6 Takeaways from the Medical Fitness Association Conference

Here are 6 short observations from the Medical Fitness Association(MFA) conference in Orlando. Medically integrated fitness centers are primed to become an increasingly important part of the healthcare delivery system and the Medical Fitness Association is the leader in education, certification, and promoting of outcomes-based fitness and exercise programming.

1. Volume to Value

As healthcare providers and payers are struggling with what the future will look like, one thing is certain. The Shift to Value is coming! We just don’t know when these payment models will predominate or how the market will shake out. Anyone who proclaims differently is offering simply conjecture. There are ample opportunities for vendors who have consumer facing scalable solutions that leverage preventive measures and create value.1

medical fitness observations
2. Primary Care

The shortage of Primary Care Physicians (PCP’s) was another important topic at the conference. With the impending shortage of PCP’s, chronic disease on the rise, and the growing amount of red tape that physicians are forced to adhere to in their practices, the need has arisen for those health care professionals who can extend the reach of the physician outside the office. It is critical for physicians to be able to optimize the 7-15 minutes of contact time that they will spend with their patients. Products and services being introduced to the marketplace which fill this need will thrive in the coming years.   

3. Value for Medical Fitness Center Members

A lot of tools are popping up that medically integrated fitness centers can leverage to both connect their members and add as an extension of their services. Some of these include wellness portals to connect with a health coach, track nutrition and exercise, store medical records, and keep in touch with members. Other tools include health savings cards which help those who with high deductible plans or underinsured to pay for healthcare services.

4. High Tech Still Needs High Touch

The new body scanning technology out there is turning a lot of heads. They are effective tools to collect data and show participants different visualizations of their bodies. Two that I noticed were InBody and Styku. While these innovative tools are exciting, it is also important for us to have strong high touch networks to support those who wish to make health lifestyle changes. The special sauce will be to have health and fitness professionals who can use these tools to translate to their members into real behavior change. There is also a great need to have the results of these tools integrated into a larger system where relevant actionable data can be derived. 

5. Wellbeing Focus

There were a ton of fantastic vendors and sessions devoted to promoting wellbeing. If you haven’t tried out these new massage chairs, they are unbelievable! I sat in one and 20 minutes later I could barely peel myself up. They are a game changer and an awesome opportunity for employers to offer a low cost chair massage to reduce stress and musculoskeletal injuries of their workforce.

6. Habit Change

Charles Duhigg’s keynote at the Medical Fitness Conference was a masterfully delivered talk on how we make changes both at the organizational and personal level. It was an educational yet entertaining blend of storytelling and teaching. He explained how even bad habits may exist for good reasons and willpower in 4 years olds is the single largest predictor of success later in life.
Other stories that Duhigg used to show how and why habits affect us and our organizations were the latte loop at Starbucks (Listen, Acknowledge, Take action, Thank the customer, Explain the why the problem occurred), the invention of, pivot, and marketing of Febreeze, and the tragedy of the King’s Cross Fire in the London Subway system.

Overall, the conference was a huge success and kudos to Bob Boone and his team for organizing yet another great one. I look forward to attending Medical Fitness Association Conference next year and becoming more involved with the organization!



HealthWell Solutions is a health management company that provides customized corporate health and wellness solutions to drive successful health outcomes. Learn more and contact us today: https://healthwellcorp.com or info@healthwellcorp.com



(1) American Hospital Association. Second Curve of Health Care. http://www.hpoe.org/second-curve.shtml.