The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in multiple ways — from constant fears about health and finances to most employees still working from home. The lines between work and life are blurred. Work from home trend is likely to continue in the future. A recent report from CISCO suggests that more than 75% of large organizations (typically self-funded) will increase flexibility to work from home.
Benefit leaders know that health of their people is the first priority. If employees are in pain or are sick, they are not productive. To perform well during this pandemic, employees need to know they can get quality care from their safety of their home, when they and their family members need it.
By offering telehealth programs, benefit leaders are helping their team members get access to primary and urgent care via phone, message or a video call. This keeps them away from high-risk health clinics and hospitals. While telehealth for primary care can address minor urgent care issues such as cold and flu, allergies, sore throat, UTIs etc., the transactional model of telehealth is not effective for chronic condition management and musculoskeletal care. People with chronic conditions such as chronic back and joint pain often require multiple visits with their providers and need close monitoring on a regular basis. They also need an ability to have asynchronous model of communication with their provider between visits.
Understanding this need, progressive benefit departments are taking the next step and are offering digital therapeutics for managing chronic conditions such as digital care for people with musculoskeletal pain. Some companies have committed to providing such programs at low or no cost to their people. Such a move will be a significant factor in maintaining a culture in which team members feel supported and safe.
Benefit leaders understand that just including digital health programs in the benefits portfolio is not enough. It is also equally important that people know about it when they need it. At this time, scheduling health fairs, in-person meetings, and accessing cafeterias or break rooms to promote health benefits programs is no longer realistic. Benefit leaders are no longer able to rely on traditional place or time based (for example during open enrollment only) approaches to get employees’ attention to their benefits. It is no surprise that during this open enrollment they are feeling more pressurized to provide strong communication, education and support of the health benefit programs, while relying on new forms of communication.
With remote working expecting to continue in 2021 and beyond, here are 3 steps to up your game to find new, engaging options to get employees’ attention to their digital musculoskeletal program.
Step 1: Personalized, targeted communication
With employee stuck at home, most of them are experiencing information overload and spending on average over 50 -60 hours per week consuming social media content. COVID has accelerated the way people consume information.
People get personalized content from e-commerce, streaming and social media apps and they are now expecting the information they are interested in to find them rather than having to look for it.
In contrast, most traditional benefit communication has followed the broadcasting model: One-size-fit-all and send the same content to everyone. Benefit leaders should expect that at this time, anything which is irrelevant to recipients will be ignored.
The new of the hour is to tailor communication to smaller, more selective audiences (even individuals). Seek opportunities to segment messages, even to significant groups.
Step 2: Round the year messaging
It is also important to continue benefits communications beyond the annual open enrollment period.
The importance of employee engagement round the year cannot be understated, amidst a shift to virtual and remote work, which will continue to be more commonly practiced. We all know that our needs change throughout the year. The communications strategy should accommodate all life changes and allow employees to make benefits changes as needed during the year.
Context is important. Too often employees don’t remember to look into intranet web of links when they are facing a health problem.
Using predictive tools that leverage claims, eligibility and prior authorization data to predict what type of ‘content’ is useful to influence behavior change will increase employee engagement and utilization of your digital MSK program.
Step 3: The right delivery method
The tailored context-driven content designed for a specific sub-group need the right method of delivery.
The delivery methods can be divided into three types:
- Format (Video/Audio/Text)
- Mode (one-on-one, pre-recorded, webinar)
- Channel (Email, Mailer, Text Message)
In the current environment, we can’t always be in person with the people we need to connect with. Voice and video calls is a great format for benefit leaders to get their message across. Instead of a company-wide meetings, it is also useful to have scheduled webinars with smaller groups. In this setting, it’s easy for employees to ask their questions directly to service providers and provide feedback in the moment. If no engagement is required at all, a pre-recorded video can be emailed out.
To connect and engage with the remote workforce, we need to shift our internals communications towards a digital communications ecosystem. People are diverse, so the ways we connect with our colleagues and team members should be diverse too. For more information on tools and techniques to promote digital musculoskeletal (MSK) program to your workforce, please call us at 1-855-234-1849 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sprite Health’s digital musculoskeletal program provides a single point of access for all MSK conditions, across the entire MSK continuum. Our virtual physical therapy services provide a more affordable and convenient way to prevent and treat pain. Chronic pain management provides an evidence-based, PT-led digital program for chronic joint and back pain that includes personalized exercise therapy, behavioral health support, education & guidance.