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Wellsource Blog

Using an HRA to Develop a Health Intervention Plan Part Three: Planning Your Program

Written by Kori Pitt, MPH, Wellsource Internship Program

May 26, 2020

This blog post is part 3 in a series exploring the use of an HRA in developing a health intervention plan using research from Wellsource student intern Kori Pitt. In this example program, Kori outlines an example workplace obesity intervention program called the Triple W Challenge. Catch up on the series with part one and part two.

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Once a health assessment has been completed, the next step is to develop the program. The planning stage includes deciding what policies, benefits, programs, and environmental supports will make up the intervention program.

Planning the program:

Population health professionals should identify the foundation of the intervention using the data gathered in step one. A comprehensive intervention program will include four components. Think of these components as the “big ideas” or the general things you’ll do as part of the program:

  1. Provide education and skills training
  2. Boost resources and support
  3. Increase access and address barriers to entry
  4. Give feedback

Here’s how these components translated to the Triple W Challenge:

  1. Include mindfulness training and nutrition education
  2. Have management reinforce the importance of walking during breaks and support employees who decide to do so
  3. Swap out unhealthy foods in the cafeteria for healthy alternatives and providing longer break periods for exercise
  4. Measure the number of obese participants involved

Planning an intervention program includes setting long-term goals and planning specific actions to implement and evaluate the program’s efforts. Whether your organization plans to set up a few health promotion activities or implement a comprehensive workplace program all at once, a planning process is crucial.

Increasing the success of a workplace intervention will occur following these 5 steps during the planning process:

  1. Establish a planning committee
  2. Develop intervention goals and objectives
  3. Create a timeline and secure resources
  4. Construct an evaluation strategy
  5. Conduct pilot testing

Here’s how it will play out with the Triple W Challenge:

Establish a planning committee

The planning committee will be responsible for doing all the steps during the planning process. The committee will encourage “buy-in” from management and program participants and make sure that the program is meeting all the needs of the participants. Mentioned in part 2 of this series, employee input is important for intervention success. The planning committee will include program stakeholders such as program participants, people who will have a role in program evaluation and implementation, and those in management roles. Senior management support of the program is crucial for program success as well. Managers should be willing to encourage others to take part in the program and budget for program needs.

Develop intervention goals and objectives

Setting goals and objectives for your intervention program not only allows stakeholders to be informed about what your program will accomplish, but it also keeps your program progress in check. Identifying what behaviors need to change and the expected results of the program are good markers to set in advance to keep your intervention targeted. It is also important to keep the organization’s mission in mind when developing program goals and objectives. Advancing the core mission of the organization should be integrated into the program and should describe the organization’s commitment to workplace health. Here are the example goals and objectives for the Triple W Challenge program: 

Triple W Challenge goal: To reduce the rate of obesity in working female adults employed at X company participating in this program.

Triple W Challenge overall objective: By the end of the 24-month program, there will be a 5% reduction in obesity prevalence among working females employed at company X.

Behavioral objectives: By the end of the 24-month intervention, 90% of participants will:

      • Demonstrate mindfulness skills to use when feeling stressed at least 2 times per week.
      • Replace processed foods in their diet with whole foods like fruits and vegetables at least 3 times per week.
      • Use lunch breaks to exercise at least 4 times per week.

Learning objectives: By the end of the 24-month intervention, 80% of participants will be able to identify behaviors and risks that contribute to the development of obesity, and identify food alternatives in their diet. Also, 70% of participants will be able to recognize stressful occurrences and apply mindfulness techniques to relieve or reduce stress.

Create a timeline and secure resources

A realistic timeline should incorporate target dates for each task involved in the program. The Tripe W Challenge will start in the new year to align with New Year’s resolutions of employees. Pre-implementation activities will serve as preparation for program implementation. Activities include distribute HRA assessment and needs assessments, secure funding, develop goals and objectives, identify staffing needs, hire and train program staff, develop weight loss education materials, and identify healthy food sources for cafeteria overhaul. Implementation and evaluation activities will serve to keep program implementation on schedule. Activities could include participant recruitment, pilot testing, process evaluation, program revision, program marketing, program implementation, evaluation, and evaluation report distribution.

Construct and evaluation strategy

The evaluation plan includes tactics to deliver the intervention and addresses desired outcomes of the intervention. Having an evaluation plan is important to examine the processes, impacts, and outcomes of the program. If the program isn’t going as planned, having the evaluation framework in place allows for adaptations and refinements to the program. More information about evaluation will be available in Part 5 of this series.

Conduct pilot testing

The population health manager or, ideally, the organizational planning committee may want to conduct pilot testing before actual implementation occurs. Pilot testing on a small scale allows the committee to test procedures, strategies, and methods of the intervention to ensure that it will work on a larger scale. Pilot testing enables the committee and program staff to see how participants and staff will work under intervention conditions to see if the intervention is best suited for the intended audience and if the needs of the audience are being met.

Pilot testing for Triple W Challenge can include recruiting a small group of obese women to attend the hour-long intervention sessions during lunch one day a week and gathering feedback from them about ways to improve the intervention. Pilot testing could also include recruiting a sample of severely obese women to opt into receiving text messages to test the software and gather feedback from them about messaging techniques to ensure optimal delivery and understanding. 

 

In next week's installment of this blog series, we will explore the next step in the process: implementing the program.

 

Meet Kori Pitt, MPH

Kori Pitt Photo_Circle-01Kori Pitt obtained her BS in Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2013. She recently graduated with her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Arizona. Kori’s program concentrated in health promotion, where she examined health behavior and developed skills in implementing and evaluating health interventions on a population level.

Kori's internship at Wellsource involved performing research on lifestyle behaviors affecting obesity in working females. She performed statistical analyses on health risk assessment data and created an evidence-based workplace intervention framework for obesity. Kori is passionate about chronic disease education and prevention and bridging the gap between public health research and practice.

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"Workplace health programs have potential to not only impact individual health, such as health behaviors, risks for disease, or current health status, but to also impact organizations by increasing productivity, reducing healthcare costs and absenteeism, and boosting culture and employee morale."

Kori Pitt, MPH Wellsource Intern

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