Health inSite: Bring Your Own Health

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Blended, not segmented

In an increasingly interconnected world, the rift between the person and the role within the workplace is diminishing.  Again, highlighting a moment from our presentation at the EAPA 2011 Conference back in October, we provided a brief demonstration of the change that is coming with the introduction of smart technology that is cheap, intuitive, and pervasive.  We added many of the ingredients of our everyday lives – personal photos, TPS reports, business cards, a beer (non-alcoholic, of course), and some others – to a blender.  After pureeing the ingredients, we had the mish mash of our lives in a soupy representation of its non-segmentation.  Slowly, but surely, we continue to blur the lines between our personal and professional lives.  The generation entering the workplace today, as well as the mavens that have been productively using social media over the past decade, are contending with very significant issues when it comes to their personal versus professional circles.

Which is perfectly fine for them as, characteristically, they are less concerned about the space between work and personal that has existed in previous generations.

But it does bring up a new combined reality wherein the interconnectedness of all things plays a new role, e.g., less applying for jobs and more networking with previous co-workers and current friends.  This is a powerful change in the culture of hiring as we can rely more on data points that are trusted, rather than on the various axes we might consider from an interview.

We’ll have chips, you bring the dip

This is further aided by the number of devices (and the consolidators like cloud computing and apps) on which we can maintain a seamless online life.  Our ability to share, connect, and compute through these various devices has led to a revolution for some workplaces.  We’ve gone from intentional VPN connections on desktops into the workplace, to push-based access to email on our phones.

Enter BYOD.

Now we have the opportunity for individual employees to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  Gone are the days where individuals carry two phones, or a personal phone and a work laptop.  A new tide is rising where an employee can use their personal device to connect to work.  This has obvious implications associated with it.  In my last blog, I walked through some of the changes in the landscape regarding social media in the workplace and its potential for the leaking of PCI (a play on Private Health Information, Private Corporate Information).  Imagine the concerns regarding that PCI on a device that can literally be left on a street corner!  Consider data from Lookout Security (a mobile app that tracks lost phones) alone: 9 million lost phones in 2011.  By the way, if you have employees using mobile devices for work purposes, either company owned or personally owned, you should have a solution like Lookout or iOS’s Find my iPhone in place.  It’s just another thing to add to the technology section of your HR manual.

We can access statistics and reports from virtually anywhere with a WiFi or data signal, and we can do it on the same devices as our social media and personal activities.  This means increased efficiency for some, and others less so as there are more distractions on the same device; however, it also means being less tied down to a workstation.  Enabling employees to function in their role fluidly and dynamically means a potential for faster response rates and less commuting or booting (as in booting up a computer) time.  So long as you are not also operating in System 1 by multi-tasking.

What does this have to do with health?

I’m so glad you asked.  The mobile revolution has another impact on our lives: the ability for our physical wellbeing to be more social and integrated with our daily activities.  For an employer, this can mean increased health outcomes to decrease premiums as awareness of one’s health can increase attention to keeping oneself healthier.  Integrated with Social Media, this also allows for real time feedback from our social network, encouraging and assisting in the process of growing our health.  And since we spend 1/3 of our week working, ignoring this time because it’s “work time” is simply the wrong way to go about creating a healthier workforce.  Population health strategies necessitate an integrated approach to health – and even more so when you are self-insured!

If that’s not interesting enough, using both hardware and software, new tracking of the quantified self enables a feedback system that helps provide data to be reviewed by System 2, resulting in increased awareness of our current health status.  Knowing your heart-rate through events, in real time, allows for biofeedback-based solutions to situations.  Literally translated, our at-the-moment health can enable greater productivity at work – whether that’s at a coffee shop, your home, or at the office.  As these pieces of technology become cheaper and more precise, BYOD might one day allow for the inclusion of health devices for work too.

To our health,

Ryan
Marketing

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Health inSite: Transformations as the Future of Healthcare

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Have you read the book The Experience Economy?  To explain it very quickly (and not do true justice to the ideas proposed in the book), there are various levels of economic offering that warrant different valuations, and thereby ability to generate revenue.  The levels of development discussed in the book are elegantly displayed in the graph below by Pine and Gilmore (the authors of the book):

This progression has expanded over time with new levels being added as the market strives for differentiation.  Many of the examples brought up are clear and concise, such as Starbucks as a purveyor of coffee (a commodity) that really charges the market at the level of a Service.  Pine and Gilmore stop at the level of Service in their description of Starbucks, but I would readily argue that they reach towards the level of experience.  Starbucks actually refers to this in their training materials as creating “The Third Place;” it’s not your work, or your home, it’s that other place where you can unwind a little bit.  Even though the customer isn’t actually brewing their own coffee, as is a hallmark of many experiences, they are engaging with the sounds and smells of the coffee shop in a very intentional way.

