Next to a being a Red Sox fan, I can’t imagine anything more depressing than being a member of the Wellness Ignorati. ALL the news about wellness is bad, and can’t be spun, which is just as well because the strategy of the Ignorati is not to “spin,” It’s to ignore facts rather than debate them. This prevents a news cycle, and reduces the odds that customers find out wellness doesn’t work.
Still, I am not sure how they would spin their way out of their latest debacle even if they tried.
CFO Magazine just posted a set of four essays in a debate. Mine summarizes the “con” arguments in 600 words. Since most of the first-string Ignorati refuse to debate, the editors found Mike Tinney and Mike Booth to pen the “pro” side. (No, we haven’t heard of them either.) Mr. Tinney urges CFOs to “take a leap of faith” on wellness ROI. Not sure that’s a compelling argument for an audience of CFOs, to put it mildly.
Indeed, one might conclude that, like the Red Sox, apparently the Ignorati don’t have much of a bench.
But wait…there’s more. Once again, the mantra: “In wellness, you don’t have to challenge the data to invalidate it. You merely have to read the data. It will invalidate itself” proves true. Mr. Tinney says to assume you have 1000 employees, and they will have about 2 heart attacks. Then he says: “If even one less [sic] person has a heart attack,” you save enough to pay for the program. What he failed to note is, in that hypothetical, a reduction of one heart attack would be a 50% reduction in heart attacks. No wellness promoter, even the most dishonest ones, say you can achieve remotely close to a 50% reduction in heart attacks. Hence, he is admitting you need an impossible reduction in events just to break even.
While reducing the number of heart attacks by one sounds feasible on its face, multiply the size of the population by 100. Now you have 100,000 people generating 200 heart attacks. Mr. Tinney says you need to avoid a Nobel Prize-worthy 100 of those heart attacks just to break even. By contrast, the HERO report achieved a zero reduction in their study.
So much for Mr. Tinney’s argument. But, hey, it beats Mike Booth’s defense of wellness. Incredibly, Mike Booth is still quoting the Harvard study. At this point every member of the Wellness Ignorati knows that study has been thoroughly debunked and basically retracted by its author (who says she has no interest in discussing wellness any more, and blames readers for misinterpreting her conclusion), so quoting this study without mentioning these tidbits is basically lying. It’s only slightly better than quoting the study linking autism to vaccines without mentioning it’s a fraud.
So that’s who’s promoting wellness now: yet another guy who can’t do math, and yet another guy who is either deliberately misleading people or lacks access to the internet.
More big news is that RAND finally came out of the closet altogether against wellness. No nuances, no “on the other hands”, no chance of being misinterpreted: Wellness is a loser.
Basically, every posting, every article, whether pro or con, leads an informed reader to the conclusion that wellness is a dumb idea. By contrast, even the Red Sox occasionally win a game.