20 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wellness Vendor

Most agree that healthier employees are happier, more productive and have fewer medical costs! The challenge, according to Jason Elliot, author of the article, Validate Wellness Vendors With a Data-Driven Approach, (Benefits Magazine, August 2019), is “every worker population is unique” and “there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness solutions.”

20 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wellness Vendor

To determine which wellness solutions best match the needs of their participants to improve outcomes effectively, Elliot suggests that plan sponsors take the following first steps:

  • Determine the goals of your organization
  • Identify data resources
  • Gather simple demographics data (gender, age, engagement level).

To further assist in pinpointing the perfect wellness vendor for your organization, the Foundation has compiled a helpful checklist: 20 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wellness Vendor

Fit

  • Is the vendor’s overall wellness philosophy and approach consistent with your organization’s?
  • Does the list of products and services offered by the vendor match the list of what your organization is looking for?
  • Can the vendor integrate and adapt well with your current technology, offerings, partners and medical providers so programs integrate and appear seamless to users and so metrics and outcomes can be easily determined?

Experience

  • How many years has the vendor been in business, and are they in a good financial position? Do they have a good reputation? Will they provide a list of references you can contact?
  • How many other clients does the vendor have, and what is the size of the vendor’s staff?
  • Can the vendor provide an overall success ratio and/or average program results? Can the vendor provide evidence of program success in an organization similar to yours?

[Free Member Webcast: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: How Plan Sponsors Can Curb Rising Costs | September 19, 2019]

Expertise/Risk

  • What is the medical/clinical/academic background and training of the vendor’s current staff? Does the vendor/staff hold any certifications, licenses and/or accreditations (e.g., NCQA)?
  • Is the vendor’s menu of products and services up to date with current research, technologies and industry trends?
  • Does the vendor have liability insurance and compliance guarantees? Any past security breaches or compliance violations? Are there policies and procedures to protect the integrity and confidentiality of data?

Communication/Technology

  • What types of communication, information and education support does the vendor offer?
  • Does the vendor offer multiple delivery/communication options (e.g., on-site, telephonic, web-based)?
  • Are user platforms and portals personalized, interactive, easy to navigate and secure? Does the vendor offer help for users of the program should they have questions/issues?

[Related Reading: One-Size-Fits-One Workplace Wellness]

Customization

  • Can the vendor offer products/services to meet the unique needs of your workforce (e.g., dispersed populations, culturally diverse groups, different reading levels, various health status levels, multiple languages, etc.)?
  • Can the vendor customize programs, communications, content, branding, etc., to your organization’s wishes?

Support

  • Will the vendor assist with incentive designs and other strategies to maximize participation/engagement?
  • Will the vendor help with strategic planning up-front as well as ongoing support to ensure program success?

Data

  • Does the vendor provide participants with adequate, accurate and easily interpretable data on program activity and relevant outcomes?
  • Will the vendor provide your organization with adequate, accurate and easily interpretable data on program activity and outcomes (e.g., health risk assessment trends, health claims/utilization trends, etc.)?

Costs

  • How are the vendor’s costs structured (e.g., flat fee vs. per participant)? Is pricing all-inclusive (i.e., no hidden fees)? Are there any performance guarantees and/or a guaranteed return on investment?
  • Are the vendor’s costs competitive? Is the vendor willing to participate in a competitive bidding process?
20 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wellness Vendor
Download the Checklist

Download the free checklist: 20 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wellness Vendor.

We’d love to hear from you. Please share your tips or experiences in the comments below!


Teri Dougherty, CEBS
Supervisor, Content Services

Looking for more wellness resources. Visit the Foundation’s Workplace Wellness page and check out these helpful tool kits:

CEBS

Teri Dougherty, CEBS

Supervisor, Content Services at the International Foundation Favorite Foundation Service: Today’s Headlines. Teri loves getting to read all of the day’s benefits news as part of her job. Favorite Foundation Conference Experience: Meeting, talking with and taking care of our speakers at the Annual Conference. Benefits Related Topics That Interest Her Most:  Everything wellness. Personal insight: No worries of a distracted conversation with Teri—her idea of multitasking is combining a good talk and laugh mixed with physical activity. From a lunchtime walk to swimming across a lake, she’s always on the move with a friend nearby. 

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