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As published in Strategic HR Review Magazine, Vol 12, No 1, January 2013, pp 5-9.
Since 2011, Medtronic has put vielife’s online health and wellbeing platform at the heart of its global employee wellness strategy. vielife’s health and wellness solution is already available in 11 countries, helping Medtronic employees to assess and improve their health to increase productivity and reduce healthcare costs.
This article by Gen Barron, Global Wellbeing Consultant at Medtronic examines how the company is successfully creating a single, integrated and global employee health and wellbeing initiative with the vielife Online health and wellbeing system at its core. It examines the positive impact the interventions are having on Medtronic’s workforce, through the understanding of its employees’ health and wellbeing needs.
The ability to monitor and measure health and wellbeing across the organisation was vital in giving Medtronic key insight, through analytics, into the impact that employee health had on the business.
“We needed to create a comprehensive, integrated and measurable approach to employee wellness. The primary focus for doing this was to put the critical factors of prevention and early detection at the forefront of our employee health rewards. Some of the components that were important to include were Health Risk Assessments, website tools, health coaching and biometric and preventative screenings.” – Gen Barron, Global Wellbeing Consultant, Medtronic.
Initial health assessments conducted through the online platform have provided essential baseline data to understand overall global health trends as well as territory specific differences and priorities.
US has been able to record the greatest amount of positive change. Overall Medtronic has been able to measure $4.6m of cost avoidance from reduced health risks. In 2011, 66% of employees eliminated at least one personal health risk. Those at cholesterol risk reduced by 58% and those at glucose risk by 34%. A cohort of employees specifically engaged in health coaching saw reductions in as many as ten out of twelve risk categories.
Successful use of analytics and web based tools has helped Medtronic accelerate towards its vision of personalised, consistent wellbeing support for all employees. It now has greater insight into their health status to define the right strategy, and the tools to drive targeted initiatives where they are needed.
Medtronic is established as one of the world’s leading medical technology firms, through its provision of life-long solutions to those suffering from chronic diseases. It was founded by Earl Bakken, who invented the world’s first external pacemaker in his garage back in 1949 and from its humble beginnings has grown into a large multinational organisation, boasting annual sales of over $14 billion and a worldwide workforce of 45,000 employees.