There is a rush by healthcare marketers to talk about wellness. Fueled by the fear of the day when we can only make money if we learn how to keep people out of the hospital, there is a trend toward wellness-speak in marketing. But very, very few healthcare providers are making any kind of genuine impact with all this wellness happy talk. Who is making progress? Some employers desperate to cut employee costs.
Data and an abundance of real life case studies overwhelmingly support that employee wellness leads to huge financial benefits in healthcare expense. Smart companies keep their employees out of the hospital.
Businesses are making a measurable impact on employee wellness, still none of the healthcare provider wellness-based campaigns are helping anyone get healthier. So what can healthcare providers learn from successful corporate wellness engagement strategies?
The National Business Group on Health has been compiling data and handing out awards to successful wellness plans since 2005. The data they’ve compiled shows four common elements to successful wellness programs.
- Engaging not just the individual but the family and the community
- Financial incentives based on targets
- Transparent measurement to assess the performance of the individual AND the whole population
- Programs that support long-term changes
I have written extensively that when you do risk assessments for wellness, early detection and prevention, you bring in highly-profitable, pre-episode, asymptomatic patients. But if you are setting up wellness programs, all four of these elements must be in place.
Your job as a hospital marketer is to contribute to the financial sustainability of the health system. To do your job well, you must understand how behavioral change really happens and then modify your communications. Your wellness billboards are not helping anyone… yet.