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One size doesn’t fit all: Focusing on healthier outcomes
As a healthcare organization, if you haven’t already implemented an outcome-based wellness program, or provided one as a service to the business community, now’s the time. Wellness programs are a growing trend among employers—in fact, studies show that 65% of employers that offer health coverage to their employees also offer some type of wellness program. And it makes sense—wellness programs can provide substantial cost-savings. Research shows that for each dollar invested in a wellness initiative, companies can save an average of $3.14.That said, there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to wellness, and the most successful programs take that into consideration. If you’re looking to take your wellness program to the next level, below are a few ideas that may help.Outcome-based wellness programs
An outcome-based wellness program uses incentives, penalties or a combination of both to put the onus on the employee for his or her overall health and healthcare decisions. It’s about setting goals that are realistic and reachable. It’s about improvement for each unique person’s health state.Individualized health goals
According to NBC’s® hit TV show, The Biggest Loser®, success comes not from finding the perfect exercise routine; rather by discovering what works best for each individual. This is dependent on a number of variables including one’s current fitness, personal strengths and skills, limitations, schedule, preferences, goals and motivation.Work with employees to develop a program that works for them and they will be more likely to stick with it. Perhaps there are some who do best in a group setting. Organize lunchtime walks and provide participants with a pedometer to track their steps. Or, post aerobic class schedules from the nearby gym and encourage people to grab a buddy and pledge to attend. Hold weekly drawings for motivation wellness kits, fitness mats and exercise balls for participants who sign up and keep their commitment.

While physical activity is one of many goals that should be tied to an outcome-based health plan, it is also important to promote good nutrition, water intake, stress reduction and adequate rest. For those who are looking to improve themselves by eating healthier, encourage the development of a meal plan that includes nutritious foods and appropriate portion sizes. Eating healthy should leave one feeling strong and satisfied, not hungry and deprived. Portion plates and bowls can reinforce balanced, healthy eating will provide the nutrients and energy employees need to stay on track with their fitness goals.

Celebrate success
Celebrating success along the way will help participants realize their progress, which in turn will keep them pushing forward. Reward those who have stuck with their program and achieved results with verbal praise and recognition, certificates of achievement and office celebrations. Let them know their hard work is not going unnoticed.

A wellness program tied to healthy outcomes can improve the bottom line and increase the overall health and wellness of your employees and those you help. But the expected outcomes have to be individualized, encouraging and fair. Tailor plans to each employee’s personal interests, goals and health and everybody wins.

“Wellness Programs: Evaluating the Promises and Pitfalls” FamiliesUSA.org. N.p., June 2012. Web. 12 June 2013.

“Health and Wellness in the Workplace.” Health and Wellness in the Workplace, n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2012.

Outcome-based Wellness Programs Result In Healthier Employees And A Healthier Bottom Line.” HubConnects. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013.

“Our Philosophy.” The Biggest Loser. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013.

“Health Tips.” The Biggest Loser. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013.

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