The importance of digital in employee health and wellbeing strategies

Digital tools are transforming the private healthcare market. Healthcare providers who have embraced this technology shift are moving towards a customer-centred model of care. Similarly, employers are now considering to a greater degree the needs of employees who are increasingly demanding healthcare choice and convenience. Working together, providers and employers can use technology to drive innovations which will help deliver better health outcomes and, ultimately, deliver return on investment.

The importance of digital in employee health and wellbeing strategies

Engaging healthier choices

According to Cigna’s 360° Well-being Survey (2017), only 33 per cent of people in the UK are a healthy weight and 70 per cent of people do not exercise at all. With such a significant portion of the UK population needing a steer in the right direction, there’s clearly an opportunity for employers to engage members of their workforce towards healthier lifestyle choices.

A system of engagement is needed to help employees live longer, healthier lives. In the workplace, this system can be an integral part of an employer’s health and wellbeing strategy, which should be aimed at improving employees’ work performance and reducing sickness absence, and must employ tools to help encourage healthy lifestyle choices and support quick access to the appropriate care in the most convenient location.

A few online tools aimed at employee health and wellbeing have existed for a while. Using health risk assessments, for example, can help employers evaluate the health risk profile of a workforce and provide a baseline against which to monitor improvements. Online health and wellbeing portals also provide employees access to a range of healthy lifestyle information. However, the rise of the on-demand economy has changed the way many people expect to interact and manage their health.

Convenience, speed and simplicity

Consumers have a growing appetite for convenience, speed and simplicity. With increasingly busy lives, people are relying more on personal smart phones or tablets to get things done. So, it’s no surprise that the number of online health and wellbeing apps being offered by healthcare providers has increased. These tools have been designed to help align the key employee health and wellbeing pillars – body, mind and workplace culture – within a benefits package, so as to create one overarching health and wellbeing strategy that’s also convenient and simple to use.

Apps also provide employers with behaviour data such as usage metrics and health and wellbeing assessment results. As engagement with, and utilisation of, such technology increases, reporting becomes more sophisticated and can be used to help shape employers’ health and wellbeing strategies. It’s this knowledge that helps employers and insurers deliver more value to employees, and realise business cost savings associated with lower employee absence rates and higher productivity. Having healthier employees also results in reduced employer health plan utilisation and medical costs.

Digital tools to engage employees

In a world where poor lifestyle choices are dramatically impacting healthcare costs, it’s more important than ever that employers have well designed digital tools to help engage employees with their health and access care easily when they need it. Health and wellbeing apps appeal to the convenience demands of the modern workforce, enhancing the consumers’ experience of care while also managing employer costs.

This article was provided by Cigna.

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