There are costs associated with every aspect of running a business, whether for profit or not. Management gurus, Peter Drucker and Tom Peters, are quoted as saying, "What gets measured, gets done." Yet organizations still struggle to quantify aspects of their business that drain resources like a bucket full of holes.
With stress and anxiety levels increasing and people's decisions about financial, physical and mental health struggling to be a top priority, employers increasingly feel the effects of presenteeism, absenteeism, disability in the workplace. Measuring the cost of chronic conditions in the workplace is a method for understanding the drain, weighing its importance, and giving it the prioritization it requires.
What is a chronic condition?
By definition, a chronic condition is an illness that continues for a prolonged period (more than one year) and requires ongoing monitoring or treatment. Chronic conditions include high blood pressure, asthma, anemia, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, mood disorders and cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are four major health risk factors that contribute to chronic conditions:
1) lack of exercise;
2) poor nutrition;
3) tobacco use; and
4) excess alcohol consumption.
The more employees are educated about these factors, the greater the likelihood that healthcare costs have a chance of being effectively managed. Without awareness and preventive steps, the greater the propensity that chronic conditions and their associated costs will increase.
What to measure.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it offers potential quantifiable metrics for employers to measure:
With an aging workforce and the rise of chronic disease prevalence, there has never been a better time to focus on maintaining a productive, healthy and competitive Canadian workforce.
Working with a trusted employee benefits advisor can help you measure and manage the healthcare costs associated with chronic conditions. We invite you to contact us to discuss this topic in more detail. As always, we're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.