Employee Benefit Views

More, better, faster: How to get there

Print
Email
Reprints
Posted November 1, 2012 by By Linda K. Riddell at 09:40AM. Comments (1)

Welcome back guest blogger Linda K. Riddell. This time, she offers practical advice to achieve what all employers want: more, better, faster wellness results. Enjoy, and share your thoughts in the comments. —Kelley M. Butler

With mounting pressure to do more with less, one can easily lose sight of what makes all human (and business) activity possible — health. The best tactics to maximize health and thereby boost profits are not to be found in the obvious places. In fact, if you only look in the headlines and the fads (including whatever your insurer wants to sell you this year), you may very well be charging off in the wrong direction.  
Many programs that vendors promote have shaky science behind them, or, worse, bogus results proving their worth. For example, you should immediately put up your guard when a vendor talks about “undetected claims costs.” These are, allegedly, dollars that would have been paid but for the vendor valiantly preventing them.  
Many gospel truths in wellness have long been disproven in science. For example, one popular truism is that early detection is cheaper and saves lives. Therefore, every wellness program promotes getting screened for various cancers.  Yet, screening for many cancers does more harm than good — it leads to overtreatment, it exposes hundreds of people to radiation, it gives hundreds false results (either false negatives or false positives), and it does not lead to more survival for more patients. Breast cancer is the prime example of this phenomenon, but it applies to other cancers and illnesses as well.   
To truly maximize health, businesses have to push past the myths and seek out science-based tactics. The good news is there are proven tactics that an employer can use and that do not involve persuading or bribing people to “make healthier choices.” Few employers realize that the work environment itself has a huge impact on health. Taking steps to shape that environment will, for example, lower everyone’s blood pressure even if no one joins a gym.  
People who feel that they are treated fairly at work have lower blood pressure and less heart disease even if they have other lifestyle risks for those illnesses. That’s right — the employer can actually make a difference in how many heart attacks happen by making people feel valued and respected at work.  The employer has complete control over these issues, something it does not have over what employees eat, drink, or do on weekends.  
Companies that want more, better, and faster first have to have health.  It’s time to use the right tools to make that happen.  
Guest blogger Linda K. Riddell is a principal at Health Economy, LLC. She can be contacted at LRiddell@HealthEconomy.net.

 

***

With mounting pressure to do more with less, one can easily lose sight of what makes all human (and business) activity possible — health. The best tactics to maximize health and thereby boost profits are not to be found in the obvious places. In fact, if you only look in the headlines and the fads (including whatever your insurer wants to sell you this year), you may very well be charging off in the wrong direction.  

Many programs that vendors promote have shaky science behind them, or, worse, bogus results proving their worth. For example, you should immediately put up your guard when a vendor talks about “undetected claims costs.” These are, allegedly, dollars that would have been paid but for the vendor valiantly preventing them.  

1 Comment

Posted by: Warren C | November 1, 2012 2:15 PM

Thank you for your article, I have been studying the effects of wellness programs for years as well as searching the literature and have yet to come across a credible study that shows the causal connection of wellness programs to anything, other than maybe flu shots. If anyone has one, please let me know.

Report this Comment

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Employee Benefit Views, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immediately be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Welcome to Employee Benefit Views!

    Welcome to Employee Benefit Views, brought to you by Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser. Throughout the day, take a break from the grind to read news and view posts from EBN staffers and guest bloggers.

    You’ll also find quick links to our other great content like EBN’s "Five Minutes With...", top stories and web events.

    So RSS us, click over a couple times each day and send comments to let us know what you think.


    RSS US!

    Employee Benefit News on Facebook

    Join EBN's LinkedIn Group Join Employee Benefit News LinkedIn Group

    Follow EBNmagazine on Twitter

Links we love

Advertisement