WellSteps Worksite Wellness Blog

All about improving employee wellness programs with evidence-based recommendations and best practices.




Latest Entries

Healthcare Cost Control: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 20 June 2014
in Evidence


See Healthcare Cost Infographic

We can’t ignore the fact that health care costs are rising and employers are looking for ways to save money. There are many ways to address this issue but which is best for your company? In this blog we discuss ways to save on healthcare costs. We are not advocating any approach, just listing the options, some of which have obvious drawbacks.




Option 1: Stop offering a health benefit to some employees. Employers are increasingly cutting health benefits for part-time employees. There are drawbacks to this approach such as a drop in employee morale. And remember, healthcare costs will still rise for the employees who are insured.

Option 2: Cost shift by requiring employees to pay more of their own costs or charge more for dependent coverage. While this may save money in the short-term, this option will also damage employee morale. A better way to cost shift would be to charge lower premiums to the employees who participate in the wellness program.

Option 3: Self-insure. This is a popular option with large organizations that have more money to create and maintain a fund intended to cover future medical costs instead of purchasing an insurance policy. In fact, 94% of companies with 5,000+ employees use this option to some degree. The evidence indicates savings of 4-7% per year.

Option 4: Consumer-directed (High deductable) health plans. These plans are becoming more popular because they encourage employees to be careful their healthcare spending. Related to this, onsite clinics and disease management have been popular options but the evidence shows that neither reduces healthcare costs.

Option 5: A well-designed worksite wellness program. Such programs have been documented to reduce healthcare cost trend, improve employee health, prevent expensive chronic diseases, reduce absenteeism, and improve employee morale.

WellSteps CEO Dr. Steven Aldana spoke about all of this in more depth in our latest webinar. You can watch the playback of the webinar HERE.

Normal.dotm 0 0 1 294 1678 WellSteps 13 3 2060 12.00 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false

In health,

The WellSteps Team

 

The 5 Keys of Effective Health Coaching: A Look at the Evidence

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 30 May 2014
in Health coaching

Recently there have been many studies on the effect of health coaching in the workplace. Surprisingly, 18 of 32 of these studies showed that health coaching is ineffective. The remaining 14 of 32 studies showed that health coaching leads to several improvements in behaviors and clinical outcomes. Taken together, the results of these 14 studies suggest five keys to effective health coaching.

The Five Keys of Effective Health Coaching

1.   Coach the ready

Of all employees who are at medium or high risk for chronic disease (20-75% depending on the risk), only 1 in 5 are ready to change at any given time. Of those, only half opt to share data with a health coaching. Net result? About 2-7% are highly ready for health coaching. The first key to only coach this small group. It will be far more effective and cost-effective! 

2.   Make the healthy choice, the easiest choice

If you leave candy in a break room, would you be surprised if it all got eaten? What if you left a bowl of apples? Most likely, they would be eaten too. Making the healthy choice the easiest just means that you can help 100% of an employee population make healthier choices by changing the work environment or enacting policies that support good health practices.  This key reinforces health coaching.



3.  
Aim upstream


Chronic disease doesn’t happen overnight; it requires years of unhealthy behavior. Preventative activities like increasing physical activity, improving nutrition, sleep quality, and stress can keep chronic disease from ever starting. Focusing on these preventable behaviors is far more upstream than disease management.

4.   Support, support, support

Those who participate in group-based programs or those who get support from a professional coaches or even a peer have better outcomes and long-term maintenance of healthy habits than those who go it alone. The evidence indicates that support may even trump health coach training in terms of effect. Training is still important but the adage is true, “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

5.   Dose matters

The number and frequency of coaching sessions makes a huge difference in outcomes. Six coaching sessions over six months seems to yield good results. Coaching over a longer duration does provide better results but may not ultimately be cost-effective.

For more information watch Dr. Adams’ recorded webinar HERE.

 

In good health, 


The WellSteps Team


Everything You Need to Know About Outcomes- based Wellness Programs, Part 2

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 09 May 2014
in Outcomes-based programs

In Part 1, we discussed how to bend the employee medical cost trend, the effectiveness of outcomes-based wellness programs, and the importance of impact and reach within a wellness program.

 

Outcomes- Based Strategy is Only Part of a Wellness Program

 

Too many outcomes-based strategies simply raise standards that must be met by employees to qualify for preferred rates without providing behavioral tools and skills to help employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. This is a little like requiring an employee to produce a business report without providing a desk or computer.

