Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

Good Health is Good Business

Posted in Books, Medicine, Patients Know Best by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on August 1, 2008
Good Health is Good Business

Good Health is Good Business

 

For the last couple of months I have been digesting the book Good Health is Good Business as I think through its implications for Patients Know Best. I had only thought of providers and patients as markets for my software, but now payers seem a significant possibility. I had originally dismissed this because insurance companies had the wrong incentives, and besides the more progressive ones were convinced they should build their own versions.

But the book discusses the incentives for employers to manage the wellness of their employees, and my software should support wellness. But enough about me. The rest of this post is about the points that I learned the most from.

First was the point that insurance companies have no incentive to improve the health of the patient, only to quickly process the claims for illnesses. By contrast, employers should pay to maintain their employees’ wellness because paying for illness is much more expensive, and maintaining wellness is possible. Here is the full list of reasons that Dr. David Rearick gives for employers to get involved, and its analogue in the UK is the government as payer rather than provider:

  1. You are the payer, and you have the incentive
  2. You are not big enough for anyone else to care (this is less the case in the UK)
  3. The health of your employees is the only factor under your control
  4. You have a captive audience
  5. You can motivate your employees
Wellness programs should include the following core components
  • Biometric testing
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Stress management
  • Weight management
  • Cholesterol reduction
  • Hypertension management
  • Physical exercise programs
  • Substance abuse prevention
  • Back care and injury prevention
  • Health assessments
  • Health risk counseling
  • Nutritional interventions and supplementation
The book includes the relationship between health risks and health costs, with percentage cost increase for each risk factor, and lists the top costs saving and cost benefits programs according to the Partnership for Prevention‘s 2007 report:
  1. Education on Aspirin Chemoprophylaxis for heart disease
  2. Being sure your dependent children are adequately immunized
  3. Establishing a tobacco screening and prevention program
  4. Providing brief counseling interventions for acute medical issues
  5. Encouraging appropriate colorectal screening
  6. Hypertension screening
  7. Providing Influenza worksite immunizations
  8. Providing Pneumococcal immunizations
  9. Providing problem drinking screening and brief counselling
  10. Providing vision screening
Finally, Dr. Rearick provides detailed and fascinating instructions on running such a wellness program, including scores of templates on the accompanying CDs. The book is well worth buying and I recommend it to anyone working in a company. Bring it to your CEO and champion its adoption. If your CEO has the slightest sense he or she ought to promote you for the cost savings you will bring about.
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  1. Dave Rearick said, on August 11, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Dear Dr. Al-Ubaydli,

    Thank you for your kind words. As you mentioned, GOOD HEALTH IS GOOD BUSINESS-an implementation guide for corporations, is written for the CEO and HR director who wants a long term strategy for controlling health care costs and improving productivity. It can be ordered directly from http://www.GHIGB.com People wanting > 5 copies can contact me for a quanity discount. Organizations wishing to start a beginning wellness program can also purchase my WellFit Starter Module a complete wellness program on CD with all customizable wellness activities/programs/monthy challenges/wellness calendar, etc. for $399. The WellFit Starter Module also includes a copy of my book.

    Dr. Rearick
    daver@sbs-benefits.com


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