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04 Dec 2023
by Emma Capper

How to make health screening part of a physical wellbeing strategy

Preventative measures such as health screenings are growing in popularity

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Employee health and wellbeing has taken centre stage in recent years as businesses increasingly want to support their employee’s good health. They also want to understand more about the health of their workforce so they can offer impactful interventions to keep people healthy and well.

As prevention is better than cure, increasingly preventative measures such as health screenings are growing in popularity.

Health screening can offer rich insight into the risks and health issues employees face and they are becoming an integral part of many health and wellbeing programmes.

While, traditionally, companies have only offered health screens carried out in clinics, they can be expensive, time consuming and typically reserved for senior employees.

Traditional in-clinic health screens certainly have a place in health and wellbeing programmes and are incredibly valued by those that are engaging with them. They offer a far better employee experience as they are having dedicated one-to-one face-to-face time with a GP/medical practitioner.

In addition to this, the in-clinic health screens will be by far the most comprehensive in terms of medical insight given to the employee, and in terms of the help and support they receive in dealing with any unexpected results.

However, as businesses are looking more at wanting to support all employees in an equitable way, they are considering what is best placed to serve the needs of their ever changing workforce and in some cases providing access to alternative health screens.

The rise in health screening for all

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and the success of the home tests, the variety of home health testing kits on the market has grown rapidly.

More organisations are adopting at-home health screening solutions such as finger prick tests for blood and sugar analysis. Individuals can do the test very easily at home, access a follow-up report and sometimes a GP consultation if deemed necessary.

Not only is this approach cheaper for companies, but greater numbers of employees can also participate in these screenings and the data collected can give employers a more comprehensive oversight of their organisational health risks.

There is a growing range of screenings now available as home tests from cardiovascular and cancer checks to fertility and diabetes assessments. These enable businesses to target interventions more effectively and implement initiatives more likely to have a positive impact on employee health, rather than generic, one-size-fits-all programmes.

For instance, if screenings reveal a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, a company might launch a health campaign focused on diet, nutrition and fitness advice.

Empowering employees

Health screenings also empower individuals to make informed decisions to improve their own health. Companies can provide the tools and education for employees to make lifestyle changes that could help prevent certain conditions in the future or reduce the risks.

Although, ultimately, it comes down to individual choice, educating employees about their risks, informing them on how to fix them and helping them develop good habits is a cost-effective way to keep employees fit and healthy. Preventative measures can lead to a significant reduction in insurance claims, which in turn can reduce total benefit costs.

Onsite clinics and kiosks can also be effective health screening solutions and provide companies with data about the health of their employees. They can also foster social engagement and, in the case of onsite clinics, allow for more comprehensive health assessments than home testing kits.

However, employers need to consider their remote workforce and ensure equal access to health screenings that involve being in the office by either offering them an alternative location or encouraging people to attend the office on set dates.

As well as health screenings, employers have other valuable tools in their preventative wellbeing toolkit including apps. There are literally thousands available that can help with everything to do with mental and physical health from weight management to fitness tracking, sleep, and monitoring blood sugars.

However, before recommending apps to their employees, or signing up to an app provider employers must consider the purpose of the app, the issue they want it to solve, and ensure it fits into the overall health and wellbeing strategy.

Apps can be a great way to encourage employees to adopt healthy habits and foster a culture of wellbeing, but they must be selected carefully and align with the corporate wellbeing goals. Employees must have a good reason to engage with them on a daily basis and they should be clinically/scientifically backed to improve the issue that they are aiming to support.

To conclude

Health screenings have become an indispensable component of many employee benefits programmes irrespective of whether they are in clinic, onsite or remote based testing. They offer valuable insights into employees’ health risks, empower individuals to take control of their heath, and provide a cost-effective means of managing health and insurance expenses.

As businesses continue to evolve their health and wellbeing strategies, the use of health screenings is a useful solution to encourage a healthier, more productive workforce.

Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing works with businesses of all sizes to help them develop a health and wellbeing strategy that balances the needs of the business, its people and budget. For more information, click here.

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Howden provides insurance broking, risk management and claims consulting services, globally. We work with clients of all sizes to provide dedicated employee benefits & wellbeing consultancy.

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