Your new wellness vendor’s presentation showed impressive results from their work with other clients – risk factors reduced, cost curves bent, and ROI blossomed. It all sounds terrific. 

Before you sign the contract, you might want to take a look at the “smoking guns” list on They Said What?. Smoking guns are vendors whose marketing claims did not hold up under scrutiny.  The site’s scrutiny is not so technical that a layperson would glaze over. It’s basic math and business logic.

For example, one smoking gun was Propeller Health, whose asthma control program helps patients manage their asthma by using an electronic sensor to record their inhaler use and track their medications. Their results were many, but perhaps the most impressive was a $688 per asthmatic in savings from reduced ER and inpatient usage. Here’s the hitch: the study was financed by the California Healthcare Foundation, which is also an investor in Propeller’s company. Having an investor fund research is certainly not new, but is also not a preferred pathway to objective findings. 

The list of vendors includes many household names, including Mercer, Milliman, and Cigna.  The site gives vendors an opportunity to respond, though many have chosen not to do so. That they ignore the questions only damns them further. The site has prominent industry scientists on its team. This is not a flimsy gadfly trying to get attention.

You can send your wellness vendor’s presentations to the site for their review using the Nominating a Company link. You might find that your vendor’s claims hold up. And wouldn’t that make you feel better as you sign that contract? 

It’s worth a visit and a few chuckles, if you find this sort of thing funny. 

Linda K. Riddell is principal consultant with Health Economy LLC in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

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