Posts Tagged ‘workplace wellness’

Guest Post: Living Better, Not Just Longer: Worksite Wellness at Any Age

October 27th, 2014 by Tanja Madsen

Population health management

Living healthier, more productive years is the goal of population health management.

Just 20 years ago, about one in 10 workers was over the age of 55; today, it’s one in five. We are aging as a nation. We are living longer than our forebears a century ago, but can effective population health management push back the serious effects from chronic disease so we can live healthier, more productive years?

In the typical lifespan, there is a point at which an individual first becomes chronically ill or disabled, and a further point at which a person dies. On average, the time between those two points is about 20 years, according to healthy aging pioneer James Fries. Fries envisions a world in which we may not add many more years to the end of life, but we can “compress morbidity,” or shorten the number of years we suffer from illness.

The key question is: how can we maximize the healthy years of our lives? It’s not just a question important to individuals; it’s critically important to our economy as well. Population health and a nation’s financial health are inextricably linked. This is the focus of the World Economic Forum’s Healthy Living initiative, which found that more than 60 percent of global deaths are due to diseases associated with preventable lifestyle risk: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

Closer to home, CEOs of some of the nation’s largest companies unveiled a new initiative, Building Better Health: Innovative Strategies from America’s Business Leaders, to leverage their market power to identify an evidence-based approach to population health.

As our working-age population grows older, it’s critical that employers seize the opportunity to address the factors that influence health and can enhance productivity in older workers. For those of us who work in health promotion and prevention, that starts with a change in how we define the concept of “health.” Taking a cue from public health research, we must recognize that health is more than the absence of disease and take a whole-person approach to total well-being. Public health literature points to physical, social, economic, environmental and genetic “determinants of health” that combine to affect the health of individuals and populations. Using a more expansive term for this view of health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that well-being includes, at a minimum, positive emotions, satisfaction with life, fulfillment and positive [physical] functioning.

This fuller definition of well-being comes into play as employers focus on the value of this aging workforce. Older workers offer tangible benefits for employers to keep them healthy and productive. Researchers found that older workers (over age 65) make fewer serious errors than their younger colleagues (age 20 – 31); they also offer experience, consistently high motivation, a balanced daily routine and stable mood.

The University of Louisville’s program, “Get Healthy Now,” opens health coaching to all interested employees, regardless of whether they are at low-, medium- or high-risk for chronic disease. Care-giving workshops are designed to help everyone from new parents to sandwich-generation Baby Boomers caring for elderly parents; elements include legal, financial and social factors. Mindfulness, yoga and relaxation are among the many classes offered to promote well-being. ROI analysis found the UofL program returned a benefit cost ratio of 7.16 to 1 after four years, and it has become a model for a statewide strategic wellness initiative called “Get Healthy Kentucky.”

Evidence-based workplace health management programs that offer tools to support healthy aging can help older workers maintain active, productive lives. Some interventions, such as in-person health coaching, are particularly effective for those over age 40. In addition to a continued focus on the key behaviors that can help delay the onset of health problems (avoid tobacco, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight), it becomes more important than ever to invest in programs that enhance the emotional, physical, social and financial well-being of all workers—no matter their age.

Tanja Madsen

Tanja Madsen

About the Author: A veteran of health education and health management product development, Tanja Madsen is director of product management for HealthFitness. She is involved in the development of the innovative HealthFitness technology platform, the Persona™ behavior change model, a short, engaging health assessment and a new approach to coaching. A certified health educator, Tanja works with a team that includes registered dietitians, health educators, exercise physiologists and behavior-change experts who are responsible for the development and management of national programs to improve population health.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Infographic: The Skinny on Workplace Wellness

October 29th, 2013 by Jackie Lyons

By rewarding lifestyle behavior change over program participation, using texting and social networking to promote programs and putting more weight on patient satisfaction as a program success metric, employers are creating a health-oriented work environment.

About 51 percent of U.S. employers offer wellness programs, with larger companies more likely to have more complex programs, according to a new infographic from the RAND Corporation. This infographic also outlines the services included in the wellness programs, disease management services, the incentives that fuel the programs and the types of screenings that take place.

The Skinny on Wellness in the Workplace

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You may also be interested in this related resource: 2012 Healthcare Benchmarks: Health & Wellness Incentives.

Infographic: Workplace Wellness

April 16th, 2013 by Melanie Matthews

More than 81 percent of employers with 50 or more employees have a workplace wellness program, according to a new infographic by Medifit. The infographic details the benefits of workplace wellness programs, along with data on risk reductions achieved.

Workplace Wellness

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healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

You may also be interested in this related resource: 2012 Healthcare Benchmarks: Health & Wellness Incentives.

7 High-Impact Ideas to Prioritize Prevention

February 22nd, 2013 by Jessica Fornarotto

Reimbursement for prevention efforts and employer engagement are among seven high-impact recommendations from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) to prioritize prevention and improve the health of Americans.

“A Healthier America 2013: Strategies to Move from Sick Care to Health Care in Four Years”, a new TFAH report, illustrates the importance of taking innovative approaches and building partnerships with a wide range of sectors in order to be effective.

The report outlines top policy approaches to respond to studies that show that more than half of Americans are living with one or more serious, chronic diseases, a majority of which could have been prevented; and also that today’s children could be on track to be the first in U.S. history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

The seven recommendations documented in the report are:

  1. Advance the nation’s public health system by adopting a set of foundational capabilities, restructuring federal public health programs and ensuring sufficient, sustained funding to meet these defined foundational capabilities;
  2. Ensure insurance providers reimburse for effective prevention approaches both inside and outside the doctor’s office;
  3. Integrate community-based strategies into new healthcare models, such as by expanding ACOs into accountable care communities;
  4. Work with nonprofit hospitals to identify the most effective ways they can expand support for prevention through community benefit programs;
  5. Maintain the prevention and public health fund and expand the community transformation grant program so all Americans can benefit;
  6. Implement all recommendations for each of the 17 federal agency partners in the National Prevention Strategy; and
  7. Encourage all employers, including federal, state and local governments, to provide effective, evidence-based workplace wellness programs.

“A Healthier America” also features more than 15 case studies from across the country that show the report’s recommendations in action.

The report also includes recommendations for a series of 10 key public health issues: reversing the obesity epidemic; preventing tobacco use and exposure; encouraging healthy aging; improving the health of low-income and minority communities; strengthening healthy women and healthy babies; reducing environmental health threats; enhancing injury prevention; preventing and controlling infectious diseases; prioritizing health emergencies and bioterrorism preparedness; and fixing food safety.

Infographic: Stress in the Workplace

December 31st, 2012 by Melanie Matthews

Stress in the workplace is a major reason for loss of productivity and lower moral among employees. Workplace wellness programs are an effective way for employers to help employees manage stress. MediFit has developed an infographic that illustrates some of the causes of workplace stress as well as the benefits a workplace wellness program can realize.

Stress in the Workplace

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Infographic: 10 Tips for Creating a Healthier Workplace

October 25th, 2012 by Melanie Matthews

Sponsoring healthy activities at the office and providing health and wellness information to employees are just some of the ways that employers can encourage a healthier workforce.

Learn additional ways to encourage a healthier workplace in this infographic by Central Health.

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