Where to Begin with Wellness.

Where to Begin with Wellness.

Ten Steps Toward Strategic Wellness Programs

The Wellness Program management world is evolving rapidly. Each month, there are new research findings that support the premise that Wellness Programs and disease management have a long-term impact on health care costs.

Many large businesses that began Health Promotion Programs three to five years ago are showing savings in health, disability, and staff members compensation costs. Small to mid-size businesses are watching all this and wondering where to begin with wellness.

Getting executive management support and budget approval is among the challenges at the starting of a Health Promotion Program. This is the case because Health Promotion Programs can be expensive, averaging $150-300 per employee a year in big companies.

Most of the savings aren’t realized for a number of years. This long-term investing is hard for corporations on the move.

The key to success for Wellness Programs is to take a strategic approach. Here are ten steps to consider when beginning a Wellness Program.

1. Begin with senior level management. Without senior level management support, a wellness strategy can fall flat. Begin with the health of your executive team and discover your wellness champions at the top of the corporation.

2. Analyze the problem. Look at your healthcare claims and analyze the trends. Which conditions are driving your medical, disability, and workers’ compensation claims and which are modifiable? What’s worked and what hasn’t therefore far? What’s the long-term impact of doing nothing?

3. Hold an initial wellness meeting. Invite your key stakeholders both inside and outside the company. Ask your broker to facilitate the meeting and invite key health providers including health, disability, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), fitness, and occupational nursing.

Review claims and utilization data and identify key areas of concern. Look at current offerings and see how they can be tailored to the needs of the population.

4. Consider both healthy and unhealthy employees. Since 85 percent of claims are generally attributed to 15 percent of claimants, it is essential to reach those with the most costly conditions while also reaching individuals who are at risk for developing preventable diseases in the future.

Voluntary health promotion programs like lunchtime wellness workshops miss many of the people who need them most. Consider health promotion programs that are population-wide or target intact workgroups. Health Promotion incentives help but don’t motivate everybody.

5. Make certain to set short-term objectives for the health promotion programs. Make certain to set some realistic short-term objectives based on your key areas of concern. Are there any plan design changes that could’ve an immediate impact on spending? Are there some programmatic actions that could’ve immediate results?

6. Find out what workers are thinking. Hold some focus groups to determine where people are with wellness. What’s working? What isn’t? Just how much interest do people have in the Wellness Programs? What obstacles and barriers are workers experiencing when they try to change behavior?

7. Make sure you have a high-impact Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP). Your first wellness dollars ought to go into upgrading your Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP). A highly utilized Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP) can provide a foundation for all your future wellness activities.

A good Worker Assistance Program (EAP) is a trusted link to the hearts and minds of staff members. At no additional cost, the Worker Assistance Program (EAP) can provide needed follow-up coaching and personal attention for staff members who are working on modifiable health behaviors or involved in disease management programs.

Nutritionists, fitness, pregnancy, and stress management specialists are all part of a high-value Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP).

8. Make certain to set three to five year goals for health care savings and measure them. Get help from your broker and insurance carrier help you on long-term goals for your health, disability, and personnel compensation plans.

Establish program metrics that will help you to measure Return On Investment (ROI). Go beyond participation rates, completion rates and program satisfaction. Measure changes in readiness, changes in behavior, and changes in risk factors. Establish rigorous methods to measure health care savings over the long term.

9. Be certain to set objectives for organizational health. Consider the more intangible advantages of a health promotion program and quantify them whenever possible. Include worker turnover rates, cost of new hires, worker morale, benefit satisfaction data, and company of choice issues in establishing objectives. Establish ways to measure success in these areas.

10. Add specifics to your short and long-term plan. Include a program strategy, a communication strategy, and an incentive strategy that’ll fit with your corporate culture. Focus on integration of related components along a health continuum with communications that are focused, simple, and human.

Establish a budget that includes key components like consumer education, wellness, health risk assessments, and regular biometric screens.