We talk a lot about the importance of including a health risk assessment (HRA) in your wellness strategy and fully believe that understanding your population’s health and lifestyle data is the first step in creating a personalized and effective wellness strategy. In this post though, we’re going to assume that you’ve already made the (excellent!) decision to implement an assessment and that you’re looking forward to the next steps – engaging your population and encouraging their participation. Because coming up with a strategy to get people to actually take the HRA is easier said than done.
Here are three strategies you can take to get your people to click that ‘Start Assessment’ button.
Make it Accessible
Some individuals within specific populations, such as the Medicare and Medicaid populations, may be concerned about their ability to complete an HRA. Some individuals, for example, may not have access to complete one online or may be completely put off by the idea of submitting information about themselves electronically. Alternatively, they may have difficulty understanding the questions. It’s important to provide accessibility assistance—which at some levels is a required part of attaining NCQA-certification—while also providing an explanation as to what’s going on.
There are several ways to provide assistance—you could administer the HRA in a paper format rather than digital, or you could have a team member work one-on-one with the participant. Hands-on assistance will mean that those who are less computer-savvy can complete the assessment while also giving those at lower reading or health literacy levels the opportunity to ask questions about what they’re completing. And, of course, a personal touch is always a great addition to any wellness program.
HRAs are an important component of wellness initiatives, offering the lifestyle data required to get the full view of population health. For participants, however, they can be seen as just another hoop to jump through. So, get excited! You don’t need to break out the pom-poms, but when you’re able to speak positively and encouragingly about the HRA, others are more likely to get on board. Being armed with information about the HRA—such as the fact that they take relatively little time to complete or what types of wellness initiatives may come from the results—could go a long way in changing perceptions and gaining their participation.
Being able to explain why the HRA is being administered and what the end goal is will help your population become more invested in contributing their information. Some of your “end goal” examples could include things such as:
- To provide useful, actionable resources based on specific health risks—such as risk of chronic disease
- To inform a wellness program that offers benefits and “perks” to those who partake (such as gym membership reimbursement, discounts with local personal trainers, et cetera.)
- To benefit workplace culture with programming that addresses things like stress management, work/life balance, et cetera.
Some of the most common concerns about HRAs are based on fear and lack of understanding. People may not want to submit certain information to a third-party organization. They may be worried about their results impacting health insurance eligibility. Or maybe they’re worried that their private information could get back to coworkers or supervisors. Whatever their hesitation, providing them with reassuring information can help reduce their concerns—and increase participation.
Here are some ways to build trust and prove that your program will respect the data they provide:
- It is illegal for both health plans and employers to discriminate based on HRA results.
- All data submitted within the Wellsource HRA specifically meets stringent data security and HIPAA requirements.
- There are standards that must be met when gathering population Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including compliance, privacy, and data protection standards, as well as nondiscrimination requirements.
At the End of the Day, Provide Context and Earn Trust
When you’re handling pushback from your population—whatever that pushback may be—it’s important to approach any hesitation openly and with the goal of alleviating concerns and building trust. After all, you’re asking participants to provide some of their most personal and private information. But your wellness programs—and ultimately improving population health—depend on this information.
Are you ready to engage your population? Read more tips and get into the participant mindset with our Ultimate Guide to Engagement.