Employee wellness symposium stresses prevention, accountability

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Prevention and accountability are the keys to any successful employee wellness program.  That was the theme of the inaugural Workplace Health Symposium hosted by American Heart Association and the Hartford HealthCare Heart and Vascular Institute on Feb. 14 at the East Region System Support Office in Norwich.

Keynote speaker Dr. Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology and The Athlete’s Heart Program at Hartford Hospital and accomplished long-distance runner, said the easiest way to prevent cardiovascular disease is to exercise, adopt a healthier diet and cut out controllable risk factors like smoking.

“We all spend so much time at work and are influenced by what happens around the office,” he said. “We need to create a workplace that is focused on prevention.”

The event was attended by more than 40 local business leaders and human resource professionals looking to bring employee wellness programs to their companies.

Dr. James Cardon, Hartford HealthCare’s chief clinical integration officer and CEO of Integrated Care Partners, shared success stories and challenges faced by the HHC Employee Wellness initiative, which includes financial incentives for visiting a primary care provider and getting the results of five key health measures: blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, fasting glucose, height/weight and nicotine use. Cardon says just tracking the numbers isn’t enough to make a true difference in overall employee health.  He’s says that accountability from staff, providers and the employer is crucial.

“We can give employees incentives to address these concerns;  but as an employer and healthcare delivery system, we needed to make sure there were programs in place for employees get the support they needed to address these issues,” Cardon said.

Hartford HealthCare East Region President Bimal Patel welcomed the crowd and emphasized how important co-worker interaction is in setting health goals. He shared a personal story of collegial support in adopting and sustaining healthy lifestyle.

“At Hartford HealthCare, we understand that our employees are our most important asset and that in order for them to be productive and engaged, they first and foremost need to be healthy in heart and mind,” said Patel.

For more information on the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute, please visit our website.

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