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wellness digest — week of january 10

January 17, 2011

in wellness digest

this week’s roundup of articles that intrigued, informed, inspired or irritated.

1. lose weight, gain money

healthywage, an online consumer site that lets you put their money where your mouth is, announced their push into the corporate wellness arena. because there’s been more innovation in the consumer market, i’m betting we’ll see more of this type of transition. i’d be interested in your thoughts.

“People participating in the program will pay $60, or $50 if their company is willing to pay $2 per participating employee. Companies that do so will be eligible for a $25,000 prize if they host the winning team. ‘After the success of the team competition, we decided to expand into the corporate wellness arena,’ said co-founder David Roddenberry.”

2. flex time flourishes in accounting industry

we hardly think of accounting firms as leading the pack in terms of innovative practices, but here they are, doing just that when it comes to flexible scheduling. in a bit of one-upmanship, the major accounting firms have continuously improved their approach and have laid a roadmap for others to follow.

“Deloitte led the way in the early 1990s, adopting more generous maternity policies and more flexible scheduling. In the second wave, shortly after 2000, many employees complained that the new flexibility policies were geared only to mothers and were not systematic. So several firms broadened their policies, making them available to everyone.”

3. new to sam’s club: $99 basic health services

sam’s club shoppers, and those who are friends with or employed by them, can now get preventive services for only $99. sam’s club is offering an assessment coupled with a personalized plan that includes a 24/7 nurse line, two coaching sessions, preventive screenings and targeted reminders based on your personal health profile. it doesn’t come with a doctor, but for many people—and companies—this is going to be a boon. the most interesting comment, however, comes at the article’s end:

“When asked if parent company Wal-Mart plans to introduce the health service package in its stores, Gallagher declined to comment other than to say that both Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club are ‘always looking for different initiatives’ to offer their customers.”

4. mobile health report: fourth quarter review

this article summarizes recent pushes by insurers into the world of mhealth. it references unitedhealth, humana and BCBS, and tells how each is beginning to use mobile devices to reach members and help them make healthier decisions. it definitely whetted my appetite for the full report.

“We knew we had built robust and precise tools that people could use to improve their health status. What we needed to do was step up the game in terms of getting people to take advantage of it. To do that it wasn’t a matter of doing something more sophisticated, it was a matter of becoming a bigger part of their lives.”

5. get wellness

a broad but not deep look at some of the things we need to tackle to get people to change behaviors. this time article talks about better doctor training, reimbursement design and in-your-face interventions.

“There’s no question Americans need to stop smoking, eat less junk food and get more exercise. But can physicians—many of whom have little training in nutrition or exercise coaching — succeed in altering behaviors?”

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