Boston Scientific’s Worksite Wellness Pilot Program: Building a Culture of Health On-Site

Company Background

Boston Scientific is dedicated to transforming lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. A leading creator of medical products and technologies, Boston Scientific has approximately 24,000 employees around the globe and more than 11,000 employees across the United States.

As a global healthcare company, Boston Scientific’s commitment to improving patient health is clear. The company also believes there is an implied need to foster a culture of health and well-being for its own employees that allows them to work and perform at their personal best. For Boston Scientific, this concept of well-being reaches far beyond physical health, but focuses on a more holistic view of the work-life connection that ultimately can improve employee lives while elevating work productivity.

As with most global companies, Boston Scientific’s approach to well-being varies by geography and cultural norms at each site, but the overall philosophy and goals remain the same. Their philosophy includes continuous evaluation, measurement and improvement to ensure they’re meeting the needs of their employees.

Worksite Wellness Pilot Program: Creating On-Site Connections to Complement Virtual Resources

In 2013, Boston Scientific introduced a two-phased, on-site Worksite Wellness pilot program to address prevalent health conditions (e.g., physical inactivity, hypertension and stress) and raise employee awareness of the free resources available to them—like blood pressure monitoring stations, fitness centers, healthy food option labeling in the cafeterias and Employee Assistance and Health Improvement Programs. The pilot program was designed to focus on three health conditions identified as prevalent among the employee population: physical inactivity/being overweight, elevated blood pressure and stress.

The Worksite Wellness pilot program was initiated at two U.S. sites that captured nearly 50 percent of the Boston Scientific U.S. employee population, approximately 4,555 people. In total, more than 700 employees participated in the program. The key differentiator between the pilot program and Boston Scientific’s existing telephonic/web-based wellness program was that the pilot program incorporated on-site interventions, enabling the company increased communication with employees and opportunities to build a culture of health within the workplace. For example, the pilot incorporated a Worksite Wellness Champion Program, which engaged employees to serve as both the voice of their peers and as promoters of the programs being offered at their worksites. Boston Scientific kicked off the pilot with a four-day on-site campaign themed It’s Your Choice, which educated employees about new and existing worksite wellness programs available to them. In addition, the company engaged senior leadership at these locations to provide encouragement and support engagement.

Over the course of the pilot, Boston Scientific employed a full agenda of activities to promote, educate and reinforce the benefits of the available programs. Activities included 45-minute workshops like Every Choice Counts, Balanced Eating and The Silent Threat: Lifestyle Management of Blood Pressure; 20-minute skill building sessions like how to read food labels or do yoga at your desk; and 15-minute one-on-one consultations. Employees were most interested in programs pertaining to weight management, blood pressure management and stress management. Boston Scientific aimed to make all activities relevant, targeted, accessible and engaging to ensure greatest success.

Boston Scientific’s Worksite Wellness Pilot Program: Building a Culture of Health On-Site

Measuring Impact: Awareness, Participation, Health and Culture

Boston Scientific measured pilot program results via a number of mechanisms. Through employee feedback surveys, the company was able to measure increased awareness of resources. In addition, on-site events resulted in over 700 unique participants across offerings, a 93 percent satisfaction rate and 75 referrals into telephonic coaching programs (25% of participants engaged with a coach following the event). A single challenge for weight management resulted in:

423 participants, 58 percent of whom were in the overweight/obese category

64 percent of overweight participants and 79 percent of obese participants lost weight with a total net loss of over 800 lbs

Boston Scientific has also identified important and lasting improvements to its culture of health. Employees, champions and leaders from local resources (fitness centers, cafeterias and the on-site clinics) were able to form relationships that are still in place and enhanced today. Stress, a previously sensitive topic at the workplace, is now a topic that employees discuss and understand how to manage with access to the numerous company resources in place to assist with stress management. Finally, the pilot confirmed the need for an on-site component of the company’s wellness program. Feedback, participation and results indicated that having offerings accessible and visible at the worksite is valued by employees and has led to a variety of on-site challenges and activities at Boston Scientific’s U.S. locations since the conclusion of the pilot.

Boston Scientific rolled out Phase 2 of the pilot in 2014 with similar success. The company has seen improvements in its health metrics nationwide, which it at least partially attributes to increases in wellness program offerings and utilization as part of the pilot initiative. Continual improvements have been made to the available programs, and plans are now in place to roll out a network of Wellness Champions at Boston Scientific worksites across the United States.