcare is mobile. Roughly 75 million individuals are using mobile phones for health, up from 14 million last year.1 In fact, there are more than 40,000 health and wellness apps on the market today.2 From finding health information to tracking wellness, consumers of all ages are responding to health care they can access on-the-go.

    At the same time, wellness in the workplace is on the rise, and for good reason. Studies have found that improved wellness at work leads to lower health care costs and increased productivity3, which is why 90% of companies with 200 or more employees have implemented a wellness program.4 Yet, engagement with wellness programs remains low and inconsistent. For example, fitness programs have average participation levels of 21%, while smoking cessation programs have only 7%.5

    As health and wellness programs help employers identify new ways to engage workers and increase participation, many are shifting their focus to mobile. Consumers are clearly interested in mobile, but with the large number of apps available, many organizations wonder how they can truly own a piece of an increasingly flooded market. To actually improve participation, health and wellness programs must deliver an app that stands out.

    When thinking about how to engage employees in workplace wellness through mobile apps, here are five things to consider: 

    Time is of the essence

    Users interact with apps differently than websites. They expect apps to provide information quickly that is customized to their experience. Consumers will visit mobile apps often but for brief periods of times. Apps need to be developed with short attention spans in mind.

    As an example, many health and wellness programs require new members to take an online health assessment. These assessments typically last from ten to thirty minutes, which wouldn’t translate well on a mobile app. Instead, multiple mini-assessments that can each be completed in one to two minutes will garner a better response from mobile app users.  

    Agility is king

    You must have a system in place to track user feedback. You need to continually learn from consumer preferences and habits, and adapt quickly. Users are accustomed to seeing apps regularly updated in order to keep things fresh and engaging.

    Play well with others

    In the ever-expanding world of mobile, it’s unlikely that one app will replace all others. Instead, an app must be able to seamlessly interact with other apps across multiple devices and platforms. Consumers prefer engaging in an open ecosystem where they can easily connect experiences.

    Leverage the opportunity to personalize

    A mobile app gives you the ability to interact with consumers in a more personalized and intelligent manner than a website. You can provide alerts and messaging related to a user’s habits and preferences, and research shows that consumers respond positively to these types of interactions. In fact, 60 percent of consumers say they are more likely to use a mobile app again if it is personalized.6

    Don’t go overboard

    While personalized messages help create an engaging app experience, there is a fine line to keep in mind. You want to be sure that communications aren’t too frequent. Users should feel that the app provides helpful alerts, not spam.

    It’s impossible to ignore the rising role of mobile in workplace wellness programs. Mobile apps are an ideal way to engage employees because health and wellness decisions happen wherever we are – whether we’re out to dinner, at the gym or at the grocery store – leading a healthy lifestyle is not stationary, and there is no better way to support that lifestyle than with a platform that can be on-the-go with us.

    1 Manhattan Research’s 2012 Cybercitizen Health Report
    2 IMS Institute For Healthcare Informatics
    3 HumanaVitality Health Claims & Productivity Impact Study of 16,000 Humana Associates, 2014
    4 U.S. Department of Labor
    5 The RAND Corporation Workplace Wellness Programs Study

     

    READ: 10 key insights into mobile messaging and Medicaid managed care

     

    Stuart Slutzky
    Stuart Slutzky is chief of product innovation for health and wellness solutions, HumanaVitality.

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