A healthy heart is one of the key components of overall health and wellbeing—but year after year, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And while cardiovascular disease can refer to a broad umbrella of conditions, the most prevalent is coronary artery disease, which impacts roughly 1 in 20 working adults and poses one of the greatest risks to a heart attack.
Beyond the serious health effects of heart disease, it can also be incredibly expensive for both employees and employers to treat and cover. The most recent data from the American Heart Association shows cardiovascular disease costs the U.S. nearly $318 billion per year in medical expenses, and up to $237 billion per year in lost productivity.
Improving and maintaining heart health is vital to overall employee wellbeing and organizational success, yet over half of working adults skip routine checkups and forgo common health screenings. So how can leaders encourage preventive care action and support their employees’ long-term health?
How Your Wellness Platform Can Address Heart Disease Symptoms
Keep the Heart of the Company Beating Strong With Your Wellness Platform
Wellness platforms are playing a crucial role in lowering employees’ risk for coronary heart disease and encouraging physical activity. The right software tool will incorporate a variety of educational and programmatic initiatives to engage and inform employees, ultimately creating a personalized wellness program to prevent heart disease for the unique conditions of your workforce.
Of course, this requires data—but don’t worry, it’s nothing personal. Rather than collecting HIPAA-protected medical health records and diagnoses, personalized wellness platforms gather information about how employees’ behaviors impact their overall health and wellbeing.
For instance, personalized wellness platforms can be used to collect and organize information from:
- Self-reported symptoms and heart disease risk factors
- Health surveys that spread awareness while identifying employee concerns
- Biometric screenings that gather data on heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol level, etc.
At WellRight, we’ve seen firsthand how truly life-changing this technology can be for clients from all industries. With over 600 members in their health system, Pullman Regional Hospital takes employee wellbeing very seriously. As long-time advocates of employee wellness, Pullman utilized our platform to promote incentivized biometric screenings to their employees.
During early promotional communications and activities, one employee was unable to discern why their blood sugar levels were so high. Upon following up with their doctor, the employee discovered they were actually diabetic, and with support from Pullman program administrators and WellRight’s platform, received the treatment and care they needed.
By leveraging actual health data, Pullman’s personalized wellness platform was able to shed light on a serious health condition that made all the difference to one employee’s life.
5 Ways Your Wellness Platform Can Improve the Cardiovascular Health of Your Workforce
It’s obvious why employers have a vested interest in helping their employees improve their health and prevent heart disease, but it’s not always clear how they can go about doing that.
Fortunately, personalized wellness platforms make it much easier for companies to spread awareness, organize healthy heart campaigns, and improve employee wellbeing by:
1. Making Health Insurance Information Easily Accessible
Optimized wellness platforms offer a streamlined solution to help employees access vital health insurance information in one centralized location whenever they need it.
By integrating insurance data sources with health profiles, users can effortlessly view coverage details such as card information, claims history, and in-network providers. This enables each employee to make informed decisions about their primary care provider and proactively seek care.
2. Incentivizing Routine and Preventive Health Screenings
Routine health screenings and preventive care checkups are essential for maintaining a healthy heart. These types of screenings help detect and identify potential issues before they lead to serious complications, like heart failure.
While over half of working adults in the U.S. tend to avoid these appointments, your wellness platform can provide incentives by rewarding employees or giving them virtual points for each visit, which they can later spend on prizes that are meaningful to them.
3. Providing Interactive Resources on Conditions Like Heart Disease
To help keep heart health top of mind, employers can also offer interactive resources on cardiovascular disease. Engaging content like videos, articles, quizzes, courses, and webinars can help employees learn more about risk factors (like high cholesterol or diets with excess saturated fat) and prevention strategies (such as regular moderate exercise, healthy diet plans, and more) in a fun, educational way.
For employers, these educational resources offer a way to create a multi-prong, incentivized heart health campaign that yields physical and mental wellbeing outcomes.
4. Boosting Family Health Outcomes
As employees learn more about health and wellness topics like heart disease, they’ll likely want to engage and educate other members of their families.
Some wellness platforms allow employees and their families to participate in health programs and provide a holistic view of wellbeing topics, including mental health, financial stress, and social belonging. By involving families in prioritizing personal and collective health and wellness, these platforms can help identify goals for a personalized, proactive approach to prevention.
5. Utilizing Engaging Programming to Mitigate Heart Disease Risk Factors
Last but not least, employers can use wellness platforms to initiate any number of heart health programs, campaigns, or challenges.
While this is best done year-round, September is a great time to focus on the issue of heart disease with World Heart Day falling on September 29th. To spread awareness, employers can ask employees to wear red, organize a walk, or bring or share healthy snacks and recipes.
Designing Wellness Programming to Improve Heart Health
Outside of World Heart Day, it’s still crucial for employers to emphasize the importance of heart health all throughout the year.
When it comes to physical activity, there are a wide range of wellness activities that can help increase blood flow, strengthen heart muscle, and improve overall wellbeing—but half of the fun is brainstorming ideas with employees.
Instead, we’d like to offer a few program ideas to help employers prevent heart disease in smaller (yet just as impactful) ways.
Reducing Stress in the Workplace
Elevated stress levels can lead to high blood pressure. Implementing stress reduction programs at work, such as mindfulness sessions or relaxation workshops, is an excellent way to mitigate this risk factor for employees.
In a calm, supportive environment, employees are better able to manage stress and, therefore, lower blood pressure.
Providing Support to Quit Smoking
Smoking is a significant heart disease risk factor. Offering a smoking cessation program seamlessly within a wellness platform complete with counseling, resources, and engaging content can help empower employees to quit, reducing their risk of heart disease and improving their overall wellbeing.
Promoting a Heart Healthy Diet
While there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to a healthy diet, encouraging small healthy choices in the workplace can make a substantial difference. This might look like switching to nutritious snacks in the office, launching educational campaigns on things like healthy fats, or leading dietary workshops. All of these initiatives can help employees adopt more heart-friendly eating habits in their lives.
Making Small Lifestyle Changes to the Office
Employers can also make small workplace environment changes that will ultimately have a lasting positive impact on employees’ physical health.
For instance, promoting the use of standing desks or yoga ball chairs can help improve posture while strengthening key muscles in the core and along the spine—a healthier alternative to sitting down all day. In hybrid organizations, employers can offer stipends or wellness rewards to help employees with these often more costly, but impactful home office investments.
Improve Employee Heart Health With a Holistic Wellness Program
Ultimately, improving employee heart health requires a multifaceted approach, incorporating a wide range of programs, from preventive care screenings to moderate exercise at work.
At WellRight, we understand that true wellness requires a holistic view of health, from the heart and body to the mind and emotions. Our tailored wellness program, combined with our cutting-edge platform, offers a complete package to help employees improve and maintain their wellbeing.
Reach out to our team to learn more about what a holistic wellness program can do for the heart health of your employees.