Absenteeism is a growing problem in this country, and it costs the Canadian economy more than $16 billion a year. Knowing that a healthy worker is a productive worker, businesses are taking a greater interest in their employees’ well-being — providing everything from healthy snacks to on-site fitness centres and even yoga studios.
An increasing number of organizations are using outside resources to provide preventative care services to employees, including those headed abroad.
Passport Health, an established travel medicine provider that has more than 250 clinics in North America, has responded to that need. Their team of travel specialists sets up temporary travel clinics on-site for organizations that have employees headed abroad. The team gives these individuals the appropriate vaccines, and talks to them about health risks associated with travel in the countries they will be visiting.
“Many businesses are now sending their employees to India, China, Japan, and other far-flung places,” says Daniela Mora, who oversees Canadian operations for Passport Health. “But they don’t want these employees taking time off work to visit travel clinics beforehand — so we bring the clinic to them.”
This benefits the organization as much as it does the employee; one day of missed work abroad costs a corporation an average of $1,201. Furthermore, pre-travel consultations and vaccinations, which provide immunity for years, account for roughly 2.5% of an organization’s annual travel costs. Additionally, $3.78 in health care costs can be saved for every $1.00 invested in those programs.
Passport Health has leveraged its experience in travel medicine to provide other essential health services too. It sets up on-site clinics that give employees vaccinations for the flu and other illnesses Canadians can get here at home.
Biometric screening helps employers and employees
In recent years, an increasing number of organizations have discovered the merit of biometric screening — which is a thorough clinical assessment of an employee’s health.
Passport Health conducts these screenings on-site and at their clinics, checking each employee’s blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, body mass index (BMI), triglycerides levels, and other measurements. When on-site, instead of drawing blood, Passport Health clinicians apply finger pricks to collect only a few drops of blood and then use special equipment to get the results immediately. Samples don’t have to be sent to a lab for analysis.
The results, which the clinician interprets and discusses with each employee, can be used to identify certain health risks, including diabetes and heart disease. This entire process takes only 15 minutes.
All this information helps the employee make informed decisions about his or her health. Also, because almost half (46%) of employees sign up for screenings when they are offered in the workplace, organizations can use their employees’ data collectively to shape corporate health and wellness programs.
According to several studies, organizations that take an active interest in their employees’ health benefit from increased productivity. Costs incurred by absenteeism fall by $2.73 for every $1 invested in wellness programs focused on disease management, such as those offering biometric screenings. Additionally, organizations save $3.78 in health care costs for every $1.00 invested in those programs.
“No doubt about it,” says Mora. “The return on investment is huge.”