The health and wellness industry isn’t exactly known for being straightforward or simple to navigate. And with so many changes in the air, including regulatory updates, emerging technology, and new trends, it doesn’t look like it will be getting easier any time soon. That’s why when it comes to selecting a wellness provider, it’s best to heed the priceless advice of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and shop around.
Unfortunately, even if you eat your Wheaties every morning, knowing what to look for when selecting or evaluating a wellness provider can be difficult for even the savviest HR professional. Confounding things even further is the fact that at first glance, it can seem like many providers offer pretty much the exact same solutions: some sort of health risk assessment, Biometric Screenings, a Disease Management (DM) program, wellness challenges, etc. Trying to figure out what sets one apart from the others can be like trying to tell the difference between burgundy, wine, or maroon (can we just call it red?).
Just because a provider offers a solution doesn’t mean that they do it well or offer the depth that you’re going to need if you want to achieve any meaningful results. While many programs claim to be robust, offering a wide range of solutions that tick all the right boxes, many of them barely even skim the surface of what is possible with a wellness program.
Take the DM program for example. When done right, a DM program can engage the employees who need it most and provide a genuine opportunity for your program members to improve their health and well-being. At the same time, it can create a positive impact on your health spending. A win-win scenario for sure. This can be especially effective when you consider that employees with chronic conditions typically account for a small percentage of the overall population, but a significant portion of your overall claims costs. Focusing your wellness efforts on program members with chronic conditions, and addressing that population head-on is one of the wisest moves you can make.
It all sounds great in theory. And yet, the average DM program only covers an average of five conditions. That’s just not enough, especially if you’re looking to achieve real, positive changes within your organization (shameless plug: we offer an industry-leading 22 conditions). Another area to consider is whether the wellness provider offers any sort of outbound coaching services to members identified with chronic conditions through the DM program. This type of outreach can help to further engage your employees, and help them get started down a healthier path.
Perhaps one of the biggest missed opportunities in wellness is the lack of claims integrations. Nearly all wellness providers offer some sort of online wellness portal, which acts as a hub for wellness activities; however, without proper claims integration—where claims data is recognized by the system—these programs often fall short. Programs (like the ones we provide) that offer claims integrations can open the door to improved well-being by providing specific, easy to understand, targeted content to the members who need it most, so that they can inform themselves and gain the motivation to make beneficial lifestyle changes.
If you look hard enough at the wellness industry, you can find a vendor for pretty much everything you need, with each offering a small piece of the wellness puzzle. Gravitating toward an all-in-one provider, can help bring order to the complexity and get your program up and running efficiently. Just remember to do your due diligence and look beyond the laundry list of features to determine which providers offer the depth you need in order to enact real change at your organization.