U.S. employers know that increasing productivity and profitability is linked to the health of its employees. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, at least 7 out of 10 American employers offer some form of employee health wellness program. This is up 21% since 2008.
So what kind of wellness program should employers offer today? We’ll talk to a doctor of integrative medicine about this.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM DR. GARY HUBER OF HUBER PERSONALIZED MEDICINE.
WHAT IS INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE? (1:19 in)
In Dr. Huber’s words – What that implies is we are going to take a broader at your health….a look at your nutrition, your sleep patterns, your stress, your exercise and your lifestyle.
Insight – The goal of this form of medicine is to try to reverse or prevent disease when the patient is willing and able to change their lifestyle.
IS PERSONALIZED MEDICINE ANOTHER WAY TO DESCRIBE INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE? (3:44 in)
In Dr. Huber’s words – We’re going to look at your genetics because your genetics let us know what you’re predisposed for.
Insight – According to Dr. Huber, genetics are responsible for only 15-20% of our health result. But by looking at those genetics ahead of time, it’s possible to take measures to avoid diseases you may be more susceptible to get.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL HEALTH WELLNESS PROGRAM INVOLVE? (6:04 in)
In Dr. Huber’s words – Preventive care programs. If we can identify issues and put them on drug therapy, that will avoid costs.
Insight – Having lunch and learns or providing financial incentives to participate are having only marginal impact. One of the biggest challenges continues to be getting people to engage in a program.
IS THERE A BETTER APPROACH TO HEALTH WELLNESS? (9:43 in)
In Dr. Huber’s words – If we took Joe and Joe lost 50 pounds and he started eating different and he looked different and his energy was better, guess what his co-workers said, what are you doing? Show me how to do that.
Insight – Select the riskiest group of employees, those that potentially could cost the business the most in healthcare cost. Work on getting them healthier. If material changes occur in them, others in the employee pool will want to follow their lead.
IS YOUR HEALTH WELLNESS PROGRAM TYPICALLY SIX MONTHS? (12:20 in)
In Dr. Huber’s words – It takes someone six months to truly change their mindset. What we’re really working on is what’s between the ears.
Insight – Results come quicker, but to maintain better habits for the long term requires an initial program of several months followed by periodic follow ups. People who have been in the program for a while can be mentors for others thinking about participating.
CAN AN INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE PROGRAM BE AFFORDABLE FOR A BUSINESS WITH LESS THAN 50 EMPLOYEES? (15:10 in)
In Dr. Huber’s words – Yes. In the very first group we ran through we had a 49% reduction in medication costs. Savings in drug costs more than paid for the program.
Insights– In evaluating ROI consider the cost benefit of less absences and more importantly, employees working at their job instead of languishing because they don’t feel well.
DO YOU HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH THE PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS OF THE EMPLOYEES? (19:09 in)
In Dr. Huber’s words – We can and sometimes do. I’m not going in there to be their primary care physician.
Insights – Patients are encouraged to share recommended lifestyle changes with their doctor. Sometimes implementing a lifestyle change program becomes a collaborative effort between the primary care physician and the integrative medicine provider.