Habitually, when people think of doctors and healthcare their minds go to fixing conditions and curing disease. While disease management is no doubt essential, an important piece of wellness is often forgotten, namely keeping the healthy people healthy and preventing the unhealthy people from getting worse. Even well-intentioned companies may overlook the importance of investing in health maintenance as a method of saving money, increasing productivity and improving the quality of life for individuals and the company as a whole.

So how does an employer promote prevention? One way is by encouraging, and even incenting, its employees to receive preventive exams. This includes an annual physical with bloodwork, age/gender specific exams, regular dental visits, yearly eye exams, flu shots and visits with specialists for diagnosed conditions. Companies can bring many of these services directly to their employees by way of biometric screenings and flu shot clinics. They can also provide access to health coaches and wellness experts who specifically focus on lifestyle habits that aid in disease prevention.

Diversified Group’s wellness company, Corporate Fitness & Health, regularly manages prevention-focused wellness programs and incentive campaigns. Programs inform employees about the types of exams they should receive, stress their importance and allow for individual tracking. They may even demonstrate the value of prevention firsthand if an unexpected result is discovered during an at-work screening. Many times, “at risk” results are found in seemingly healthy employees who had no idea of any health issue and no intention of visiting their physicians any time soon. Catching these results encourages most participants to see their doctors and get their biometrics under control; a far better outcome than what likely would have occurred if their companies had not been proactive about prevention.

As an employer, you have the opportunity to imprint upon your employees the idea that health today matters tomorrow. Encouraging employees to receive their preventive exams and begin building relationships with health professionals is one of the most fundamental ways to do this. Addressing both the clinical aspects of health (biometrics) as well as the less clinical aspects (lifestyle choices) are important. Incenting employees to receive an annual physical exam or attend an onsite screening is a good first step. A second step would be offering an incentive for an annual exam plus additional exams based on age and gender. A third step would be providing health coaches to offer advice on lifestyle improvement.

The fast paced world in which we live necessitates a focus on the “here and now” which is ok until the day arrives when the “here and now” means diabetes, cancer or a heart attack. It could be argued that most people dealing with such conditions would give anything to turn back the clock and make different decisions. They might choose to see a doctor sooner, seek information about improving their diet or truly commit to an exercise routine. Be the impetus that gets your people to make those decisions now rather than regretting never having done so. Wellness is a true benefit you can give your employees and one that can positively (and drastically) impact the rest of their lives. Start with prevention. If you do, it may be the only step you need to take.