People have different perceptions of visiting the doctor. Some see it as a positive opportunity to discuss physical concerns or issues they are encountering. Others see the interaction as anxiety-inducing and scary because of negative experiences they’ve had in the past or witnessed family members endure.
While the reasoning behind these emotions or perceptions vary from person to person, employers must overcome the misperceptions by communicating about the value and benefits of establishing an open line of communication with their primary care physician.
Getting your workforce to better understand the importance of choosing a primary care physician and consistently communicating with that professional is an essential component to improving the health of your employee population.
The Benefits of Primary Care
Selecting and regularly seeing a primary care physician is beneficial on a number of levels. It enables a person to establish consistent communication with a doctor to address any physical and mental health concerns or issues.
Additionally, it allows the doctor to better understand all of the familial, social and economic factors that influence your health and lifestyle.
Last of all, it establishes an information hub for all future doctors or specialists to communicate with. This enables diagnoses, medication prescriptions and interventions to all interact and accentuate each other, ensuring that your health and well-being remain the primary focus at all times.
The Impact of Primary Care on Prevention, Health Outcomes and Costs
There are a number of significant data points highlighting the benefits of selecting a primary care physician. This data reinforces the importance of consistently working with a physician to improve health, decrease healthcare costs:
- Consistently working with a primary care physician aids in the early detection of a number of serious medical issues, increasing the potential to effectively treat the diseases.1
- Working with a primary care physician has been enhanced access to healthcare services, better health outcomes, and a decrease in hospitalization and use of emergency department visits.2
- Primary care can help counteract the negative impact of poor economic conditions on health by establishing improved relationships with physicians and facilitating improved methods of communication.2
- Clinical preventive services to prevent cardiovascular disease alone could save tens of thousands of lives each year.3
- Science-based prevention can save money—and provide high-quality care—by helping people avoid unnecessary tests and procedures.4
- Evidence-based preventive services are effective in reducing death, disability, and disease, including:4
- Certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer
- Chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes
- Infectious diseases, such as influenza, chicken pox and pneumonia
- Mental health conditions and substance abuse
- Vision disorders
- Research has shown that if everyone saw a primary care provider as a first course of action it would save an estimated $67 billion per year.5 Significant savings and improved personal health equal a win-win for everyone involved.
Strategies to Steer Employees Towards Primary Care
While having a primary care physician can equate to improved well-being and health, getting employees to regularly see their doctor is encourageable but not enforceable.
That’s why integrating a preventive visit with a primary care physician into your workplace wellness program can increase participation and lead to a healthier, more productive workforce.
Consider the following strategies as a guide to help employees create and foster a relationship with a primary care physician.
1. Offer an incentive for all employees who complete a preventive care visit with a primary care physician.
Provide employees a form that their doctor can fill out once they have successfully completed recommended screenings in accordance with their physicians’ recommendations.
2. Create a platform for employees to share success stories related to primary care participation and preventive screenings.
This could be accomplished through testimonials that employees volunteer to share at monthly staff meetings, or even establishing quarterly healthcare assemblies that provide healthy snacks or meals and positive stories emphasizing the importance of the doctor/patient relationship.
3. Facilitate access to primary care physicians and preventive care by providing on-site care or support for finding a provider nearby.
By removing barriers for your employees and encouraging them to take time out of their workday to engage with a primary care physician, you can better establish a culture within the workplace that inspires increased participation among all employees.
Let’s Prioritize Primary Care in Your Workforce
Did you know that having a primary care relationship is directly linked to higher engagement in preventive care and seeking treatment earlier if an issue is identified?
Higher engagement and seeking treatment earlier both help reduce long-term claims and avoid short-term claims.
At Bravo Wellness, we’ll help inspire personal improvement within your workforce, improve participant health awareness, and close gaps in care through annual biometric health screenings and health risk assessments.
Learn more about the benefits of primary care provider screenings in the ecosystem of a wellness program.
1The American Journal of Managed Care. Population Health Screenings for the Prevention of Chronic Disease Progression. Accessed February 6, 2020. https://www.ajmc.com/journals/issue/2019/2019-vol25-n11/population-health-screenings-for-the-prevention-of-chronic-disease-progression.
2National Center for Biotechnology Information. The Impact of Primary Care: A Focused Review. Accessed February 6, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820521/#sec3title.
3National Prevention Council, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Prevention Strategy. Washington, DC: 2011. Available from https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/prevention/strategy/report.pdf [PDF - 4.66MB]
4Healthy People. Clinical Preventive Services. Accessed February 6, 2020. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/leading-health-indicators/2020-lhi-topics/Clinical-Preventive-Services
5National Center for Biotechnology Information. Report on Financing the New Model of Family Medicine. Accessed February 6, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1466777/.