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January, 2015

Expand Your Practice With Chiropractic-Led Corporate Wellness

By Bryan Muth, DC

Employers are concerned about rising health care costs and looming federal mandates that penalize companies for unhealthy workers. But corporate executives are unsure how to tie corporate wellness programs to business performance. Based on my on-site corporate experience, chiropractors are perfect intermediaries for businesses seeking cost reduction and productivity gains from healthier employees. What follows are insights into expanding your existing private practice into a corporate environment and demonstrating the value of our expertise.

Different from most corporate wellness offers, an on-site, chiropractic-led approach positions you as the central resource. Success derives from the chiropractor's ability to provide key elements of an effective wellness program by "monitoring" the employee population. These elements include chiropractic care, fitness consulting, nutritional guidance, and ongoing health education programs.

conference meeting - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark In addition to being able to provide health, nutrition and fitness guidance, however, chiropractic-led corporate wellness requires on-site chiropractors to partner with key corporate functions, such as HR, finance and operations. Together, this successfully delivers sustained improvement to employee health factors, drives down injury rates, and returns workers to their jobs quickly.

Proof of concept is demonstrated in a recent academic review of 10 years of employee data from a dietary supplement company.1 The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Medical College of Wisconsin found on-site, chiropractic-led corporate wellness demonstrated statistically and clinically significant differences in employee health factors and the reduction on long-term health risks.

Employees reduced factors that contribute to long-term serious health conditions related to safety, cancer and heart health. Participants' blood pressure, nutrition and stress levels improved, along with body mass index, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The following results confirm the impact chiropractic-led on-site wellness has had on corporate and manufacturing employees:

  • Enrolled wellness participants' health care costs decreased by 55 percent.
  • Short-term disability claims decreased 24 percent.
  • Program participation has grown to 97 percent of employees.
  • Retained 93 percent of employees for 14 years or more.
  • Reduced absenteeism rate, which reduces amount of overtime costs.

What Chiropractors Need to Know

On-site chiropractors can transform business culture. You can create change for an entire employee base, which means happier employees and a healthier bottom line. This translates to new career opportunities, security and practice expansion.

All types of companies can benefit from an effective corporate wellness offering. Manufacturers are a good fit because they require more rigorous physical labor from their work force. And many have minimal wellness offerings, if any, and are very receptive to finding ways to create a healthier work environment.

On the other end of the spectrum, more traditional white-collar companies can also benefit from on-site, chiropractic-led corporate wellness. Employees in these environments spend the majority of their time at desks. White-collar wellness needs, for example, may revolve around nutritional gaps and a lack of focus on fitness and ergonomics.

The key to the success of any corporate wellness program stems from measurable results. Be sure to benchmark each employee's progress, which entails tracking usage of programs and, more importantly, employee impact. This second metric can take time, but it's vital to get as much information as possible to see if the program is working.

Getting Started

Starting a program on your own can be expensive. But existing programs can help you overcome this challenge. Be sure to select one that understands the corporate environment and what success metrics are important to employers.

Expect on-site opportunities to range from part-time to full-time engagements, depending on the size of a company. Some corporations want a program built from the ground up; others want you to complement their existing programs. Flexibility on your part will lead to more opportunities to expand your practice.

Equipment needs vary. Typically, an on-site room for adjustments and individual meetings with employees is required. If possible, an on-site fitness center is beneficial too. If space constraints do not allow for an on-site workout area, consider a partnership with a local gym.

Within a corporate environment, you will address common workplace issues such as repetitive strain, ergonomics, proper lifting techniques and postural analysis. But you also will have the opportunity to bring structure and insight, overseeing every aspect of a corporate wellness offering.

Position yourself as an intermediary between front-line employees and executive decision-makers. To positively impact a company's top and bottom line, you must understand and/or establish the following:

  • How to function within a corporate environment
  • Legal requirements as chiropractors, including HIPAA regulations
  • Ergonomics in the workplace
  • Contemporary nutrition
  • Guidelines for patient care

Momentum is definitely building for on-site, chiropractic-led wellness programs. By helping businesses improve employee health factors and achieve productivity gains, chiropractors create opportunity for practice expansion.

Reference

  1. "Standard Process Inc. Corporate Wellness Program Improves Employee Engagement and Health Status Over Time." Survey by the Standard Process Research and Development Group, 2003.

Dr. Bryan Muth was a practicing family chiropractor in Tennessee prior to leading corporate wellness at Standard Process in Palmyra, Wisc. He also serves as medical services manager for Cultivate, a first-of-its-kind on-site, chiropractic-led corporate wellness company. Click here to learn more.

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