The incredible rise of mobile and wearable wellness technology solutions makes it easy to embrace a technology-centric perspective about all things wellness. Sometimes new gadgets and apps become so distracting that we forget about the well-established low tech solutions sitting right next to us (we want push notifications even though email and text messaging may be better ways to communicate in certain instances). However, right before we completely forget about the technologies of the past, we hear a story of how low tech solutions positively impact corporate wellness programs.
A story like this was recently presented at a conference in Philadelphia. At the MedCity CONVERGE conference, Nebeyou Abebe, Senior Director for Health and Well-being at Sodexo, talked about how Sodexo’s low tech and non tech solutions were the key to their corporate wellness success. “For example, Sodexo is working with the Central Florida YMCA Association in the Orlando, Florida area to get motivational and actionable messages in front of individuals most in need of health improvement. The Y gets patrons to sign up for text messages that disseminate evidence-based health information, invitations to 30-day health challenges, and reminders to attend biometric screening events and monthly workshops on healthy living.”
We were particularly impressed and inspired by two specific elements to Sodexo’s approach. First, incorporating a community partner is a great way to provide a support network beyond the office and make their program feel less corporate and more consumer. Second, the use of text messaging for simple things like evidence-based health content and reminders is great. Since 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes, it seems kind of obvious to use text messaging as a communications channel, yet so few groups do it. Mr. Abebe put it best, “Text messages are just great reminders. For me, we are relying on the low tech.” He noted that a lot of people download apps and then forget to use them, but text messages tend to be read right away. “It’s a really, really powerful medium to connect with your audience,” he said.
New technology is great and is transforming the way consumers and employers are thinking about their health. In the process of embracing the new, we must not forget the old, especially when it remains so effective.