Your boss is asking you to help control the cost of your health plan, which is most likely your second biggest expense after payroll. Healthcare literacy is the key to improving your employees’ healthcare outcomes, ensuring quality of care and controlling costs. Now, if only your boss understood that. We will help you make the case for convincing your employer that healthcare literacy is the way of the future and a necessary component to your benefit package. Healthcare literacy will do the following 10 things for your employees:
- Improve healthcare outcomes for them and their entire family. People love to share knowledge especially when it comes to healthcare. If your employees knew that approximately 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed each year and that the misdiagnosis had the potential to result in severe harm (according to BMJ Quality & Safety), wouldn’t they encourage their loved ones to get a second opinion?
- Lower healthcare costs for both employer and employees. According to Medicare pricing data, the average cost of an MRI in the U.S. is $2,611. A stand-alone facility may charge as little as $600. Which one do you think employees would choose if they knew there was an option?
- Decrease number of sick days. How many days off will your employee need for a surgery that requires hospitalization? Now, what if that surgery never needed to occur?
- Increase productivity, think “tune up” for your car. Even if your employees never need to visit the doctor due to illness, they get a benefit from the health insurance by getting their free preventive exams to make sure both body and mind are tuned up. Depression screens are now part of preventive exams. Employees aren’t performing at their peak when not feeling their best.
- Increase appreciation of their benefit package. With 3.9% unemployment rate, your employer wants to hold onto their most valuable possession – their employees. Giving them reasons to stay is always a great idea.
- Prove that you truly care and respect them. Employees rate respectful treatment as the most important factor in job satisfaction. The second most important factor influencing employee satisfaction is employee benefits.
If the above points don’t help your argument supporting healthcare literacy to your C-suite, here are four more benefits your employees will reap from this type of training that may not be as obvious:
- Familiarity with medical terms. This not only takes the intimidation factor out of going to the doctor’s office but helps your employees understand any instructions they are given to take better care of the one and only body they are given.
- Ability to interpret statistics and evaluate risks and benefits that affect their health and safety. 90 million Americans lack the skills needed to understand and act on health information according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Lessen the confusion and fear about being diagnosed with a serious illness. What provokes fear more than being faced with a serious illness? Knowledge breeds empowerment and a sense of confidence, which are two important elements when it comes to dealing with any illness.
- Help them understand proper self-care especially if they are dealing with health conditions. “Self-care is how you take your power back.” – Lalah Delia
Your employees need healthcare information they can understand and use to make the best decisions for their health. Happy and healthy employees = happy and healthy worksites. If you need more information in making the case for incorporating a healthcare literacy program, please download our Guide on Increasing Employee Healthcare Literacy.