A hospital’s employee wellness team finds ways to uplift and encourage its workers

Louisville’s Norton Healthcare shows how a data-driven wellness program needs an imaginative side, too.

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Norton Health's wellness program

Taking care of America’s essential health workers is no easy task. But Norton Healthcare, Louisville, Kentucky’s third-largest private employer, manages it with assurance, depth, and imagination.

The company, with 17,000 employees across 250 unique locations, has an eight-year-old internal wellness program, an 80% internal engagement rate, and a million-dollar budget.

The program, N Good Health, rolled out in 2012 after three years of research during which the hospital realized it needed to directly address employee wellness. Even in a hospital full of people focused on health—fewer than half of the employees were practicing self-care.

“In a 2009 survey, only 12% of our employees reported they had established care with a primary-care provider themselves,” says wellness director Allison Ledford. “We’re 80% female, and too many were putting everyone else first and forgetting to take care of themselves.”

Norton diverged from common wellness approaches in several ways. It chose to run in N Good Health in-house instead of using a vendor, because it had easy access to experts within its walls. Ledford’s wellness team consists of a manager (who is also a nurse), a clinical dietician, department secretary, coordinator, a wellness program navigator, and a data analyst.

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