Fostering Well Being with Clinically Driven Behavior Change
Episode 509

Fostering Well Being with Clinically Driven Behavior Change

In this episode, we have a great conversation with Christine Muldoon, VP of Marketing and Strategy at WebMD Health Services.  We go through the elements of well being that can help all of us thrive during tough times like COVID-19 and also through stressful normal work situations.  We explore ideas that can help employers leverage thoughtfully tailored programs the increase employee health, happiness, and engagement.

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Fostering Well Being with Clinically Driven Behavior Change

Episode 509

Fostering Well Being with Clinically Driven Behavior Change with Christine Muldoon, Vice President, Marketing and Strategy at WebMD Health Services transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Fostering Well Being with Clinically Driven Behavior Change with Christine Muldoon, Vice President, Marketing and Strategy at WebMD Health Services was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Welcome back to the podcast. Saul Marquez here. And today, I have the privilege of hosting Christine Muldoon.

She's the V.P. of marketing and strategy at Web M.D. In this role, she has a responsibility over the company's overall market strategy and execution, including marketing, B-to-B and B-to-C communications and marketing positioning. Additionally, Christine works exclusively with clients and internal stakeholders to evaluate the market leverage, voice a customer, evaluate partnership opportunities and operationalize opportunities for the company's success. Prior to her time at Web M.D., she served as the executive business director of Business and Product Strategy. For the past six years, Kristine's moderated the Web M.D. Health Plan and Employer Advisory Boards, comprised of executives to discuss key health topics and identify strategic market opportunities. She has over 20 years experience in the healthcare industry and it's just such a privilege to have her here on the podcast to talk to us about what they're doing at Web M.D. Health Services, how it's different from Web.M.D., and overall just how they're contributing to the health care ecosystems. Christine, such a privilege to have you here with us.

Thanks. I'm really excited to be here and I appreciate the opportunity that to talk with you.

It's absolutely. And so tell us a little bit more, Christine, about what inspires your work in health care.

Well, I mean, as you had said in my bio, I have been in the health care field for over 20 years, which kind of makes me feel like I'm really old.

I have spent most of my career in the health and wellness segment. I have health care.

And, you know, I don't really have an exciting story about, you know, why I got into health care. And there really wasn't one thing. But I think I'm just, you know, inspired by the fact that I can empower individuals with all aspects of their health. And I think it really comes from just me as a person. And personally, you know what I do? I am a mom of three active teenagers. And, you know, my it's my job. Aside from obviously providing home food and Internet, of course, that's really important to them to just make sure that you have, you know, a positive self-image.

And, you know, for me, I I work out every morning. I make sure that, you know, we're eating healthy food. My kids now like, mom, you're in a bad mood today. You probably didn't work out. Is that true? So they really know how important, you know, health and wellness is to me just as a person. And I I think it's about really how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself each day. And I believe that there's this huge correlation between really the mind and the body. So your physical health impacts your mental health, which impacts your physical health. And, you know, for me, I'm inspired that I can provide motivation, nudges and encouragement to our population, that we work less. And my family as well about putting their well-being first. So, you know, I'm just really lucky. And in my role at Web anti-health health services, I support our team in terms of providing tools, resources and information that help our clients support their employees and members in the same way, really to take charge of their health and their well-being and to really provide an impact that creates real behavior change.

I love it. It's fascinating that the well-being piece of this is so important. And, you know, we spend a lot of time talking about acute care and, you know, sick care. I feel like with the shifts in digital health and what we have going on now with covered 19, there's there's a stronger shift than I think more dollars toward being. We're starting to become more focused there. And even the chronic care piece Right. taking care of that, the well being around chronic care. So awesome that you guys are focused there and that you personally are driven for that. And I also I love your message about, you know, helping kids with that positive self image. I mean, I've got a 3 year old myself, and it's a it's a daily thing. So thanks for the inspiration there.

Have to do it with today's digital and what they see. You know, not everybody's perfect.

It's it's how you feel about yourself. So I try to encourage that. And I love it.

I love it. And so. So tell us a little bit more about Web M.D. Health Service says, how are you guys adding value to the health care ecosystem?

