The Pandemic’s Impact on Preventative Care

We all know that preventative care is essential to our health and well-being.

For the Employee

For employees, preventative care and screenings will help avoid or reduce the risk of developing some chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as some cancers. It can also detect early signs of these and other ailments, allowing for earlier intervention and possibly a more optimistic outcome.

For the Employer

For employers, preventative care helps employees live and work at their healthiest. A healthy employee is more likely to produce quality work, be more efficient, and have less lost time than an unhealthy employee coping with multiple health illnesses. It also helps avoid significant costs related to additional medical services, medicines, surgeries, and impacts on health plan prices.

You may not be surprised to hear that preventative care appointments sharply declined at the onset of the pandemic.

The Health Care Cost Institute reported that health claims for mammograms and pap smears declined 76% and 77% respectively when comparing April of 2020 to April of 2019. Colonoscopies declined by 88% when compared within the same time constraints. Childhood vaccinations declined by 57%.

While these statistics have since improved, engagement in preventative screenings has not fully returned to pre-pandemic levels and many people are still behind on their preventative care appointments.

If you are wondering why preventative care appointments began to decrease in March and April of 2020, here are some reasons. The demand for medical services increased at the start of the pandemic, resulting in lower availability for appointments. Safety concerns related to entering a medical facility where the virus may be present prevented some patients from keeping appointments. The result is a backlog of patients overdue to complete their regular preventative care, and in many cases, a long wait to be seen.

It is important for employees to be aware of the preventative care appointments and screenings that are recommended at different ages of life.

So which preventatives are recommended at what ages? Click here to view a cheat sheet from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention which lists what screenings are recommended for men and women at what ages.

There is no alternative or replacement for preventative screenings, but there are other ways that employers can support their employees’ wellbeing and/or encourage preventative care. For example, onsite biometric health screenings often include BMI, cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure with immediate results and a brief consultation with a health professional.

These offer a “health check-in” intermediate to regular preventative care, can be helpful when waiting for a scheduled preventative appointment and is especially helpful for individuals who are identified as high risk and were unaware prior.

The Lawson Group offers a variety of employee wellness services, including onsite biometric health screenings.

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