- A growing number of companies are moving into corporate wellness technology development, creating platforms for other companies to implement workplace wellness programs.
- By leveraging mobile applications and fitness trackers, these platforms help employers and employees input, track, and analyze real-time data in areas such as fitness, health metrics, emotional wellness, and nutrition.
Workplaces, especially large companies with many locations, may benefit from outside help in setting up, coordinating, and tracking the various aspects of wellness programs. Companies that specialize in digital integration for workplace wellness meet this need by creating platforms for their clients to achieve their health goals. These digital integrators provide individual plans that cater to their clients and leverage digital technology and fitness/activity trackers to collect and analyze (often real-time) data.
Although different companies prioritize these to varying extents, the three common goals of digital integrators are to: (1) Engage and incentivize employees, (2) Decrease healthcare costs for employers, and (3) Produce measurable improvement in health. Employers hiring digital integrators often end up with a “hub” in which they can access all of their employee data in order to measure outcomes and give out incentives. On the employee side, these platforms allow users to go to one place to input, access, and track all of their data – including physical activity, nutrition, health metrics, and emotional wellness.
Overall, the expertise provided by digital integrators may make wellness program implementation not just timelier but also more effective. Digital integrators have skill in cutting-edge technology, design, and various fields of health, including physical fitness and psychology. They also have valuable experience from former clients. Moreover, the competition in this sector drives digital integrators to innovate, finding ways to distinguish themselves using gamification or strategic partnerships.
That being said, major companies, governments, and even schools have been able to implement successful workplace wellness programs without hiring outside support. Furthermore, the major limitation is that these companies’ programs focus mainly on lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, some studies argue that disease management is also a significant area of healthcare costs. Of course, employees with chronic conditions do benefit from lifestyle and preventive programs; however, it is not clear that the companies described here help employers provide specific support for their employees with pre-existing conditions.
It also needs to be acknowledged that most digital integrators are sparing in the information they provide about their programs online. This makes analysis of these companies difficult. For companies hoping to work with digital integrators, it may be valuable for them to reach out directly and conduct their own research.
Building an effective workplace wellness platform is the foundation of getting health and financial outcomes. However, successful design is not just about aesthetics. What sets certain platforms apart from the large pool of companies in this sector are outcomes and innovation.
Castlight Health (which includes the program formerly known as “JIff”) aims to help companies lower healthcare costs by properly incentivizing employees. The Castlight Health process follows specific steps: 1) Identifying pain points that contribute to poor employee health and high healthcare costs, such as chronic disease, too many ER visits, or stress, 2) customizing the platform, and 3) personalizing incentives to engage employees in behaviors that will reduce the drivers of poor health and high costs. Together, this creates an employer-owned hub that for benefits, HR, and health questions. Moreover, Castlight employs gamification to further engage their clients’ employees.
Castlight uses gamification to distinguish itself from other workplace wellness technology companies, with a points system, social activities, and other real-word rewards centers. The company emphasizes design-thinking in order to create engagement.
Moreover, Castlight really caters to the employers in order to help them analyze data collected on their employees’ health behaviors. Their ABOS Impact Framework lays out what they call a “virtual heat map” of all of the programs, compiling metrics in order to help employers understand their programs’ performances and suggest future steps for improvement.
- Mattke et al., “Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money?”
- “Health Benefits. Smarter.,” Jiff, 2017, https://www.jiff.com.
- “Actionable Insights: How Jiff Does It,” Castlight Health, 2017, http://www.castlighthealth.com/resources/actionable-insights-how-jiff-does-it/.