Improving Health Outcomes by Understanding Individual Attitudes and Behaviors Towards Wellness

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By Dave Kelly, CEO & Founder, AnalyticsIQ

It’s no surprise that we all have diverse personal views of what ‘healthy’ means to us. Along with that, we also have differing motivations to achieve our personal satisfactory level of health. Considering the varying attitudes individuals have towards living a healthy life and the plethora of actions that are completed to achieve personal health goals, every individual has a unique approach to their wellness that will continue to shift as they evolve and grow.

The seemingly endless ways an individual may view and act when it comes to their health presents a challenge to health and wellness brands or service providers that serve people of all kinds and types.

How can they achieve the greatest outcomes for their patients and customers without understanding the individual experience? How can they drive action among their populations without understanding the motivations and preferences those they serve?

How Beliefs & Behaviors Affect Wellness

At AnalyticsIQ, we blend cognitive psychology, data science, and predictive analytics to better understand the who, what, and why behind individuals and the decisions they make every day. Through rich data and sophisticated research capabilities rooted in cognitive psychology, we saw an opportunity to better understand the driving factors behind varying types and levels of wellness to help companies trying to improve the lives of their consumers and patients.

What we found were four clear, distinct, and overarching Health & Wellness Personas that can be defined at the intersection of an individual’s actions (adherence vs avoidance) and their attitude (enthusiastic vs indifferent) as it relates to their individual health.

The four personas – Care Plan Conformists, Wellness Strivers, Well-being Bystanders, and Conscious Resisters – can be further broken down by age and gender, identifying key differences in the health-related actions and attitudes and how they may shift over an individual’s entire lifetime.

As a result of these personas, health and wellness providers can comprehend the lifestyle and mentality of patients with differing attitudes and actions, giving them the opportunity to better serve their customers and patients accordingly.

Adherence & Enthusiasm

When it comes to health and wellness, Wellness Strivers exhibit high adherence and enthusiasm. They live the straight-and-narrow life, which works in their favor. Highly educated with successful careers, they tend to be go-getters with their health as well. This group follows the directives of their doctors, from medications to exercise to nutrition. They are the least likely to have restrictive lifestyle diets—such as vegetarian, vegan, or paleo—or use unorthodox homeopathic solutions.

With the overall highest income and net worth, Wellness Strivers invest in their health with products and services that keep their heart pumping. You’re as likely to find them at the gym as you are on an exercise bike at home. Between business meetings and family time, they generally attend to their health according to their doctor’s instructions.

This group would get a gold star from most health providers as companies and practitioners can count on them to consistently take their health seriously. Making up 31.9% of the population, Wellness Strivers represent a great opportunity if kept up to date on your latest tips, products, and services. Their enthusiastic attitude toward health along with a high level of adherence that makes them more likely to be open to new things.

Adherence & Indifference

Care Plan Conformists have high adherence but show indifference in their attitude, so they may let their fitness and wellbeing slide at times. They are self-sufficient and reliable, so do what they can to stay healthy with the resources they have, keeping doctors and healthcare providers confident that they will listen to their instructions.

With the majority of Care Plan Conformists identifying as introverts, they are likely unmotivated by group exercises or gym classes. They like to think that their everyday activities are enough to keep their heart pumping. And that may be the truth, as most of them hold jobs that require them to be moving around all day. Overall, their lack of enthusiasm influences their health. Although they regularly visit their primary care physician and adhere to their instructions, their overall wellness score is lower than their doctors would like to see.

Comprising 19.3% of the population, Care Plan Conformists are likely to adhere to medical advice and instructions, however, their indifference can get in the way. Care Plan Conformists may need a little help drumming up the enthusiasm and motivation needed to choose the salad instead of the fries or to go on that run instead of scroll on the couch. Health and wellness providers could consider gamifying healthy decisions and behaviors with incentives to keep this group engaged.

Avoidance & Enthusiasm

While Conscious Resisters are enthusiastic in their health beliefs, they often struggle to make their behaviors match. These folks are adventurous and live life to the fullest. When they’re not socializing with their friends, you can find them working hard to stay in shape. This group doesn’t often visit their primary care physicians, but their attitude and enthusiasm align with much of what a doctor would recommend. Their fitness regimen and attention to overall wellness keeps them at a healthy BMI throughout their lifetimes.

Although the Conscious Resister is a high earner, they don’t spend much time balancing their checkbooks. You’re more likely to find them scoping out new tech that helps them pursue life goals or simplify their busy schedules. Being tech-savvy could also be the reason this group tends to self-diagnose with WebMD instead of scheduling a visit with a doctor. Overall, these folks are healthy, active, outgoing, and have a passion for life.

Conscious Resisters represent 18.3% of the population and are unique in that they have an enthusiastic attitude when it comes to wellness, but they may struggle to adhere to a healthy routine. Whether due to a jam-packed schedule or limited resources, Conscious Resisters can fall of the health train despite wanting to remain health, so making access to your services convenient through things flexible hours or virtual options may increase adherence among this group.

Avoidance & Indifference

The Well-Being Bystander make up 30.5% of the population which is the second largest of the four persons. They exhibit both avoidance and indifference when it comes to their health. This group may embrace the philosophy: “You only live once; you might as well enjoy it with the ones you love.” Out of the four personas, this group is least likely to prioritize their healthcare, taking a more passive role when it comes to exercise or following the doctor’s orders. Instead, they are focused on balancing the everyday stress and demands of their life, like raising kids or balancing their bank account. Although they earn an income that is below average, these folks are in tune with their values and work hard to provide for themselves and their families. They’re likely to make decisions on a whim, but they focus their spending on things that matter most to them. Well-Being Bystanders have extroverted tendencies, so you’re likely to find them sharing pictures of their lives and families on Facebook.

On the flip side, Well-Being Bystanders struggle with money and stresses from their blue-collar jobs. These pressures—along with a lack of attention to their health—can result in feelings of anxiety and depression. With irregular work hours, full busy homes, and tight budgets, these folks tend to let exercise fall to the wayside. Still, this doesn’t stop them from building a life that they are proud of.

This group is going to need help to improve their health and stick to it due to their indifferent attitude and propensity to avoid healthy behaviors. Brands should increase communication with this group to keep health top of mind. Companies must make things as convenient as possible and remove all barriers to give Well-Being Bystanders the best opportunity to succeed.

How to Drive Positive Outcomes

Through comprehensive research and analytics, health and wellness brands can confidently and better serve their customers and patients when viewing an individual’s approach to health and wellness through the prism of attitudes and adherence presented. As a result, communication and care can be personalized to the degree that is needed based on the relationship of these two personal characteristics and in turn, marketers are able to understand individual experiences and improve consumer outcomes.