A healthy workforce can help your company thrive. When your workforce is composed of people from diverse backgrounds across several different generations, meeting each group’s individual healthcare needs can be a challenge, and the temptation is to solve the complexity with an endless range of health and wellness programs. Resist this temptation.
Primary care, delivered the way it was intended, is the ideal healthcare solution for a multigenerational workforce. It incorporates vital services that benefit all employees, and if done correctly, empowers people to take control of their health. That means better health outcomes across your population and lower total healthcare costs.
Building a robust culture of health throughout the organization is the best way to ensure that employees of every generation are engaged and active in their own physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As a result, overall healthcare costs are driven down along with the number and size of claims, hospital stays, and coverage for sick or injured staff.
A Diverse Workforce with Diverse Healthcare Needs
In a recent Forbes study, 85% of business leaders polled considered diversity and inclusivity essential to innovation. Having a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds to drive creativity and new ideas is vital for any company seeking to thrive in a competitive industry. Thankfully, the U.S. workforce has never been more generationally diverse.
According to Pew Research, there are currently five generations working side-by-side in the labor market today:
- 2%—The Silent Generation, born 1945 or earlier
- 25%—Baby Boomers, born 1946–1964
- 33%—Gen Xers, born 1964–1980
- 35%—Millennials, born 1981–1996
- 5%—Post-Millennials/Gen Zs, born 1997 or later
Serving the population health of a workforce at different life stages can be complicated. Meeting the needs of Baby Boomers, who may have increased care needs, is just as important as ensuring that Gen Xers have health programs that work for the whole family, and that Millennials (50% of the labor market by 2020) have the holistic customized care with the efficient, tech-friendly tools they expect.
The best solution is one with the capability to meet all employees at any stage of their life. That’s where primary care done right comes in.
Meeting Multigenerational Healthcare Needs Through High Quality Primary Care
We all want to feel respected and heard, to feel like we understand the big picture, and that we’re being communicated to effectively in the workplace. These are values that are important to people of all generations. And these values should be extended to the healthcare experience for everyone. Too often, however, they’re not.
Incorporating a well-designed primary care offering is the answer. It eliminates the need for specialized programs catering to specific generations and effectively serves the common needs of everyone in the workforce. Deliver the following seven primary care best practices in your benefit strategy and your program will meet the varied needs of your workforce and be simple to manage.
Seven Vital Components of Primary Care
Longer Appointments to Build Strong Patient-Provider Relationships
The typical primary care provider spends less than 10 minutes with each patient. Providing more time-rich appointments allows patients to fully explain their concerns and for providers to gain better insight into underlying causes and other factors affecting their health. This allows for greater trust and more precise understanding and treatment.
Centralized Consultation, Treatment, and Follow-Up
Having a dedicated provider and team in one convenient place makes it easier for employees to receive care, which means they’re more likely to come in for regular visits rather than for expensive trips to urgent care clinics or the emergency room (ER). Visiting the same provider consistently builds trust.
When primary care is available at the worksite, employees can make an appointment with little to no wait time and are usually able to see a provider the same or next day. Increased access also eliminates unnecessary visits to urgent care clinics or the ER. Including a 24/7 telehealth option with care coordination by the primary care provider ensures any follow-up care is completed.
If your benefit strategy already includes the above components of best-practice primary care, then you’re ready to take your strategy to the next level with advanced primary care (APC). APC further boosts population health and drives down costs with three additional components.
Care Coordination for Specialist Visits
A primary care team trained to proactively coordinate any necessary specialized screenings, tests, consultation, or treatment, including follow-ups, can incorporate supplemental care into the patient’s existing health plan. This ensures there are no gaps in communication, documentation, or care.
Risk Identification and Management
A primary care practice that leverages informatics to identify risk helps providers engage with workforce segments most vulnerable to certain illnesses or infirmities, and it finds ways to minimize that risk, both broadly across the entire company or on a generational and individual level.
Health Coaching and Behavior Change
Changing behavior doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and includes several key stages. Understanding the interplay of those stages can offer providers and health coaches insight into developing better treatment plans and goal-setting strategies. Health coaches trained in empathetic listening and transtheoretical behavior change provide the guidance patients need to make lifestyle adjustments, break bad habits, and meet goals. Anyone at any age can learn how to live a healthier lifestyle, and each generation has unique challenges and constraints that health coaches can help it address.
Building a Culture of Health in the Workplace
Making health a part of the company culture, not just an incidental benefit, means a stronger and more resilient workforce. Healthier employees are also happier and more satisfied, which decreases turnover and saves on recruiting, on-boarding, and retention efforts.
Improving companywide health across generations
A best-practice primary care model at the center of your benefit strategy, and with the right partner, supports each generation of your workforce with what it needs. A primary care team that works closely with each employee gives him or her the guidance and support needed to make practical changes that lead to better behaviors and the confidence to take charge of his or her own health no matter what stage of life he or she is in. And, it gives you a streamlined benefit strategy to serve everyone’s needs well.
A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation and steer business strategies. Keeping those workers in good health and satisfied with their health benefits program is a key component of attracting and maintaining them. Incorporating these primary care best practices engages all generations, makes them healthier, and reduces overall healthcare costs.
Ashley Smith is the VP of People Strategy at Vera Whole Health.