12 Dec THE FIVE TO FIFTEEN YEAR WINDOW TO REDUCE HEALTHCARE COSTS & TO SAVE LIVES
In the first installment of the Seven Number Series, we understand how three of your biggest expenses are slowly (and effectively) attacking your company. The key to stopping this epidemic? Acting early – preventing pre-disease from moving to disease. During this phase, which lasts 5 to 15 years, our bodies have the ability to undo or delay any long term damage. If we stop the lifestyle and habits, our bodies will heal the damage – return to normal functioning, and even repair body tissues that are beginning to fail (diabetes & heart disease) or grow abnormally (cancer). Perhaps the best example of pre-disease that can be reversed is metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is defined as the appearance of any three of these five numbers on an employee’s biometrics:
1. A waist circumference of 35 inches for women, 40 inches for men
2. Triglycerides (a lab test for blood fat) of over 150 mg/dl
3. A reduction in good – HDL cholesterol to <50 in women, < 40 in men
4. A blood sugar of >100 mg/dl
5. A blood pressure of >130/85
What do you do when you know these numbers? Simple, set up programs and activities to get them down. Everything from participating in 5K walks and bike rides, changing food out in the vending machines and your café, bring in targeted programs, and so forth. These actions should be part of your health benefits design and included based on their effectiveness.
Equally important to these efforts is activating and empowering employees to get more involved in understanding, monitoring and managing their health. Focus on what really matters – getting these Seven Numbers to goal. Putting incentives and penalties in place over a series of years is vital to actually decreasing illness, disability, and costs. Having a foundation to communicate with your employees, to empower them, is necessary for success. Please feel free to request a copy of The Seven Numbers book.
Follow my blog posts and I will give examples of companies that are doing these types of changes today with outstanding results.