With health care reform being implemented, employees and companies are finding that health management is more important than ever. The unsustainable cost of health care can no longer go unchecked so employers and employees alike need to become better stewards of their health care resources. Population health management is a way for corporations not only to improve employee health but increase company performance.
The basic benefits of population health management come from early detection of disease and illness. The sad fact is that 20 percent of workers incur 80 percent of health care costs, known as the 80-20 rule of health care. While improving the health of those 80 percent not using the bulk of the health insurance increases productivity and morale, corporations can keep employees from falling into that 20 percent by actively monitoring their health and encouraging the development of healthy habits. Preventing employee morbidity results in a more active, productive workforce.
Healthy employees make more efficient workers. An employee that exercises regularly, eats a healthy diet and manages their health with annual check-ups and appropriate vaccinations will use less sick time, resulting in higher worker productivity. Conversely, employees that do not adequately maintain their health are more lethargic, are absent more often due to illness, and produce less work than their healthier counterparts. Focusing on population health management can increase overall employee health, resulting in less sick days and better corporate performance.
Population health management reaches beyond health care. While a primary care doctor and regular check-ups go a long way in improving employee health, a healthy, safe work environment also has a huge impact on worker satisfaction and performance. Employee engagement is a constant battle that employers have been steadily losing. Actively disengaged employees cost companies millions of dollars in lost time and output while engaged employees cost employers less in health care dollars and produce more output than their counterparts. Engagement and health go hand-in-hand and both positively benefit the company.
Providing more than the bare minimum of annual check-ups through health initiatives for employees to monitor and manage their health throughout the year is a great way to increase employee loyalty and create a culture of health which increases morale. Special attention should be placed on employee suggestions when implementing workplace health programs as morale may be negatively impacted if the programs are unhelpful or don’t address employee needs. A properly conducted health program will engage employees and increase worker morale and loyalty.
Population health management is an important step more corporations need to be addressing as health care reform continues to roll out. While the changes in the law have been a long time coming, the benefits they relay to employees and their employers in terms of health management are overwhelmingly positive. Engaging employees to improve their overall health and well-being is both a humanitarian move and a smart business move.