Stephanie Dwilson

Preventive Care: Encourage Proactive Employee Health

Preventive care is often an afterthought in our fast-paced culture. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans use preventive services at about half the rate as they should. The decision to wait until disaster strikes — rather than using preventive medicine — is a major factor that leads to Americans spending so much on health care expenses. In fact, treating chronic diseases that might be preventable accounts for 86 percent of the nation’s health costs, the CDC noted.

Employees Understand Health Care Priorities

The good news is Americans are more aware of the need for change and the role that preventive medicine can play. And that can only be good news for business owners and HR leaders. With a strategic investment in prevention programs, millions of people could be spared from serious diseases. Trust for America’s Health estimated that investing $10 per person in community prevention programs that increase physical activity, improve nutrition and reduce tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion each year. This is a huge return on investment that could affect your company for the better.

Inform Employees of Preventive Benefits

With such strong support for preventive care, it won’t take a concerted campaign to gain buy-in from your employees. Many of your employees simply need timely information to push them into action. Here are some talking points you can use to communicate the many benefits of using preventive health care:

  • Each year, 70 percent of deaths among Americans are from chronic diseases, according to the CDC.
  • Regular cancer screening can reduce mortality rates. When colorectal cancer is found early and treated, the five-year relative survival rate is 90 percent, the American Cancer Society noted.
  • For women aged 40 years or older, mammograms can reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer, according to another American Cancer Society report.
  • Early diagnosis of arthritis can decrease pain, improve function, and in some cases, hold off further joint damage, according to The New York Times.

These are just a few examples that HR managers can use to show why it’s vital for employees to be proactive about health and participate in preventive care programs. Not only will this help employees improve health in the long run, but it’ll help your business have fewer absences, lower health costs down the line and more productive staff who can focus better on their work. Preventive care is a win-win across the board.

Make health proactivity easy on your employees. Give them free time off for doctor’s appointments. Set up wellness programs that incentivize participation. Consider using a health app to integrate with your wellness program. Whatever path you take, remember the ultimate goal is motivating your employees to focus on healthier living and preventive care. Healthy employees can make all the difference in a workplace’s environment and morale.

Stephanie Dwilson has extensive experience providing expertise on topics including health, law and marketing. She’s a science journalist published by Fox News, a marketing expert and a non-practicing attorney with experience in personal injury law. She’s also a small business expert featured by Businessweek and has worked as a PR lead for one of the largest churches in America.