5 ways fitness centers revolutionize community health

Published by HealthFitness on August 4th, 2022

At HealthFitness, we believe in reaching people when they are well. This is why we create health and fitness environments that focus on prevention. As one of the largest providers of fitness center management in the country, we can reach your people too!

Whether you currently have a hospital-based fitness facility or are looking to transform your current fitness center into a complete community health and fitness center, many health systems use hospital-based fitness centers to engage employees and community members in in physical activity, improve health and reduce stress.
Two women working out on an exercise ball in a gym.
Here are five ways leading health systems use hospital-based fitness centers to revolutionize health care in their communities.

1. Boosting community engagement
A Wisconsin-based fitness center partnered with HealthFitness in 1997 to provide health and fitness services at the hospital-based fitness center and to promote community health. The fitness center is an extension of the health promotion and wellness activities provided by a leading health care system in Wisconsin.

The fitness center’s partnership with HealthFitness keeps the hospital-based fitness center active and its members and employees engaged, creating an encouraging culture of health and wellness for their entire community. More than 165 staff members service community members at the 89,000 square foot facility, featuring 150 weekly group classes and 600 monthly personal training sessions.

“We serve as a front door to the health system,” says Mark Tessar, HealthFitness General Manager. “Community members have learned to trust us and will turn to us to meet their health care needs. We also provide positive public relations for the health system, whether through health fairs or attracting people who want to work for the hospital. We add value to the health system.”

2. Integrating with the health system
“Partnering with HealthFitness provides a place for the community and employees to focus on both fitness and wellness,” says Tessar. For example, the health system’s physical medicine and rehabilitation services are available at the fitness center and medically directed classes are available to its members and the community.

“Being a hospital-based fitness center allows us to invest more in the staff and training than most local gyms, so staff can play a greater role in the health community,” he says. “As a result, we are part of a complete well care system. The community knows about us, we are getting more doctor referrals and more hospital employees are coming to the fitness center.”

3. Driving community health
CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth, a leading health system, wanted to design a hospital-based fitness center to engage more healthy individuals — not just the sick or injured — to create an additional source of revenue and improve quality of care. In 1995, CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth partnered with HealthFitness to develop, design and manage the CHRISTUS W.P. Herbert Health and Wellness Center (CHRISTUS HWC) that serves the community as well as its employee population.

“Thanks to the 24-year partnership with HealthFitness, CHRISTUS HWC is the premier fitness center in southeast Texas. We are definitely driving membership from the community and getting people active again,” says Chip Boyd HealthFitness General Manager CHRISTUS HWC.

CHRISTUS HWC offers more than a local corporate wellness center or community center. “People gravitate to our amenities—from racquet sports to aquatics program to sophisticated personal training and weight loss programs,” he says. “We also integrate into the health system and partner with bariatric, occupational health and orthopedics.”

CHRISTUS HWC offers medical-based programming. “When someone is coming from cardiac rehab, they want to be in an environment that is less intimidating,” he says. “Members are highly educated and more comfortable in a hospital-based fitness center.”

4. Boosting revenue
CHRISTUS HWC enhances the health of the community without putting a financial burden on the health system. In fact, they provide an additional revenue stream with CHRISTUS HWC growing its revenue from $387,000 to $1 million, adding to the health systems’ bottom line.

“Although we are focused on well care, we’re in the business of changing lives with a financial mindset,” Boyd says. “This is challenging because the perception is that it is easier to take a prescription to fix something. Insurance would rather pay thousands of dollars for a pill than hundreds of dollars for a fitness center membership or a personal trainer. We want the doctors to see us as a remedy or a permanent fix to a problem. Once we do that, then the sky is the limit.”

5. Helping save lives
The key to success according to Boyd is his HealthFitness 134-member staff of accredited health and wellness experts. These on-site fitness professionals design programs that actively engage members — and even help save lives. See how our HealthFitness team at CHRISTUS HWC stepped in to action to help save the life of one of its members.

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Contact us to learn how our fitness centers can revolutionize health care at your organization.