Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Employer Healthcare Congress (1) - the morning after the night before

The congress in Chicago kicked off last night with a cocktail reception and the networking, socialising and general healthcare chit-chat started in earnest. As I reflect on the evening’s activity and discussions I can summarise my conclusions so far..

Healthcare cost containment remains a hot topic for attendees at this conference: No surprise there. Providers, wellbeing strategists and employers are all seeking this Holy Grail. I am encouraged that it is recognised that just cutting budgets or cover levels is not the way forward – prevention and quality care are the most effective way to manage costs.

US Healthcare reforms are as emotive to American citizens as the NHS reforms are to us in the UK. Everyone seems, like last year, pretty much in agreement that the motives behind the reforms are good, but the practicalities of drastic change are creating logistical and economic mayhem.

Employee engagement has galloped it’s way to the top of businesses’ health and wellbeing agenda: This was a lively topic of conversation last night. Employers now recognise that ‘positive and measurable engagement’ is the way forward. Simply ticking the box with staff surveys and newsletters is no longer good enough to ensure that wellbeing programmes are on track.

There is something I still don’t quite get about the Medical Tourism Industry: I understand the theory but am not yet comfortable with many of the practices. And as if to validate my prejudices – I note again this year that representatives from this branch of the health industry have bigger exhibition stands, suspiciously more expensive giveaways and flashier suits than the health providers and wellness groups!

And finally – two undeniable truths..

I definitely have a penchant for charming men: And was fortunate to spend quality time with some fine examples yesterday!

Large wine glasses lead to overindulgence: Healthy eating/drinking initiative number one. Number two – portion control in general – even my glass of orange juice at breakfast held at least 500ml – with as many calories.

More tales of an Englishwoman abroad later..


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