By 2018, U.S. employers will integrate more than 13 million wearable health and fitness tracking devices into their employee wellness programs. For employers who successfully integrate fitness trackers into their workplace wellness programs, it’s a win-win. Apps and wearables can help employees meet individual goals while helping their employers achieve corporate health goals as well as reducing health insurance claims and related premiums.
It’s important for companies to embrace the positive impact wellness challenges play in getting people moving, no matter their fitness level. One way to accomplish this is to help members utilize the right tracking tools at the right time, tools employees likely already use. In fact, according to technology consultants Endeavors Partners, one in 10 Americans over the age of 18 owns an activity tracker.
“When employees are happier and healthier, they are better organizational citizens,” said Catherine Bass, Ph.D., M.S., director of analytics and reporting at Onlife, a comprehensive wellness solutions company that works with health plans and large employers nationwide. “Not only are they more effective problem solvers, which improves intellectual capital and retention, but they are better able to manage their illnesses through greater medication compliance and improved awareness of their conditions.”
“Many of our members have employees who already use their own devices but who are looking for a consistent program that can help them utilize these digital healthcare tools at a higher level. By creating challenges that encourage greater activity, we’re not just measuring what’s been done but rather encouraging people to continue what they’re already doing,” said Griffin.
Integrating data from wearable devices is no easy feat and is hard to manage alone. Years ago, at the request of a single client, Onlife integrated a basic pedometer into its member platform. This required time and effort not just to build the integration to the device, but also to manage the ongoing maintenance. When other clients began requesting Onlife to integrate data from other activity trackers, they looked for a better solution.
Onlife chose Validic, a company that offers a digital technology platform enabling convenient, easy access to digital health data from disparate devices. With one simple connection to Validic, companies like Onlife can access activity and health data from more than 300 fitness wearables, in-home clinical devices and nutritional and health apps. With access to this data, Onlife was able to power their programs with better insights into employee health and well-being.
“Validic took the burden off of our internal resources, allowing us to focus on our core competencies. What set Validic apart was their ability to help truly expand our ecosystem of devices. Validic already has hundreds of direct connections to devices, and if there’s one they don’t have that you need, they’ll go out and get it on the customers’ behalf. For example, over the last 12 months, our members increasingly asked for data tracking and integration with Apple Health and its products. Validic worked with us to put a relationship in place, and together we came up with a creative solution that saved us valuable time and resources,” said Griffin.
Through the partnership with Validic, Onlife can now measure the impact that big and small changes have on the daily lives of employees. Additionally, by Onlife offering bring-your-own-device (BYOD) wellness programs, employers can potentially save money because they don’t have to purchase and supply the wearables as technology changes and new devices become available. “Having various ways for members to engage with your wellness platform increases the proportion of members who will interact with the program,” stressed Bass. “Adding device integration into our offerings resulted in a 23.7 percent increase in new member engagement.”