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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.

one-size-fits-allWellness 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.

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