 

Also, experts suggest that lower-income employees likely have access to fewer resources and environmental support to achieve outcomes-based standards. As a result, they may wind up paying higher premiums. This underscores the importance of creating a supportive workforce culture so that all employees have the support they need to meet outcomes-based standards.

 

Point #3: Create a healthy culture by providing tools and skills to help employees change.

 

Using Outcomes-based Incentives To Drive Behavior Change

 

According to scientists, people place more weight on present versus future rewards or penalties. So more motivation will be generated if employees get something good or avoid something bad NOW versus LATER. 1

 

By contrast, according to managers of HR, payroll and benefits, the best way to provide incentives to employees is the way that does not complicate their job! What is the best way to apply this information? There are essentially two ways to provide incentives and both have one primary advantage and disadvantage.

 

Strategy number one is to reduce the employee portion of the premium every month, which is a good thing NOW but it creates management complexity for HR, payroll, and/or benefits. Strategy number two is to reduce employee portions of co-pays and deductibles along the way (good thing LATER). This strategy comes with the advantage of administrative simplicity that HR, payroll and benefits managers will love. So what should you do? Choose strategy number two but add immediate, positive incentives along the way to keep employees moving in the right direction! 

 

Point #4: Choose administrative simplicity but remember to reward employees for being healthy

 

Summary

If the goal is to bend the medical cost trend, employee behaviors must change. The outcomes-based strategy is promising because it drives reach, but those using an outcomes-­based strategy should also provide tools and skills to help create a culture of health and support employees as they adopt new behaviors.

Employers who use incentives should remember that the combination of immediate, positive rewards and simple administration will probably work best.

 

1. Redesigning Employee Health Incentives - Lessons from Behavioral Economics. Volpp, Asch, Galvin, Loewenstein. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:388—39.

 

 

In good health, 

The WellSteps Team

 

Everything You Need to Know About Outcomes-based Wellness Programs, Part 1

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 02 May 2014
in Outcomes-based programs

 

 

Introduction

 

Effective 2014, employers may use up to 30%* of the total amount of employees' health insurance premiums for outcome-based wellness incentives. The obvious goal of the outcome-based wellness incentive approach is to control medical costs. But does it work? To answer that question, one must first ask, “What is driving rising medical costs?”

 

According to the CDC, up to 75% of medical costs are due to chronic disease. So what causes chronic disease? In several studies, lifestyle behaviors were responsible for up to 90% of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancers, stroke and diabetes.

 

Point  #1:  To bend the cost trend, employee health behaviors must change.

 

Thus, rising medical costs are primarily caused by chronic disease, which is mainly caused by lifestyle behaviors. Back to the original question, “Can an outcome-based wellness incentive effectively reduce medical costs?”

 

Is an Outcomes- Based Approach Effective?

 

The primary notion of an outcomes- based incentive strategy is to offer rewards for healthy behaviors and penalties for unhealthy behaviors. But from a scientific perspective, is this approach effective? 

 

The Safeway case study is commonly cited to support the outcomes- based approach because Safeway had a flat medical cost trend from 2005 to 2009 purportedly by tying employee health insurance premiums to outcome-based wellness incentives. However, Safeway's program began in 2008, making it an unlikely cause of the flat cost-trend between 2005 and 2009.

 

The truth is, the evidence is fairly limited at this point but we are optimistic in the promise of this strategy. Here is why. For a wellness program to be effective, it must have reach (i.e. participation or engagement) AND impact.

 

(i.e. the  program  is  robust  enough  to  change  employee  health behavior). An outcome-based approach creates a very strong incentive for employees to engage. In other words, this approach drives reach. When an outcomes-based strategy is paired with a well-designed wellness program that creates impact - you have a winning combination!  

 

Point  #2: The outcomes-based approach is promising because it drives REACH

 

In Part 2, we will discuss the danger of relying solely on an outcomes-based strategy; and using incentives to drive behavior change.

 

* A discount or rebate of a premium or contribution; a waiver of all or part of a deductible, co-pay, or coinsurance; the absence of a surcharge; or the value of a benefit that would otherwise not be provided.

 

In good health, 

The WellSteps Team 

 

 

 

How Can You Tell if Wellness is Working?

