Where to Begin with Wellness.

Dec 17 2010
Ten Steps Toward Strategic Health Promotion Programs
The Health Promotion Program management world is evolving rapidly. Each month, there are new research findings that support the premise that Health Promotion Programs and disease management (DM) 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 employees compensation costs. Small to mid-size businesses are watching all this and wondering where to start with wellness.
Getting senior management support and budget approval is one of the challenges at the starting of a Wellness Program. This is the case because Wellness Programs may be expensive, averaging $150-300 per staff member each year in large businesses.
Most of the savings are not realized for a number of years. This long-term investing is hard for organizations on the move.
The key to success for Wellness Programs is to take a strategic approach. Here are ten steps to consider when starting a Wellness Program.
1. Begin with executive management. Without executive 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 company.
2. Analyze the problem. Look at your health care 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 has not 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 business. Ask your broker to facilitate the meeting and invite key health vendors 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 healthful and unhealthful staff. Since 85 percent of claims are ordinarily attributed to 15 percent of claimants, it’s essential to reach those with the most expensive conditions while also reaching people  who are at risk for developing avoidable diseases in the future.
Voluntary health promotion programs such as lunchtime wellness workshops miss many of the individuals  who need them most. Consider health promotion programs that are population-wide or target intact workgroups. Health Promotion incentives help but do not motivate everybody.
5. Make sure to set short-term objectives for the health promotion programs. Make sure to set some realistic short-term objectives based on your key areas of concern. Are there any plan design changes that could have an immediate impact on spending? Are there some programmatic actions that could have immediate results?
6. Find out what personnel are thinking. Hold some focus groups to determine where individuals  are with wellness. What is working? What isn’t? Just how much interest do individuals  have in the Health Promotion Programs? What obstacles and barriers are personnel experiencing when they attempt to change behavior?
7. Be sure you have a high-impact Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP). Your first wellness dollars should 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 Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP) is a trusted link to the hearts and minds of personnel.  At no additional cost, the Staff Member Assistance Program (EAP) can provide needed follow-up coaching and personal attention for personnel who are working on modifiable health behaviors or involved in disease management (DM) programs.
Nutritionists, fitness, pregnancy, and stress management professionals are all part of a high-value Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
8. Be certain to set three to five year objectives for health care savings and measure them. Get help from your broker and insurance carrier help you on long-term objectives for your health, disability, and personnel compensation plans.
Establish program metrics that’ll help you to measure Return On Investment. 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 healthcare savings over the long term.
9. Make sure to set objectives for organizational health. Consider the more intangible advantages of a wellness program and quantify them whenever possible. Include staff member turnover rates, cost of new hires, staff member morale, benefit satisfaction data, and corporation 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.This entry was written by admin and posted on December 17, 2010 at 10:23 am and filed under Health Promotion, Wellness Programs. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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