Hospital Employee Wellness - Great Sandbox for Patient Engagement

There is a lot of hedging by hospitals when it comes to where payment reform ultimately ends up.  Will there be an ACO model that proves operational and profitable?  As there are some who are predicting the failure of the ACO model (Christensen, Flier and Vijayaraghavan: The Coming Failure of 'Accountable Care'), a number of our clients are looking at their self-insured employee health benefit programs as a great place to start engaging patients where they are already assuming “full-risk” for claims.

At Atlanticare, in Southern New Jersey, their vision is “We Build Healthy Communities,” and with nearly 6000 employees participating in the Atlanticare self-insured health plan, they have a community of their own.  With Atlanticare’s own medical expenses increasing roughly 12% annually, they must find ways to manage and control this spend, rather than pass these annual increases on to employees through higher co-pays and deductibles.  Atlanticare is providing a role model in its community by encouraging its employees to engage in wellness activities through a combination of free preventative care and wellness credits that are applied against premium contributions.  By completing the activities on the Wellness Activity Checklist, employees can earn up to $2000 in annual out of pocket savings.  Items on the checklist include:

 

  • Classes to measure and record BMI, blood pressure, weight and tobacco use.
  • An online health assessment and an annual preventative care visit.
  • Optional lifestyle consultation.
  • Three activity challenge events where employees track their activity daily in order to meet monthly goals.

These programs are also a great way to use your mobile platform in order to increase compliance rates and the convenience of self-reporting.  Using your mobile platform as the hub to collect data from the most popular wireless devices (Fitbit, etc) will seamlessly link your employees' activities (movement, sleep, weight, etc) to your programs and electronic medical records, and is a great way to influence and promote healthy behaviors in your hospital.  Many Fortune 500 companies are pursuing programs that employ such tools for employee wellness. 

Hospitals are often the largest employers in their community and can play a large role in building healthier communities.