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 04 April 2014
in Evidence

 In order for a wellness program to work, it has to have both REACH and IMPACT. That means it has to reach most, if not all, employees, and it has to impact their health behavior and risks. How do you know if your program is accomplishing both of these goals?

 

WellSteps has created a model that uses both reach and impact to change employee health and lower their health related expenses. The model is based on research that shows that poor health (and therefore, higher health related expenses) is the result of unhealthy behaviors. These behaviors lead to increased health risks and chronic diseases.

 

 

 

 

If your program is resulting in lower health expenses, fewer new cases of chronic disease, and reversal of some conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure, you’re probably on the right track. If your program is not showing these results, there may be ways to improve.

 

Proof that WellSteps’ wellness model works is found in scientific papers. See the science by clicking HERE.

 

 

In good health,

 

The WellSteps Team

 

 

Two Simple Ways to Increase Your Wellness Budget

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 21 March 2014
in Designing Programs

 A small budget is a huge barrier that can prevent the implementation of an effective wellness program. However, there are wellness budget dollars hidden in a couple of surprise places.

 

There are two simple ways to find wellness money. The first strategy is to modify the current benefit plan. This may mean slight changes to co-pays, deductibles, and/or co-insurance any of which will result in savings that can be applied to the wellness program.

 


 

A second strategy is to use a premium differential. In this increasingly popular strategy, employees can either meet company wellness requirements and pay lower premiums, or ignore the requirements and pay higher premiums.

 

Many are surprised to find that there is substantially more money available by using the first strategy.  Similarly, many fail to recognize the primary flaw in the premium differential strategy. Basically, as employee participation increases, the amount available for wellness budget decreases. In fact, it is theoretically possible for the premium differential strategy to result in no savings at all! 

 

The pros and cons of both strategies should be thoughtfully considered to determine which is right for your business. That is why we created a free tool called the Wellness Budget Calculator to help you create or improve your wellness budget. This tool will help you efficiently configure your budget by showing you what would happen if you implemented either strategy. Wellness Budget Calculator can help you find more than enough money to fund a results-based, best-practice wellness program.

 

Click HERE to use the free Wellness Budget Calculator.

 

Click HERE to learn more about Wellness Budget Calculator.

 

In good health,


The WellSteps Team

 

 

WellSteps Solution in a Western U.S. School District leads to Health Improvements over One Year

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 28 February 2014
in Brokers

Research demonstrating the effectiveness of the WellSteps wellness solution on a school district in the western U.S. is soon to be published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The evaluation period covers the first year of the wellness program.


At one-year follow-up, participants experienced improvements in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol, with many employees migrating from a high to a lower risk category. These outcomes are attributed to the comprehensive wellness program including a health assessment, biometric screening, behavior change campaigns, participation incentives, and worksite culture changes.

Specifically, about 46% of participants lowered their BMI, 35% lowered their systolic blood pressure, 56% lowered their diastolic blood pressure, 66% lowered their blood glucose, and 39% lowered their total cholesterol. Employee health at this school district closely resembled national averages at the beginning of the wellness program.


According to a recent Gallup poll, over 86% of full-time workers in the U.S. are either overweight or have at least one chronic condition. With increasing importance placed on worker health and productivity, it is clear why more and more companies are investing in worksite wellness.

The full article can be accessed HERE.

 

For more information on our solutions, please CONTACT US.

 

In good health,

 

The WellSteps Team

 

 

How Will Employees Know When They Have Earned "The Wellness Plan"?

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 14 February 2014
in Outcomes-based programs

Companies are increasingly requiring that employees complete health assessments or biometric screening to qualify for better benefits as part of “Health contingent” wellness programs. The information provided by employees can facilitate the delivery of wellness programs but it can also create a huge record-keeping burden for the person tasked with tracking whether employees meet requirements or not. For employees, these programs can also create a heightened sense of anxiety because the “cost” of failing to meet wellness standards is so high.

There is one issue that leads to more wasted time by program administrators and more anxiety among employees than any other. It is this question: “Have I have met the program requirements to get the Wellness plan next year?”

 

Concerned employees will call, email and visit to find out how the program works and where to send their documentation. And they will do the same thing all over again until they are sure they have received credit for completing all the requirements.

When a frustrated wellness coordinator called us to ask for help with this problem, we saw a solution that can save someone from mountains of paperwork, hundreds of emails, and many grumpy employees. We share this experience merely as a success story.

