Three years ago, St. Joseph Health posed a simple but intriguing question:
If wellness and preventive services were made more convenient, could doctors
and other medical professionals further their impact in improving their
community’s health status?
Today, what began with a simple question has blossomed into a new model
for community wellness. St. Joseph Health now has seven residential and
corporate Wellness Corners in Southern California, with more planned.
The concept has also attracted several business partnerships and has positioned
St. Joseph Health and the physicians of St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare
as leaders in the employer wellness market.
There are several reasons for the Wellness Centers’ success. First,
the timing is right. Both consumers and employers are seeking alternative
methods of health care delivery. Rather than focus on the negative (illness),
sites address the positive (better health). Additionally, centers offer
something new to customers. Convenient, basic medical services are provided,
but significantly more is offered for promoting a a healthier body, mind
and spirit, such as lifestyle coaching for nutrition, sleep and stress
management, and at some sites, fitness programs, acupuncture and chiropractic
services. And perhaps most importantly, the centers are staffed by physicians
and medical professionals from St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare, a highly
trusted name in regional medical services.
As word has spread, St. Joseph Health has identified several like-minded
partners. Three of the residential and commercial sites are in partnership
with one of California’s largest landowners, The Irvine Company.
Other sites are established exclusively for large employers like Western
Digital. A partnership with a major Southern California city is also in
the pipeline. This-project will offer space for comprehensive health and
wellness services as well as gatherings that will focus on fitness and
wellbeing for the mind, body, and spirit, regardless of the ability to
pay for services.
Over time, St. Joseph Health has seen strongly encouraging results:
- All Wellness Corners have a combined 9.9 out of 10 customer satisfaction rating.
- Sixty-four percent of customers estimate they saved 1.5 hours or more by
seeking medical care at a Wellness Corner; twenty-seven percent estimate
they saved more than two hours.
- Wellness Corner visits increased by nearly 100 percent in the past year.
- Since the Wellness Corner opened at the St. Joseph Health corporate office,
employees have reported a 29 percent decrease in inactivity, a 4 percent
decrease in obesity and an 18.5 percent decrease in stress.
- Western Digital exceeded its first-year participation goal in eight months
and, before the year-end, the Wellness Center has already served 46% percent
of Western Digital employees. Additionally, the center earned a 98 percent
user satisfaction rating.
- Western Digital also estimates that the Wellness Center has delivered $634,000
in saved productivity–hours employees would have lost leaving work
for medical visits off site.
The Wellness Centers are a reminder that the American health sector is
ripe for innovation. Those who embrace new models will not just thrive,
but live out the promise of continuing to serve their communities with
services that fit their needs.