Friday, April 28, 2017

Case Study: A 2017 Update on Cleveland Clinic's Employee Healthy Choice Program

myInertia continues to work with Cleveland Clinic Employee Health Plan (CCEHP) to deliver deliver a custom wellness portal built around verifiable behavior change.

Since inception of their program, CCEHP has been challenging what the standard wellness program should be. They have pushed to create a program that truly changed their employee population, and in turn, delivered the results that should be expected from a robust disease management program.

Cleveland Clinic Employee Health Plan (CCEHP) has seen their annual medical and pharmacy costs flat-line. In fact, the trend is -0.5% per year. 

This is all the more impressive when you consider that:

  • CCEHP has also achieved a 16.7% reduction in medical and pharmacy utilization since 2010.
  • Employees have access to low cost healthcare services. 
  • CCEHP has no deductible, no co-insurance and very few co-pays.
  • Unit costs for medical & pharmacy have increased 39% since 2010.

So what's the secret to their success?

Similar to many health plans, CCEHP has robust offerings in medical management, pharmacy management, and behavioral health.

What CCEHP has done in addition to these programs is focus on true population-based behavior modification.

The Healthy Choice program is offered to all employees and spouses on the health plan, tying a health diagnosis and appropriate behavior modification together with a premium discount.

The focus of the program is on six high cost health conditions that can be significantly impacted by an individual’s behavior.

In 2016, three-quarters of all eligible employees and spouses completed an annual physician visit with a biometric screening, the requirement to enter the program. Of these, 64% actively enrolled in the program and 88% then went on to achieve the behavior based benchmarks.

Along with strong leadership, no barriers to healthcare access and a meaningful incentive, the success of Healthy Choice comes down to simplicity and ease of use.

Health Choice has a very simple design. Complete the assigned behavior(s) for your health status over the course of the program to earn your premium discount.

However, the reality of delivering an easy to use personalized experience to all plan members required finding the right partner.

Following an extensive RFP process myInertia was selected as the partner with the right set of capabilities to deliver an evolving program focused on measurable outcomes.

myInertia built a custom platform that serves up a personal dashboard to each user based on a CCEHP eligibility file. Everything a user needs to understand and participate in the program is accessible from this single dashboard.

Their health coaches also have access to the platform to view employee progress.

Enhancements are made to the platform with a focus on supporting user engagement and outcomes. In 2017, these included the delivery of e-communications in place of traditional mailings and the embedding of educational material relevant to each health status.

A tightly managed activity tracker program featuring Fitbit/Garmin devices and access to iHealth data has also been implemented in concert with the portal. This has supported ease of use and high levels of engagement in physical activity programs.

The Results

Healthy Choice is entering its eighth year and this long-term, disciplined focus has helped to produce a win-win situation.

While Cleveland Clinic and CCEHP have implemented many programs that have helped impact the results, there is no doubt that Healthy Choice has played a successful role in changing key behaviors across the population.

Employees/Spouses – For all eligible members there have been some key benefits:
  • Regardless of whether they participate in the Healthy Choice program, annual premium increases have reduced from 21% in 2010 to 0% in 2017.
  • Low cost access to healthcare has been maintained.
  • On an aggregate basis medical utilization is down and health indicators are up. Both pointing to an improved quality of life for employees/spouses.

Cleveland Clinic – The clinic has also reaped the benefits of the CCEHP efforts:

  • As noted previously, the historic 7.5% annual increase in medical and pharmacy costs has been transformed into a -0.5% reduction over the past three years.
  • This has resulted in an estimated $169 million cost avoidance.

Want to learn more about Cleveland Clinic's results-driven approach to wellness?

Download our full interview with Cleveland Clinic's Employee Health Plan Wellness Director, David Pauer, here. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

20 Creative Spring & Summer Wellness Initiatives to Try

Birds chirping, sun shining, grass growing. It’s a great time of year for many reasons, and one of those is the ability to boost wellness program participation.

To help you leverage the power of better weather, we compiled a list of 20 great (and fun!) ways you can boost employees’ health & wellbeing this season:

1. Plant a work garden

Right now is a great time to start an office garden. Not only does it provide healthy eating until fall, but teaching more about gardening can inspire employees to do it at home. Check out these self watering water boxes for an effortless gardening option. What should you plant? Some great ideas include: lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, peppers.

2. Integrate wearables

If you haven’t already, warm weather is the perfect time to introduce wearables into your workplace. Not only do these devices give a visual impact to your culture with everyone sporting a new device, but it builds social connections, motivates employees to get more active, and helps them track their personal fitness goals. (Read more about the benefits of a wearables program here.)