We worked with this coordinator to build a simple tool that we call “Wellness Plan.” It displays participant compliance status with the customer determined wellness plan requirements in their WellSteps program center and it is updated in real time.

“Wellness Plan” reduces employee confusion over compliance status, shows what activities remain to be done and provides specific directions on how to complete them. It also reduces workload for the person assigned to track requirements. As soon as user information is processed, a checkmark automatically appears next to the completed item showing that the requirement is complete.

For more details on Wellness Plan or to share other needs, please contact us.

In good health,

The WellSteps Team

 

Wellness Programs and Employee Productivity

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 24 January 2014
in ROI

 

In the recent WellSteps webinar, Wellness Programs and Employee Productivity, Dr. Steven Aldana discussed what we really know about workplace wellness and employee productivity.

 

 

Wellness programs are most often implemented with the goal of improving employee health and reducing employee-related expenses such as health care costs, productivity, and workers compensation.  However, the ways in which a wellness program can affect these elements, and productivity in particular, can be unclear.

 

 Productivity is the amount of goods or services that a worker produces in a given amount of time. Low productivity is caused by things such as absenteeism, which costs companies roughly $615 per employee per year. This cost alone can add up to millions of dollars in lost revenue annually in larger companies. Research has shown that the largest contributing factor to worker absenteeism is personal illness. When viewed in this context, it is clear how a wellness program can affect absenteeism: fewer sick days usually means more productive days.

 

However, presence in the workplace never automatically means that a worker is producing top-notch work. Another symptom of a less-productive workplace is “presenteeism,” which means that workers are physically at work, but not working. Things such as chatting by the water cooler, surfing the web, or accessing social media are all forms of presenteeism.

 

What are known causes of poor productivity? Clearly absenteeism and presenteeism as previously mentioned but also poor management, poor personnel choices, inadequate training, and poor morale. But which of these can a wellness program impact?

 

Wellness programs can impact presenteeism, absenteeism, and poor morale. Worksite wellness programs can result in 33% reduction in absenteeism and a significant increase work quality when employees are at work. Dr. Aldana cited evidence that companies with comprehensive wellness programs have higher job satisfaction; higher commitment and morale; lower absenteeism and intent to quit; reduced turnover; and reduced worker’s comp claims.

 

 Additional research findings on worksite health includes:

  •   Job performance is inversely related to BMI
  • Job performance is significantly higher for those who exercise, eat healthy, and don’t smoke.
  • Chronic conditions decrease the likelihood of having high job performance by 3-16%

 

A key take away is that worksite wellness programs which encourage healthy behaviors are also promoting employee productivity.

 

You can download Dr. Aldana’s slides and listen to the full presentation HERE.

 

 You can sign up for the next WellSteps webinar, Five Ways the ACA Will Help and Hinder Worksite Wellness, presented by Larry Chapman by clicking HERE (webinar will air live February 28th at 11:00am Eastern).

 

In good health,

The WellSteps Team

 

Wellness Wins the Prevention Lottery with ACA

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 29 October 2013
in Outcomes-based programs

 

On October 25th WellSteps CEO Dr. Steve Aldana presented a free WellSteps webinar entitled “Wellness Wins the Prevention Lottery with ACA.”

 

Dr. Aldana discussed several ways that employees could benefit from preventive services. The ACA also removes a funding barrier, which enables employee wellness programs to promote evidence-based screenings that help prevent disease among employees, enhance quality of life and improve productivity.

 

 

While it can be argued that prevention is not cost-effective, the statistics indicating the opposite are staggering. An example using breast cancer to illustrate was shared.

 

12.4% of women will develop breast cancer.

The cost of treating breast cancer is $20,000 to $100,000 per patient.

A preventative mammography is only $100-$200 per person.

 

Insurance carriers and individuals can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by identifying and treating this disease early. Dr. Aldana also discussed the flip side of prevention before explaining which preventive services are covered for adults. Things like blood pressure, colorectal cancer, depression, Type 2 Diabetes, diet counseling, and more are included on the list. These services were first offered beginning September 23, 2010. Are your employees benefiting?

 

Finally, Dr. Aldana explained the process of connecting employees to these benefits. We encourage those interested in learning more to watch the full webinar HERE (scroll down to the first webinar).

 

In summary, many preventive services are now covered for all Americans. Employee wellness programs can use this change to improve employee health, save lives, and reduce some employee-related expenses.

