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Critics slam award-winning McKesson wellness program

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

Wellness programs are designed to make employees happy whether they like it or not.

And, using that criteria, McKesson’s is the best of the best. Let’s review some of the accomplishments of McKesson’s program:

  1. Employee weight increased and decreased at the same time;
  2. The program did not noticeably improve biometric risk factors among active participants (dropouts and non-participants aren’t counted, of course);
  3. A whopping 27% of their employees use tobacco;
  4. They set a record for the largest penalty ever paid for illegal opioid distribution.

Those accomplishments naturally won them a C. Everett Koop Award, given annually to the company whose application best exemplifies the IQs of the award selection committee. It also got them some great publicity in Employee Benefits News, where they explained how weight could increase and decrease at the same time:

“Health indicators in 2013 and 2014 were adjusted in the analysis, while several sensitivity analyses of the ‘inter-individual’ impact that used a matching approach confirmed the results.”

Of course, how silly of me!  This makes perfect sense, as explained here!


Lately, though, McKesson’s award-winning program has come under fire, with horrible things being said about it:

  • “Low participation rates”
  • “Inconvenient blood tests”
  • “Unsustainable results”
  • “Minimal health improvement”
  • “Silo’ed, inefficient programming”
  • “Unmet employee needs”
  • “Confusion of available services”

Who is responsible for such horrible, libelous insults, insults that would make us blush?

Why, McKesson, that’s who. Apparently, one of McKesson’s divisions, Canada, didn’t get the memo that their program is good:


So McKesson Canada switched to an outfit called “Sprout,” featured here:

Thanks to this picture, I’m sold on them already! That’s because they’ve apparently achieved the vaunted and elusive triple aim of wellness: reducing employee costs, increasing employee productivity, and poking employee cheeks.


Sprout also features REAL TIME DATA:

This is one of those “What is wrong with this picture?” pictures.  Review the caption, curiously juxtaposed with the laptop. Perhaps McKesson puts their employees on camera so the wellness coach can get REAL TIME DATA of employees doing situps because, without REAL TIME DATA, their “program won’t survive.”

This particular employee might not survive, either. Unless the coach is miked too — in which case this employee can be “coached” to move his water bottle before he impales himself on it.


Let’s dig a little bit deeper into these Sprout people, the wellness industry’s newest entrant in the competition to win the 2021 Deplorables Award, bestowed annually on the company that best reveals the IQs of their own customers.

Here’s their official description: [SPOILER ALERT: Contains cliches]

Sprout At Work is built using cognitive behavioural science, game theory, and behavioural economics to empower lasting behaviour change.

Two things come to mind. First, to raise money, Sprout could go on Wheel of Fortune to sell their surplus vowels. 

Second, speaking of coaches, perhaps they can use the proceeds from those sales to buy a coach. That coach could coach their coach to coach employees to [SPOILER ALERT–contains stupidity] stop doing situps.The 1980s called. They want their exercise back. Sit-ups are out, and have been out for years. 

Planks, of course, are the new situps.


Second, before they brag about using “game theory,” they need to google on what game theory is:

The branch of mathematics concerned with the analysis of strategies for dealing with competitive situations where the outcome of a participant’s choice of action depends critically on the actions of other participants. Game theory has been applied to contexts in war…and biology.

Biology???  Mathematics???  The only thing biology and mathematics have in common with wellness is that Sprout knows nothing about them.  We suspect they meant “gamification,” which has about as much to do with game theory as Sprout has to do with competence.

Luckily for Sprout, unlike real industries, wellness has very little to do with competence. And wellness vendor outcome data, REAL TIME or otherwise, is invariably wrong, so unlike this poor employee about to complete perhaps his last-ever rep of his last-ever exercise, Sprout will survive.



Please post all comments on Linkedin. I’m closing this comments section in order to have them all in one place. 


In the immortal words of the great philosopher Pat Benatar, hit me with your best shot.

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