Q&A: The right way to educate employees on health

Dr. Alain Sotto, Director, Year-Round Care at Medcan, answers our questions

We sat down with Dr. Alain Sotto to discuss employee education, engagement, empowerment and how to enable your people to make healthy lifestyle choices. Dr. Sotto specializes in occupational medicine, emergency medicine and family medicine and also works with large corporations in employee health and wellness departments. This is Part Two of our discussion with him from September.

1. What do employers need to think about when it comes to the health of their employees?

When it comes to a healthy workforce, disease awareness and education is absolutely integral. You might have employees looking up their symptoms online because they’re worried about diabetes, or cancer, or stroke. These employees could be heading down a path towards disease, and getting their information from unqualified sources. To me, that’s really why you, as an employer need to show your employees that their health matters—educate them on health and on the resources and benefits available to them to prevent diseases down the line.

2. How do you ensure that employees are benefiting from their wellness plans?

A good hallmark of health and wellness programming includes the Sotto’s four “E’s.”

You have to first educate your employees on the disease that you are targeting.

Then, engage them in a discussion about taking ownership for their own health and how to improve.

Third, empower your workforce with this knowledge. Let them know, “this is what you need to do, this is how you do it, and this is where you go to find the right help.”

The final “E” is enable, enable them with the right tools to improve their lifestyle. This is where Medcan really excels. We can connect your employees with healthcare professionals who are experts in coaching lifestyle change such as, fitness trainers, dietitians, weight loss specialists or mental health counsellors. We have the services and the expertise to help them improve their future health and wellness.

3. What, in your opinion, is missing from the typical group benefit plan?

Health screenings are a great starting point for understanding, improving employee engagement and screening out disease—especially chronic disease—and making sure that you can action those items.

Simple screenings like pin prick blood sugar testing can prevent a person from becoming a pre diabetic or diabetic. Whether occurring within or outside the organization, these types of screenings will often help both the employee and employer by preventing future complications and reducing significant benefit costs.

Tests and consultations from evaluations like the Annual Health Assessment at Medcan give a great picture of whether employees are at high risk, medium risk or low risk.

High risk employees can then go to their family doctor, or come to Medcan, and get more specialized tests for specific chronic conditions. That early detection, and ideally prevention, is the hallmark for future longevity and good health.

For more information on the Annual Health Assessment or other health solutions available to your business, visit www.medcan.com/business.

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