 

Our next free webinar will be “OMG your HRA is MIA” (Oh my goodness your Health Risk Appraisal is Missing in Action) presented by Dr. Troy Adams on Thursday, December 5, 11am Eastern Time. Register HERE to reserve your spot.

 

In good health,

 

WellSteps

 

Wellness and the Affordable Care Act: What you Need to Know

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 04 October 2013
in Outcomes-based programs

 

If the Affordable Care Act has left you feeling uneasy, you are not alone! Fortunately, our Dr. Troy Adams, COO of WellSteps, explained what you need to know about ACA and wellness programs in plain, understandable language.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a brief recap.

The ACA as it pertains to wellness really has one main goal: to promote fairness which is a simpler way of saying “non-discrimination.” There are many differences among people with respect to health and ability, so the legislators who passed the ACA wanted to make sure wellness programs would be used fairly.  

The basic test is this, “Is our wellness program fair for everyone?” That is the essence of the entire ACA program as it relates to wellness.

There are also various ACA ‘vocab’ definitions that are helpful to understand. These include:

1. “Health Factor”

-       Health status

-       Medical condition

-       Claims expense

-       Receipt of health care

-       Medical history

-       Genetic information

-       Evidence of insurability

-       Disability

2. “Rewardsfor doing healthy things

-       Discounts or rebates

-       Waivers

-       Gift cards

-       Anything with monetary value

 

 OR

 

3. “Penalties” for NOT doing healthy things

-       Surcharges

-       Other disincentives

-       Anything else with value

Both rewards and penalties are referred to as “Rewards” in the ACA. 

There are basically two types of programs described under the ACA. Participatory programs are those that do not include rewards or the rewards are tied to participation only. Participatory programs simply encourage engagement in wellness programs without respect to any health outcomes.

 

 

 

Health Contingent programs reward employees if they meet any of several health factors OR if the employee completes an alternative activity. For example, either the employee does not smoke or they attend a non-smoking class. Another type of health contingent program is one in which employees are required to do activities that might be hard for some to do such as walking or diet programs for pregnant women or those who have had recent surgery.

This is where fairness comes into play. It all boils down to this, “How can a program be adapted so that those who struggle with a health factor-based standard like smoking or obesity OR who are unable to complete required activities, qualify for a reward?

Health Contingent wellness programs are required to offer alternative standards for those who need different ways of achieving health outcomes that will be rewarded. If your company’s walking group doesn’t work for an individual, maybe a swim course at the local YMCA is more accessible for that person. Alternative standards can vary by individual.

 

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and wellness programs and what you need to know, watch the entire webinar HERE (scroll down to the 9/27 presentation).

A sequel to this presentation will be aired live on October 25th, presented by Dr. Steve Aldana, CEO of WellSteps. Register HERE - it's free, yet more than worth your investment of time.

 

Stay healthy!

 

The WellSteps Team

 

 

Wellness Critics Attack! Webinar Recap

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 05 September 2013
in Evidence

 

Last week’s webinar, ‘Wellness Critics Attack!’ was one of WellSteps’ most popular presentations to date.

 

Dr. Ron Goetzel and Dr. Steve Aldana responded to the challenges directed at workplace wellness programs; discussed valid and invalid criticisms; described several methodological challenges in “real world” research; and provided examples of best-practice research studies aimed at improving population health.

 

 

Dr. Aldana explained that well-designed worksite wellness programs have proven effective. He cited examples of peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to support his claim.

 

Dr. Goetzel explained some of the general limitations inherent in wellness research, how studies are often designed, and why some research methods are more robust than others.

 

He discussed the work the top wellness researchers in the world, who published “A Systematic Review of Selected Interventions for Worksite Health Promotion: The Assessment of Health Risks With Feedback.” This team of researchers reviewed worksite health promotion programs and concluded that well-designed wellness programs have a strong impact on improving many risk factors. These include systolic and diastolic blood pressure; HDL and total cholesterol; tobacco cessation; and fat intake. They also found that wellness results in increased worker productivity.

 

Finally, Dr. Goetzel discussed the ingredients necessary to produce a positive ROI. He indicated that the programs with the best ROI typically increase employee health awareness, participation, and knowledge; change employee attitudes and behaviors; and reduce employee health risks and medical utilization.  

 

Dr. Goetzel sited several research studies and case studies that support the investment into a well-designed wellness program.

