As an employer, you know your most important resource is your human capital. You and your employees represent your organization and are responsible for generating revenue and profit.
You can measure your employees’ productivity and engagement. But what about their health? Are your employees healthy, or just one day away from a lengthy illness? Safe to say that most employers do not have a clue. Few employers know how healthy their staff members are. Do they eat healthily, exercise regularly or have annual physical exams?
That’s where private medical clinics come in. One of the fastest-growing segments of the health-care sector, clinics run by companies such as Toronto-based Medcan Health Management Inc., Montreal-based Medisys Preventive Health Clinics Canada and Vancouver-based Copeman Healthcare Centre Inc. feature bespoke care. These clinics offer services centred on preventative health assessments that can include brain, psychological and genetic testing.
These single-day checkups don’t come cheap, running $2,000-$4,000 for the most intensive physical exam of your life. But patients have the most comprehensive assessment of their current health status ever, and leave with an action plan to maintain or improve it. (The services provided by private clinics are not covered by provincial health plans.)
Proponents of private medical clinics say the higher costs pay for themselves. “Healthy employees typically drive healthy results in terms of employee engagement and customer services,” says Les Jickling, Copeman’s senior director of marketing and communication. “Also, healthy employees typically drive down costs for pharmaceutical care and drug care, and also reduce rates for insurance.”
Better engaged, healthier employees who are less likely to get sick also tend to stick around, thus lowering company turnover, he adds.
Just as routine auto maintenance can reduce the incidence of costly repairs, private clinics contend, disease prevention is the most favourable outcome they produce. Early detection of disease, such as impending Type II diabetes or treatable cancer, is second. Private clinics also focus on mental health, an issue that is attracting increasing attention.
Copeman’s “head to toe” health assessment, available at its clinics in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, runs $1,850, but “with some volume breaks for large clients.”
Beyond executives with big companies, Jickling says, employers are sending senior leaders and key employees, such as top sales performers, to private clinics.
If these clinics represent the pricey end of private medical care, app-based technology may provide less expensive ways in which health care can be delivered en masse. Akira, an app developed by Toronto-based Akira Medical Ltd., is billed as “a doctor in your pocket.” This app provides users with access to nurse practitioners and doctors via smartphone at a cost of $10 per month. The Akira app was launched in Ontario in 2016 and the firm plans to expand nationwide over the next few months.
Patients can be assessed and even be given prescriptions over the phone. The payoff? Akira contends that up to 70% of doctor visits could be done electronically, so all that time and expense associated with employees leaving work to sit around in doctors’ waiting rooms is eliminated. Akira doesn’t claim to replace all face-to-face doctor visits, but the app can reduce them significantly.
Not surprising, health-care apps such as Akira are embraced by millennials. Akira has found that millennials are reluctant to pay the monthly fee on their own, but they become regular users of the service when it’s offered by their employer.
Akira competes for customers with Montreal-based Dialogue, which offers a mobile health app that is backed financially by Power Corp., the parent of Great-West Lifeco Inc.
© 2017 Investment Executive. All rights reserved.