Jim Morningstar, founder and coordinator for Milwaukee-based InWellness, a diverse health care provider network, believes that the problem with health care in the United States has more to do with people not being educated than it does with lack of universal coverage or other issues.
He founded InWellness in response to that issue, and recently started marketing the network to employers as a way to provide added wellness opportunities and benefits to their employees.
“The spiraling cost of health care in the country stems from a lack of trust between provider and patient; and a lack of trust in ones self in terms of knowing when something is wrong with your own body,” Morningstar said. “People in this country have turned over their decision-making power to the experts who don’t know them well enough and have to order every test imaginable to make sure they don’t get sued if they don’t identify what is wrong. Returning that trust through educating patients is something we are trying to address at InWellness.”
InWellness is an online member network for health care providers interested in collaborating and working together for the good of patients, Morningstar said.
“We’re a community of integrated practices of all types based throughout the metro-Milwaukee area that work together in a cooperative fashion to educate patients.”
InWellness provider members have the ability to communicate with each other and share information if asked to, Morningstar said.
“I once had a patient come to me, I happened to be a psychotherapist, who was suffering from relentless fatigue,” he said. “I asked other health care professionals in the network, and came back to her with seven different treatment options she could try. She was thrilled.”
According to Morningstar, the organization has realized that marketing to individual consumers in a ‘street corner’ mentality is a slower process to go.
“We want to create impact, that’s why we’re offering this service to businesses now,” Morningstar said.
InWellness has interest from a variety of different employers in the area, and many of the network’s practitioners already provide corporate wellness sessions at businesses in the community, Morningstar said.
“What is new about what we are doing now is the network provides the opportunity for all of those practitioners to work together,” he said.
InWellness has health care practitioner members that practice alternative medicines like acupuncture, natueropathy, and massage but also has traditional health care professionals and nutritionists, fitness class instructors and business coaching professionals in the network as well.
“We can customize the program any way a company desires,” Morningstar said. “We can come in and give each individual employee our 12-step assessment or we can organize a few group classes, and provide access to business coaching or stress management professionals. It’s really based on the company’s individual needs.”
InWellness currently serves individuals and companies in the greater Milwaukee area, but Morningstar eventually hopes to perfect the model and implement it in other metropolitan areas across the country.
“We’re still a very young company so we’re not to that point yet,” he said. “Eventually I’d like to get there, but we’re in the process of perfecting the program for individuals and companies in Milwaukee.”