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Why Preventive Care Matters for Employees & Your Business - And How You Can Implement it into Your Wellness Program

November 14, 2019 | By 2020 On-site

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Preventive care is an important topic for your employees, because their health directly correlates with employee productivity and overall engagement in the office. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics  found that in the month of January 2018 alone, about 4.2 million workers missed work because they had an illness, injury, or medical problem or appointment, which is higher than in previous years. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) estimated in 2017 that almost 3% of an employer's workforce was absent on any given day. Time away from the office is lost productivity. 

Also worth noting that, according to the World Cancer Research Fund, up to one-third of cancer cases that occur in economically developed countries like the U.S. are related to obesity, physical inactivity, and/or poor nutrition - all of which can be prevented. Why wait until you have a disease to address your health, when preventive care approaches could help you maintain good health and avoid sickness? Here are four reasons why you should make preventive care a focus in your employee wellness program.

1. Preventive measures will detect diseases earlier

Preventive approaches can detect a wide variety of diseases, even if no outward symptoms are present. This includes certain cancers, obesity, diabetes, and depression, among others. Diagnosing diseases earlier will result in better treatment outcomes. 

Let’s dive deeper into diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that in 2015, roughly 30 million Americans had diabetes. Of that amount, the ADA estimated that 7.2 million people didn’t know they had it. How do you help employees solve for this? The first preventive approach is to have your annual physical, where your doctor can determine if you have any risk factors for diabetes. A secondary approach is for employees to check in on their eye health. Did you know that a comprehensive eye exam can detect diabetes? Diabetes affects your blood vessels, and the back of the eye is the only place in the body where an eye doctor can directly view them. Worth noting that eye exams also detect  hypertension, autoimmune disorders, high cholesterol, and tumors, among others. If you live in Boston, Chicago, or Atlanta areas, 2020 On-site will bring eye exams and eyewear directly to your employees at work!

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2. Healthcare costs will go down 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases that are avoidable through preventive care account for 75 percent of the nation’s healthcare spending. Additionally, a 2016 study showed that individuals enrolled in a preventive care program went to the emergency room or urgent care less frequently, compared to those not enrolled in the program. Because of this, both individuals and their employers experienced reduced healthcare costs.

3. Preventive care is affordable

Most healthcare plans are required to provide free preventive services to their members, including:

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Blood work and testing for certain high-risk populations
  • Depression screening
  • Vaccines for influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, tetanus, and other conditions
  • Certain cancer screenings

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4. Chronic absenteeism & presenteeism will decrease, and productivity will increase

When your employees are sick, they lose concentration, persistence, and focus, which hinders their productivity and ability to get work done efficiently. Research shows that businesses lose millions of dollars every year due to absenteeism and presenteeism, which is decreased productivity caused by health issues and other factors. According to the CDC, lost productivity related to absenteeism cost U.S. employers $225.8 billion annually, or $1,685 per employee.

How You Can Implement Preventive Care into Your Wellness Program 

In a 2018 study, researchers found that a mere 8 percent of respondents were using all of the high-priority preventive services offered to them. Because of this, motivating employees to seek preventive care has never been more critical. Here are three ways to help employees prioritize prevention.

1. Educate them 

Creating awareness is the first step. Are your employees aware of the preventive care services offered to them through their healthcare plan? Consider hosting a lunch and learn where you can serve as the in-house expert on all things disease prevention. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a variety of resources on preventive care that you can share with them. Be the hero for your employees! 

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2. Bring preventive care to the office

Employees often neglect their health due to lack of time or inconvenience. Make healthcare easy by bringing it directly to them at work. Here are a few ideas:

  • 2020 On-site: our mobile vision centers offer quick, easy, and one-of-a-kind eye exams and eyewear to companies in Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago (at no cost your business!).
  • Biometric On-site Screenings: According to the CDC, a biometric health screening is defined as "the measurement of physical characteristics such as height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, and aerobic fitness tests that can be taken at the work site and used as part of a workplace health assessment to benchmark and evaluate changes in employee health status over time." Check out this blog for some of the top biometric screening companies you can add to your wellness program.
  • CVS Flu Shots: CVS brings flu vaccinations directly to your company with no service fee, nationwide.

3. Create incentives 

A 2019 survey from OfficeTeam found that the program employees would like to see most in their organizations is wellness incentives that reward healthy behavior. The poll showed, however, that only 43 percent of companies offer such a program. Once you’ve developed your wellness program, check out this blog  for some ideas on how to incentivize employees to prioritize their health. 

There you have it! You’re now equipped to take employee health to the next level, as well as save healthcare costs down the line. It’s a win-win for both employees and employers. Be sure to share this blog with your employees so that they can be proactive (instead of reactive) about their health! And if you’re interested in bringing 2020 On-site to your company to improve your preventive care offering for employees, contact us here!

 

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