We’re on a mission to transform workplace health and your employees’ lives. Learn how our care model makes an impact.

Think about a time when you experienced poor customer service. Maybe it involved a grouchy store clerk or a rude customer support rep. Regardless of the situation, a couple of things quickly become evident: They’re unhappy with their job, they don’t want to be there and, unfortunately, they’re taking their unhappiness out on you. You can feel the negativity from a mile away.

Sadly, these experiences also occur across healthcare settings, except with much higher stakes. An overworked provider struggling to meet a daily patient quota may rush a patient through the exam and overlook an important diagnosis, or a disgruntled healthcare employee may lose all motivation to go the extra mile. It’s often the result of a broken healthcare system that favors getting that patient in and out quickly — not helping the patient get healthy.

At Marathon Health, we take a radically different approach. We’re on a mission to transform workplace health and employees’ lives, and we passionately believe it starts with the way we treat our own people. When our employees, who we proudly refer to as our ambassadors, show up happy and motivated every day, feel supported from leadership and their teammates, and truly have the time to form meaningful relationships with patients, real change starts to happen.

How a Culture-Driven Care Model Impacts Workplace Health

Simply put, we’re a team of people who make health their life’s work, and we practice a care model that’s designed to emphasize value over volume by delivering outcomes that matter. We strengthen patient-provider moments by allowing our teams to spend quality time with every patient, so they create trust and build stronger relationships. It’s a culture built on the core values of integrity, compassion, respect, exceptional service, teamwork, inclusion and innovation. 

We’re extremely deliberate about our culture. It’s not a slogan hanging in the breakroom. We live and breathe our culture — we call it the Marathon Way. It starts by hiring the best providers, then giving them a framework to grow and nurture.

It’s kind of an agreement between leadership and their teams. You put the patient first, and we’ll put you first. Because, if people don’t feel respected or appreciated, if they don’t find joy and purpose in what they do, then they’re not going to go the extra mile and always put that patient first. 

The challenge becomes finding the right people who truly believe in the culture, because it needs to come from the heart. Culture comes from the people, not from the leadership. We’ll set up the framework, we’ll till the soil, but if we plant a bad seed, we’re going to get bad results. If we can set up a good environment for the culture to flourish and we put the right seeds in place, then we’ll see a thriving, healthy culture. 

We’re very intentional about listening to our care teams on the frontline, to ensure they feel heard and receive the support and needed resources to make the biggest impact. In testament to our culture-driven model, over the past 12 months we’ve retained 92% of providers, while 95% of patients rate Marathon Health providers as excellent or good. 

Transforming Workplace Health as a Team

We fundamentally believe in treating the whole person, and that requires a team-based approach to serve each employee. In many instances, an employee may experience multiple, interconnected issues. Without this approach, care quickly becomes siloed and transactional.

We don’t lose sight of the whole patient, because we’re very holistically driven. It’s not just about their A1c or blood pressure. It’s about, do they find joy at work? Are they sleeping well? How’s their mood?

To truly provide a holistic solution, we staff our health centers with an integrated care team, including primary care providers, health coaches, behavioral health counselors, nurses, physical therapists and diabetic educators, who all work together seamlessly to serve each employee.

If we’re not collaborating as a team, without making teamwork one of our core cultural code items, then we miss out on that holistic view, and we end up treating individual diagnosis. We’d rather treat the patient as a whole. 

Becoming a Part of the Employers’ Culture to Improve Corporate Health

When Marathon Health partners with an employer, we’re not just trying to change the health and wellness of an individual, but of the entire company population. And to do that, you need to change many of the cultural aspects of a person or a population.

From the onset, we’ll conduct a culture assessment to tease out the quirks and values that are important to our client’s population – in other words, we want to know what makes their workplace special, so we can emulate that spirit in our approach to improve workplace health.

Cultures vary widely from employer to employer. You could have highly educated employees, say a law firm, where people are highly stressed and drinking too much and putting off exercise, while another client might have people working on their feet, who think they’re healthy but need education on eating the right foods.

Embedding in an employer’s culture may involve participating in company activities and proactively engaging with employees outside of the health center. It could be as subtle as eating a healthy lunch in the employer’s cafeteria, or leading daily walks around campus. I encourage care teams to lead by example, so employees understand they practice what they preach.

Marathon Health member Phaedra, a corrections worker at Western Virginia Regional Jail, experienced this approach when she started engaging with Heather Staley, a family nurse practitioner at Marathon Health. Phaedra says the nature of her job made it difficult to maintain a regular exercise schedule, and she struggled with weight gain and asthma.

To her surprise, Heather not only encouraged Phaedra to start running, she offered to meet her on Saturday morning runs to boost encouragement and show solidarity. “I recently signed up for my first 5K race,” Phaedra told us. “I never thought in a million years I’d be able to jog that far, but I feel amazing and committed to continuing my journey. I feel confident knowing my Marathon Health team will support me in meeting my goals.” 

Sometimes, our own providers partner with employees to make healthy changes. After a biometric screening revealed Nurse Practitioner Christina Tourangeau had high cholesterol and elevated blood sugar, she worked alongside a group of her patients who shared similar health goals.

“I was pretty alarmed by my current health status,” Christina said. “I didn’t want to be that clinician telling people to lose weight when I myself was obese. So, we did it together. We shared recipes, we shared shopping and food prep tricks and took walks together. We followed the Marathon Health coaching way, and we’ve all reduced our risks and lost weight together.” 

It’s stories like these that show we truly are improving workplace health, and I’m glad I get to be a part of a team that is transforming healthcare.

About the Author: Terry Layman, MD

Terry Layman, MD, serves as the Senior Vice President, Corporate Medical Director of Marathon Health. He is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience as a primary care provider, having worked in major hospital systems and private practice before joining Marathon Health. He is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine and is also a member of the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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