Q. ISN’T EMPLOYEE SCREENING JUST A LEGAL REQUIREMENT FOR EMPLOYERS?
A. It is usually a benefit rather than a legal requirement such as occupational health surveillance. It is separate from pre-employment screening, which employers carry out during the recruitment process, with a specially qualified clinician like an occupational health adviser.
Q. IT SOUNDS A BIT INTRUSIVE…
A. Health screens are totally confidential and most people know regular health checks make good sense. Screens should be personal, supportive and helpful, rather than intrusive.
Q. IS IT JUST FOR “RISKY” EMPLOYEES?
A. Screening isn’t just for senior people, anyone can develop health problems at any time and screening is designed to find them quickly. It is often those most at risk who are hardest to reach – smokers know it is bad for their health, for example. The best return comes when screens are linked with other areas of health risk management, like education, to help reach everyone. Screening tests should also be tailored to suit different populations.
Q. I’VE HEARD IT’S AN EXPENSIVE PROCEDURE…
A. Full-body scans are extremely expensive, although a decent health check, structured to specific risk profiles, should not cost the earth. The key is providing worthwhile, meaningful tests, a good consultation and being as accessible as possible.
Some providers reduce cost by screening with a nurse or technician, although the best assessments are with doctors, who diagnose, treat and provide a different level of advice. There needn’t be a huge difference in cost, it just depends on the provider. Early intervention preventing a high claim pays for itself many times over.
Q. HOW CAN I ENSURE IT’S THE RIGHT SORT OF SCREENING?
A. Screening may cause anxiety, or potentially cause cancers because of radiation exposure.
The Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine says “in screening, there is often some harm, which is only acceptable if there are confirmed benefits outweighing the harm”.
Most clinicians agree a confirmed benefit means a test has a clear purpose and outcome, based on sound clinical research. Some screening tests are questionable e.g. “c-reactive protein testing” is a test designed to predict repeat cardiac events, not an initial cardiac event but repeat cardiac events are not a modifiable risk.
Blossoms believes health assessments that contain accurate and clinically valid tests, with a clear outcome, are a good investment. The right profile of tests, delivered by an experienced doctor, helps attract and retain talent, helps to allay individual health concerns and shows where health resources can be best targeted.