Wellness Program Design: 6 Smart Ways to Control Costs

Looking for ways to control your wellness program costs?

Imagine you just got out of a meeting where your C-Suite leadership laid out the budget for your corporate wellness program.

You’re probably not walking back to your office…cause coronavirus. So you leave the video conference thinking about all the costs associated with your wellness program.

And you’re crunching the numbers in your head. Maybe you’re worried you might have to drop some nice-to-haves to support your population health initiatives, without going over budget.

Or maybe you’re worried that reducing your wellness program offerings means engagement and results will also take a hit.

How do you run an effective and efficient wellness program? And what can you do to control costs?

Beware of the wellness program Streaming Service Effect

A lot of wellness programs are pieced together with a long list of vendors and providers. Every one of them has its own set of fees and pricing structure.

When you design a wellness program this way, it’s not uncommon to end up duplicating efforts, and paying more just to get all the wellness program services you want and need.

It’s the Streaming Service Effect. Think of it like paying for streaming-movie services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu. Each offers original content, but they also overlap and share some of the same content.

  • But what if you didn’t have to piece together your wellness program like this?
  • What if there was a way to keep all the wellness program services that drive engagement, promote health, and prevent disease, AND control your costs?

If you’re looking for smart ways to run an effective and efficient wellness program on a budget, here are some things you can do.

1. Consolidate wellness program vendors

Take a hard look at all the wellness program vendors and services you’re paying for. Do some of these services overlap…meaning you’re paying more than you need to? That’s a good place to start to save some money.

But if you want to make things even easier, consolidate all your wellness program needs with ONE provider that can offer things like:

  • Event Management software to schedule events, send reminders, and communicate with participants
  • Biometric Screening services to schedule on-site or off-site services and process lab results quickly
  • Data Management services to securely store personal health information, comply with state and federal laws, and generate personal reports and analyze population health data.
  • Health Risk Assessment questionnaire based on scientific-research designed to identify health risks for participants, and provide you with population health data to choose your wellness initiatives.
  • Health Coaching tools and software to make it easier for coaches to educate and motivate participants to make healthy lifestyle choices and reduce the risk for chronic disease
  • Social Tools to stay in touch with participants, increase engagement, promote health challenges, and promote healthy lifestyle habits
  • Automated Claims Analysis to eliminate the need for a data analyst to identify primary healthcare costs and wellness ROI
  • Incentive Management tools to reward participants for completing wellness activities provide fulfillment services for gift cards or wellness-related products.
  • Wearable Tech Integration to connect fitness tracking devices and apps to a wellness platform

2. Use an adaptable wellness platform

 What happens when you decide to make a major shift to your wellness program? There’s a good chance you’ll need to find a new wellness platform vendor. And that can cost time and money.

If you want to avoid that, choose a wellness platform that can grow as your wellness program design matures such as the:

  • Wellbeing Model (participation based)
  • Hybrid Model (addresses some risk along with participation-based requirements.)
  • Outcome-based Model (changes disease state, or risk level. ie:  diabetes coaching)

3. Cut ineffective wellness program services

When you’re running a wellness program, paying attention to what’s working and what’s not can make a big difference in your wellness program spend.
If a program isn’t showing measureable outcomes such as:

  • Reduced risk
  • Reduced claim-spend trends over time
  • Low-engagement…

It doesn’t make sense to keep running those programs and paying for services that aren’t getting you results. Eliminate programs that aren’t working to control costs to save money, or invest those dollars into new services that will help improve population health.

4. Eliminate duplicate wellness tools and services

Remember the Streaming Services Effect? This is where a lot of waste happens with wellness programs.
Here’s an example:

Employees see their physician for an annual check-up and biometric screening. But you also offer on-site biometric screenings. Lots of employers do this. But it basically means you’re paying for the same service twice.

Vendors often encourage employers to offer on-site biometric screenings to increase their revenue. But it isn’t necessary if your employees already get this from their doctor.

5. Use a wellness platform that can provide-real time insights

What do you want to know about your population health data? You could hire a data analyst to do the work, run queries, and generate reports.

