7 Ways to Run an Amazing Medical Wellness Program

Want to make your medical wellness program stand out from the rest? We’ve got seven tips to get you on your way.

With only 23% of U.S. adults getting enough exercise and nearly half (45%) of all Americans suffering from at least one chronic disease, the healthcare community is looking for ways to improve their patients’ lives. As a result, more and more physicians are partnering with health clubs to get their patients on the road to wellness.

So, how can you work with your local healthcare providers to help make your community healthier and reach the 77% of Americans not getting enough exercise? Keep reading for seven ways to make your medical wellness program stand out from the rest.

7 Ways to Run an Amazing Medical Wellness Program

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Photo Credit: Saco Sport & Fitness

1. Offer a clean, safe facility

A doctor or other healthcare professional’s primary concern is the safety and well-being of his or her patients. They will be looking to refer to a club that is clean, safe, unintimidating, and staffed with knowledgeable people ready to help their patients succeed.

2. Use the knowledge of current members

Do you have members that are doctors, dietitians, or physical therapists? Form a committee and get their feedback on how to improve club services and programs to meet the needs of patients, and how to market to other health professionals.

3. Solve problems with programs

Many de-conditioned (or new to fitness) people are intimidated by clubs or have tried exercise (maybe even in a club before) without success. These members will benefit greatly from specific programs designed to provide educational guidance and services to address their specific needs.

4. Make it about the program, not the sale

IHRSA clubs with successful medical wellness programs send physician referrals to a representative from their medical wellness program—such as a trainer or program coordinator—and not the sales department. Medical wellness participants can be wary about the pressure to join, so a softer sell often works better in the long run.

5. Keep track of member progress

This allows participants to see their own progress, and to report back to their doctor how well they are doing at your club. Check out the Building Wellness Programs in Your Health Club e-book—free for IHRSA members—for advice on tracking progress and helpful templates.

6. Get physicians into your club

Sometimes they need to see your club to believe it is the best place for their patients. Invite them in for an event, offer them a week or monthlong membership to check it out themselves, or ask them to speak at a health seminar for your members.

7. Keep in touch with referring professionals

Stay in contact with physicians who are referring to your club to let them know their patients are doing well and reassure them sending patients to your club is the right choice.

Do you have an amazing wellness program that you want to share? We want to know! Tell us about it on Facebook and Twitter!

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Alexandra Black Larcom @ihrsagetactive

Alexandra Black Larcom, MPH, RD, LDN, is the Senior Manager of Health Promotion & Health Policy for IHRSA. She spends her days working on resources and projects that help IHRSA clubs offer effective health programs in their communities, and convincing lawmakers that policies promoting exercise are an excellent idea. Outside the office you'll most likely find Alex at the gym, running on the Charles River, or, in the fall, by a TV cheering on the Florida Gators.