TMI? How to Organize Wellness Info to Make it Useful

In last week’s blog, I featured three great websites that you can use to encourage employees to become more engaged in their health care.

Each site has a great deal of information and free materials that you can use to supplement your wellness communications. In fact, it’s almost overwhelming. That’s why I participated in a webinar for the Health Action Council of Ohio last week…to help employers understand how they can narrow down and utilize the information in a meaningful way.

The following are a few of the tips I provided:

  • Look at your claims data. Which disease states or conditions are the biggest issues for your participants? Is it diabetes? Allergy and asthma? Osteoarthritis? Gastrointestinal? Pick a couple of your top issues to focus on first.
  • Develop a plan. As someone who’s followed our blog, you understand the importance of planning. Assuming you have an annual communications plan, review your plan to see how you can incorporate the materials from these websites into your scheduled wellness campaigns. For example, were you already planning to do a diabetes campaign? Utilize the diabetes-related questions, videos and tools from these sites into your communication mix.
  • Dedicate a portion of your website to a practical toolkit. You can’t just “push” information. You also need to have a well-publicized, clearly organized portion of your website for participants to “pull” information when they need it.

Think about dedicating a portion of your website to practical tools participants can use in their everyday life. Organize the links and information by disease state or condition. For example, for osteoarthritis, provide direct links to applicable information from the sites above as well as tools or information from your medical provider, wellness vendor and so forth. In this way, participants can easily find the information that specifically applies to them…rather than trying to sort through a lot of material on the web.

If you don’t want to organize your site by specific conditions, at least create an overview section that emphasizes the importance of asking questions and choosing wisely. All three sites provide great information, including flyers, checklists, videos and interactive tools.
Note: you’ll need to monitor your links periodically to ensure they have not changed.

  • Go beyond links to get the word out. Providing links is great, but they won’t do any good if participants don’t know about them. Build awareness throughout the year using a variety of vehicles: newsletter articles, teasers in materials, email blasts, posters, table tents, management forums, even postcards to the home (if the site is outside your firewall).

They say “knowledge is power,” but too much information can cause inertia. Help your participants by organizing specific wellness information and tools into an easy-to-find-and-navigate web page, then promote that page consistently throughout the year.