But what if you could easily design a wellness-platform dashboard to do it yourself? You’d skip the cost and time-lag of working with an analyst. And you’ve be able to see the status of your wellness program in real-time from your computer, tablet, or mobile device.

FitLyfe 360 dashboard tools can even simplify the process of reviewing data and creating graphics, charts, and slide decks to share with your C-Suite leadership.

6. Challenge wellness vendors to demonstrate their value

Are you getting your money’s worth? When you’re evaluating every dollar spent on your wellness program, challenge your vendors to demonstrate their value.

  • What are the measureable outcomes from your vendor’s service?
  • Is there a reduction in population health risk?
  • Is there a reduction in claim-spend over the last 3 years of cohort data?
  • Can you compare vendor costs for the same services? (Some wellness vendors charge a low per-member-per-month rate, but charge much higher rates for other services like biometric screenings.)

Want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth on vendor software, tools, and services? Look at vendor pricing structures and calculate Pper Member, Per Month for all costs so you are comparing apples to apples.

Design a wellness program that gets results

If you’re trying to design an effective and affordable wellness program that gets results, take the time to evaluate all the wellness vendors you work with and services you pay for. You may be surprised by what you find, what you can consolidate, and where you can save money.

Looking for a wellness-platform provider with all the services you need in one place? Schedule a demo to learn more.

5 Ways Technology Drives Wellness Program Success

wellness quiz

Ever wonder what technology can do for your wellness program?

You’re tasked with running a wellness program to promote health, prevent disease, and control healthcare costs. What do you need to be successful?

That’s a question expert climber Sir Edmund Hillary and his crew must have considered when they set out to summit Mount Everest in 1953. Many had tried to reach the peak of the 29,000-foot summit, but fell short of the goal. Hillary was determined to change that. And he did with the best gear and climbing technology of the time.

Are you using the best technology available to run your wellness program?

It’s the difference between climbing half way up the mountain and reaching the summit. Ask your C-Suite leadership team or your clients where they want to go, and they’ll all tell you they want to aim for reaching the summit.

How will you get there? The right technology will help you run a successful wellness program, much like it helped support Hillary’s expedition to Summit Everest.

Here are 5 ways technology drives wellness program success:

1. Identify risk factors

Hillary and his crew needed to know all the dangers they would encounter to prepare to summit Everest. So they collected information from previous summit attempts, and other climbing parties. They monitored the weather. They studied known climbing routes.

It’s the kind of upfront work you need to do to run a successful wellness program. Technology makes it a lot easier to administer a health risk assessment, or collect and analyze biometric screening data.

Both of these population health metrics provide critical data to help you develop your wellness program, and web-based tools like these make it easier, more accurate, and faster to administer and analyze.

2. Develop interventions

Put yourself in Hillary’s shoes. What should you do if there’s an obstacle in the way, weather patterns predict dangerous weather, or a previous climbing route proved to be impassable? Find a better way.

Use technology to collect population health data, and you’ll have a rich resource of information to help you refine your wellness strategy. That could include hand-picked Health Challenges to address a specific risk factor, or Health Coaching to help employees eat healthier, exercise more, get preventive care, and develop healthy lifestyle habits.

Other tech-based wellness interventions can include access to a Health Education Library, mini quizzes, and done-for-you Wellness and Health Programs.

The right wellness technology makes it easy to create a report of population health risk factors and choose interventions that will have the biggest impact on disease prevention, productivity, and healthcare costs.

3. Measure results

When Hillary reached the summit of Everest on May 29, 1953, it wasn’t by accident. He learned a lot from previous attempts, and other climbing expeditions that tried and failed. After each attempt, he took a closer look at the strategy and all the elements of an expedition to look for ways to improve.

Is your wellness strategy working? Measure your results. Find out by using wellness technology to track things like year-to-year:

  • Health risk assessment results
  • Biometric screening results
  • Participation rates
  • Healthcare claims and costs
  • Wellness program costs and ROI

4. Increase engagement

Climbing Everest generally isn’t a one-man expedition. It’s a team effort. The more people actively involved in making the climb, the more successful the expedition is going to be.

