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Smart Phones – Smart Future!

David P. Lind BenchmarkIn March, on behalf of Humana, Inc., Forrester Research released their report, “Mobile Application Adoption Trends and Strategies To Engage The Workforce”. According to this report, the trend appears to be that more employers embrace the idea of interacting with their employees for personal and work-related activities using new technologies offered through smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Three key conclusions come from this report:

  1. An emerging demand for health and wellness mobile applications. Such applications enable employees to locate healthcare provider sites, track exercise activities, or monitor various biological conditions such as heart rates, glucose levels, and other health-related.
  2.  Mobile recruitment applications are emerging. Capturing candidate information during job fairs, interviews, or sharing video clips to candidates about specific jobs available within the organization.
  3. HR and benefits professionals implement awareness campaigns to promote employee adoption of mobile applications.  Purposes may include rolling out a new wellness campaign, incentive programs, and other new initiatives that are central to employment.

This report allows human resource executives and benefits administrators to look into the future when attempting to engage their workforce…using existing and new technologies.

Consider this:

  • About 17,000 health-related mobile applications are on the market*
  • By 2015, the number of mobile health service users are expected to reach 500 million*

Sprint launched a 12-week “Get Fit” challenge during the summer of 2011 and found big success using social media tools to engage employees to participate in wellness activities, such as weight loss, exercise minutes and pedometer steps. The estimated savings from this challenge, according to Sprint, was approximately $1.1 million. Partnering with ShapeUp, a wellness software company, Sprint used social networking tools that allowed employees to log their progress online through a website portal in addition to using mobile devices. Employees interacted with other employees throughout the country with friendly competitions – holding each other accountable. Sprint attributes a big part of the programs’ success to social networking. Social media tools can be a good thing when used appropriately!

Hmm, maybe it is time to learn more about what Iowa employers plan to do in the future regarding this new technology! Stay tuned.

*Stetler, Mark, “Trends in Healthcare and Medical Apps

A New Acronym in Iowa: ACOs

David P. Lind BenchmarkRecently, my interactions with the health care system have been up close and personal. I can tell you that my wife and I have experienced great frustration when seeking coordinated care for our daughter in recent months, both in and out of the hospital.

Having to reconstruct her medical history over and over and over for each new health care provider has been discouraging, annoying, and frankly, unnecessary. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.

Lack of coordination between different health care providers for the same patient is a major concern in this country. Not only is it incredibly frustrating to the patient and family members, it’s potentially dangerous and very costly due to inefficiencies and duplication of services.

Your insurance premiums, by the way, are adversely affected by this current delivery of care.

What about ACOs

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are the latest trendy model for delivering health care services by doctors and hospitals.

In a nutshell, an ACO is a network of doctors and hospitals who share responsibility for providing care to their patients.

Sounds good to me! However, I recently read that ACOs are being compared to the elusive unicorn: everyone seems to know what it looks like, but no one has actually seen one.

Imbedded in the massive new health law, ACOs were allotted only seven pages of provisions, but they’re causing a tremendous amount of interest with many stakeholders (patients being one!).

The intent of an ACO is to bring together the different aspects of care for the patient— primary care, specialists, hospitals, home care, etc.—and make providers jointly accountable for the health care of their patients.

Through the new health law, financial incentives will be given to providers to cooperate and save money by avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures. To do this, they must seamlessly share a patient’s medical information between themselves. So instead of the patient and family members having to educate each provider on the medical history, the ACO team would have all information at their fingertips.

Personally, I hope that ACOs (or something like them) become the “new normal” in our delivery system. It cannot come soon enough for this parent!

To learn more about the Final Regulations for ACOs, click here.

What Iowa Employees REALLY Want

David P. Lind BenchmarkRaises? Vacations? Insurance? Ever asked your employees what’s important to them? You might be surprised.

In 2007, our firm undertook the Iowa Employment Values Study©. This study illustrates many opportunities for executives to improve employee satisfaction, even in tough times, with a limited budget.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Aretha nailed it. Being appreciated and valued is the number one workplace value for employees.

Question: “What is the one main thing your organization could do better?”

The consistent answer:  “Show appreciation for hard work.”

The cost: Better communication.

Employees want their employers to open channels of communication and recognize (acknowledge) hard workers. The study revealed that having better communication within the organization is essential to employees’ overall positive perceptions of their jobs.

High-quality communication improves virtually every aspect of employee opinion, our research found, and employers should provide plenty of opportunities for meaningful feedback from employees.

The payback: Employees who know they’re valued are proud of their organization and are significantly more positive about ALL aspects of their job.

Employees value RESPECT and ACHIEVEMENT most at work versus what their bosses think they value most. Other than the two top values, bosses clearly underestimated the order and importance of each workplace value.

Here’s the disturbing trend:  Bosses consistently underestimate the importance of a well-rounded lifestyle to their employees.

These workplace values describe organizational culture. Creating and maintaining a positive culture is the DNA of any successful organization. Understanding what employees really want is key to a positive work environment and loyalty among your workforce. What values are strongly reflected in your organization?