This post is a continuation of the previous post titled’ “Our State of Health – Why are We Here?”
As Humans, we are intelligent beings so perhaps if we were to get information about how to manage our health in a manner we like to receive it and in a way we can absorb it, we can begin to make better decisions and take actions toward better health. We want to do it so perhaps past methods were not the correct ones to motivate us.
Present forms of communicating desired changes to health habits involve spreading fear, shouting threats, punishing wrong doing, and pushing commands to this or that. To make it worse, Payers, Providers and others are doing this in an uncoordinated manner fueling chaos and despair. To a consumer, it is like being in a mad house during a full moon so they shut down all input. Instead of using negative approaches, why not take a positive approach through nurturing? The average person wants to make good decisions but they need information and tools to be able to do it.
No one likes to be told they are fat each morning and then get a threat from a consumer web site after they sign in saying, “You are fat and you need to lose weight” and you will be hounded each day on the site for being FAT. Sound ridiculous? This is what two senior people from a healthcare Payer proposed to be done on their consumer portal during a customer experience initiative. The intent was to force people to lose weight using an “in your face” approach but in reality, it demonstrated a terrible, degrading customer experience. In another example, digital nanny applications in early mobile health programs nagged you when your health parameters did not meet their expectations. So after a few days, consumers deleted the application after experiencing constant frustration. These approaches do not build relationships and it demotivates their customers. They are negative approaches in an attempt to help people. But as consumers, we are not wired to respond to this approach even though it may have worked 30 years ago.
I call the concept of interacting and communicating information with consumers along a series of gradual steps … “Health Nurturing.” These are baby steps and not leaps. Consumers are not pushed forward but instead lead to actions that generate forward progress from with inside them. Consumers accept and digest bits of information at their own pace leading to insights and actionable behavior changes.
If we use the Health Nurturing concept, we begin a path to adoption such as:
- Collaborate with consumers giving them what they need to become aware of a health situation. Help them become aware of potential health issues and their risks.
- Enable consumers to research pertinent information in their quest to understand health issues and how it may impact them or others they know. Offer information that is relevant so they may analyze and internalize it at their pace.
- Allow consumers time to accept the impact and outcome of the situation once they have come to understand it. Let them gain insight to how it affects them and what can be done to assist them in moving forward.
- Enable consumers with programs and useful information so they may adopt new behaviors and execute on steps toward a better outcome.
I use four natural stages of consumer based thinking to achieve behavioral change. They are (1) awareness, (2) research, (3) embrace, and (4) adoption and they guide the consumer down a path to self-realization and self-action.
This approach works because the process is internalized and tuned to the person so that they may accept it on their terms as opposed to it being forced upon them through negative reinforcement. This approach does not force feed and push but instead lets the consumer digest information at their personal pace to, hopefully, gain insights can change their way of thinking to correct a behavior for better health.
Excerpted from my book titled, “Commercializing Consumer Engagement.”