 

Over the past 6 years, WellSteps has hosted webinars with Dr. James Prochaska, Dr. Dee Edington, Dr, Michael O’Donnell, Dr. Hans Diehl, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.  The response to this webinar with Dr. Goetzel completely blew the top off of anything we have ever experienced.

 

The great news is that you can watch any of the webinars mentioned above right HERE (scroll down the page).

 On September 27th WellSteps will present its next free webinar, Wellness and the Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know. Register HERE.

 

 In this webinar you will:

 

  • Understand the fundamentals of the ACA as they relate to wellness programs

 

  •  Learn the ACA advantages for employees

 

  •   See how cancer prevention efforts will become easier than ever  

 

  •  Learn what you might need to do differently to be compliant with ACA

 

 

Our webinars are always free, but open only to the first 1,000 people. Reserve your space today.

 

In good health,

 

The WellSteps Team

 

Wellness Programming for Dummies: Recap

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 02 August 2013
in Designing Programs

 

While the task of establishing a workplace wellness program can seem daunting, it can be more manageable when broken into simple steps. Dr. Troy Adams recently discussed four core principles of wellness programming.

 

 

 

 

Prepare. The best wellness initiatives are strongly supported by leadership.CEO photo on messaging on marketing materials can help show support but it is even better when the leader actively engages in wellness initiatives. Effective programs are also created and maintained with the help of a wellness committee. The best qualifications for a committee member are enthusiasm and willingness to participate. Committee members can help with goal setting and in choosing a vendor. Once a vendor is chosen, successful companies maintain a healthy relationship with the vendor by working together to achieve wellness goals.

 

 

 

Assess. Assessment is a key to tracking program progress. There are a few specific areas to be assessed.

 

 

1)  Biometric data. When assessing biometrics, Dr. Adams recommends the use of blood pressure. This is because blood pressure is a risk factor for 3 of 4 major chronic diseases, and because blood pressure is improved through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.

 

2)  Health Risk Appraisal (HRA). There are three major reasons to use an HRA: to raise employee awareness; to gather baseline data; and to assess change over time.

 

3)  Cultural Assessment. Workplace factors can influence health behavior. By changing food choices in the cafeteria or vending machine, companies can influence employee health behavior.

 

4)  Importantly, when assessing employee health, the best programs stay well within guidelines to protect privacy. You can make sure you protect privacy and avoid discrimination by using the free WellSteps Wellness Compliance Checker. Click HERE to use this free tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Implement. Once you have identified health problems in your workpace, prioritize them from biggest to smallest and choose ONE that is most changeable. Data collected from the HRA becomes very important when prioritizing issues. If your organization doesn’t offer an HRA, choose one of the most common problems to get started. The most common health issues in America include inactivity, obesity, substance abuse, and mental health.

 

Evaluate. Check for participation and program satisfaction. Does your wellness program change behavior, risk, disease, and cost? If not, take the opportunity to shift your approach.

 

 The most effective wellness programs do all of these things and more to run a successful wellness program. Of course there are many more details involved with the day-in, day-out of a wellness program, but this outline provides a starting point.

 

To watch playback of the webinar and get more information, click HERE (scroll down to webinar list).

 

 

We hope this has been helpful! If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact a WellSteps expert by clicking HERE.https://www.wellsteps.com/contact-us

 

 

We invite you to register for our next webinar, Wellness Critics Attack, presented by Dr. Ron Goetsel and Dr. Steven Aldana, on August 29th, 11am ET. Register HERE.

 

 

In great health,

 

 

The WellSteps Team

 

 

 

Wellness Programming for Dummies

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 26 July 2013
in Designing Programs

 

Whether you are a wellness professional, broker, or consultant, it’s tough to crack the code on the best way to design and implement an effective wellness program. There are key ingredients that must be included at the right time and in the right proportion in order for a wellness program to yield the desired results.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Troy Adams will present those key ingredients in WellSteps’ next FREE webinar on Thursday, August 1.

 

 

In this webinar you will:

 

                Learn how the key ingredients all fit together,

 

                Get case-studies and examples of programs that have applied or ignored each key ingredient, and

 

                Get resources and tools to help you plan and deliver effective programs on your own, with a vendor or even with a carrier.

 

 

Thursday, August 1st at 11 a.m. EST, 10 CST, 9 MST, 8 PST 

 

If you missed this webinar, watch the recording HERE

 

Check back after the webinar for a recap of the material + more information!

