Enhanced Scorecard Benchmarks Wellness Programs

July 28, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Mercer and the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) have released a new version of the HERO Scorecard survey tool, which helps employers benchmark their wellness programs.

Version 4.0 of the scorecard, which is available free of charge, allows employers to evaluate their employee health management efforts and to benchmark their program and outcomes against companies of similar sizes and industries.

While the scorecard must be completed online, a PDF version is available that can be used as a teaching tool or to prepare for completing the online version. After an organization’s information and data have been submitted to the online scorecard, they will receive a free report that compares the score of their program with the aggregate score of all respondents.

The new version of the scorecard contains enhancements reflecting the evolution of health management programs and new research about what drives optimal outcomes, as well as enhancements to improve consistency, accuracy and clarity of the tool by updating the user interface and wording of the survey questions, according to a joint announcement from Mercer and HERO.

“Over the last five years, the wellness industry and our health care system have changed significantly, as has our knowledge base,” says Jerry Noyce, president and CEO of HERO, based in Edina, Minnesota. “The significantly enhanced scorecard reflects this, from the structure of the tool to the updated scoring system.”

Since its launch in 2009, more than 1,200 employers completed the previous Scorecard Version 3.0, giving HERO and Mercer the ability to monitor broader employer wellness trends. As a result, HERO has published 18 commentaries analyzing data collected through the Scorecard. Findings have included:

  • Allowing spouses to participate in key elements of wellness programs improves participation and outcomes;
  • Small employers with high-performing programs can produce results that are comparable to those of large employers;
  • Biometric screenings to alert employees to possible health risks and personal coaching are two of the fastest-growing elements in health management programs; and
  • Employers using financial incentives report significantly higher participation in these programs than those not offering incentives.

“The scorecard has become an invaluable program assessment tool for employers and wellness providers, alike, and the magnitude of the database has given us the ability to test the relationships between specific best practices and outcomes, “ says Steven Noeldner, Mercer partner and chair of the HERO Research Study Subcommittee, based in New York. “In addition, recent research showed a correlation between companies with high scorecard values and health care cost savings.”

More information about the HERO Scorecard survey tool can be found here.