So how do you get more people involved in your wellness program? Use technology like:

Wellness Event Management tools to set appointments, send reminders, and motivate employees to make smart lifestyle choices. Send a group email or private message. Connect on social media. And keep participants informed.

Wearable Technology. Use a wellness platform that makes it easy to integrate wearable technology to capture participant data from smart watches, computes, and mobile apps. Research shows digital fitness trackers, devices and apps can help motivate people to make better choices.

Online Incentive Management to reward participants for completing wellness-related activities or achieving a health goal. The right tools automate the process for you, track points for participants, and provide an easy-to-manage experience to redeem the points for products and services.

5. Create a culture of health

When Hillary and his climbing crew reached the summit of Everest, he accomplished the impossible. For decades, the tallest peak in the world eluded even the best climbers. Hillary’s successful ascent motivated the rest of the climbing community to keep trying and keep improving.

What happens when an employee shares their weight-loss success story with co-workers? Or shares pictures of their transformation on social media? People notice.

What happens when you create a friendly competition with a cash prize for the person who logs the most steps for a month? People get excited. Participation rates go up. Productivity rises. Healthcare costs start to decline.

Wellness technology makes it easier than ever to create a culture of health, inspire others, facilitate change, and reach the summit of your wellness program goals.

Gear up with proven wellness technology
If you want to run a successful wellness program, the right wellness technology tools can make your climb easier, faster, and more effective than relying on how it’s always been done.

Ready to rise to the top? Let’s connect.

Top 16 Features of a Successful Wellness Platform

Are you looking for a
corporate wellness platform?

Are you looking for a corporate wellness platform?

Maybe you’re a wellness manager or human resources director tasked with choosing a corporate wellness platform for your company.

You start looking around at all your options, and you get that deer-in-the-headlights look. But, You’re you’re left wondering which corporate wellness platform will work best for your organization. Sound familiar?

You start looking around at all your options, and you get that deer-in-the-headlights look. You’re left wondering which corporate wellness platform will work best for your organization. Sound familiar?

Are you feeling frustrated about choosing a wellness platform? Uncertain? Not sure which one is right for your organization? You’re not alone.

What is a wellness platform?

A wellness platform is a web-based technology that can host a variety of programs used to evaluate, engage, inform, motivate, and incentivize employees based on your wellness strategy. The platform should be API-compatible with the ability to integrate with third-party vendors.

What’s the difference between a
wellness platform and a wellness portal?

A wellness platform gives you the ability to add programs beyond the vendor-established program offering or cookie-cutter design of a wellness portal. An effective corporate wellness platform features a flexible design that allows you configure it to meet the needs of your organization, population, and wellness and benefits strategy.

Develop your strategy
with a corporate wellness platform

A wellness platform is not a strategy. With the right features, it’s a tool you can use to develop and implement your strategy to promote health, prevent disease, increase engagement, boost productivity, and ultimately control healthcare costs.

With the right approach, intrinsic motivation will lead people who are already health conscious to engage, participate, and set an example for others. And with a little nudge of extrinsic motivation from your wellness strategy, you can boost participation and have a greater impact on population health.

What wellness features matter most? Start with this. You need to protect your data. Data security should be your highest priority. Your wellness platform must protect personal health information. And it must comply with all state and federal privacy laws. It’s critical to security. And it’s critical to boost engagement.

Still not sure which platform is right for you? Don’t throw in the towel just yet. And don’t just roll the dice and pick one. Make sure the platform you choose includes these 16 features:

1. Highly flexible

No two wellness programs are the same. Every workforce population is different. And health risk factors for one population won’t be the same from one organization to the next. A one-size-fits-all corporate wellness platform doesn’t make sense. Going with a fixed-design platform will only lead to more frustration.

  • Your corporate wellness platform needs to be flexible,
  • It needs to be customizable
  • And it needs to be easily configurable to fit your wellness strategy

Your wellness strategy might focus on well-being, use a hybrid model, be outcome-based, or even use a combination of different strategies. Your wellness platform needs to support your strategy and be adaptable. Otherwise, you’re almost guaranteed to waste time and money trying to achieve your wellness program goals.