 

In great health,

The WellSteps Team


Learn more about how WellSteps can help you HERE.

 

 

 

Four Things to Remember When Implementing Outcomes-based Employee Wellness

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 08 July 2013
in Outcomes-based programs

The ACA states the starting in 2014 employers may use up to 30%* of the total amount of employees’ health insurance premiums for outcome-based wellness incentives. The obvious goal of the outcome-based wellness incentive approach is to control medical costs. But does it work?

 

 


To answer that question, one must first ask, “What is the primary driver of rising medical costs?” According to the CDC, up to 75% of medical costs are due to chronic disease. So what causes chronic disease? Several studies suggest that lifestyle behaviors were responsible for up to 90% of chronic diseases.

            

Point #1: To bend the cost-trend, employee health behaviors must change.

 

For an employee wellness program to be effective, it must have reach (engage maximum participation) and impact (interventions sufficiently powered to change employee health behavior). An outcome-based approach creates a very strong incentive for employees to engage so it drives reach but does little if anything for impact. However, when an outcomes-based strategy is paired with a well-designed employee wellness program that creates impact – you have a winning combination!

 

Point #2: The outcomes-based approach is promising because it drives REACH

 

How does one create impact? Many outcomes-based employee wellness programs raise standards that must be met by employees to qualify for preferred rates. Employees need three primary elements to help them change: tools and skills to help them adopt and maintain healthy behaviors, peer support; and workplace culture which makes the healthy choice the easiest choice.

 

Point #3: Employees need tools and skills to change.  Sustained change occurs when there is a supportive culture of health.

 

 

Research shows that people place more weight on present versus future rewards or penalties. Therefore more motivation will be generated if employees get something good or avoid something bad NOW versus LATER. By contrast, according to managers of HR, payroll, benefits, etc., the best way to provide incentives is the way that does not complicate their job!

 

Point #4: Choose administrative simplicity but remember to reward employees for being healthy

 

This is the basis upon which WellSteps created the Rewards activity-tracking program, the simplest among WellSteps’ suite of wellness solutions. Rewards is an activity-tracking system that comes with a dedicated account manager called a “WellSteps Guide” who does all the heavy lifting. WellSteps Rewards is an incredibly flexible wellness activity tracker that makes promoting, managing and tracking wellness programming simple and effective, driving both reach and impact. More details here.

 

In summary, if the goal is to bend the medical cost trend, employee wellness behaviors must change. The outcomes-based strategy is promising because it drives reach, but those using an outcomes-based strategy should also provide skills and tools to help create a culture of health and encourage employees to change health behaviors. Read more about Outcomes-based wellness programs here.

 

*a discount or rebate of a premium or contribution; a waiver of all or part of a deductable, co-pay, or coinsurance; the absence of a surcharge; or the value of a benefit that would otherwise not be provided. 

 

Cheers!

The WellSteps Team

 

How to Make Participation, Incentives and Outcomes Tracking Hassle Free

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 21 June 2013
in Activity Tracker

Recent federal guidelines add momentum to wellness programs that include rewards for meeting certain health standards or for participating in health promoting programs.  This is good news for wellness professionals but it comes with new professional challenges.

Someone has to track, record, and verify the wellness activities for which employees get rewarded. Wellness professionals are not fond of tracking wellness program participation, incentives, and outcomes because these tasks are time consuming, complicated and not much fun. The great news is that these tasks can be simplified!

On June 27th Dr Steve Aldana, CEO of WellSteps, will explain how to make participation, incentives, and outcomes tracking hassle free!

In this hour-long webinar, you will:

  • Learn how to use FREE online services to track employee wellness outcomes
  • See how web-based reporting can eliminate administration hassles
  • Review case studies of how existing wellness programs have made it easy to track participation, incentives and outcomes.
  • Make your life a lot easier

If you missed this webinar, watch the recording HERE

 

Read more about WellSteps’ most simple and straightforward wellness solution by clicking HERE.

 

Cheers,

The WellSteps Team

WellSteps Rewards Activity Tracker Simplifies Wellness Administration

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 07 June 2013
in Activity Tracker

 

Outcomes-based wellness initiatives are a growing trend with one main problem. While many senior leaders and brokers support this trend, they rarely consider that someone has to track all the program requirements!  Depending on the complexity of the program, this could be an overwhelming task. 

