In a recent article that appeared in The Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health titled, “Incentives to Shape Health Behaviors: How Can We Make Them More Person-Centered?”, the authors address the importance of making wellness incentives relevant and appealing to each person. The authors claim that taking a person-centered approach and offering a range of wellness incentives that appeal to each individual “could lead to better [wellness program] participation and more successful goal achievement.” In other words, person-centered incentives increase wellness program engagement.
In addition to incentives, a person-centered focus can be applied to other aspects of a wellness program. In the past, we’ve referred to this person-centered approach as an individual health and wellness ecosystem. The ecosystem places the individual at the center of the experience and creates a wellness program around each individual’s personal interests and wellness preferences.
Wellness is not one-size-fits-all; wellness is one-size-fits one. Each participant should have a different and unique wellness experience – and this is good! A unique experience means participants choose how and when to engage in wellness. Rather than forcing participants to adapt their wellness preferences to fit within a narrowly defined corporate program, the program should be adaptive and allow participants to determine their own path to wellness. For example, a wellness program should allow users the flexibility to focus on their personal wellness interest, such as nutrition or physical activity.
As the participant engages in activity, a person-centered wellness program should learn from this engagement, adapt, and become further optimized for the individual. A wellness program should recognize a users goals and wellness deficiencies. Through a customized feedback loop, the program should provide tracking, automated coaching, and support specific to each user. Educational wellness content must also be person-centered and tailored to the participant’s individual wellness goals and needs.
Applying a person-centered approach throughout a wellness program will lead to a more effective program and drive higher participant engagement. In a recent post, we offered some thoughts on how mobile app and wearable technology have paved the way for person-centered wellness.