W^H? The Holmes Murphy Blog

  • Cost-Effective, Simple Healthcare Ideas for Employee Wellbeing

    2020 was the year of new (or renewed) indoor hobbies. Baking bread, tie-dying clothing, cooling off in kiddie pools, playing chess, keeping fish tanks, and learning to play the guitar were found to be some of the top (and maybe most surprising) hobbies that generated the highest revenue during the year of shelter-in-place.

    So, I ask myself…why these hobbies? What was it about them that made people want to try them? My conclusion led me to find that they were cost-effective, simple tasks that ultimately led to happiness and fulfillment.

    What if in 2021 organizations started taking the mindset of finding opportunities with physical and clinical health that were cost-effective, simple tasks that would ultimately lead to improved health, and therefore, improved employee happiness and fulfillment?

    These do exist in the physical and clinical space. We know they do, because our organization has been focusing on opportunities that avoid and reduce the cost and impact of disease within ALL organizations for years! And just like the “hobbies of 2020,” these are not new, but yet known activities that can lead to improved health if they’re just acted upon!

    So, I challenge us all — individuals AND organizations — to pick something and just start! There is plenty of low-hanging fruit, and some may fit your culture and your company’s beliefs more easily than others.

    Top Clinical Opportunities of 2021

    Here are my thoughts on the top clinical and health opportunities available to all organizations.

    Mental Health

    Many times, it begins with considering what has directly impacted employees. We’ve seen this often with mental health — and allowing these stories to be shared in communications, meetings, or safety huddles to help reduce stigma. It’s essential that employers prioritize mental health and provide ongoing support to workers.

    Even if we can return to a pre-pandemic level of mental health, that is not an optimal state. It wasn’t good before 2020, and it remains fragile with workers still being vulnerable. And, particularly as we go through more stages of change in 2021 and beyond, there is a big chance of more setbacks. So, start now! Evaluate the current programs your business has in place and take a look at some opportunities to address the gaps.

    Preventive Care and Cancer Screenings

    Maybe there is someone on your leadership team who has a rallying cry around a certain area. We’ve seen this around preventive care and cancer screenings with some organizations saying they’re going to do everything they can to prevent another late cancer diagnosis and unnecessary death.

    A recent study from Radiation Oncologists shows already that 66 percent of the physicians are seeing patients present with more advanced disease than before the pandemic — coupled with that same amount of people who had treatment interruptions.

    Healthcare Navigation Support Programs

    We’ve had other groups tell us that while their HR or benefits department is small and they can’t answer all the benefits-related questions or even know where to send people to for getting the care they need, that they’ve looked into Care Navigation Support. This can be anything from an advocacy program tied to quality of care or ensuring telemedicine opportunities are readily available. Some have gone so far as having Centers of Excellence available and used for various conditions.

    Healthy Living Education

    If nothing else, your organization can encourage healthy living, even if it’s just by providing communication and information with the facts on health.

    Our health literacy in America is low — way lower than it should be. People need to be provided opportunities to know how to improve their health and access care in the right manner at the right time. Part of that trusted information can come from resources that you provide as the employer.

    And, what lies beneath and surrounding all of these physical/clinical health components is the social determinants of health.  This is another hot topic/buzz phrase.

    Social determinants of health are defined as conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes. The tie between social determinants of health doesn’t stop with your medical plan and your providing of health insurance coverage. It goes beyond it into factors that impact everyday life.

    Commit to a Renewed Focus on Your Employees’ Whole Health

    What we know is disease is not going away. It has been around and will continue to be here — with both old and new disease impacting all of our physical and mental health.

    I challenge your organization to commit to a renewed focus on cost-effective, simple tasks that would ultimately lead to improved whole health and to use our expert resources at Holmes Murphy to help ensure you are successful in doing so! All you have to do is reach out.

    Published on: 05.17.21