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Healthy bottom line Featured

7:32am EDT June 28, 2002
Do your employees need to lose weight, stop smoking or lower their cholesterol? Whether they are young or old, a number of lifestyle factors play a role in how healthy they'll be in the future.

Portland, Ore.-based WellMed provides clients with an online tool for managing personal health factors, as well as a link to other employer-based health services.

"We give employers a stronger benefit package," says WellMed chairman and CEO Craig Froude.

Froude says the company offers personal health Web pages customized to the needs of each employee. The page resembles the rest of the employer's Web site and presents the latest information, research and clinical trials specific to the employee's health risks.

"We target and deliver information to help each individual employee take action to resolve potential health risks," says Froude.

For example, the platform will send a message to an employee when her mammogram is overdue.

The program can have an impact on both an individual's health and a company's health care costs by lowering employees' health risks.

"In the health promotion industry, companies are seeing a minimum of two times and up to a seven-times return on health promotion activities," Froude says.

WellMed also facilitates communication among the health care provider, the employee and employer by linking the employee to employee assistance programs.

"Many companies have these programs in place but they are underutilized," says Froude.

Microsoft recently contracted with WellMed for its personal health management portal.

"Microsoft felt that it could increase productivity," says Froude. "Microsoft wants to keep its employees healthy and on the job."

Mike Taylor, principal with HR consulting firm Towers Perrin, says his company uses WellMed's platform as part of its customer offerings.

"Our clients say it is helpful and they like the way the information is organized," says Taylor. "Informed consumers eventually use fewer services and office visits." How to reach: WellMed, (503) 279-9010 or www.wellmed.com