This post from Cathy Kenworthy, Interactive Health President and CEO, was originally published in LinkedIn here. Please visit the original piece to leave any comment.
How’s this for a business pitch: “We’d like to come into your office and stick needles into your employees? Is that OK?”
As crazy as that sounds, that’s one way of describing how we at Interactive Health do business.
Another way of describing what we do: we implement worksite wellness programs designed to increase overall company health and actively engage employees to make lasting behavior changes. We do this by collecting hands-on data, yes including a blood draw; evaluating the health of every individual through a proprietary and credible algorithmic-based integration engine; assigning a unique and tailored goal to each person based on their specific health status; and providing an enormous array of support and resources to help individuals achieve those goals.
Of course, companies that hire us have no desire to inflict discomfort on their employees; quite the opposite. These companies want to ensure employees and their families can attain their best possible health outcomes – leading to greater productivity, reduced health costs, and most importantly, happier lives.
And one of the most exciting parts of my role as CEO comes when we announce – as we have just done today – our annual Healthiest Companies in America recognition. It’s a day when I spend time reflecting on the people behind the recognition, and their stories, that thrill and inspire me, and so many of my colleagues.
Healthiest Companies in America recognizes companies that help their employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health. It takes a lot to earn this award, which is part of the reason I believe so much in it. Winning companies must have more than 70 percent of their eligible population participating in the program, and these participants collectively achieve, on average, a low-risk health score, based on our rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.
Winners span nearly every industry, U.S. geography and organization size. This tremendous outcome is possible for every workplace.
When I reflect on the people and stories that lead to this recognition, I think first about the deep appreciation I have for the leaders who make the tough-minded decision to take on the empowering and sometimes scary topic of health by (1) implementing programs that are rigorous and enable success and (2) trusting us to put our services into action. It takes imagination and a sense of what’s possible to build a great and effective worksite wellness program. While the state of healthcare continues to be a raging topic of debate across our country, these are leaders and companies that decided to act, not as a hobby but as a pronounced strategy. As a result, they have demonstrably better health outcomes and lower cost.
I then think about the stories of individuals and what they learn and achieve through an effective worksite wellness program, beyond the jargon and the numbers. Here are five examples that really speak to me:
- In the words of one member: “During my health assessment last year, it revealed that I endorsed a moderate level of symptoms commonly found with depression. That was just the beginning. It also stated that this could be a result of several things one being hormone issues. After months of being ill and no doctor really knowing what I was suffering with, it was discovered that I was in perimenopause and was deficient in all my ” female” hormones. This was debilitating. I am getting the care I need for this now and am feeling much better.”
- I read about a member who received a call from one of our health coaches the day after her health evaluation last November. The member’s thyroid level was out of range; our coach recommended an immediate follow-up with her physician. Within the next four days, the member ended up in the emergency room with racing heart, dizziness, and weakness. Because she had been alerted that her thyroid level was out of range, she had information she could relay to her healthcare providers to direct them to what might be wrong, which helped tremendously in her care.
- Another member told us this: “In the past, I lived day by day enjoying what I thought was a healthy lifestyle. Even though I stayed active on a daily basis, it was the results of my health screening that showed I had issues. I was border line diabetic, over weight and at risk for heart disease. When my wife fell ill, I decided to start taking the advice of my health coach at Interactive Health. Since then, I have improved my test scores, lost weight and feel better overall.”
- A member told us they learned of a “fairly serious (but also very correctable) condition” following our health screening last year and took immediate action. “I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to my company as a whole, and to Interactive Health, for providing our wellness program. Not only have I improved my quality of life thanks to the health screening and subsequent diagnoses, but I’ve quite literally extended it by years.”
- And, finally, here’s a member perspective that perhaps we can all related to: “I was dealing with a lot of stress, so I decided to take the stress management program through Interactive Health. I learned practical ways to manage stress that I could implement in everyday life. The most important things I learned were to set healthy boundaries with my co-workers, so I didn’t inadvertently end up doing their job AND mine. I noticed that I didn’t feel so overwhelmed in trying to get my work done, and as a result, my energy wasn’t depleted by the end of the day. I also learned the importance of doing one task at a time and how to slow my mind down when it started to race with all my “have to dos” through breath work.”
If you want a little more inspiration, head over to our Facebook page, where we create a platform specifically for the benefit of our participants. Participants can share why they chose to participate in a health evaluation or a health screening – which can help so many others to make that choice as well.
This marks Interactive Health’s 25th year serving our clients, and our 10th Healthiest Companies in America recognition. We are proud that this award has taken hold, that our clients work so hard to achieve it, and that earning the award is known to be such an honor. Next year, I truly hope your company is one that is recognized.
(Please head over here for the official announcement of this year’s Healthiest Companies in America and the list of winners.)