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Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change

Translating research into the real world.

The Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change is a unique collaboration between academic researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Duke University, in conjunction with industry leaders at Envolve PeopleCare and Centene. Together, we implement and evaluate evidence-based strategies to uncover best practices that move consumers from merely absorbing information to taking action for change. With a team of nationally-known researchers, the Envolve Center serves as a model program for translating behavior-based healthcare research, training and education into real-world applications that are viable, effective and life-changing.

  • The Center’s research agenda is focused on the following:

    • Using insights of behavioral economics to promote health behavior change
    • Tailoring communications for improved outcomes
    • Designing and implementing an inter-generational lifestyle change program for parents and their children
    • Designing studies to answer behavior-based questions using existing data
  • Venn Diagram of Partners for Center

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Using insights of behavioral economics to promote health behavior change

Girl on her Cell PhoneTo begin our study in this area, we retrospectively analyze health coaching calls with members enrolled in our Healthy Solutions for Life diabetes coaching program. This analysis will pinpoint new opportunities for applying behavioral economics theories to this program, as well as to other programs in the future.

By improving and designing programs based on this research, we will be better equipped than anyone to address the unique needs of our members.

Tailoring communications for improved outcomes

Researchers at workWhile we have always known the importance of communicating with members, we’re diving deeper into what truly improves engagement and outcomes. In our usability testing of a goal setting platform, we are examining the most efficient and effective communication methods to improve member engagement, in order to achieve the best results. The findings of this study will inform the design and content of a new health coaching program.

We are examining:

  • When to introduce the goal setting platform and what to call it
  • How to present personalized targets for behavior change
  • Which methods of capturing data are the most intuitive for users to set specific behavior change goals

A separate study will develop a life values assessment to inform our interactions with members. The research is exploring members’ personal values and their impact on health behaviors associated with diet, exercise, tobacco use, and stress; as well as attitudes toward disease prevention and trust in doctors. Understanding the relationship between personal values and health behaviors and attitudes will help us design targeted health communications and tailored health coaching programs that more effectively engage and motivate members to make healthy choices.

In order to improve outcomes, our programs and services need to touch as many lives as possible. By applying our research findings to our outreach strategy, we can offer more effective health solutions to our members.

Designing and implementing an inter-generational lifestyle change program for parents and their children

Father and daughter reading

Promoting lifestyle change in children by delivering educational interventions to their parents is more complicated than encouraging healthy behaviors in adults who are self-motivated. Through our research, we will maximize the effects of these programs, starting with our Raising Well Pediatric Obesity Program and our Pediatric Asthma Program.
We are researching:

  • Whether or not automatic enrollment as a recruitment strategy improves program participation
  • How offering different types of incentives impacts participation in the programs
  • Ways in which peer coaches, home visitations, or individualized contact may enhance lifestyle change interventions

By including the entire family in an intervention, we expect to impact more than just the child and instill changes that will become sustainable.

Designing studies to answer behavior-based questions using existing data

researchers-250pxThe health programs of Envolve PeopleCare and Centene have generated a tremendous amount of data that can be leveraged to further our insights into behavior change, and assess and enhance the impact of our current programming. Using this data to answer behavior-based questions allows us to maximize our resources and catalyze behavior change.

Through this method, we are researching an ongoing list of strategic questions that will help us improve outcomes and lead to better program design.  We’re currently studying whether home visits from respiratory therapists lead to better outcomes for members with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  We will evaluate outcomes including emergency room visits, inpatient admissions, and relevant claims data and HEDIS measures.

For more information

Visit Washington University in St. Louis’ Envolve Center webpage here.

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