Is your corporate wellness platform highly flexible?

2. Health risk assessment

If you want to identify population health risk factors that cost your organization the most in healthcare dollars, use a health risk assessment. It’s an evidence-based questionnaire designed to help you collect information about diet, lifestyle, and health risks from individuals to get a picture of population health.

NCQAHRA data for your population will help you shape your wellness strategy. And individual participants can use their personal HRA data to work with a health coach or their doctor to get healthy and stay healthy.

Does your corporate wellness platform include a health risk assessment?

3. Health literacy

Health literacyDid you know only 12 percent of adults in the U.S. have a basic understanding of health literacy? That’s a problem. Ever checked to find out if the health information you share with your population is easy to understand? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Medicaid, and many health insurance companies require patient-facing health content be written at or below a 7th grade reading level.

Does your corporate wellness platform meet health literacy standards?

4. Quiz builder

QuizWhat if you wanted real-time data from your population? You want to find out how they’re doing. What’s their diet, exercise, exercise, sleep, mental health like? How would you get that info? Create a short quiz, and ask. If your corporate wellness platform includes a quiz builder, it’s easy:

  • Pick a topic.
  • Write your quiz questions and answers.
  • Assign correct answers a point value.
  • You can even offer an incentive for completing the quiz. It’s a fast and easy way to boost engagement and get information you can use to drive wellness programming.

Can you create a quiz with your corporate wellness platform?

5. Wellness event calendar

You plan a wellness event and want your population to participate. How do you let them know about it? You could piece together a communication plan via email, an online calendar, and digital reminders. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If your corporate wellness platform includes a wellness event calendar, you can easily:

  • Schedule biometric screenings
  • Schedule fitness classes
  • Invite participants to a cooking demonstration
  • Host a financial wellness classes
  • Track sign-ups.
  • Set automatic reminders.
  • And make your life easier as a wellness program manager

Does your corporate wellness platform have an event calendar/planner?

6. Biometric screening

biometric-screening

It’s a critical component of an effective wellness program. Results from a basic blood draw can provide insight about health risks. Biometric screening data can tell you if your population is at risk for things like:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Certain types of cancer, and more.

It takes time to coordinate a biometric screening and get results. But it doesn’t have to. Choose a corporate wellness platform already connected to a network of medical providers for on-site and off-site biometric screenings.

Does your corporate wellness platform offer biometric screenings?

7. Corporate wellness challenges

wellness challegnesNeed a fun and easy way to engage your population? Host a health challenge. If that sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry. The best corporate wellness platforms include done-for-you wellness challenges that are easy to launch and manage like:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Exercise 30 minutes a day
  • Keep a food diary
  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

Your health challenge shouldn’t just provide a way to log activity. Done right, it can have a much bigger impact. With a properly-designed health challenge, you can motivate people to change behaviors, create a culture of health, engage participants, and get results. How do you do it? Provide action steps to be successful with incentive points to boost participation, and a way to track activity to increase accountability.

Does your corporate wellness platform offer corporate wellness challenges?

8. Health education content library

Want to support your published health education content? Provide digital health education content in the form videos your participants can watch, or audio files they can listen to. Some people learn better this way. It’s also a way to reinforce what someone already knows.Award them at the same time. You can use it beyond wellness like safety or on-boarding and many other purposes.

Does your corporate wellness program have a video/audio library of health education content?

9. Targeted communication

If you really want your wellness program to make a difference in population health and improve the lives of your employees, create targeted communications. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Invite participants with three or more risk factors for chronic disease to meet with a health coach.
  • Create an event to help participants with high blood pressure learn lifestyle, exercise, and diet strategies to lower it.
  • Host an exercise class or group walk for people who aren’t getting enough exercise.

Is there confusion among employees at different locations about your wellness program? Targeted communications can prevent that, too.

Can you send targeted communications with your corporate wellness platform?

