October 15, 2014

AHA Urges Employers to Improve Health Screening at Work

In a summer article in the professional journal, Circulation, the American Heart Association published a policy statement on the benefits of improved workplace screening for heart disease.  Some statistics provided included the projection that the direct medical cost of  treating cardiovascular disease in the U.S. will increase nearly three fold from $273 billion in 2010 to nearly $818 billion by 2030.  And, employers take note, the cost in lost productivity will increase from $172 billion to $276 billion during that same 20 year period.   That’s a whopping total cost of over $1.0 trillion!

What can be done to impact this in a positive way?   The AHA says one component is workplace health screenings, especially biometric screening that includes not just height and weight, but BMI, selective lab tests, and even aerobic fitness tests.  The article stated that “Screenings may be even more effective at identifying risk factors and providing better return on investment (ROI) if they are targeted toward higher risk individuals.”  Just makes sense, doesn’t it, but now the AHA is telling employers to do it.

The policy statement points to several studies done which included health risk screenings in combination with behavioral support programs being offered.  Overall, the studies showed that this combination approach had a positive impact on a reduction in risk factors (i.e. blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.).  The statement also gives data relative to ROI.

We’ve seen hundreds of policy statements before from professional organizations like the AAP on a variety of issues, like car seat use, and most recently, delaying the start of school in the morning; but, this is a first with respect to actually referencing the provision of on-site medical services by employers.

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Filed Under: General, Research

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