What can be measured should be measured. Whether it’s profit margin, employee attendance, weight, blood pressure or your cholesterol - improvements mean progress, but in terms of what and ….says who? In terms of a business strategy, wellness and prevention programs should provide real information and evidence of its effectiveness. So in the world of wellness and disease prevention, where’s the real data?
Biometric screenings, Health Risk Assessments (HRAs), Apps that track lifestyle habits are some of the most common programs used by employers. Of course, these initiatives serve an important purpose for organizations taking steps toward a culture of wellness and providing actionable steps for employees to engage in. The drawback is that it’s so very hard, if not impossible, to determine the impact of the prevention and wellness programs. Honestly, all we can prove is how much financial investment was provided and who participated.
Return on Investment
It is almost crazy to attempt to measure ROI in wellness programming. How much does the cancer diagnosis that never happened spare the company? Or the emergency room visit for a heart attack that didn't occur or the diabetes that never developed? We need to start including additional programming that serves all staff members, those that can be measured. Chronic disease recovery coaching. With this type of offering, we can ask questions that provide measurable results with disease recovery programming. What are the lab changes? Is quality of life sustained or possible improving. Are tumor markers improving? Were there reductions in benefit utilization? For most wellness / prevention programs, the answer is a resounding “no”. However, for cancer recovery programs, we can actually show progress and identify what efforts are working. Ultimately, is the employee dealing with cancer able to work, able to return to work after treatment...or is their state of health declining and medical bills increasing? These are very apparent and measurable metrics to track.
Disease Recovery Based on Data
Outcomes-based programs are becoming very popular. Less missed work, improved emotional stability and decreased mortality rates are essentially making people more accountable for the state of their personal health. Evidence-based medicine (where doctors make decisions about care using mathematical estimates based on measured treatment of large population samples) informs decisions about health care treatment. Integrative approaches to disease is making great strides in this category.
Focus on Creating an Impact
Concentrate on High Risk, High Cost: The strategy isn’t based on population health. Specifically, employers should concentrate on cancer, it is on the rise and with 1 in 2.4 Americans projected to receive this diagnosis, it is sure to weigh heavily on the corporate platform. Cancer will be the top suspect for claims reported to insurance companies. This disease is scaling the workplace, medication prices are climbing, research is creating more expensive drugs and all of these drivers are likely to place the highest percentage of your workforce at risk for catastrophic health issues. And, to be the number one reason for death in this country.
Having a cancer coach on your team to support each employees progress is the dividing factor in demonstrating what works and what doesn't. When people do not know they have treatment options, one of two things happen. #1. They blindly follow along with the status quo, which is not improving cancer outcomes nor is it efficient for restoring health. #2. People become overwhelmed with so much information, they are unsure what is applicable and in fear, sit back to traditional practices (see #1).
It's true. Programs that are out of sight - are out of mind. Most wellness programs are either presented at certain times of the year or are are ongoing for those who take initiative to inquire. The impact is slight, if at all for these approaches. A longer term program, one that is repeatedly reminded to team members will be more sustainable as the reminder of choice and options for disease care can severely impact the ability to make an informed decision. Knowing there is support and guidance should a life threatening disease strike will make employees and their loved ones feel comforted and secure if they receive an unfavorable diagnosis.
Are you looking for a way to improve the state of health for those who have already been diagnosed with cancer? Email us for your options.
The most powerful tool we have to ensure we make better health and wellness choices in the future is KNOWLEDGE.