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Time to Address the JAMA-Sized Elephant in the Room

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Time to Address the JAMA-Sized Elephant in the Room

Apr 25, 2019 « Back to The Skinny

Last week, JAMA published a study claiming wellness programs don't work. 
According to their report “there were no significant effects on clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, or employment outcomes after 18 months” for employers who implemented multicomponent workplace wellness programs.
 
Today, many employers offering wellness programs are questioning their investment. You might be one of them.
 
Here’s the thing: JAMA’s right.
 
Offering non-targeted, multicomponent wellness solutions likely won’t move the needle much, if at all. At least not in the short term.
 
Why?
 
Helping all your employees improve all aspects of their health, no matter how healthy or unhealthy they currently are, is impossible. Each one of your employees is unique with their own set of health conditions, risk factors, and opinions on what will work for their health.
 
In reality, offering an all-encompassing wellness program that claims to solve everyone’s problems will only help a tiny portion of your population. (Kind of like how one-size-fits-all clothing only works for the few unicorn-like people out there who can pull off any look.)
 
The truth is, healthy employees will jump at the chance to earn rewards for going to the gym and eating well while many at-risk employees struggling with chronic conditions won’t feel motivated to improve their health if doing so wasn’t already a goal.
 
So, how do you choose wellness programs your employees will benefit from and use?
 
1. Review your healthcare data. See what prescriptions and claims you’re spending the most money on as well as what conditions are present in your population.
 
2. Poll your employees. Send out a short survey asking them what kinds of wellness solutions they want and will invest time in using.
 
If your claims data reveals a prevalence of diabetes, heart conditions, and hypertension, or your employees share they want a program designed to help them lose weight, Naturally Slim® might be a great solution to offer.

On the other hand, if you’re spending a lot of money on ailments caused by tobacco use, and your employees express interest in quitting, offering a tobacco cessation program may be a good strategy.
 
And if after reviewing your healthcare and employee survey data you’re still unsure which wellness programs to offer, reach out. We’re happy to help, even if Naturally Slim isn’t the best fit for your organization.