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Wellsource: Boosting Health and Wellness Engagement with Psychographics


Wellsource, the longest-serving and most experienced company in the health risk assessment industry, published an article titled, "Using Psychographic Data to Boost Health and Wellness Engagement." In this article, the author distinguishes demographic data (age, gender, income) from psychographic data (attitudes, motivations, goals) and recognizes that different people are motivated by different things. Wellness is characterized as a path, and every person has a different starting point with different goals and priorities along that path.

Healthcare has traditionally taken a "one-size-fits-all" approach to promoting wellness, under the assumption that everyone agrees being healthier is a good thing. This might be a good assumption if health, wellness and healthcare were rational, objective subjects. On the contrary, health is an emotional subject and driven by instinctual influences. This is why patient education, by itself, is insufficient for sustaining behavior change - no amount of fact-based information will get people to lead healthier lives on a going basis.

That may seem like a fairly extreme statement, but consider physicians and nurses. These healthcare professionals are the most highly educated people in the world as it pertains to health and wellness. However, a Johns Hopkins study found 53% of physicians to be overweight or obese, and a UCLA study found that a quarter of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) smoke. If these experts, with all their knowledge and training, still partake in unhealthy habits, how can one expect patients to do better?

The key is harnessing a person's motivations to reframe a proposition so it resonates personally. One person may be driven by self-improvement and performance enhancement while another person is more concerned about his family's welfare and sacrifices his own wellbeing to ensure his family gets all the care they need. One might position a healthy behavior (e.g., exercise, nutrition, medication adherence, etc.) as a means toward goal achievement for the first person while appealing to the other person's sense of duty and commitment; for example, "Do [healthy behavior] so that you can be here for those who count on you."

The article covers PatientBond's psychographic segmentation model as a way to group, target and engage healthcare consumers based on their shared psychological characteristics. Each of the five psychographic segments are listed with their distinguishing attributes and a suggested messaging approach. The psychographic segments fall along a continuum, from the most engaged in their health to the least engaged; however, each segment can be motivated to activate and sustain healthy behaviors. Each psychographic segment has its own unique preference for health and wellness communications, from word choice to channel mix and frequency of engagement.

The article also offers readers the opportunity to discover their own psychographic segment by answering PatientBond's short classifier survey.

The article closes with a very strong point: The better you understand your audience, the more messages will resonate. Psychographic data help you target your engagement in a way that shows you understand your audience's specific health concerns, motivations and lifestyle habits.

To learn more about psychographic segmentation in healthcare, please download our whitepaper, "Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change."

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