Yes. So, well, first, you know, most people get web and the health services can be confusing Web and the Web, Indeed.com, which is where, you know, if I say what's the web? And the people say, Oh. That where I go to symptom checker and find out that I have this terrible illness, but whether it be health services is part of the Web M.D. brand of companies that warranty health services provides digital, telephonic and on site well-being solutions to both employers and health plans. So our clients are employers and health plans and they offer our well-being solutions to their employees and to their members as a benefit in terms of adding value. I would say that, you know, and I it and you alluded this to the file that, you know, we've definitely seen the shift in the market from focusing on wellness, which is really more about the physical aspects to this more holistic approach to well-being. And that's really where we focused.

Whether it be health services brings together what we call five dimensions of well-being into our solution in five dimensions of well-being include physical, emotional, social, financial and clinical management. And clinical management is not a common dimension of well-being that you typically hear about, but it's one that's important to read n.d, because we believe that if you're not effectively managing a health condition that you have or if you're at risk of a health condition, it certainly can impact your overall well-being. And the other dimensions of well-being. So we add value because we look at these multiple dimensions of well-being. I think the other thing to think about is in today's literally today's current situation with Cauvin 19, it further emphasizes just that need and the importance to really focus and deliver holistic wellbeing solution that is providing what we say the right tools at the right time. So we need to be able to support individuals no matter where they are in their health journey so that we are being effective on overall health. So right now, we have so many people that are working from home, they are practicing social distancing. And, you know, maybe they need the emotional support or, you know, they need that motivation, maybe a team based wellness challenge that keeps them active and social at the same time. Even though we're not maybe in the same office location and then you might have other employees that need a solution that help Sam, you know, create a budget right now, because, you know, they're facing some financial insecurities and, you know, they want to start focusing on their financial wellness. I think there is a a huge opportunity and still very much an importance of delivering a whole holistic wellbeing solution. Even today, despite us not all being in an office location.

Christine, I love the dimensions, you know, that you mention. I do feel like it does capture Ramal and your emphasis on clinical management too is is critical. Right. If you let go of what you're doing to manage your your your diabetes or, you know, COPD or whatever it might be. Everything else falls through the cracks. And in all of those elements, physical, emotional, financial, social are really important.

And and how often are we thinking about these things for our employees? How often are we are we, you know, whether or not they take them up, but offering them resources to tend to thrive for and for their well-being thrive. And so how do you guys obviously that the model is different, but how would you say what you guys do is different than what's available today?

Yeah, I you know, I would say that what makes Web M.D. health services different is our focus on behavior change. We we're not just looking to drive people to use the solution or what I call a click for engagement strategy, meaning, hey, come to the site, make sure you say that you did this and then you're gonna, you know, earn your reward or your incentives. What we really focus on is building daily habits that align with an individual's interests. So our approach focuses on recognizing that, you know, we're all human. It's really hard to change a bad habit. And so how do we support individuals through that process? Perfect example is New Year's resolutions, right?

You make a New Year's resolution.

I am guilty of every year making a new years resolution, but these resolutions are really lofty goals. So, you know, this year, I'm pretty sure I said I'm going to exercise seven days a week no matter what or, you know, someone that wants to focus on their financial honest. You know, they say they kind of their credit card and they're committed to spending less money. And then usually by February, we're back to our old habit. You know why? Because we set lofty goals. And at the same time, we as humans, we want immediate gratification or success. That's what we expect. So we are just right off the bat setting ourselves up for failure. And so solutions that do that same type of thing or support those lofty goals, you know, are also setting users up for failure. So they get someone who, let's say, is a sedentary lifestyle, too, actually running a 5K. It takes small goals or steps that add up to that bigger goal of a 5K. You can't just get off the couch and expect to run a 5K well, at least for most people. So to successfully really, I think they support behavior change. Our solutions are built on a scientific behavior change methodology which you know, I won't go into all the details, but we worked with practicing physicians, clinicians and other members on our clinical advisory board.

And at the core of our wellbeing approach is a solution which we call daily habits. How appropriate. And it offers basically a variety of small, manageable actions to help people form healthy habits in a way that focuses on their personal situations. So we can't expect everyone to do the same thing. We have to gather information at the start. We want to understand. Okay. Saul, you know, what is your initial health status? What are your goals? And then we recommend the Right. daily activities that are aligned with your your individual goals and your status. And then from their daily habits gives individuals really the the freedom to choose what activities they want to do and, you know, help them achieve a goal and very complete those activities in a way that's really relevant to their current lifestyle. And the activities that we embed in the solution are focused on, you know, in inducing behavior change. And so we're seeing success with this strategy. And it's really exciting because we are definitely not just focused on engagement, but really looking at how we empower individuals to be successful in their behavior change over.

