iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Should wellness programs be sponsored by your employer

According to a recent survey, only 48% of employees had participated in an employer-sponsored program to help them improve their physical health. Source: “Employees Report High Satisfaction with Health and Well-being Programs, but More Personalization is Needed,” National Business Group on Health Press Release, July 20, 2016,

30% don’t trust their employers to be involved in their health and well-being

According to a recent survey:

  • Just half of employees participated in a wellness activity or health management-related program in the last year
  • 71% of employees prefer to manage their own health
  • 32% said the wellness initiatives offered by their employers don’t meet their needs
  • 46% don’t want their employers to have access to their personal health information
  • 30% don’t trust their employers to be involved in their health and well-being

Source: “Primary Care physicians accepting Medicare: A Snapshot ,” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2015,

71% said they agree or strongly agree that they prefer to manage their own health

According to a recent survey:

  • 8% of employees used a telemedicine service offered by their employee wellness program
  • 50% of employees participated in some kind of wellness activity or health-related program in the last year
  • 71% said they agree or strongly agree that they prefer to manage their own health
  • 46% said they don’t want their employer to have access to their personal health information
  • 32% said health initiatives offered by employers do not meet their needs

Source: “Survey: 8 percent of employees used a telemedicine service last year,” mobihealthnews, October 7, 2015,

How pervasive are flu shots by age group?

According to a government report, the percentage of Americans who had received an influenza vaccination during the past 12 months, as of January-March 2015, was:

  • 71.9% of persons aged 65 and over
  •  50.7% of persons aged 50–64 years
  • 32.5% of persons aged 18–49 years
  • 51.2% of persons aged 6 months–17 years

Source: “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January–March 2015 National Health Interview Survey,” National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 2015,

Will vaccines hit the mark next flu season?

Changes to flu vaccine for 2015-16 season recommended by FDA committee The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended an overhaul for the influenza vaccine for the 2015-16 season after the vaccine for the 2014-15 season proved to be largely ineffective. This season’s vaccine did not include the A/Switzerland/9715293/2013-like virus, which turned out to be the most prevalent strain. The World Health Organization has recommended it be included in next year’s vaccine, along with a new H1N1 A strain, A/California/7/2009 pandemic09-like virus, and B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus, a new B strain. The FDA and CDC concur with the WHO’s suggestion. Medscape (free registration)

CDC: Smoking Rate Dropped From 20.9% (2005) To 17.8% (2013)

According to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR):

  • The number of cigarette smokers dropped from 45.1 million in 2005 to 42.1 million in 2013.
  • Those who smoke every day decreased from 80.8% in 2005 to 76.9% in 2013.
  • Cigarette smokers who smoke only on some days increased from 19.2% in 2005 to 23.1% in 2013.
  • The average number of cigarettes smoked by daily smokers declined from 16.7 in 2005 to 14.2 in 2013.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

On a global basis, do investments in wellness make sense

“Reconfigure workplace wellness,” experts say Data on employee wellness programs show they may not be effective and offer a return-on-investment of less than 1-to-1, experts wrote in a Health Affairs blog post. After reviewing study data and literature, they said it is time to “reconfigure workplace wellness,” demand more information from vendors and consultants, and adopt a standard that syncs up with U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines. Health Affairs Blog

“Back – Boost” – anticipating future strains

I wonder how many other diseases might share this linkage to pre-emptive ‘immunology engineering’?

Technique might strengthen protection provided by flu vaccine Researchers found that an influenza infection triggers the immune system to protect not only against the circulating flu strain it is designed to fight, but also other strains that have infected an individual in the past, according to a study published in Science. This “back-boost,” as researchers called it, may allow the creation of flu vaccines that anticipate future strains, preemptively heading off an outbreak. Reuters (11/20)

How Pharmacists Can Improve Our Nation’s Health

On Tuesday, October 27th CDC announced that the video and presentation slides including Beyond the Data from the October session of CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds, “How Pharmacists Can Improve Our Nation’s Health,” held on Tuesday, October 21 are now available here.  According to the CDC, “The expanded role of 21st century pharmacists will position them to have greater impact in the shifting landscape of health care and public health.  Beyond the dispensing of medications, pharmacists also provide a spectrum of prevention services to help improve health outcomes.  In the United States, people with chronic conditions account for 91% of all prescriptions filled. By 2020, it is estimated that 157 million Americans will have at least 1 chronic non-infectious or infectious medical condition.  By understanding and maximizing the role of pharmacists, opportunities exist to better use their knowledge and skills to improve our nation’s health.”

Let’s get on with providing useful information to patients and their caregivers

Leapfrog is clearing the path forward and is a huge lever in our efforts to provide useful information to patients and their caregivers.


Healthgrades’ rankings website allows searches by experience A new version of the website that launches this week uses data from 500 million claims and patient reviews to rank physicians on complication rates, patient satisfaction and experience. Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder said the website is “game changing” because people can search for physicians based on experience in a specific medical area or procedure. USA Today (10/19)


One day, patients and their caregivers will have the important information they need to make important health decisions. Clearing that path and enabling appropriate measurement in both quality and resource utilization is among the most important things that health care stakeholders of all types need to be engaged in.

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