When it comes to understanding employee risk and population health, employers are often at a disadvantage when it comes to planning for future healthcare costs. No one likes surprises that impact the bottom line. Claims data is a lagging indicator; we need tools that help us see over the horizon.
In the absence of a crystal ball to foresee the next medical emergency, what steps can employers take to improve employee overall health? To establish a baseline for the employee’s health and the health of the workforce, start with a biometric health screening.
For many employees a biometric health screening may be the only direct care they will receive all year. This screening is the catalyst that provides individuals with the content they need to assess their lifestyle and health, acknowledge risk factors, and to have a meaningful conversation with their primary care physician regarding making changes. Screenings can prevent or minimize chronic conditions if caught early. And at the very least they alert the participant to any areas of concern. From an employer perspective, these screenings are one of the tools to help them identify the 5% of the population that is driving 60% of their healthcare spend.
The best way to introduce biometric health screenings to your workplace will depend on the demographics and specific characteristics of your organization. An onsite testing event makes it easy for employees to participate and rallies the wellness culture, while a remote employee might benefit more from the convenience of visiting a nearby laboratory, their primary care physician, or receiving a home test kit.
The true value of the screening is that it promotes awareness and provides individuals an opportunity to engage their doctor with any concerns. Getting a biometric screening may only take ten minutes but it can change a life for the better, keep folks gainfully employed, and in some instances even save a life.
John is a 43-year-old truck driver. John has never really paid much attention to his health and considers himself healthy albeit a lot heavier than he was ten years ago. John participated in a biometric event sponsored by his employer. The results of the lab work were not at all what he expected. He knew about his weight, but he was told that his blood pressure was a little high and even more concerning his glucose was high.
This spurred John to set up an appointment with his wife’s doctor. John shared the biometric results with the doctor. The doctor asked some questions and John started to realize that he had been experiencing symptoms for a few months but had not connected the dots. The doctor told John that he had early diabetes and there was still time for him to get it under control with lifestyle changes. He was started on Metformin for diabetes and a blood pressure medication. John is motivated to do something because diabetes and blood pressure can both impact his commercial driver license. He was referred to diabetes education at the local hospital. He has given up sodas and he is now bringing his lunch so he can avoid fast food.
Sarah is a 52-year-old account manager. Sarah has not seen a doctor since before COVID. Before COVID she went to the gym on a regular basis, but she gave that up and has not gone back since. She gained 15 lbs. over the past two years, which she blames on not exercising, overeating, and consuming too much wine. She would describe her job as very stressful, and it requires some overnight travel and lots of eating out.
Sarah participated in a recent biometric health screening and was shocked that her cholesterol was much higher than she ever remembered. Her bad cholesterol jumped to 170mg/dl and her good cholesterol was low. Sarah scheduled an appointment with her doctor to have a conversation about her cholesterol.
Sarah is thankful for this motivation to visit the doctor because she learned something even more impactful. Her doctor reviewed her family and health histories and discovered that Sarah was at high risk for colon cancer. Sarah was scheduled for a colonoscopy which revealed several thankfully benign polyps. If Sarah had not had the cholesterol in her hand, she could have waited much longer to have this important conversation with her doctor.
What can employers do to promote awareness and flatten the trajectory of healthcare related trends?
US healthcare costs are more than double what other developed nations report, at over $4 trillion (about $12,000 per person in the US). Surgery, prescription drugs, and other forms of treatment continue to rise in cost, putting a heavy financial burden on companies and their employees. Healthcare is a cost that cannot be eliminated, but it can be reduced through proactive measures.
Proactive Health Awareness Initiatives:
- Host a company biometric health screening
- Provide access and clearly communicate health insurance benefits
- Host healthy workplace activities
- Encourage your employees to have regular “checkups” with their doctor
- Introduce a wellness program
Contact us to learn more about bringing biometric health screenings and solutions offered by eHealthScreenings to your employee population.