Like many of our clients, you need to deliver positive public health outcomes so you can demonstrate that you are, in fact, improving the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities. It’s our job to find the best, most cost-effective ways to activate behaviors that will make your target audience healthy and you a success.
It is an incredibly difficult task to inspire even the most motivated individuals to own their health and take action toward improving it. Over many population health engagements, we have found that three critical factors consistently enable (or disable) success.
1. Solving the motivation mystery.
Let’s face it, most of us are less than adequately prepared for or committed to maintaining our optimal health. Health-related behaviors, good and bad, are complex and idiosyncratic. Myriad avoidance behaviors come into play, which means tapping into a motivational “live wire” is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. To find successful motivations, you’ll need to conduct solid qualitative research to discern the key emotional and rational drivers. You’ll also need to launch multiple messages, leverage digital media to target and segment audiences, and track the effectiveness of your creative.
2. Mapping the consumer journey.
Assuming you successfully engage consumers in a program or healthy action plan, be aware that this is just the beginning. Motivating and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices requires constant nurturing. Continuous reinforcement is necessary for habits to form, and this demands an in-depth knowledge of the consumer and their “journey” — a roadmap of their mindset and decision-making path. Too often, public health campaigns are launched without explicitly defining the target audience and the specific actions (conversions) necessary for success.
3. Collecting and sharing outcome data.
Systemic approaches designed to impact population health are often hampered by an inability to collect and share data on public health outcomes. Communication and feedback shared between medical providers, referral navigators, program providers, and payers is often rudimentary at best — and nonexistent at worst. Without data, how can you know whether you’re improving an individual’s or population’s health? Without data, what do you say to the funding sources you rely on when they ask about evidence and outcomes? Create a measurement plan (or logic model) for your campaign, and be sure to address the data collection channel and process. Consider all stakeholders that have a role in data collection and sharing (there are likely to be many).
In summary, give yourself a better chance at changing the health status of individuals and groups by
- tapping into multiple motivational drivers
- continuously supporting and nurturing individuals on their road to health
- ensuring that all parties have access to outcome information and data
Though managing population health and improving public health are top priorities, they remain works in progress. There is much room for learning and improvement, but the challenges are well worth the effort. Contact us if you’d like to see how our experience can help strengthen your public health outcomes.
Jim Pontarelli is RDW’s President and lead researcher and planner. Over the years, he’s worked on numerous Fortune 100 brands. Endlessly curious about how people think and behave, he recently became a licensed clinical social worker and trained group therapist.