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Tips on selecting a Wellness Vendor

With health plans, wellness vendors, hospitals, physicians, clinics, and disease management vendors offering a myriad of programs to help employees develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle, how do you know which one is right for you? It’s difficult to compare programs because pricing varies by program type and there are significant differences in health care coaching models, risk identification processes, technology, incentives, metrics, etc. While the factors that guide a company’s selection of a wellness vendor will change depending upon the company’s needs, there are some common features that should be considered when evaluating vendors.

In an article, Getting the Weight Off in HR Magazine, Michele Becker of Aon, suggests that the following factors be considered when selecting a vendor:
1) Demonstrated results.
2) Educational resources.
3) Whether the provider offers a health risk assessment tool and a personal feedback report.
4) The provider's risk-stratification process and use of predictive modeling.
5) Types of interventions offered, such as by mail, secure e-mail, telephone or at the worksite.
6) The health care coaching model–outreach, interventions, consistency.
7) Technology, such as whether the provider offers a portal, personal programs and flexibility.
8) How well the program integrates with the employer's existing plans and vendors.
9) Whether the vendor offers–and can administer—incentives.
10) Proven success in helping to increase participant engagement and program completion.
11) Plans for future initiatives or enhancements.
12) Willingness and method for measuring success or return on investment (ROI).
On measuring ROI, Becker offers a caveat: "There is no industry-accepted way of determining return on investment. Careful analysis and a certain degree of purchasing skepticism is prudent."