Every year, millions of people set resolutions to improve their health and wellness. Unfortunately, without support, only 9% of people keep their resolutions, and 64% fail before February. As population health professionals, you can help people develop health and wellness goals they can work towards year-round, while reducing healthcare costs and improving employee recruitment and retention.
Good health and wellness habits never go out of style, but the diets, exercise routines, and the technology used to achieve improved health change based on trends. So, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with trending health and wellness habits and offer programs to meet your population where they are at to help bolster their success.
Health & Wellbeing Trends for 2023
1. Prioritize Mental & Emotional Health and Provide Supportive Options
Increased rates of anxiety, depression, burnout, and stress make mental health and well-being a top priority for 2023. You can’t control people’s external stressors, but as population health professionals, you can listen and provide valuable, personalized tools to help.
Mental health issues often directly affect physical well-being and can increase the risk for physical health issues. By prioritizing mental health and wellness in health policies—and implementing systems to gather self-reported data—organizations can be sure their populations have the help they need.
2. Targeted Health & Wellness Initiatives, Personalized to Your Population’s Needs
Well-structured health and wellness initiatives improve quality of life while reducing absenteeism, healthcare costs, and occurrences of sick days. However, sometimes these programs “miss the mark” for underrepresented employees. Successful program offerings must be as personalized and varied as the participants themselves—and should provide options for people facing challenges with health equity.
Data is vital to providing personalized options. Identifying social determinants of health (SDOH) to consider religious beliefs, cultural differences, income disparities, and more allow population health professionals to engage their community through personalized programs. Health risk assessments (HRA) help by gathering targeted data that allows for more customized programs and segmentation of your audience for optimal outcomes.
3. Encourage Preventative Care & Routine Exams
In 2023, people are taking a proactive approach to preventative health—reconnecting with their providers after gaps in care due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prioritizing wellness exams and preventive screenings improves health outcomes by helping to identify risks before they become a problem. By creating a healthcare routine that considers the individual medical history and personal risk factors, early intervention is more effective, and lifestyle changes can be made sooner.
Setting a goal to bring preventative care to the forefront is a great start, but people still have busy schedules. To be successful in their goal, they need convenient, flexible resources to gather and track their health data anytime, anywhere. Population health professionals can support and encourage their population with tools such as HRAs to make data gathering more convenient and provide personalized health recommendations.
Tactics to Build More Engaging Programs and Drive Better Health Outcomes
1. Engagement & Communication
Population health programs are only as successful as the participants–your programs can be award-worthy, but if people don't know about them or no one is engaged, they will flop. Engagement becomes even more challenging when your population is off-site, working from home offices or at satellite locations. A generalized program won’t work.
The key to communicating your programs effectively and engaging people is simple: Know your audience. Implementing tools to gather data and personalize your programs to the needs of your population will go a long way in the overall success of your programs and your population’s health.
2. Build a Better Culture of Health
Creating a culture of health can positively impact your organization’s culture while benefiting both employees and employers. Building a health-conscious culture begins with an organization-wide dedication to making your population's physical and emotional health and well-being a top priority.
Offering memberships to a gym is a good start, but it can’t be the only element. To make a long-term change, companies need to build a culture that strives for health equity while promoting healthy behaviors and providing the resources, education, and tools for success. Understanding your population’s wellness baseline is a great place to start supporting your population in their health and wellness journey.
3. Highlight Health Months
Health months are a great way to recognize various health conditions relevant to your population. Get creative with ways to engage your population with games and challenges throughout the month and offer education and resources for those who may need assistance.
Using personal health data from an HRA, you can identify trends in your population’s health and select months or themes most applicable to their needs. Heart Month is around the corner is a great time to distribute content about heart health. Or, plan to recognize National Alcohol Awareness Month (April), Healthy Vision Month (May), or National Mental Health Month (October).
People want to feel valued and supported in their health and wellness journey, and as population health professionals, you can do just that. By considering the trends above and building your wellness programs based on targeted data, you can support your population’s health needs and goals while creating a more engaged and productive team.