Catholic Health World | Workplace Wellness Matures Beyond One-Size-Fits-All

Tammy Kelly takes a yoga class in a Greenville County, South Carolina, office space. The class is part of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System’s WorkWell offerings, provided to area businesses to support healthy employees.  Photo by Chris Taylor

By Betsy Taylor | As health care costs have risen in recent decades, workplace wellness programs have gained traction. Health care systems with lots of experience under their belts running workplace wellness programs succeed by tailoring their programs to meet employer and employee needs.

New ventures, like the creation of a spin-off from Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, seek to capitalize on robust demand for actionable data related to group health and wellness.

Workplace wellness offerings vary greatly from market to market and from employer to employer, but they often include lifestyle management — think smoking cessation, exercise and weight loss — and disease management that links employees to needed health care, coaching and education to better manage chronic disease.

Some providers who first offered occupational medicine to area businesses have expanded into increased wellness programming — and the ability to deliver services at the client’s place of employment is a common thread among the programs.

Demand is strong
In a 2014 research brief, The RAND Corp., a nonprofit that conducts research related to public policy, called workplace wellness a $6 billion industry. RAND generally defines workplace wellness as “employer promotions and programs aimed at supporting healthy behavior and improving health outcomes among employees.” Analysts put an $8 billion estimate on the industry in a 2016 Chicago Tribune story. More…