This goes way beyond planning 12 months of wellness activities.  It requires someone in your organization who has the time to track participation, communicate with employees, and manage the distribution of rewards for an entire year!  Here are just a few of the tasks that must be managed.

 

  •  Strategically planning meaningful wellness activities for 12 months
  • Assigning points to increase the odds that employees do the important activities
  • Collecting and verifying proof of completion for large point activities
  • Emailing regular reminders so that employees record activities
  • Answering questions by phone or email on a daily basis
  • Providing regular participation reports
  • Providing data needed to fulfill rewards with the benefits plan or similar

 

This is precisely the reason we developed Rewards, an activity-tracking system that comes with a dedicated account manager called a “WellSteps Guide” who does all the heavy lifting. WellSteps Rewards is an incredibly flexible wellness activity tracker that makes promoting, managing and tracking wellness program requirements hassle free.

 

 

 

Basically, employees do wellness activities then record them at the end of each month to earn points. At the end of the program period (usually one year), points are redeemable. More details here.

So if your company is implementing an outcomes-based initiative or just ready for the first step towards better health, we can help you get started towards with the WellSteps Rewards Activity Tracker.  

 

Contact us and we will show you how WellSteps Rewards can help you organize and manage an effective wellness program. 

 

In good health,

The WellSteps Team

 

How to Get Leadership Buy-in For Wellness

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 24 May 2013
in Brokers

 

 Supportive leadership is the key to success in your company wellness initiative. Experts agree that a leader who supports wellness is perhaps the most important factor in overall program success. On the other hand, without leadership support, it is difficult if not impossible to launch a successful wellness program. 

 

 

 

WellSteps previously developed a tool to help you present a compelling business case for wellness to leadership – the ROI Calculator. Now we offer a tool to help you overcome a huge wellness barrier – funding!  This tool is called the Wellness Budget Calculator. Great news. BOTH tools are FREE.

 

The webinar on May 30 will help you know how to use these tools; make a business case for wellness; understand the importance of leadership buy-in; and learn how to elevate your wellness program to the next level.

 

Dr. Troy Adams, co-founder and COO of WellSteps, will present this hour-long webinar.  At the end of the webinar we will answer your questions.

 

Join us on Thursday, May 30th at 11 a.m. EST, 10 CST, 9 MST, 8 PST.

 

If you missed this webinar, watch the recording HERE

 

In good health,

The WellSteps Team

 

The ONLY Realistic Solution to America’s Poor Health

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 26 April 2013
in Evidence

 This morning WellSteps and our LinkedIn group, Wellness is a Business Strategy, hosted a highly popular webinar: Positive Health Perspectives and Practices. We were honored to have Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, and Dr. Mary Steinhardt share their research and advice. We also gave away 15 free prizes to attendees!

 

 

 

If you weren’t able to join us, Positive Health can be viewed HERE

                  

 

 

 

Be sure to register for next week’s webinar, The ONLY Realistic Solution to America’s Poor Health. On May 3rd Dr. Steven Aldana, co-founder and CEO of WellSteps, will discuss some provocative trends in the U.S. and what will happen if these trends continue. Dr. Aldana will carefully connect the dots that show the causes of our predicament and he will conclude with the ONLY solution to these challenges. You’ll get five years of research and investigation condensed into a one-hour presentation.

If you missed this webinar, watch the recording HERE.  

The WellSteps Team

 

 

Tags: Untagged

'Culture Clash' Release

Posted by Laura
Laura
WellSteps Guide with B.S. in both Health Promotion and Psyhology; personal trainer; yoga instructor. Laura hel...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 28 March 2013
in Culture

 

WellSteps is proud to announce the latest book release from our co-founder and CEO, Dr. Steven Aldana!

Dr. Aldana’s newest book, Culture Clash: How We Win the Battle for Better Health, helps readers cut through marketing hype to learn the true cause of poor health, and are lead to find reasons to change, new skills to do so, and avenues to get necessary help. Culture Clash provides research-proven insight on how to live a high-quality, healthy life. Learn more by clicking HERE.

 

Dr. Aldana will be speaking at WellSteps’ next webinar: The ONLY Realistic Solution to America’s Poor Health on Friday, May 3rd

If you missed this webinar, watch the recording HERE

 

Congratulations Dr. Aldana!

 

The WellSteps Team