The Corporate Health Summit (CHS) was started with the aim of creating a forum to bring together voices of various stakeholders on the health and wellness theme in organizations. CHS 2019 kicked off with representation from all parts of the health and wellness pie- HR representatives/ decision makers, insurance, service providers /TPAs and wellness companies.

Keeping in mind issues that are immediately relevant to the stakeholders, this year’s CHS panel discussions kick started with a theme that resonates with all of us – “Technology based wellness programs for the workforce: How do you use tech to get workforces fitter? How do you see it evolving?” What are the technology imperatives to help people design and implement wellness programs? 

I had the honour of moderating this panel. The panel was well drawn and comprised of people who work at the cusp of both technology and health and wellness.  We had :

  • Subhasish Sircar: Founder and CEO, Health Vectors-
  • Dr. Ajay Patwardhan: Medical Director, Connect and Heal
  • Nikhil Chopra: Chief Business officer, MediBuddy
  • Dr. Noel Coutinho: Sr. VP, Ekincare, who brought in interesting insights to this discussion.

I started with asking the question of “what outcomes do we look for with the use of technology and what are the challenges that we seek to overcome”.  The answers from panelists ranged from

  • Achieving personalization with scale: since health and wellness data is personal , yet, this needs to be processed on an industrial scale with large workforce. 
  • Addressing the 3As– awareness, access and affordability and therefore sustaining the momentum  of wellness based engagement programs
  • Tech acting as an enabling function: how can technology help achieve overall objective.

We took a slightly different approach for this panel where we chose to ask questions and address concerns from the audience upfront. They broadly fell into the above three. In addition, we addressed questions on

  1. The digital detox paradox
  2. Data protection and the GDPR challenge

The key takeaways:

  1. Preventive healthcare should take center stage in organizations. As custodians of health of the most prized asset of the organization, we need to work towards employees healthier rather than take just curative steps such as paying insurance premium.
  2. Incentivize health and wellness- use a carrot and stick approach although the stick may not be the most favourable.  Varying rewards may be an option. The examples of companies where there was a smoking surcharge built into the employee insurance plan threw new perspectives.
  3. Technology and the use of information will be ubiquitous in the time to come. Data protection is here to stay. Organizations need to put in enough safeguards to walk the tight-rope walk between individual privacy and organizational needs.
  4. Wellness has to be a well-drawn out long term plan for the organization.Technology can only be an enabler.
  5. Using engagement tools in health and wellness initiatives will help to increase awareness and keep it going on a sustained basis.

In short, technology cannot be a silver bullet to solve health and wellness plans. Organizations will still need to think about and invest in planning and executing health and wellness programs. The service layer is critical to deliver a consistent employee experience.  Here’s to moving towards a healthy and happy workforce!

Author credits: Suman Joshi, Process and Quality at The Fuller Life. Moderator of the Tech + Wellness Panel at Corporate Health Summit 2019

Suman currently anchors performance, process and quality at The Fuller Life. Her earlier work experience was at Infosys HR, part of the Campus relations team. Suman is a policy enthusiast. She also likes reading, running and is currently giving writing a shot!

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