An onsite wellness program is a benefit your employees will tell you is one of the most valuable to them. Verbal affirmation is helpful when measuring success, but analytically you want to be able to measure and report its success to the C-Suite. In an age of ever-increasing healthcare costs, the value of a healthy workforce is clear to all employers. However, many companies find challenges in determining the return on investment (ROI) involved with implementing a corporate wellness programs at their onsite health centers.

Framework for Employee Wellness Measurement

The shift to a value-based care model is crucial to improving the health of your population while at the same time cutting healthcare costs. We have found that the most comprehensive framework to support a results-based model is the Triple Aim Initiative developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Triple Aim focuses on three key areas:

The Patient Experience – Patients should be getting care and concern like they’ve never felt before as opposed to being treated like an encounter only.

Healthcare Outcomes – Organizations should be striving to make demonstrable progress in specific healthcare outcomes to increase the health of the population. The focus needs to be on preventative rather than reactive care.

Per Capita Spending – Patients must be part of the equation and included as much as possible in decisions involving their care. That will make a significant impact in lowering the overall healthcare cost for patients, providers, and insurers.

With that framework in place, you need to be measuring specific KPIs to measure the ROI of your wellness program.

KPIs for ROI

Hard dollar KPIs:

  • The value of redirected primary/acute care delivered but not submitted as a claim
  • Reduction in utilization of physician and hospital services
  • Reduction in work loss days due to illness

Soft dollar KPIs:

  • Reduction of presenteeism
  • Reduction in turnover rate
  • Reduction in saved time away from work

These KPIs should be captured in activity and trends reports for the C-Suite that highlights the performance of your wellness program. These reports provide you with important information on who is accessing services and why, what percent of your population has been screened for health risks and/or chronic conditions (the “target population”), what percent of the target population is engaged with a member of the wellness staff to reduce their risks, and the predicted savings from operations.

These reports will cover the Healthcare Outcomes and Per Capita Spend tenets of the Triple Aim, but the Patient Experience is equally important when measuring success.

Preventive Care – Chronic health issues, even for just a small part of the overall workforce, can take a major toll on company resources. A study by AstraZeneca of 6,000 employees showed that those identified as “high-risk” for chronic conditions, while only making up 20% of the workforce, accounted for 80% of total healthcare costs and productivity losses.

The most thorough corporate wellness programs include Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings that can prevent or manage health risks before costly chronic treatments are needed. According to the Wellness Council of America, every $1 that companies invest in wellness programs saves $3 in healthcare costs. Clinical heath coaches provide the tools to enable patients to make healthier decisions: more than 75% of employer healthcare costs and productivity losses are due to employee lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Absenteeism – When an employee misses work due to illness, the true cost to the business is never as simple as the value of lost hours for that single employee. According Journal of Applied Economics and Health Policy, absenteeism has a cumulative effect, as a disruption in one employee’s workflow always impacts those of other employees as well. It is estimated that wellness programs can help decrease absenteeism by as much at 5%.

Presenteeism – Presenteeism is defined as an employee attending work, but functioning below capacity. A report by Global Corporate Challenge found that employees admit to being underproductive on the job for 57.5 days each per year. Presenteeism costs businesses 10 times more than absenteeism. With the right models in place, companies can reduce presenteeism over time by improving health status in the target population.

Enhancing Shareholder Value – Companies focusing on corporate wellness programs are yielding greater returns for their investors as well. The Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that employers with highly-effective health programs generate up to 20% more revenue per employee, see a 16.1% average higher market value, and deliver 57% higher shareholder return.

Leading employers are beginning to take a new philosophical approach to assessing corporate wellness ROI, viewing them less as an expense and more as an investment in their employees and as an essential component in their company’s long-term strategic planning and growth.  Not only do corporate wellness programs at onsite health centers increase morale and general health, they provide savings through lower overall long-term employer healthcare costs and extend the careers of productive, essential employees.

Measuring Patient and Employee Happiness

Make sure you are actively seeking feedback from employees, and, if applicable, dependents about your wellness programs. We recommend having comment cards available at the point of care and surveying program participants through both online and/or paper surveys every six months. Use the results to improve processes so you may remove any barriers limiting engagement.

Following these measurement guidelines will produce real, positive results for your company.


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