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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Health Coaching Successes

I've always believed that health coaching is one of the most powerful tools we have as wellness professionals. There's nothing like working one-on-one with a true expert.

We recently surveyed a large group of health coaching participants, and the results were amazing. More than 97% felt health coaching was beneficial to them, and similar numbers said their coaches had helped them set and achieve meaningful health goals.

Whenever we survey our wellness participants, I always play close attention to the written comments. You'll often find insights like this:

"I was resistant to the coaching session to begin with, but [my coach] was able to focus on my issues and provide very useful advice. I was really pleased and impressed with how well she not only handled my resistance, but gave me a few good things to think on."

Such an excellent point. Employees are sometimes hesitant to speak openly about their health, and it's our job to meet people where they are -- even if they're not yet ready to make changes. Over time, health coaches form a trusting relationship with the participant and help them move forward at their pace.

I have to thank Juliet Rodman, our co-founder and a registered dietitian herself, for our success in this area. WCS now has more than 1,200 trained and certified health coaches in our network nationwide, almost all of whom are registered dietitians. RDs possess a perfect blend of clinical expertise and real-world coaching experience, and that's what makes them so effective.

Way to go, Juliet and all our fabulous coaches!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wellness for Wellness' Sake: A Response to Skeptics

Unflattering articles. Negative comments. Withering criticism. If you've been online at all recently, you've probably seen the work of a few (very) vocal wellness detractors. They may be a microscopic minority, but they make up for it in volume and shrillness.

I've avoided responding directly to these attacks because, quite frankly, we have more important work to do. We're focused on our clients -- all of whom are dedicated to helping their employees live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

Apparently that's controversial.

Dr. Gordon Norman, Chief Medical Officer at xG Health Solutions, posted a thoughtful essay on LinkedIn that I hope you'll read in its entirety. I'd like to highlight a few crucial points:
  • Most employers do not expect instant cost savings. They know that building a culture of health takes time, but they also appreciate the positive impact that wellness can have on productivity and morale in the short term.
  • Asking "Does wellness work?" misses the point. Each population (and wellness program) is unique. Therefore, we must ask what "success" means for this population, with its particular culture and needs.
  • A focus on ROI is shortsighted. We know intuitively that improving employee health and well-being makes good business sense, even if some benefits are difficult to measure in dollars and cents.
Kudos to Dr. Norman for saying what many of us have been thinking for a long time. Now back to the work that really matters!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Worldwide Wellness Survey Shows Commitment to Wellness

Employee wellness has come a long way since WCS opened its doors in 2004.

Over the past decade, we've watched the wellness movement grow from infancy (health fairs and lunch-and-learn seminars) to adolescence (biometric screenings and online portals) to adulthood (branded, highly-incentivized outcomes-based programs). It's been quite a journey.

Buck Consultants at Xerox recently released an annual survey of employers that shows the evolution of wellness. When the survey began, in 2007, most wellness programs focused on simple health promotion. Today, most companies are taking a much more data-driven, holistic approach.

The good news is that investments in wellness continue to accelerate. Of the 1,000+ employers worldwide who were surveyed:
  • 43% have branded their wellness initiatives
  • 52% use health insurance premium reductions as an incentive
  • 65% believe wellness programs are extremely or very important to attract and retain workers
To me, one of the most interesting and encouraging shifts is an increased reliance on data to drive wellness programming. Fifty-two percent of the companies surveyed now measure outcomes. As we've blogged previously, WCS continues to develop innovative technology solutions that help our clients make the most of their wellness data.

Much more is coming, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WELLConnect: Instant Access to Screening Data

When we announced the launch of WELLConnect, we listed its many features: tablet technology, pre-populated digital forms, sophisticated appointment scheduling, and more. But the heart of WELLConnect is real-time access to screening data.

Over the past decade, we've seen firsthand how important data has become to a wellness program. It impacts everything from health assessments to incentives. That's why we developed WELLConnect. Our clients needed instant access to their data and we delivered.

The behind-the-scenes technology is complex, but using it is simple. We offer two options for accessing real-time data:
  • Download data files as often as needed from a secure site, even during screening events
  • User our application programming interface (API) to automate the process, pushing data directly to your system
Next week, we'll continue our webinar series on WELLConnect by discussing our Data Dashboard, a dynamic site that will give our partners and clients self-service access to critical metrics and reporting.

Space is limited, so register today!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wellness Gizmos & Gadgets: New HealthKit App from Apple

As everyone knows by now, Apple fans are swarming to buy the company's latest version of the iPhone: more than 10 million units were sold in the first three days they were available. What you may not have heard is that Apple has also launched a feature for app developers that could be revolutionary for wellness: HealthKit.

From the Apple website:
HealthKit allows apps that provide health and fitness services to share their data with the new Health app and with each other. A user's health information is stored in a centralized and secure location and the user decides which data should be shared with your app.
Imagine recording your heart rate using the Apple Watch, then storing that information for use by all your health apps. Pretty cool!

We still need to consider privacy and HIPAA-compliance, of course, but I think this is the wave of the future. Monitoring your health could become as easy texting or checking Facebook, using a device you're already familiar with.

What do you think? Is wellness ready for this kind of technology?

Monday, September 22, 2014

CVS Health Goes Tobacco-Free: #OneGoodReason

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths each year (one of every five deaths), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As you may have heard, CVS Health will soon halt the sale of tobacco products in their stores nationwide. They've also launched a social media campaign (#OneGoodReason), asking the public to share why they've chosen to be tobacco-free. We encourage you to take part.

We've said for years that wellness makes good business sense, and clearly CVS agrees. It's why so many of our clients make tobacco cessation part of their comprehensive wellness programs.

So, what is your reason for living tobacco-free?

Leave a comment below or tweet @corpwellness using the hashtag #OneGoodReason.