And that's a big difference to empowering people where they're just focusing on engagement. Clicks Yeah. And like you say, clicks for engagement is not really the end result that we're after. For employee health. And so. Maybe you have a story. Christine, tell us a little bit about how you guys have improved outcomes or made business better for some of your clients.

Sure. Well, I think the first thing to talk about is how well-being has become more holistic. And the problem is that as an industry, we are not measuring program success holistically either. If that makes sense. So what I mean is our measurement for success is not holistic in terms of measuring outcomes. So as an industry, we don't measure well-being in a comprehensive way. So great example. Let's take a weight loss program. If you only look at weight loss alone, you're kind of missing the bigger picture. So your your your lens is too narrowly focused on the specific outcome for the program. You may be the person lost weight. Maybe they did it. But the thing you need to consider is, are there other positive results based on the participation in that program? So maybe they're actually just feeling healthier because they participate in the program. Maybe they report that they're sleeping better, they have more energy. You know, they're getting on the floor unable to play with their kids. You know, maybe they feel more positive or they can get off blood pressure medication. So the impact of the weight management program went beyond the one specific metric of losing weight. And so we need to measure the impact that an improvement in that one risk can have on other health risks. So I think that's the baseline first. And then, you know, in terms of what we've seen in terms of outcomes are making this better, I think a great example. And I'm actually going to show you two examples because you're kind of tied to both of them.

The first is kind of what I had kind of talked about before this holistic well-being. And we've definitely seen this shift in the market with organizations that originally were looking at wellbeing programs for a return on investment. Right now, we're seeing this shift in the market where organizations are actually investing in well-being programs as more of a corporate strategy to improve employee engagement. Play overall satisfaction, retention, productivity and also really focusing on the culture within the organization. So let's take this organization. This is a client that has been a client for 10 years and they actually had completed this major technology acquisition. They're going through this acquisition and they really wanted to focus on a culture recognizing that, as you know, if you've been through an acquisition, it's a pretty stressful time. And so we really wanted to focus on the stress and resilience of our employees. And they didn't want to just hand out stress balls to this little fund because they wanted to really focus on showing the true commitment to helping their employees deal with these adversity changes. So we helped them roll out the stress and resilience training as part of their well-being program. And after less than seven months, they had seventeen thousand employees enroll in the Stress and Resilience Training Program. So it really shows that there was a need they recognized and it was important to the organizational culture. So not everything has to be about. Although I. Sure. Can I share and other examples we have.

Yeah, I know you have. Yes. Let's talk about it. And, you know, just just quickly there, you know that the shift is important.

And the reality is, while our lie is important, culture, retention, productivity, all these things flow into ROIC anyway. And so it just you know, it's important then in oftentimes harder to quantify, but nevertheless impactful. So I not love this story. Please, you know, share the next one. I'm curious.

Ok, so this is a this another large client and they are geographically dispersed. So they have over 50 locations across the U.S. which, you know, a lot of organizations have this. And even today, if you think about everyone working from home to see, they actually implemented something called the invitational, which is a five week team based Stepp's challenge. And the reason that they implemented this so team base, meaning that know like paired up with different teams that are similar to that, really creates this concept of a challenge. You don't want to always have the one team that's beating everybody because that just isn't fun. So so this team base step challenge, they. No about to improve engagement, but also they wanted to really build a sense of community across their entire organization. Even though they had these, you know, various geographically dispersed work site locations, they wanted to build a sense of community across the organization. So you one day they rolled out the program, the invitational, and they had over 12000 individual employees participate, register and participate in the program. They had over twenty four hundred teams. So Dank's. Because this is a team based program and they walked a total of 3.4 billion stap. I think they then launched the program again for their organization in year two.

