Last month, I gave you some information to consider regarding the quality of your wellness screens for your organization. Over the years, I have heard many stories about screening snafus!
“The screener couldn’t answer my questions.”
“I didn’t get my results for 2 weeks.”
“The screener didn’t tell me the ‘depth’ of my chronic illness.”
“I still had to go back to my doctor to get a prescription.”
“I don’t understand my results.”
Consider this… What is the point of offering on-site health screens to your employees? Do you have a purpose for offering this service? Do your employees understand this purpose?
It is important to understand the “why” before you tackle the “how”. Take it ‘step by step’ instead of simply jumping in head first.
The CDC reports that about half of all adults (117 million people) have one or more chronic health conditions and one in four adults has two or more chronic health conditions. (CDC, 2012) Chronic health conditions evolve over time as a result of undetected health risk factors. The most common health risk factors affecting our population are:
√ High Blood Pressure
√ High Blood Glucose (blood sugar)
√ High Cholesterol
√ Lack of Physical Activity
The more “checked” categories your employees fall under, the higher their chances for chronic medical conditions in the future. Do you know how many “checks” your employees have? How are you going to find out? The key is health screening, but remember, not all health screens are created equal! The Gold Standard in health screens should not only address all the risk factors listed above, but should also address the secondary factors that can lead to chronic health conditions.
Why is the Gold Standard important? Here’s WHY…
WHY BIOMETRIC LAB SCREENS?
Elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI all contribute to significant increased risk for cardiovascular disease (heart attack) and cerebrovascular disease (stroke). Having undetected high blood glucose for a long period of time can also cause many chronic medical conditions such as kidney disease and lower extremity vascular disease. Many of these biometric labs can be elevated for quite some time without any symptoms, so often times these abnormalities go undetected for years. Identifying these abnormal biometrics BEFORE they become a chronic medical condition is the KEY.
WHY DEPRESSION SCREENINGS?
Depression is common when other health problems are present, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), arthritis/chronic pain, cancer, and obesity. Depression can also trigger addiction issues, as it can lead people to want to “self-medicate”.
The age old question, “What came first, the Chicken or the egg…?!?” , definitely applies to depression and medical conditions. Sometimes it is hard to tell which came first, but we do know that people with medical problems are more likely to get depressed when compared to healthy patients. Also, people with depression are more likely than non-depressed people to get certain medical conditions. Depression is important to identify because it interferes with the patient’s ability to do things necessary to manage their medical conditions such as remembering to take their medications or be motivated to be active.
WHY COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENINGS?
Part of our Gold Standard is to check the stool for blood- which is a sign of possible colon cancer or colon polyps. This is done in patients who have no symptoms or reason to believe they have cancer. The goal is to find and remove polyps before they become cancerous, or to find cancer early- BEFORE it grows, spreads, or causes problems. Colon Cancer is one of the easiest cancers to ‘fix’, but unfortunately the third leading cause of cancer deaths. Early detection can change this!
Extremely high blood pressure, triglycerides, etc. is a medical emergency!! We know scheduling an appointment with your primary doctor can take time. Between work, family, and other obligations, getting to a doctor’s office during normal business hours can take weeks (not to mention loss of pay). The Gold Standard program should make it easy for your employees to begin treatment for their chronic conditions by possibly starting them on an inexpensive medication that can manage their health risk NOW. Also important is educating your employees with what they need to know regarding medication administration and side effects to watch for until they can get to their primary doctor for continued management and follow up.
WHY RESULTS, HEALTH EDUCATION and FEEDBACK?
Knowledge is Power! Most patients will not make significant life changes when they don’t understand why they are doing them or why it is important to their health. Our GOAL STANDARD provides detailed information and education on simple steps you can do to have a huge impact on your health!
WHY MEDICAL STAFF QUALIFICATIONS?
It is important that your screening personnel have the knowledge to review your results and numbers so you understand what they mean. Let’s face it, it may be the only medical professional you see all year! Providers that fall under the Gold Standard model can explain things like: “Is your result elevated…. Or is it an emergency?”, “Do you need a prescription… or can your condition be controlled by simple changes?”, “Are you in good health…or do you have health concerns?”, “What is Cardiac Risk and why should I worry about my number?”
By offering excellent quality screens that adhere to a high GOLD STANDARD of service, you are not only providing top-notch health care to your employees, you are also showing them how much they are valued by your organization! Your employees are THE BIGGEST ASSET to your company. Let the quality of medical care you provide to your employees reflect your company’s high quality. Only the GOLD STANDARD will do!
About the Author
Sandi Carter is the Director of Health Risk Management for Ertel & Company, Inc., a Wellness and Employee Benefits organization. With the lead and direction of Dr. Amy Kiley Ertel, Ertel & Company develops wellness programs (known as Health Risk Management) for their many clients throughout the state of Indiana. Their unique approach to wellness begins with on-site health screens conducted in their Mobile BeneFIT Center. WWW.ErtelandCompany.com