Did you know we offer The Wellness Outlet?

It's a free of charge service to help you distribute discounted Fitbit & Garmin wearables to your employees. Check out their website to learn more, or click here to chat with one of our wellness strategists about setting up your storefront today!

3. Hold walking meetings

Take one of your weekly meetings outside. Another idea, if you aren’t big on walking for the whole meeting is to simply start the meeting with a 10-minute walk, then return to the office for the remainder of the time allotted.

4. Build an outdoor eating area

Not only does being outside increase mood and vitamin D intake, but having an inviting area to have lunch can create stronger social bonds between co-workers.

5. Host a monthly game day

If you’re location allows, host a day every month filled with outdoor games. Be sure to include things like bean bag toss, washers, horseshoes, potato sack races, kickball, etc. You could even take it a step further and create teams to compete for healthy prizes!

6. Offer an extra PTO day

Everyone wants a little more time off in the summer - leverage that with an extra PTO day or flextime as a wellness incentive.

7. Host a company picnic

This is a great way to show appreciation for your employees’ hard work. Consider boosting even more camaraderie by including families. To keep the focus on well-being it’s smart to include healthy eating options and fun ways to get active during the picnic.

8. Hold “Don’t drive to work” days

Encourage employees to add activity to their commute. Even those who aren’t close enough to walk or bike could get some more activity in walking to and from public transportation.

9. Sign up for a 5k

Pick a local 5k and ask employees to sign up together. Make and give t-shirts out to participants to further support company culture.

10. Join a summer volleyball, kickball, softball league

This is not only a fun way to connect with coworkers outside of work, it also helps those who participate get more physically active.

11. Create a visual, color-in race board

If don’t have a vendor platform, like myInertia, that highlights challenge leaderboards, we created an alternative method. Print out poster size charts that employees fill in every time they complete a health-related task. For example, divide employees into two teams, have each employee color in one line when they walk for at least 10 minutes straight. The first team to completely color in their side wins.

12. Make maps of nearby walking path routes

Do you have a walking trail nearby? Or sidewalks, city blocks? Create simple maps to show employees how many steps they will get walking to nearby spots. Also include times and distance so employees can plan for a quick 10-minute power walk, or a longer 30 minute lunch-break stroll.

13. Create a healthy scavenger hunt day

Ask employees to team up and compete in a healthy scavenger hunt. Consider taking it online and using a photo challenge scavenger hunt. Include things like, take a picture at the mile marker sign 2 miles from work. Or post a photo of your teams’ healthy lunch. Make sure to have them include a hashtag so you can track the progress and award the winners.

14. Ask for 2k more

If you have wearables you can challenge employees to get 2,000 more steps a day. This is a great initiative because it includes all activity spectrums, from the less active, to the avid runners, because everyone can benefit from adding in a little more oomph to their day.

15. Attend outdoor work out classes

There is just something better about exercising outdoors. Check out your local city website and park website to find outdoor yoga, boot camps, and more.

16. Offer farmers market fresh foods

Your local farmers market offers great varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables. Consider including them in your lunch room and letting employees know they can get these types of great produce at their local farmers’ market.

17. Provide community bikes

Purchase a few bikes for employees to check out to bike at lunch, or use after work. You can paint the bikes in your company colors to make it a smart, culture-focused concept. Be sure to include a basket so they can carry their lunch, or other valuables safely.

18. Start a rental equipment center

A unique concept we heard at the local WELCOA conference last year was from Kimberly Clark. They offer free rental service so employees can rent out bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, etc. to use to get active in ways that motivate them over the summer months.

19. Make a list of nearby restaurants and the healthy options you recommend they get there.

By offering a handy list of the healthy options available nearby, employees can be better equipped to make healthy eating decisions. A bonus idea is to include the walking distance and calories they would burn by walking/biking to said restaurant.

20. Get a volunteer group together

Spring and summer are a great time to volunteer in your local community. There’s yard clean up, planting trees, cleaning the downtown community, etc. Pick an initiative that resonates with your culture and encourage employees to attend by telling them the great benefits volunteering can offer, not only on their physical but mental health as well. (Read about the benefits here)

Did we miss any? We’d love to hear your summer and spring wellness ideas in the comment section below. Thank you!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Three Questions to Maximize Your Wellness Incentive Budget

Author: Dave Hoinville

Dave Hoinville is director of business development at myInertia. He has 25 years of experience focused on population health management, including roles as program director, general manager, EVP sales and business development.

Want to maximize your wellness incentives? Ask yourself these 3 questions.

