Corporate wellness programs, though very popular, are hampered by low engagement rates, less than desirable efficacy, and lack of integration with the delivery of medical care. Incorporating wellness services in a workplace health center offers enormous potential to drive much greater ROI for employers by addressing all these issues above. Below is a summary of the benefits of this integration.
Enhancing Engagement Rates
The workplace clinic can leverage a number of tactical marketing strategies to drive engagement in wellness initiatives as follows:
- Familiarity - Too often employees have no relationship with the wellness providers that the deliver the services. It may be a telephonic health coach, a nurse once a year at the health fair, or some other vendor that the employee does not know. In contrast, a workplace clinician offering wellness services is a very well known entity to employees.
The practitioner is at the workplace every day taking care of sick employees, filling prescriptions, giving medical advice, and offering preventative care. The employees know and trust the practitioner; and therefore, are much more likely to participate in a wellness service offered by this practitioner.
This leads to dramatically increased engagement rates that are typically 30 percent to 70 percent higher than with stand-alone wellness vendors.
- Internal Referrals - High and moderate risk employees visiting the workplace clinic for a medical reason can be identified by the medical staff and directly referred into wellness programs. The practitioners providing medical care to these employees not only have access to a health risk assessment, but also have a much richer understanding of the employee's medical risk factors allowing them to target appropriate patients for wellness interventions. Employees are also more likely to engage in a wellness program that has been recommended by their medical care provider.
- Marketing Opportunities - The workplace clinic is ideally suited to deliver a number of wellness enrollment opportunities throughout the year. These may include health fairs, biometric screenings, lunch & learns, and other on-site events that can drive engagement into these wellness programs.
Wellness vendors typically offer sporadic events and programs throughout the year and deliver many of their services remotely (such as telephonic coaching). This delivery model limits the effectiveness of these programs.
Workplace health centers offer the advantage of year round, on site programming resulting in a continuous, hands-on approach with improved results for participants. In addition, the program costs are funded directly by medical cost savings of the clinic allowing for a very cost effective solution for wellness. Specific features that increase effectiveness include:
- On-site health coaching (vs. telephonic)
- In person wellness programs (vs. web based)
- Ability to have regularly scheduled health-related events (vs. infrequent)
Integration with Medical Care
Unfortunately, most corporate wellness services act in isolation to the care that is being delivered by the employee's physicians. This results in enormous lost opportunity costs for many reasons as follows:
- Coordinated Care - It is critical that any patient lifestyle behavioral modifications be coordinated with the medical care that patient is receiving. Just consider the impact on pharmaceutical therapeutics for a patient with diabetes on a weight management program; or a hypertensive patient undergoing intensive nutritional counseling. Both wellness and medical care need to be integrated to deliver optimal results. A workplace health center is ideally suited to facilitate this integration.
- Amplified Messaging - Healthy lifestyle behavioral changes have been proven to accelerate when both the wellness and medical providers are sending a unified set of communications to the patient.
- Occupational Medicine - As outlined in the Duke Study, work-related injuries and illnesses are significantly influenced by lifestyle choices. Therefore, integrating wellness into any occupational medicine program is essential to reduce disability and workers compensation claims.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Spero is a thought leader in the field of ROI driven worksite health centers and targeted employee wellness programs. InHouse Physicians is a global employee health and wellness provider delivering innovative cost containment solutions to corporations around the world.
InHouse Physicians high touch employee health services include a wide range of offerings such as cost effective worksite health centers, evidence-based "pre-disease" wellness initiatives, health screenings plus analytics, flu vaccinations, and travel medicine. To learn more about InHouse Physicians visit their website at www.inhousephysicians.com or Dr. Spero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.