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Nudging employees to wellness is a hot topic

Brad and I have both blogged recently about companies that provide employers with reward-based wellness programs (here and here).  Thank goodness PR people troll the web looking for stories about their competitors, otherwise we might never have learned about Tangerine:

More on the financial rewards of health and wellness

In a post earlier this week, Bradley wrote about the launch of a company called HealthyWages, which pays people to lose weight.  Part of their business plan involves marketing their services to corporate clients who can use the platform for corporate wellness programs. RedBrick Health is already playing in this space.

Predicting health in the workplace

At the Institute, we are deliberate about not making predictions. We forecast what the future might look like based on the implications of trends we see emerging today. Perhaps it is this aversion to predicting the future that makes me uncomfortable with Cincinatti-based start-up Allostatix's sales pitch:

The Allostatix Load Test™ measures whole body health and how the body is responding to the accumulation of stress and poor lifestyle habits based on the scientific concept of allostasis (maintaining stability through change) and allostatic load. This breakthrough test predicts health and wellness 3 to 5 years into the future with up to an 85% accuracy by looking at how all of the body systems work together. (emphasis in the original)

Interestingly, I didn't express any discomfort with such a claim back in March, when I wrote about another company that offers to predict one's future health.

So what is really bothering me? I have to admit that my gut reaction to the idea of using allostatic load as an indicator of future health was one of skepticism. What can Allostatix's "unique and proprietary system" of blood work and biometric measurements really reveal? Elevated cortisol levels? What if I am stressed out about having blood drawn?

Hey boss! Can I go see my PCP down the hall?

According to Brian Klepper's recent post on the Health Care Blog, onsite workplace health clinics "are re-emerging . . . at an astonishing rate."  About one-third of Fortune 1000 companies already have in-house clinics; surveys indicate that one-third more will have them in place by the end of 2010.  Many are at firms with more than 1000 employees, but some employers with as few as 150 employees have implemented them successfully.  Klepper notes, "[T]hey are scalable when properly deployed."

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