Having spent 25+ years in the wellness industry, the question I find myself asking the most about incentives isn’t whether they are inherently good or bad, but how can employers maximize their impact? I have no doubt that a meaningful incentive can play a positive role in a highly engaging and results focused program – the real problem is, many employers today are approaching incentives from the wrong angle.

Here’s an example. I was recently working with a prospect who proudly stated that they had a $1,000 incentive in place for their employees, with 90%+ compliance. When I asked what action they were asking employees to take, they replied – an annual physician visit.

In another case, a prospect shared that they were seeing a similar level of compliance with a $350 incentive in place. This time for completing an on-line HRA.

Both prospects were frustrated that they did not have “more dollars available” to encourage employees to take meaningful healthy behaviors.

In both of these cases I think a little creative thinking could significantly improve their long-term incentive program and outcomes. I encouraged these prospects to think about the three following questions:

Is the effort we are asking employees to take in line with the value of the incentive?

In both of the examples above I would argue that the employers in question are “over-paying” for the behaviors they are promoting. Is a 30-minute subjective questionnaire response really worth $350 per employee per year?

An annual preventive visit may certainly have more value than an HRA, but does it really require a $1,000 incentive? A mistake that employers often make is to place too high of an incentive on a simple initial action. They then feel “trapped” or “stuck” – how do I get employees to do more or different actions when they now expect the same dollar amount for the initial action? This next question addresses that issue…

Are our incentives static or dynamic?

If you position an initial incentive as transactional – “do X and we’ll give you $Y” – you have set a static expectation, which makes it hard to change the program year after year. Employees feel entitled to their incentive.

This is where switching to a more dynamic approach can help. By offering “points”, instead of dollars for completing an action, you gain the flexibility to change the mix of actions you associate with the points.

For instance, in the first year of a program, perhaps you offer 100 points for completing an annual preventive visit – 100 points are worth $100. In the second year, you introduce participation in a physical activity program as a second behavior. Now employees can earn a total of 150 points - 50 points for the preventive visit and 100 points for being physically active.

The total incentive employees can earn has increased based on a higher effort level required to be physically active. Some employees may be upset that the value of the preventive visit has been reduced, but the reality is that you are offering employees that are willing to engage in a more robust health risk plan an increase in value. This ultimately produces a win-win scenario.

This principle of increasing the overall incentive level when you introduce additional actions highlights why the first question above is important – don’t over pay for the first incentive, particularly if it is for a one-time behavior. Once employees are used to a mix of actions collectively equating to a points-based reward it becomes easier to make changes in the program design from year to year without necessarily having to increase the total incentive at all.

Are our incentives driving behavior change?

One of the reasons why I believe the incentive described above for the HRA is an “over-payment” is that it doesn’t motivate a population level change in healthy behavior. Perhaps a small subset of employees will do a couple of things differently for a couple of weeks, but for most it will be out of sight, out of mind.

If this is the case, then we encourage clients to use dynamic change to ultimately shift these “one-time” actions (HRA, biometrics), into gateway behaviors for the incentive program – employees have to complete the initiative to enter into the program. The remaining dollars can then be allocated to on-going healthy behaviors such as being physically active, or participating in other well-being challenges.

At the end of the day, incentives often get labeled as ineffective when they are static and transactional. So, ask yourself - are you simply “checking the box” on wellness incentives? Do you have a strategy to maximize your incentive budgets and drive meaningful healthy employee behaviors?

By not overpaying, implementing a dynamic approach and focusing on real actions your incentives could be having a bigger impact on population health risk reduction.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

myInertia Offers 3 New Plan Options

As with most things in life, wellness isn’t one size fits all. So, to better meet your needs, we’ve developed three new plan options. All three options are built to meet you where you are with wellness, and allow you the flexibly to grow as your program progresses.

Our goal in developing these plans is to help organizations focus on a simplified approach to engage their population in results-driven health behaviors, like physical activity, while also being conscious of budget restraints.

All three plans also feature a flexible design structure. From choosing which challenges to run, or what initiatives to track, we give you the flexibility to make the program truly yours.

Below you’ll find an overview of each plan. If you’d like to learn more about how a plan could benefit your organization feel free to reach out to one of our wellness strategists by booking a time using their online calendar here >

Every plan includes:
  • A dedicated account manager
  • Access to The Wellness Outlet
  • An easy to navigate account for each employee
  • Insightful reporting packages
  • A knowledgeable support team to answer any employee question
  • A stress-free roll-out package

1. Activity Starter

A simple, motivating way to engage employees in an action-based program. Offering this affordable, 6-week activity challenge helps you create camaraderie, inspire action and maximize the investment of your wearable devices by motivating your employees to continue using them.