The book spends a great deal of time discussing offerings that are on the level of Experience but certainly takes a moment to tip its hat toward Transformations, a burgeoning new market offering.  Transformations are marked by the engagement of the customer in a way that enables that person to learn or grow, exactly to Transform, themselves in a way that is truly valuable to the customer.  It includes giving the customer the skills and motivation to make changes that will both provide some immediate value but also cascade down into further value down the road.

In healthcare, this understanding of the market is significant and valuable.  As we, as an industry, discuss Accountable Care Organizations, capitated care models, and participatory medicine, it’s important for us to keep in mind where value is derived in the typical marketplace.  Healthcare, while arguably different in many ways from other industries by its virtual necessity in every citizen’s timeline, still must compete under the same rules as many other industries.  Many times, in healthcare, we present ourselves on the level of Service – that is that we are doing something for someone, for a fee.  As we look at these new systems, it is time for us to consider what the future of healthcare delivery will require under a population health model of delivery.

Eschewing the fee-for-service model opens up the possibility for the healthcare industry to reconsider offering the long-term value of teaching individuals how to keep themselves healthy, at least in terms of the 80% of healthcare costs that are mediated by behavior.   This decreases the time and services that must be provided creating new forms of cost savings.  As we move further up the economic offering ladder, it will become more necessary to move our industry into the Transformation realm.  In fact, there is no other industry more suited to it.

To our health,

Ryan
Marketing

Health inSite: Wellbeing or Wellness?

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We provide wellness sessions for a number of our clients, integrating the wellness component into the overall Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  To recap what MINES considers an EAP to be:

  • An employee benefit: Free-to-the-client counseling or coaching sessions for the employee and their household members on topics ranging from workplace to personal issues.
  • A management benefit: Supervisor / Manager training, work-performance referrals, and management consultations that help management work more effectively.  (For some of our clients, this is like adding a part-time HR assistant!)
  • A work/life component: Including access to an online behavioral health portal with articles on all aspects of work/life balance, concierge referral services for help in finding and accessing resources like college planning, legal and financial coaching, and trainings related to interpersonal, stress, and other wellbeing topics.

This layering of benefits is more robust than a typical “embedded” EAP that is offered as part of a health plan.   These do not usually provide heavy promotion and oftentimes do not extend to the many management benefits that MINES includes in our EAP.

But a few months ago we were preparing for a presentation of this more integrated model and discussing the unique selling proposition of this program and how we wanted to position it in juxtaposition to our other Employee Assistance offerings.  When we charted out the program, we found that we had two very large changes that were being considered under this new program proposal: 1, we were looking at a more holistic approach to the health of the employee that honed in on outcome-focused behavioral change, rather than just incentivizing program participation (meaning that we were giving employees the opportunity to affect many dimensions of their health from the emotional to the physical to the financial and occupational); and 2, we were offering a way for management to interact with their employees in a way that was much more integrated than many wellness programs typically do.

By creating an offering that was integrated into the social fabric of the company, rather than simply proposing a commoditized offering, we uncovered a significant change in the way that we wanted to present this program.  We changed the program from an EAP with a wellness component to an Organizational Wellbeing System.

To distinguish these two terms from one another, and why we thought we needed to change our language for the proposal: wellbeing is differentiated from wellness, as defined by Merriam-Webster, by the former term’s incorporation of total prosperity.  Prosperity, we thought, had the added quality of openness to more dimensions than wellness had available to it.

We believe that this difference is significant, especially when considering the future of healthcare in the United States.  Regardless of what the Supreme Court decides about the legality of the Affordable Care Act, there are changes coming in the landscape of health and we at MINES believe that we are moving in the direction of a more integrated, network-based HEALTHcare as opposed to single person SICKcare.  As we’ve mentioned in some of our other postings recently (PPACA Roundup: Part IICommunity is the Key to healthHalo effects and Link Influence), the brief therapy model has significant implications for treatment adherence in more than just substance abuse and mental health issues and we’re prepared for a more involved role with the whole wellbeing of the individual, their social network(s), and the population as a whole.

To our health,

Ryan
Marketing