The CEO’s Desk: A First Step in Wellness Programs

DMEC Staff@Work

 A First Step in Wellness Programs

By Terri L. Rhodes, CCMP, CLMS, CPDM, MBA


Let’s start off by acknowledging that many wellness programs are not really wellness programs at all. They are employee incentive programs, and this means that by putting a focus on incentives only, we dilute the real value of having a healthy workforce. Employees do respond to incentives though, so we need them as part of an overall program rather than the final objective.

Ambitious wellness programs can be sophisticated. Cutting-edge wellness initiatives that gather and analyze employee health data in a data warehouse facilitates early intervention and population health management. The results are sometimes spectacular; however, the first step in a successful wellness program may be simpler.

Most American adults are at risk in at least one adverse health risk category, and approximately half of them still don’t know it. Screening programs are key. Preventing one medical catastrophe can pay for a program’s cost and give it instant credibility. However more often, health screenings identify less dramatic conditions, but we know that early intervention yields better health outcomes, which in turn lower medical costs and provide a better quality of life for the employees and their partners. As the employer you reap the benefits too when your employees are healthier and happier; there is a cause and effect when early medical detection is in place.

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