2. Activity Plus

Support year-round wellness engagement with our activity plus plan. You'll get 12-month access to the portal, allowing employees to further develop their healthy skills by tracking their ongoing personal progress, engaging with social support groups and participating in additional themed challenges.

3. Wellness Elite

This package extends beyond physical activity to involve your employees in a well-rounded program that promotes all areas of healthy living. Employees earn points for their healthy actions and work towards custom incentives, like premium differentials. Each elite plan leverages our hub architecture to create a custom program that allows you to track and award points for up to 15 items. (i.e. flu shots, annual physical, nutrition challenges, etc.) It also includes biometric data integration and a health kiosk option for a full, robust wellness program.

If you’re ready to take your program to the next level using one of our plans, let’s talk. You can connect with us via phone (920-593-8867), email ( or scheduling a time using our online calendar here.

Thank you!
the myInertia Team

Monday, February 20, 2017

12 Ways to Create a Healthy Workplace Environment

Setting your workplace environment up for health is one of the keys to delivering an impactful and meaningful wellness program. Doing so not only shows you support employees’ healthy choices, but it also helps makes it easier for employees to make better choices.

Think of it this way, employees are bombarded with choices every day, fast food or salad, couch or treadmill. If you have an environment where the automatic choice - the easiest choice - is the healthy one, employees will be more likely to pick it. And when employees are focused on healthier habits, it leads to all those benefits businesses are looking for – increased productivity, better retention rates and an overall better culture.

Here are 12 simple ways you can start building health into your employees’ everyday environment:

Revamp your break room

1. Offer healthy alternatives in vending machines

Does your workplace have vending machines? Work with your vendor to see what they have available for a healthier food strategy. KONOP, a food service and vending company offers vending machines to companies with a red light, green light, yellow light concept. This labels the food based off their nutritional value, helping educate employees on their choices.

2. Use an honor system box

A great budget friendly option is to use an honor system box to help buy the product. PAi, a retirement consulting firm, successfully uses this concept. Every week the person who manages the food shops for apples, oranges and other fruit assortments. Then it’s placed in the breakroom next to an honor system box, asking employees to throw in a few bucks, they usually breakeven, or are only a few dollars short to supplying the next weeks produce.

3. Work with a food delivery service

Festival foods- a Midwest local grocer, offers the option of delivering healthy food options right to your office. Talk with your local grocer to see what healthy initiatives they offer. There are also online delivery options that companies like Kimberly Clark use, including: Fruit Guys and The Fruit Cube.

4. Build a healthy pantry

A local architectural firm built their own healthy wooden pantry filled with fruit, granola bar, nuts, and a cooler filled with healthy drink choices like juice, Gatorade, vitamin water and more.

5. Use the farmers market

Buy fruit & veggies from the Farmers market to support your local community. Make a small sign to highlight that these treats were farmed from local farmers, and purchased at your nearby market.

6. Provide easy access to fresh, cold water

Make sure that there are multiple stations, even outside your breakroom when applicable. Isagenix, a health and wellness company, encouraged employees to drink more water by giving everyone a personalized, company branded, thermos water bottle to help keep water cold.

Make space conducive to getting active

7. Designate workout space

Create dedicate space for working out. It doesn’t need to be a full gym to be effective. One company we work with offers a space that includes a TV and mats. Employees can bring in their own DVD workout videos, or pick from the bodyweight, yoga library available.

8. Offer onsite classes

At myInertia, we brought in a yoga instructor once a week for a lunch & yoga series. We simply pushed the conference tables aside and offered everyone who attended a yoga mat. We’ve also offered boot camp classes that featured 12 bodyweight training stations centered around strength training and used a tabata timer app.

9. Mark out an indoor walking path

A great free option that encourages people to move. One hospital system made an indoor walking path in their basement hallways for the winter months. The signs posted every 1/10th of a mile and indicated how far each loop would take you. Another option would be to mark step counts, Fitbit offers a reminder every hour to move for 250 steps. Mark out a path in your employees can walk in the office to achieve that.

10. Make sure the stairwells accessible

When was the last time you give your stairs a refresh? A fresh coat of paint and new lighting can make it more inviting for employees to pick this healthier alternative.

Give them the tools to get active

11. Standing desk options

One company, makes a varidesk a new employee onboarding gift. If you don’t have the budget to get standing options for each employee, get creative. We dedicate two cubicles to standing options, using an old treadmill for a walking option. You could go a step further and provide a second monitor for employees to plug into, along with phone and laptop charging options.

