In a report published on HealthDay, the online news service, Pepsico found that implementing a disease management program alone among its 67,000 employees resulted in a reduction of $136 per month in hospital costs and a 29 percent drop in hospital admissions. Moreover, employees participating in both disease and lifestyle management programs saved $160 in hospital costs each month, and hospitalizations in this group fell 66 percent. The research also found that every $1 invested in the wellness program saved $3.78 in health care costs.
Tech innovation: The next generation of wellness programs
With the cost-effectiveness of these programs increasingly evident, what’s the next workplace wellness program innovation? One to watch for is an interactive approach featuring social networking, game mechanics, and personalized content to motivate behavior change. Kaiser Permanente (formerly Group Health) uses such a program developed by RedBrick Health with its own employees.
RedBrick specializes in consumer health engagement technology. The company uses online social experience, games, applications and even devices like Fitbit® to engage employees in wellness, while also gathering valuable data to personalize content. Employees can connect online, via mobile, or live interactions. The idea is to offer staff a more individualized, engaging experience that makes becoming healthier fun.
Making healthy behaviors fun
Employee services include health assessments, individualized recommendations with reachable goals, individual and team-based challenges, integration of data from other apps and devices, and a daily wellness tracker.
Employers can leverage RedBrick services for health fairs, live coaching, and on-site biometric screenings to further enhance the experience. Companies can also access richer data for monthly activity reports, annual reviews and analysis, and an aggregate health assessment report. Other options include flexible reward systems such as gift cards or discounts.
The goal: Lower premiums, higher productivity
Employee wellness programs are one way to help employees better manage their health and diseases. As Healthday reported, such efforts can decrease the amount of time employees spend in the hospital and also help to reduce readmission in certain instances. These two factors can help large employers realize lower health plan premiums in subsequent plan years.