Examples from Incentive Programs Gone Wrong and Insights from Healthcare Industry Leaders Focus of AHIP Discussion Led by Alere'

ATLANTA, June 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A plan for fellow employees to tattle on their colleagues who back out of employer-sponsored wellness programs is just one example of incentive programs gone wrong to be highlighted in a discussion with some of the nation's leading healthcare benefit authorities at this year's AHIP's Institute 2011.

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Alere Health Chief Medical Officer Craig Keyes, M.D., will lead a session designed to highlight the complexities surrounding employee benefit incentives and pinpoint opportunities and pitfalls employers face at a session titled, "Economic Incentives for Consumers, Employers, and the Health Care Industry," slated for Thursday, June 16.

"Unfortunately, there are many examples of poorly thought out and implemented incentive programs," notes Keyes.  "What's missing for many employers is concrete outcomes data that can provide the kind of direction and guidance needed to build incentives that will encourage employees to engage in meaningful wellness programs."

Topics discussed during the presentation will include:

  • Role of economic and other incentives (both carrot and stick) in health management and disease prevention programs
  • Shift from focusing on disease to prevention
  • Characteristics of successful consumer-driven prevention approaches and "red flags" to avoid
  • Impact and implications of healthcare reform on incentives
  • Real world examples from attendees of good – and bad – incentive programs

Speakers for the session include James Roosevelt, Jr., President and CEO, Tufts Health Plan, Troyen Brennan, MD, EVP and CMO, CVS Caremark Corporation and Bernard Cohen, MD, VP, Quality, WellCare Health Plans.

Keyes notes that in past national meetings, sessions on incentives have often had standing room only crowds.  "Economic incentives are a hot topic, but they can also be a slippery slope," he notes. "No one wants to be in a position where they feel pressure from an employer or a consultant to implement an incentive they know is a bad idea.  At Alere, we are a proponent of positive reinforcement to set the stage for healthy changes."

Keyes and the presenters also will highlight some of the recommendations that can help improve the incentive development process including the need to move beyond simple program participation to measuring the actual effectiveness of the incentive.  He points out that if a goal of a wellness program is to help employees reduce caloric intake, measuring participation is not enough.  The key is to measure whether the employee used the tools provided by the wellness program and the actual reduction in calories consumed.  

"We need to ask ourselves if we want to pay participants to simply sign up for the wellness program or if we are actually rewarding active participation and effort," he notes.

Keyes expects the program to generate important information and insights.  A recording of the presentation will be available on the AHIP website after the tradeshow.

About Alere:

Alere Health is the health management services business of Alere Inc. (previously Inverness Medical Innovations). Alere, a Latin verb, meaning "to care for" or "to support," offers the most patient-centered health management services available from a single provider in the industry. Alere provides health interventions that cover an individual's entire lifespan, from pre-cradle to end-of-life care, as well as the continuum from wellness and prevention, to total health management of the individual for those having chronic illnesses. Alere's continuum of services begins with preconception, pregnancy, NICU and first year of life services; continues with lifelong programs focused on health, wellness and the management of chronic conditions such as heart failure, COPD, and asthma, up to the complex care management required in end-of-life care. For more information regarding Alere, please visit www.alere.com.

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SOURCE Alere Health