And they saw over 16000 individuals participate. They saw a 36 percent increase in the number of teams, the number of participants, and they walked a total of four point nine billion down. That's actually 1.4 billion more stops than the first year. And the reason I bring this up is because they actually, as part of year two, they reduce their incentive amount. They also reduce the amount of communications that they did about the program. And so really what this man is becoming is word of mouth. You know, people heard about who participated the first year that the excitement, the energy created, they saw the success. You know, people were more active. They were losing weight. And it really created their own essential wellness champions throughout their organization. And so people were excited. And it wasn't about, you know, the incentives. They didn't need those those strong communications because they had that word of mouth throughout the organization. So it's that's pretty exciting. And these are really just two examples how you can improve business based on focusing on employee well-being and culture. And, you know, to your point, you will get that that Iwai or that that VLSI as well.

Yeah, that's that's that's brilliant. And two fantastic examples in that that that small incentive became not as important. And it's more about the culture that you create and how you drive toward a healthier and more attractive culture. So thank you for sharing that. Christine, you know, as as the business evolves and things change. What would you say is one of the biggest setbacks you've experienced while they're in a key learning that came out of it?

Yeah. You know, unfortunately, I would say that the Carone about us truthfully has created some pretty significant workplace challenges and set backs, you know, not only probably for all organizations, but I would say where Thandi is is no exception. As an employer, you know, we've obviously had to adhere to stay at home orders. We've had to cancel travel and really adapt to changes within our environment. We've also had to work with our clients who have to adjust their own business strategy as well. And well-being is no different. So we've had clients that have had to cancel or postpone biometric screening events because people aren't together, they're not in the office. You know, I just happen at a wellness challenge. And, you know, maybe organizations have decided, you know, now's not the time to promote that. So it's definitely not business as usual. And it definitely requires changes in terms of how we respond to employee well-being, too. But I think, you know, as I kind of think about the current situation that backs obviously happen, of course. But, you know, we didn't expect this kind of pandemic ever to happen, or at least I did it.

And so, you know, organizing for Right..

And so I feel like for us that web m._d, we had to essentially, I would say, redirect our energy to focus on where we could help our clients and their employees and their members. So, you know, consumers come to add empty to get trusted health information. So, you know, we saw this as, OK, here's an opportunity to redirect or maybe shift our efforts to focus on how we provide trusted health information on the coronavirus to our employers and health plans and their employees and members. So we essentially even, you know, from a marketing perspective, we put marketing efforts on hold and really began focusing on how we could provide information that was necessary and trusted regarding the kind of coronavirus. So I think it was like March 2nd we did a coded 19 overview campaign for our clients. So the goal was really to educate them on the new virus and really present the facts. And so we created an e-mail template and a PDA app that they could send to their employees. You know, we weren't sure what the reaction would be if our clients would use it, but we just knew there was a lot of conflicting information. It was really early on. And in reality, the reaction was tremendous. I mean, clients were like, this is great, this is easy, it's clean, it's straightforward. And they started to want more.

And so we've since been rolling out communications to support our clients with very types of client campaigns around the clone, a virus, you know, from emotional health to managing your well-being, to working from home. So, you know, that's one focus area. I would say that, you know, we also launched content within our solution dedicated to the Corona virus so that we were making sure that we were providing the right information. And we even worked with one of our new partners to provide a free text based education program so that users can receive information and updates around COVA 19, the text message, so they can, you know, be focused, but they get the message, they get relevant information. They have some action items that maybe they can do in terms of sanitizing their home or, you know, social distancing, but then they can go back to focusing on themselves and not having to search the Internet, you know, for all this crazy information and wondering whether it's relevant.

So, you know, I would say that we learned that we can't lose sight of the benefit of well-being, but we just need to really reposition what we do to make sure that we're supporting our clients and giving them the right information.

Well, and that's great, because it's I mean, the whole Cauvin thing took us for I mean by surprise. And it's been a heavy lift for a lot of organizations to really answer the questions. What is it? How do I deal with it? And then beyond that, right. Thinking through staying at home. Working at home. So awesome work to you and your team for. And I'm sure if the employers that you work with that provide, you provided this, too. They've been relieved because so many of the answers, you know, there like a lot of companies have had to go and find them in and hire experts to best address them.

So kudos. Her for that pivot that you guys made. It's awesome.

And you know, one thing I'll add follow is that kind of going back to our earlier discussion on holistic well-being, we can't lose sight of the impact that this current situation with Kobe, 19, is having on the people emotionally. You know, I know the emotional strain it's having on me. I mean, my emotions are like a roller coaster. I have a daughter that's gonna go off to college and I'm feeling sad that certain things might be canceled.

Right. So we're excited.

