We’ve posted many times on the subject of wellness as seen through the eyes of employees who have been harmed or just really annoyed. And Slate carried a number of comments from other employees, who said things along the lines of: “I’d like to punch them in the face.” We also often write about employees who “out” vendors whose advice is truly bad.
Of course, we have also posted on the viewpoints of wellness promoters, our favorite lines coming from the very stable genius Michael O’Donnell, the former Prevaricator-in-Chief of the wellness trade association’s magazine, who contributed the following nuggets:
- “Wellness is indeed the best thing since sliced bread, up there with vaccines, sanitation and antibiotics.”
- “[Wellness] can prevent 80% of all diseases.”
- “Workplace health promotion may play a critical role in preserving civilization as we know it.”
This, on the other hand, is the first time we’ve posted from the viewpoint of a wellness coach, Barb Ryan Tessari.
Here is her take:
And this is why wellness can be such an epic fail:
A few observations about what makes it much more complicated and nuanced than wellness vendors would have us believe:
Hmm…So much for Wellsteps claim that employees “are suffering from I-don’t-care-itis.” It’s just the opposite — employees care about too many things, so sometimes their own needs come last. (As an aside, I always listen to my father’s stock market advice because in the stock market, the only person whose advice is as valuable as the person who is always right is the person who is always wrong. So when planning your wellness strategy, listen to Wellsteps!.)
ER and doctor visits often lead to expensive testing for chest pains, stomach issues, breathing problems or generalized aches and pains when the underlying cause is extreme stress/anxiety. I know their story. I know their stress. Many doctors don’t even ask the question.
Newly diagnosed diabetics (or pre-diabetics) are not sent to nutritional counseling, but instead the doctor prescribes metformin and merely instructs them to stop eating carbs.
Some doctors, whether intentionally or unintentionally “fat shame” their patients. I have heard the employees’ stories often, which delays care and certainly doesn’t empower a patient to make changes in self care
It seems many primary care doctors specialize in sending patients to specialists. And specialists don’t talk to each other. The focus seems to be to figure out what is wrong within the scope of their practice. There is little “connecting of the dots” to see if one problem could be connected to another. Patients are passed from one specialist to another and the employer and employee are paying the bill – not to mention the loss in productivity.
This is one of the reasons we frequently highlight Interactive Health in these postings — their whole business model is to brag about how many patients they send to the doctor for more tests for “newly discovered conditions.”