VP Client Blog

Establishing Meaningful Connections

Creating meaningful connections starts with finding a purpose. Whether that purpose is to raise money for a charity, give back to your local community, or have a genuine conversation with somebody new. That connection is stronger and can be established easier when there is a dedicated purpose behind it. What that truly means is, when you get people to buy in to what you’re selling, making the sale is that much easier.

Penn Highlands Healthcare was a newer Virgin Pulse client when they had an idea to incorporate a tradition of honoring a late physician leader with their new wellness program during a time where employees needed to feel connected more than ever.

Penn Highlands Healthcare is a Pennsylvania-based healthcare system who believes that healthcare should be managed by local board members who live and work in the communities they serve. With six major hospitals and more than 100 smaller clinics throughout the region, each facility is the largest employer in its hometown. The organization recently launched the Virgin Pulse wellness program in May 2020 and has a little more than 4,000 eligible employees. Penn Highland Healthcare’s organization and culture is deeply rooted in both the popular and economic culture of their communities. The vision is to be an integrated health care delivery system that provides premier care with a personal touch, no matter where one lives in the region. This strong community culture that they have is something unique to their organization and is vitally important to them.

Picture2One of the incredibly important members of the community was Dr. Gary DuGan. Dr. DuGan was the Chief Medical Officer for PHH for more than 10 years and was an incredibly passionate, determined, and a smart doctor. He was instrumental in founding the Family Medicine Physician Residency Program at Penn Highlands Healthcare which was a legacy-creating feat. Dr. DuGan was an incredibly influential and important part of the larger community as well as within the hospital system. Tragically, Dr. Gary DuGan unexpectedly passed away a little over 3 years ago as he was still acting Chief Medical Officer at PHH.

Since then, PHH has held an annual 5K race in remembrance of Dr. Dugan. The race in honor of the late doctor is now a large part of the organization's culture so the PHH benefits team asked what Virgin Pulse could do to help keep Dr. DuGan’s memory alive while making his life and legacy a part of the wellbeing program. With the objective to “do something more for Dr. Dugan in order to really show the important role he had on everyone’s life,” the benefits team worked with Virgin Pulse to brainstorm ideas to share his story in a way that is both personal and ties back to wellness.

Creating the Challenge

With all the information gathered, the Client Success Manager suggested the idea of a Custom 5-Picture33Stage Challenge. The Custom Challenge would allow PHH to create custom content that would make the experience feel personal all while tying back the experience to wellness. Utilizing PHH’s Champions Network, 5 stages were created each of which either featured an important event that Dr. DuGan had an impact on or an interest that he shared or was important to him. The decision was made to run it congruently alongside their annual 5K race as well. Arguably the most important box that was checked without being included in the requests, was that the challenge created an emotional investment from not only the PHH benefits team, but also the Champions network and the PHH organization.

Challenge Results

At the end of the challenge 42 teams partook with a 27% overall participation rate which was fantastic given the current strain that hospital systems had on their populations due to COVID-19. The most memorable and heartwarming part of the challenge was seeing activity within the chat with people posting their favorite memory and/or appreciation of Dr. DuGan.

Penn Highlands Healthcare connected their wellness program goals while communicating a message to their members using personal connections. Running a challenge that resonated with the participants on an emotional level directly contributed to the success that PHH saw in their participation numbers. PHH saw the value that their wellness program can bring right from the start while PHH employees felt they were doing their part to honor the late physician while also participating in something that was beneficial to their health. Establishing these personal connections can help generate a sense of loyalty, trust, and satisfaction within your organization.


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