We're gonna do some things focused on emotional and mental health, which we'll be announcing soon. And so it just really further enforces, reinforces that, you know, well-being is so important no matter what. And there's always the right time and the right place. And you just you know, you shouldn't not focus on it. So work hard.

Now, that's great. Kudos for you. And you're you're employing it in the home, which in the end, you know, a lot of people that do receive these services and these benefits transfer them to their loved ones at home to help as well.

So so what would you say you're most excited about today? Christine?

Wow, I don't know if you could tell I'm excited a lot, but I guess tell. You know, I think if there's anything that we've learned from the current, you know, blending of work life and the impact, I would say that the Corona virus is having is that, you know, it just further reinforces that well-being programs are an essential part of really any positive company culture. You know, I love what we're doing. And I think that it's important to, you know, educate companies out there that wellbeing programs don't automatically create a strong culture, you know. You know, oftentimes it's people think if they build it, they will common. That's not the case. It does take work and it does take trust.

But I do get excited that, you know, well-being, when it does become part of an organization's DNA, you know, the results are pretty profound, whether it is our ally or the ally or a combination of both, you know, and I'm excited that we can really bring a solution and a philosophy that starts with these small lifethat lifestyle changes and really help individuals create accountable goals and make it simple, make it personally relevant and also make it make it fun. You know, I think we're learning that in today's environment, well-being is not a nice to have, but it's definitely an essential.

Yeah, that's well-put. It's that a nice to have folks.

It's a must have a line. Yeah. I think it's great.

And you know, just thinking about the position of Wendy and how content rich it is and just I mean talk about a great partner for them. So if you hadn't considered them, what Web M.D. Health Services is doing an extraordinary job, as you can hear. Well, Christine, before we conclude, I love if you could just share a closing thought. And then the best place where the listeners can get in touch with you.

Yes, sir. So I'm I'm just excited that I got to participate on this podcast today. Hopefully you can see that, you know, help them. Well, being is my passion. And, you know, if anyone is interested in learning more about what whether the health services does or just their philosophy around well-being, if if you go to our Web site, you can register for our blog, because I do a lot of posts on our blog that don't necessarily have to be about our product, but the importance around well-being and things that you can do within your organization. So a lot of great examples that we can share with everyone.

That's awesome, folks. Web M.D. Health Services dot com. And what's the best place for them to reach out and get more info?

Yeah. If you if you want to connect with us, feel free to send an email to connect at Web. M. D, W.E.B M.D. dot net. Connect that with Andy that Matt and we'll make sure that we get your questions answered or share additional information if you're interested.

Outstanding. Christine, thanks again for for a great discussion around holistic well-being. And folks, I hope you found some inspiration to to rethink what you're doing or maybe it reinforced what you're already doing. And and that's wonderful. So, Christina, appreciate your your time here today and looking forward to staying in touch.

Thank finally faded.

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About this podcast episode

In this episode, we have a great conversation with Christine Muldoon, VP of Marketing and Strategy at WebMD Health Services.  We go through the elements of well being that can help all of us thrive during tough times like COVID-19 and also through stressful normal work situations.  We explore ideas that can help employers leverage thoughtfully tailored programs the increase employee health, happiness, and engagement.

 

About Christine Muldoon

Christine Muldoon became the VP of Marketing & Strategy at WebMD Health Services in 2019. In this role, she is responsible for the company’s overall market strategy and execution, including marketing, B2B and B2C communications, and market positioning. Additionally, Christine works extensively with clients and internal stakeholders to evaluate the market, leverage the voice of the customer, evaluate partnership opportunities, and operationalize opportunities for the company’s success.  Prior to this role, she served as the Executive Director of Business and Product Strategy. For the past six years, Christine has moderated the WebMD Health Plan and Employer Advisory Boards, comprised of executives to discuss key health care topics and identify strategic market opportunities.

Christine has more than 20 years’ experience in the health care industry. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business from Providence College and a master’s degree in Business and Health Care Management from the University of Connecticut.

 

What you will learn in this episode

  • The 5 elements of well being
  • Ways to increase and improve your own as well as employees well being, health and engagement
  • Common challenges companies face with wellness programs
  • How WebMD Heath Services differentiates themselves in the market

 

Important links:

WebMD Health Services

For the entire transcript and more details visit:  https://outcomesrocket.health/