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Biggest news ever in wellness: it’s over

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

In the immortal words of the great philosopher Roy Orbison: “It’s over. It’s over. It’s ooooo-verrrr.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an article today that — very much like the National Bureau of Economic Research’s conclusion — reported a controlled trial in which it was shown that wellness did nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Here is some of the exact language:

With respect to the clinical measures of health obtained using biometric screening, 29% of employees in the primary control group had high cholesterol, 23% had hypertension, and 43% were obese. No statistically significant differences were detected between the employees in the control group worksites and treatment group worksites at the end of the 18 months. Similarly, the authors found no significant differences in mean medical care spending or utilization.

So it looks like the only academic researcher who still believes this nonsense works is Prof. Katherine Baicker, whose 2010 “Harvard study” in Health Affairs launched the industry into the Affordable Care Act.

Wait a second…am I reading this correctly?  Seems like this research was conducted and reported by Katherine Baicker. She invalidated her only earlier work, much like I did 12 years ago when I pointed out all my previous findings in disease management were wrong.

Needless to say, the wellness industry is not very happy about this. Here is their official response:





  1. williammcpeck says:

    What was it that Goose said to Maverick while waiting outside the ship Captain’s office after they had just buzzed the ship after being told not to? I think it was something like: What was the name of that truck driving school?


  2. Mitch Collins says:



  3. Sam Lippe says:

    So how does it feel to win?


    • whynobodybelievesthenumbers says:

      Trust me. It isn’t over. These wellness perps are like cockroaches. You can’t get rid of them. Or like those Japanese soldiers who refused to believe they’d lost the war. We haven’t seen the end of this. But it is a lot of fun to watch them squirm.


    • williammcpeck says:

      I would suggest Sam that it is not about winning or losing. Instead, I would suggest that is about offering a program framework, programming and interventions that accomplish a desired outcome and make a difference for both the employer and the participating employees. Speaking only for myself, I still believe we can get there at some point and in some fashion.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey! What if this mishegas was NEVER about “wellness?” What if it was always more about collecting, slicing & dicing, and “sharing” people’s health data, to be acted upon in the form of health & job discrimination, and at the very least, more marketing?–and-possibly-more/2019/02/15/75ee0848-2a45-11e9-b011-d8500644dc98_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.945167cf9089


    • whynobodybelievesthenumbers says:

      I think it’s about both, plus asymmetrical contracting where the vendor know darn well they are snookering the employers.


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