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Fixin' Healthcare

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Transformation Of Healthcare - Business As An Example

Corporate America is getting more active in health care. Health promotion as an extension of occupational medicine has been around for a while and it is becoming more organized and focused. Facilities for physical activity, nutritional counseling, weight management and other prevention programs often are part of the package. Disease management, health coaches and primary care clinics round out the picture of "corporate health care".

The incentive for business is to save money and make employees more productive. A captive audience (to some extent) allows for greater intensity of health promotion and prevention. Business can offer employees incentives that are more easily recognized as such.

Health promotion and prevention are moving into the forefront of health care. The efforts in the corporate world bear close scrutiny for what works and can be exported to society at large.

Academia would do well to follow this trend from a research and teaching perspective. The issue of well-trained health coaches is one example. The federal government is conducting a three-year coaching pilot program to examine the concept. Insurers and self-insured employers are creating programs that employ health coaches.

These are the things that over time will change (transform) health care.

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