10. Wellness rewards

RewardsWhat’s one of the best ways to boost wellness program participation? Reward effort and participation. Here’s how. Reward the effort with redeemable wellness points (for products or services) as an incentive. You could try and piece together your own program, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. An effective corporate wellness platform should include a plug-and-play system for wellness rewards.

Does your corporate wellness platform make it easy to offer wellness rewards?

11. Wearable technology integration

Wearables

Everybody knows self-reported data is a flawed way of tracking physical activity. But if you want to encourage your participants to be more active, how do you track it? Use wearable technology to collect participant data from:

  • Fitness watches
  • Digital tracking devices
  • Mobile apps

It’s easy if your corporate wellness platform is able to integrate with popular apps and devices. The major players include Google, Apple, FitBit, Garmin, and Samsung. If your wellness platform use a third-party aggregator, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where is the data goes?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • Who owns the data?
  • Is the third-party selling your participant data?
  • What are they using your data for?
  • Is it covered under the BAA?
  • If the third-party experiences a security preach, is your participant data at risk?

Real-time data from digital devices and apps can be a great way to engage participants and get accurate data. But you need to make sure your wellness platform provider protects this data.

Everybody knows self-reported data is a flawed way of tracking physical activity. But if you want to encourage your participants to be more active, how do you track it? Use wearable technology like fitness watches, tracking devices, and mobile apps to collect participant data. It’s easy if your corporate wellness platform is able to integrate with popular apps and devices. If your wellness platform use a Third party aggregator then where is the data goes, who owns it, are they selling it? What are they using it for? Is is covered under the BAA?

Is your corporate wellness platform wearable-technology compatible?

12. Healthy recipes

What’s wrong with the typical American diet?

  • Too many calories
  • Unhealthy fats
  • Added sugars
  • Refined grains
  • Too much sodium
  • And not enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

How can you help your population make better food choices? Share easy-to-make healthy recipes with information like serving size, calories per serving, and macronutrient information for proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Does your corporate wellness platform have a library of healthy recipes?

13. Incentive management

How do you motivate participants to complete a wellness task? This can include things like a:

• Health risk assessment
• Biometric screening
• Fitness challenge
• Healthier eating
• Wellness events

The solution to boost participation: An effective corporate wellness program should be designed to make it easy to assign point values for wellness activities. When a participant earns points, give them a way to redeem points for gift cards or online purchases for products and services they need, want, and use.

A highly-configurable platform provides you with the flexibility you need to set the parameters that fit your company and not be forced to use the criteria of other companies.

Does your corporate wellness program include incentive management?

14. Health coaching

Want to help your participants and your population get healthy and adopt lifestyle habits to stay healthy? Offer health coaching. Your corporate wellness platform should make it easy for a health coaching to:

  • Look at participant data
  • Identify readiness to change
  • Evaluate health risks
  • Make recommendations to improve health
  • Track progress. Member should also have access to their own coaching data.

Does your corporate wellness platform include health coaching features?

15. Claim integration

What are the primary health-related costs for your organization? If your corporate wellness platform is designed to support claim integration, it’s easy to compare health risk assessment and biometric screening results with health claims. It’s a data-driven way to:

• Make decisions to shape your wellness strategy
• Develop interventions to have the biggest impact on controlling healthcare costs
• Measure your return on investment in wellness, and more.

Does your corporate wellness platform support claim integration?

16. Analytics and reporting

Analytics and reporting

  • What are the primary health risk factors for your population?
  • Did you see an improvement in population health from year to year?
  • What lifestyle habits impact your population the most?
  • Are your efforts to boost wellness program participation working?

If you want answers to these questions and more, your corporate wellness platform must give you the ability to analyze your data and generate reports to better understand your population. And it should be easy to do.

Does your corporate wellness platform include easy-to-use tools to analyze population health data and create reports?

16 Must-Have Features
for Wellness Program Success

If you’re looking for a corporate wellness program with ultimate flexibility and customization, these 16 must-have features will make wellness program administration easier, support your wellness strategy, help you boost engagement and improve population health, and make your job easier.

The FitLyfe difference

Looking for a customizable wellness platform for your population to drive engagement, simplify program management, and get results?
Schedule a demo today.