Health screening - should you or shouldn’t you?

Oct 31 2012

At energiseYou we recently completed a thorough research project into whether we should provide health screening services, for our clients, as part of our service offering. Following this research we decided not to launch health screening services as part of the energiseYou corporate employee wellbeing offering.

It’s true that health screening can add value to inpiduals in terms of detecting heath related issues, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. But let’s come back to the real question, should employers proving and paying for health screening?

In my opinion, the simple answer is no…

I’m not saying health screening doesn’t add value or that it’s not right for every organisation. But for the vast majority of organisations their health and wellbeing budget is better spent on other activities – such as coaching, mentoring and inspiring employees to make simple changes to improve their lifestyle.

Any budget given to employee wellbeing needs to be put to the best use, and as you will see below, health screening is not necessarily the best use of budget:

- It’s not always accurate

Some health screening tests are inaccurate and add little value e.g. BMI, body fat percentage, bio dot test, grip test and peak flow test.

- It’s free at your doctors

Most health related tests you can request at your doctors so there is no real need for employers to provide them.

- It can drain your budget

Health screening can be expensive. This money could be better spent on coaching employees to make changes to their lifestyle.

- Safety and accuracy means it’s better carried out by your Doctor

For safety and accuracy, some health screening is better carried out with your doctor e.g. cholesterol testing and blood pressure.

- Encourage employees to see their Doctor

Both cholesterol and blood pressure are beneficial health tests. Therefore as part of our wellbeing activities and health education we encourage employees to have it checked with their Doctor, every five years.

Whilst the screening may detect the odd health problem, we know from our work with some of the best companies that by taking a proactive approach and coaching staff to make a positive changes they can have a bigger impact. By doing this, organisations have been able to improve the health of their staff, reduce absence, reduce the cost of reactive health interventions and increase positivity throughout the organisation.

Therefore any budget dedicated to wellbeing is far better spent on promoting healthy ways of living than health screening, and it is this that will have a positive impact on the financial health of the organisation.