The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the routines of many. Right from remote working to health and wellness care, many things have altered. Studies show that deferred health care during the pandemic has become a key reason for an average 4.1% rise in healthcare costs in 2021. Also, deferred care adds to the morbidity and mortality rates, which can be associated with acute and chronic health conditions.
Although the pandemic regulations have been relaxed, people are still not got back to their annual check-ups, which are a matter of concern, since regular health screenings are vital to maintain holistic health.
Why Regular Health Screenings are Important?
Simply put, a health screening helps in identifying any underlying health condition, symptoms of potential risks, and the complexity involved in the disease. Studies show that most employee health and wellness concerns are related to lifestyle-related diseases and just a few cases hereditary health diseases. Preventive health check-ups are one of the best ways to reduce the risk of chronic medical conditions, related complications, or undergoing surgeries.
- Detect and help prevent chronic health issues
- Reduces the risk of complications during treatments
- Prevents further complications or growth of disease
- Increases life span
- Reduces health care costs
CDC Outcomes of Preventive Screening Studies
According to a CDC report, as of June 2020, almost 41% of adults in the US have deferred medical care during the pandemic, owing to the COVID-19 regulations and concerns. These decreased healthcare screenings included – hospital visits, emergency care visits, and ED visits for chronic health conditions including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. This estimated number included a surprising 31.5% who also avoided their routine health care and 12% who put off emergency care. People with disabilities and patients with two or more underlying health conditions were the common ones avoiding emergency or regular health screenings. However, few of them avoided visiting the hospital as they were seeking medical care through the trending telemedicine options.
Also, the avoidance of emergency care was more prevalent in –
Almost 1/3rd of the respondents reported that they had delayed their routine medical care due to the COVID-19 pandemic regulations like stay-at-home orders, temporary lockdown of health facilities, social distancing, and other similar ones. The 5 key reasons for avoiding health screenings during the pandemic included –
- Adhering to public health advice
- Closure of health care provider facilities
- Reduced access to public transportation
- Fear of exposure to COVID-19 infection
- Using telemedicine and digital health solutions as healthcare options
Avoiding emergency and routine medical care could worsen current chronic health conditions, or miss the chance of early detection of new conditions, or lose track of the receipt of routine vaccinations – all of which could lead to other health complications and risks.
How Employee Wellness Programs Can Help?
The core objective of most employee wellness programs is to ensure good employee health and wellness. Like Wellness360, all comprehensive corporate wellness programs include health risk assessments and biometric screenings as their on-boarding wellness activities. Also, most of these corporate wellbeing programs conduct regular annual health exams to identify potential risks or underlying chronic health conditions. Employers can also make suitable arrangements to accommodate employees who are not yet comfortable visiting the hospital for the screenings.
Once diagnosed, these employee wellbeing programs offer disease management programs and wellness challenges ideas that can help in cultivating holistic wellness habits that can reduce the risks or prevent further complications.
Well-designed workplace wellness programs also offer holistic health coaching programs through which professionals offer guidance to set actionable health and wellness goals, and support them through their journey.
Getting regular health screenings are vital to prevent any further complications to miss the opportunity to detect any underlying condition at an early stage. And so, employers must make sure their employees receive regular health screenings and the populated data be accessed through a robust wellness platform to be utilized properly to help the overcome their health concerns to achieve holistic wellness.