Workplace health is all about prevention. When one person gets sick, it can have a domino effect. Soon everyone has ‘that cold so and so gave me’. So, prevention is now more important than ever because this is the first generation that will not live longer than its parents. With an aging population and an increase in chronic health problems like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity on the rise, employers need to act. We can’t help getting older, but we can make changes in our lifestyle and prevent many of these illnesses.
Leading causes of death are all preventable. The way things are going now, 44 per cent of the population will be living with diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2025. The cost of diabetes to the Canadian economy will increase 25 per cent in seven years. Obesity is a trigger for other diseases and is also becoming more prevalent. It doesn’t matter what diet or fitness regime one follows, it’s adherence that will make a difference. As a family physician and Vice-President of Medical Affairs at Medisys Corporate health that provides employee health and wellness services to individuals and companies, we have a three-step philosophy to tackle this health issues.
- The first step is to assess – identify major concerns within the employee population and define key performance indicators (KPIs).
- The second step is to monitor – a physician will interpret the results and then monitor employee’s health changes and progress over time. They will determine the key focus areas for employee health services to address the issues.
- The final step is to improve – deliver measurable wellness outcomes and drive employee engagement and participation in wellness programming.
According to a report by the SHRM Foundation, “more than 75% of high-performing companies regularly measure health and wellness as a viable component of their overall risk management strategy.” A survey conducted by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health “found that 83% of companies have already revamped or expect to revamp their health care strategy within the next two years, up from 59% in 2009. This year, more employers (66%) plan to offer incentives for employees to complete a health risk appraisal, up from 61% in 2009.
And it’s working! The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that by implementing a physical activity program, Canada Life in Toronto improved productivity and reduced turnover and insurance costs while achieving a return on investment (ROI) of $6.85 per corporate dollar invested.
A win –win for everyone. A solid return on investment for the company and a healthier employee and individual.
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content. However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider. As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.