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WebMD Health Services: Empowering Individuals to Attain Comprehensive Wellness

John Harrison General Manager WebMD Health Services.
John Harrison | General Manager | WebMD Health Services

From hitting the gym, having collaboration meetings, and attending conferences, to having to do all these things at home, the very structures of our daily lives have changed. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled us to rethink our priorities regarding personal health and well-being.

Evidently, transitioning into the remote work-setting also required companies to work their way around in continuing their prevalent corporate wellness programs and help employees attain better well-being.

Pertaining to this necessity, prominent corporate wellness service providers such as WebMD Health Services have consistently striven to design programs that help people build healthy habits and improve their well-being.

Headquartered in Portland, OR, WebMD Health Services is on a mission to empower organizations and their people to improve their well-being. With the company’s services and solutions, associated organizations can create a well-rounded program that is built into their culture, while offering their populations the personalized tools and resources they need to achieve real results – better health, better happiness, and better well-being for all.

Redefining Benchmarks

WebMD Health Services’ solutions begin with WebMD ONE, the most empowering well-being platform available. From there, clients can add on a variety of the company’s services and solutions, and even integrate their other vendors and internal benefits, to create a well-being experience that supports the client’s goals, culture, and populations’ needs.

WebMD ONE allows for countless integrations, so clients can plug in as many resources as necessary to support their populations. “Our proprietary solutions are developed internally and clinically validated by our Clinical Advisory Board. Not many other well-being program providers can say this. Typically, they outsource their solutions—like their health assessments, for example—resulting in frequent system errors and a clunky experience for their participants. Since ours are designed in-house and built into the platform’s architecture, each interaction is smooth and seamless. And we know that an easy user experience will encourage participants to continue engaging with the platform, so this is a big differentiator for us,” says John Harrison, the General Manager.

Participants of WebMD’s wellness programs receive a user-friendly, guided well-being experience that is personalized for their unique goals and health journey. The company uses deep segmentation to customize messaging and solutions based on the participants’ benefits plan, demographics, and health risks, as well. Thus, a New York office participant may receive different messaging than someone who works in the field in California. And someone who has indicated that they would like help managing a chronic condition will receive different solutions than someone who’s trying to work on their financial wellness.

This level of personalization helps WebMD to reach diverse populations and increase the likelihood that they will use the tools they are offered. This relates to increased productivity and retention, reduced healthcare costs, and other benefits for its clients.

The Driving Force

From computer software to strategic online marketing to data analytics and now to health and wellness, John Harrison, has more than 25 years of strategic, client, and operational leadership experience partnering with some of the largest companies in the world. His experience and passion for population health drives the philosophy on which the organization operates.

As General Manager of WebMD Health Services, John ensures that well-being is prioritized, and that everything his team does is thoughtfully considered and personalized for each client and their unique populations. “Because after all, well-being is personal. And the tools and resources people need to work on their well-being will be personal, too,” John says.

John strives to inspire every department to be a true partner to the company’s clients and their people—allowing them to be more strategic and thoughtful as they discover new ways to support each individual’s unique goals.

When asked for his opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the global healthcare sector, John says, “I think the pandemic really thrust well-being into the spotlight. Mental health and financial wellness both got the recognition they needed, and people learned that their health means more than just being physically well.”

“Globally, I think the pandemic spurred some rapid change and innovation to help the healthcare sector improve the ways they help people – including telehealth and telemedicine, building holistic well-being programs, vaccinations, and even considering social determinants of health in everyday health-related discussions. The growth in this sector was incredible, and I think that long term, people will benefit from the innovations that occurred in such a short time.”

Sharing his advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the health and wellness industry, John says, “Focus on the customer – on understanding not just what they ‘want’ but what they really ‘need’. If you approach each day with an inner passion grounded in authenticity, empathy, and respect—ensuring that your customers and team are always top of mind—success will follow.”

Opinions that Matter

As excerpts from his journey in the industry, John shares his valuable insights regarding the current and future landscape of the health & wellness sector:

“The health & wellness sector is constantly evolving. We find that it is critical to consistently bring fresh ideas to the market and humanize well-being communications for a couple of reasons. First, they help organizations discover what their populations currently need, and provide ideas on how to better support them. Second, it helps participants really understand how well-being programs can support their health and happiness in all aspects of their lives. And at the end of the day, empowering well-being in everyone is our core mission.”

“I think that people will become more used to personalized experiences and that, just like they receive personalized and relevant content everywhere else, they’re going to expect personalization and relevance in healthcare. This will include reminders for doctor visits and preventive screenings, support for reducing stress and finding work-life balance, and even things like custom workouts or medications designed for their specific body type or health status.”

Triumphing Aversities

We asked John on what challenges the company faced during the initial phase of the pandemic and how the company overcame those challenges, to which he says, “During the initial phase of the pandemic, we acquired another company, StayWell, and we had to figure out how to combine our people, cultures, technologies, and solutions while also shutting down offices and learning how to support everyone remotely. It could have been an incredibly hard time, but we got through it by prioritizing our people’s health, well-being, and personal needs at a time when everything was uncertain.”

“After we combined forces, we hit the ground running. We collaborated on new ways to support our clients’ populations – including virtual wellness challenges, more mental health resources, opportunities to increase social connections, well-being lunch and learns, encouraging work-life balance, and so much more. We really pivoted to find ways to support our clients’ unique well-being needs in the moment. And I think that by living through this shared experience ourselves, we were better equipped to share, this was our challenge. Here’s what worked for us, and I think it would work to help your organization, too.”

Ascending towards Zeniths

The team at WebMD Health Services believes that the pandemic has shifted many priorities for its clients. Pertaining to these new or increased needs, the company has laid a sharp focus on bringing additional solutions to its clients that truly empower well-being for all – specifically those hard-to-reach populations, whether they are remote or in-office.

Throughout 2021, WebMD Health Services will be rolling out enhancements to its core behavior change solutions, fully embracing video and podcasts, and adding more group programs, personalized communications, and dedicated well-being teams.

The company will also be launching new offerings to enhance social connections, increase participation, and improve each associated company’s culture. “I’m extremely excited about our plans in the works, and I can’t wait to announce them to our clients!” John concludes.

Exhibiting True Excellence

WebMD has received several awards throughout the years. Recently, the company won several digital health awards from the Health Information Resource Center, including a gold award for Daily Habits digital coaching solution for condition management, silver award for its mobile app and bronze awards for its responsive designs of WebMD ONE and WebMD ONE Senior.

The company has also won four awards from the National Mature Media Awards recently: gold for the WebMD ONE Senior app, silver for the Senior Health Assessment, silver for WebMD ONE Senior website, and bronze for its behavior change solution, Daily Habits.

The WebMD Creative Team has also been recognized with multiple awards for their communications, including most recently winning three awards in the 2020 American Inhouse Design Awards from Graphic Design USA (GDUSA).

The WebMD Health Services takes pride in its thoughtful, personalized customer service. In 2019, the company’s call center was the winner of the International Customer Management Institute Global Contact Center’s Best Medium Contact Center award. A supervisor on the team, Ashley Trout, also took home the Best Contact Center Supervisor award for her outstanding service. In 2020, the company also won the Best Contact Center Agent award!

Quote: “I think that people will become more used to personalized experiences and that, just like they receive personalized and relevant content everywhere else, they’re going to expect personalization and relevance in healthcare.”



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