Show Me the Data: The State of Informed Decision Making in Health and Well-being

“Is my program successful?” That may seem like a simple question, but as anyone involved in employee well-being initiatives knows, it’s anything but.  But these days, employers are learning to use data to address the question.  Health analytics expert Tatiana Shnaiden, MD, MS examined results from the HERO Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer to see how employers use data to drive well-being program strategy, to communicate information to stakeholders, and to measure impact.

What she found is that employers that collect and use data from one or more sources are more likely to view their program as effective and supported by the organization. The most frequently used metrics are participation data, physical health risks, and healthcare utilization and costs. These metrics are most often shared with senior leaders (59%), but some respondents share this information with managers (24%), employees (22%), or other vendors (20%). Sharing data allows for shared decision making, accountability and communicating course corrections so that realistic expectations are set.

Based on my own client experience, the most effective programs are those that have a framework of resources and a consistent data dissemination plan built at all different levels of the organization – leaders, managers, HR representatives. Leaders are critical to creating a culture of health, and their active participation in initiatives can increase employee participation rates by as much as 10%. Visibility lends support and naturally promotes the tools, resources and activities available.

Many employers create health and well-being dashboards that include the key metrics described above, data insights, and a clear call to action to increase manager accountability and engage them in strategic decision making and communicating information to employees and co-workers. By sharing program performance information, it helps build confidence that the program is directly connected to employee health improvement outcomes.

Check out the full article, including other reasons why using data is a critical factor in driving program success.

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