12. Under desk cyclers

The under-desk cyclers are a more affordable option to add movement to your employees’ day. On a tight budget? Consider the library book concept, lending them out to employees.

Do you have any ideas you’ve implemented that aren’t listed above? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Healthy environment is just one of the ways you can deliver meaningful wellness to your population. Download our wellness program checklist to view the other 6 strategies you need in place to deliver a results-driven wellness program.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

5 Simple Appreciation Techniques to Show Employees You Care

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and although you may only be thinking about what dinner reservation to make, it’s also a great time to think about showing your employees some appreciation.

Recognition and appreciation go a long way to retaining talent, boosting engagement, and improving productivity.

A worldwide study conducted by Towers Watson revealed the single highest driver of engagement was whether or not workers felt their managers were genuinely interested in their wellbeing.
Another study by online career site Glassdoor, further highlights the benefits, by showing that more than 80% of employees say they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

So, what’s the best (and easiest) way you can begin to show support and appreciation to your entire population?

1. Give personal words of affirmation

Look for opportunities to give sincere appreciation to each individual employee. This can include things as simple as saying, Sally, you did a great job handling that client question, she went away feeling like you truly cared about her, and would do whatever was necessary to fix them.”

For the upcoming Valentine’s Day, consider giving each employee on your team a hand-written card, giving a specific reason why you are appreciative of them.

2. Order lunch for everyone

It’s a tangible gift that benefits everyone, not just the high performers. Consider making it healthy, to further enforce wellbeing and health as a cornerstone of your culture. Also be sure to include a sentence in the email, or speak at the beginning of the lunch, thanking employees for their continued hard work and support of the company.

3. Schedule one on one meetings/informal sit-downs

Though not applicable in every business setting, leadership should strive to have a support meeting with each individual employee. It can be as simple as walking into their office and asking them what’s going on in their life. The key is to actively listen and empathize.

4. Offer your help

Do you notice a stressed employee? Is there a deadline fast approaching? Simply offering to help in whatever way possible will go far in boosting appreciation levels.

5. Give high fives

There’s a reason almost every coach on the planet gives high-fives. They’re a quick effective, nonverbal way to show you care and you are proud of their accomplishments.

It’s important to note, each employees’ appreciation levels will rise differently based off their own personal beliefs and values. That’s why it’s important to implement a variety of the methods listed above, vs. doing just one.

It’s also important to evaluate your efforts, making sure to take note when Sally doesn’t seem to respond to the verbal affirmation, but loves when you offer to help. The more you can understand what makes employees feel their best, the better.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Benefits of a Wearables Integrated Wellness Program

The activity tracker market has drastically evolved over the years, from the early days of cheap pedometers sold in cereal boxes, to today, a multi-billion dollar industry featuring high-tech smart watches worn 24/7.

The market has been able to advance so rapidly because of the growing support for activity trackers as a powerful tool in personal behavior change.

This is highlighted by healthcare innovators like Cleveland Clinic integrating devices into population health programs, where participants earn rewards based on activity levels.

So why are these innovators looking to devices to be a key piece of their population health solutions?

It comes down to a few key benefits:

Wearables build awareness

Awareness is the starting point for behavior change, and activity trackers make it easy for users to begin to understand their actual physical activity levels. Many users simply become motivated to move more once they see that their baseline level is significantly lower than they perceived.

The data from wearables then support user’s skill development, and ultimately mastery, by continuing to show a real-time profile of daily movement. For instance, an office worker may internalize that from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM they typically don’t move at all.

This data driven awareness allows them to make healthier decisions, such as adding a walking meeting to their day, or being active at lunchtime.

Wearables support social interaction

Numerous studies have established the clear link between positive social relationships and positive health outcomes. Activity trackers support this link by creating new ways for users to engage in healthy social interaction.

The simple presence of the device on an individual's wrist allows conversations about activity to flow more easily.

The leaderboards and challenges included in many of the devices apps also continue to foster healthy interaction and competition throughout a users social circle. The devices allow users to celebrate achievements and push each other to work harder.

Wearables allow employers to get a clear picture of their population's health

Ultimately, if employers can collect and analyze aggregate data, they can then evaluate the overall impact of activity trackers on their employee population.

myInertia has many clients that not only see significant individual improvements, (weight loss, reduction in prescription drug use) but have been able to show a link between daily activity levels and population health risk reduction, and in some cases actual claims cost avoidance.

Given these key benefits and our past 9 years experience delivering wearables integrated programs, we believe wearables will continue to drive positive results within populations across the nation.