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The cost of healthcare is a huge concern for both employers and employees. The Affordable Care Act has significantly shifted the healthcare landscape, and as a result, more and more individuals and organizations are looking for ways to mitigate the increasing costs. With all of those newly moving parts, the overarching goal of maintaining overall health and wellness remains.

Stephen C. Schrimpff of the Harvard Business Review puts it bluntly:

Today, U.S. basically has a medical care system rather than a health care system: We focus on treating illness when it occurs but not on preventing it in advance.

Schrimpff is advocating for a preventative perspective when it comes to organizational healthcare. Actively working towards healthier habits before problems manifest is, for him, the key to accomplishing the two intrinsic goals: lowering healthcare costs and actually being healthier. There are a lot of ways that employers and organizations can implement preventative healthcare initiatives that will be dualy beneficial. Let’s discuss how wellness programs can have a big impact.

Wellness Programs

A wellness program is a company wide initiative that incentivizes healthier choices amongst the workforce. Wellness programs can take many shapes, some of which may sound familiar.

The most common and maybe direct program is a straight-forward weight loss competition. This typically looks like dividing departments into teams and seeing which team can cut the most lbs in a given time. Be cautious with this type of program though, as not all of your team members may be comfortable participating and these type of competitions have been known to create tensions.

Other wellness programs involve online tools that help workers track calories or organize exercise programs. One such program that is making waves is Zipongo. Zipongo is a wellness and nutrition platform that helps an entire enterprise make healthier eating choices. Essentially, it creates individualized meal plans for team members based on preferences and health goals. It can measure the efficacy by collecting various biometric data and report on organizational improvements in real time.

Zipongo connects with your corporate cafeteria and makes specific meal recommendations. It also provides healthy meal plans and recipes for outside of work, so you can take your healthy habits home with you and share with your family. The app shares discounts and organizes grocery lists to make it as easy as possible.

What is most exciting is that wellness programs like Zipongo actually work. Zipongo reports that 75% of their corporate participants enjoyed improved eating habits. From their they’ve found significant improvements in many other important health metrics; blood pressure, vegetable intake, and water intake. These improvements help the companies bottom line, as healthier people take less sick days, have higher morale and spend less with doctors.

You don’t need to be a billion-dollar company to have a successful wellness program. There are many options, and maybe the best solution for your organization will come from within. The first step is to assess your needs and start seeing what’s out there!