Hospitals

Motivation: Why healthcare brands need to encourage more

The best medicine is preventative. Whether it’s exercise, eating well or reducing stress, being proactive about our health saves time and money. But who wants to do all that work? Most of us can admit – to ourselves, if not our healthcare providers – that we’d prefer to stay on the couch, binge-watching Netflix and […]

The best medicine is preventative. Whether it’s exercise, eating well or reducing stress, being proactive about our health saves time and money.

But who wants to do all that work? Most of us can admit – to ourselves, if not our healthcare providers – that we’d prefer to stay on the couch, binge-watching Netflix and eating delicious junk food that we know will clog our arteries. Oops?

Being proactive about our health takes motivation. And the key to motivation is positive reinforcement.

The literature defines positive reinforcement as “the addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behavior that makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future.” Essentially, when our personal trainer tells you you’re an athletic god or goddess for finishing a set of pull-ups, that’s positive reinforcement.

And it works.

When people are properly motivated to do things they intrinsically do not want to do, behavior can change, new habits can develop and people can make themselves healthier.

The “care” in healthcare implies we understand others.

The healthcare industry could use more positive reinforcement of healthy behavior. Healthcare brands that motivate patients through positive reinforcement can gain more engagement, more recommendation and contribute to a healthy populace. It’s not about holding people to unreasonable expectations regarding their health, it’s about acknowledging the reality of our negative behaviors and positively encouraging people to change them. The “care” in healthcare implies we understand others. Luckily there are some notable brands out there that have taken this understanding and used it to improve the lives of the people they serve.
At Prophet, we believe that looking at how motivation and positive reinforcement are used inside and outside the healthcare industry can teach us how best to change patients’ behavior for the better.

MOTIVATION IN ACTION

With a focus on strength and conditioning, CrossFit consists of several fitness techniques from gymnastics to weightlifting, aerobics to calisthenics. CrossFit takes a fresh approach to the typical gym environment packed with machines and individual exercising. What truly differentiates CrossFit is their community approach to fitness. CrossFit thrives on motivation. CrossFit gyms are hubs of encouragement, support and positivity. It is this environment that creates the infectious culture of CrossFit. The brand has taken the very individualized form of exercise and expanded its appeal through creating a community of motivation. Having grown from 13 CrossFit affiliate gyms to 10,000 in the last 10 years CrossFit has seen incredible growth. In 2007, the CrossFit games were created. The games have grown from a simple backyard event to a major spectator sport sponsored by ESPN and Reebok. The CrossFit organization is now a 40 million dollar enterprise, proving that creating motivation among customers is a great way to grow.

One place we can feel the least motivated to adopt healthy behaviors is in the workplace. This was the insight gathered by the Adam Bosworth, co-founder of Keas, an employee health and wellness program. Keas combines social media and online games to create happier, healthier workforces. Through a website, participants get points, badges and achievements for completing tasks and can support their co-workers in achieving their goals. Keas believes that to successfully change behavior, people need to be effectively engaged around common, meaningful goals. It uses gaming mechanics, social interaction, and small groups to motivate people to exercise. Gaming mechanics, also called “positive reinforcement,” gets participants acknowledgement, points, and status within their group. The social feed allows them to share what they have done and ask for advice.

This kind of motivation has been received extremely well by consumers. In 2014, Keas reported 300% growth. It’s a clear indication that when motivation is in short supply, healthcare brands can step in and make a big difference.

WHY MOTIVATION MATTERS

There are three reasons we believe motivation and positive reinforcement matter so much.

Motivation inspires
Changing behavior is hard. But when we’re properly motivated, we can actually do it. It’s a celebration. And as behavior changes, people see their progress and are inspired to keep pushing forward. This inspiration equals growth and loyalty to brands who can offer it.

Motivation is contagious
When you see your friend or family changing their behavior for the better, it’s a contagious feeling. There it is being proven to you. Undoubtedly, people believe they too can be motivated to move forward. As more become motivated, more are inspired and therefore more join the movement.

Motivation evolves
Positive reinforcement demands that brands constantly offer new tools and products to suit the changing motivations experienced at each stage of one’s healthcare journey. This requirement incentivizes brands to grow. That in itself is a motivation to motivate others!

Whether through gamification or creating a culture of encouragement, positive reinforcement and motivation can turn reactive healthcare costs into proactive healthcare savings. Healthcare brands are in a unique position to help patients save time, money and sanity by motivating them to practice more health behaviors through simple motivation techniques. There’s growth written all over it.

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