Eric Zimmerman

Eric Zimmerman

By Eric Zimmerman, Chief Marketing Officer, RedBrick Health

Commitment to any health improvement is amplified when that commitment happens through an active choice. The principle of “choice architecture” suggests that the combination of guidance and choice works best. In other words, when people have the power to choose how and when they want to engage—as well as the focus on that engagement—the result is stronger engagement and better results.

Data help, too. You can use data to offer consumers the most relevant options, emphasizing things that work for “people like me.” But it’s choice that seems to matter most.

In fact, among those with significant health risks—prediabetics, those with a BMI over 30, individuals with elevated cardiovascular risk factors—our research found that it didn’t matter how a person engaged, as long as they engaged. For example, some chose to work in a digital coaching format we call RedBrick Journeys®. Others worked with a “live person”—a well-being guide who offers coaching, guidance and support. Some chose to track their physical activity using a wearable device. All participants improved their health in clinically meaningful ways, at surprisingly comparable rates.

Sometimes we think we know what’s best for people. For example, the conventional wisdom says people with chronic conditions need to be enrolled in a disease management program. However, our data show that—given the choice—80% of those with a chronic condition choose to work on a “lifestyle” topic. And by letting them do so, we have engaged substantially more individuals than wellness companies that fail to offer choice.

As it turns out, choice matters. It intensifies commitment and engagement. And it works.

This post is part of the blog series of What the Best Do Better, our most recent study on health engagement. Stay tuned and you’ll gain knowledge on what top-performing organizations are doing differently through successful program design patterns.

Find our first post in the series What drives meaningful engagement? We set out to find out” here.