Delivering GoodWELL Wellness Council of Indiana

How Do You Measure Success of a Worksite Wellness Program?
By Nancy E. Dayhoff and Patricia S. Moore, Clinical Solutions, LLC; and William A. Kent, PK USA

It is challenging, but not impossible, to find the right metrics for measuring the success or value of a worksite wellness program.

There are a number of measures that can be used as indicators of "value." Examples include participation rates, reduction in claims data associated with chronic conditions with modifiable risk factors and actuarial analyses of participant versus non-participant claims.

Another important metric to estimate the value of a wellness program is measuring risk reduction over time. In an HR Daily Advisor article, it was suggested that risk reduction could be measured by health risk appraisal responses, decreased health costs and absenteeism.

In Clinical Solutions’ Wise Health Decisions® Wellness Program, registered nurses conduct worksite wellness clinics on a regular basis throughout the year. At each clinic appointment, they perform biometric screening tests and weight metrics. The screening results are then categorized from very high to low risk using national standards.

Statistical analyses are conducted every six months to evaluate changes over time in risk categories for employees who participate in the program two or more times during the year.

In accordance with national recommendations, we analyze and report reductions and increases in risk for each of the screening tests and weight metrics to compute the changes in overall risk. Differences in risk are then compared to changes in claims data to estimate the impact of the wellness program. When we examined changes in risk levels over 12 months for PK USA with over 300 employees, for example, we found that 34% of those with initial very high overall risk and 32% with initial high overall risk decreased to a lower risk level. It is also important to report increases in risk levels: Seven percent in the high-risk category increased to very high risk and 5% in the moderate-risk group increased to high risk.

When integrating these data with claims data, the medical claims for 2011 as compared to 2010 were down 10.36%. In addition, medical claims, pharmacy and fixed costs for our client were over $4,000 less than Midwest regional norms. This represents an estimated $1,229,680 savings below the norm.

These numbers reflect the impact of our wellness program on risk reduction in spite of the fact that the client is increasing numbers of employees. No changes were made in the health plan during this time.

By integrating risk reduction data from your wellness program with claims data, you will have a strong metric to document the success of your wellness program.

By Nancy E. Dayhoff EdD, RN, and Patricia S. Moore, MSN, RN, CDE, managing partners, Clinical Solutions, LLC in Columbus; and William A. Kent, vice president of corporate relations, PK USA, Shelbyville

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