Preventative Health Care: Does Medical Screening Play a Role in CSR?

Preventative health care through biomarker screeningBiophysical Corporation manages and markets biomarker-based tests for early detection of chronic disease. BusinessEarth talked to Biophysical’s CFO, Rich Martin, about the shift from treatment to preventative health care as well as the role companies can play in the well-being of their employees.

Does prevention hold the key to America’s health crisis? If you’re like most people, you only visit the doctor when you’re ill. But what if there was a way to identify risk factors before they turned into chronic health problems?

Meet Biophysical

“Years before you become diabetic, there are other changes happening in your body,” says Martin. “Before glucose becomes a problem, your body will experience a spike in insulin levels as it compensates for insulin’s diminishing strength.”

By identifying these precursors early, you can start exercise and diet programs to reverse the path toward chronic disease. “It’s easier and cheaper to prevent illnesses like diabetes than it is to manage them once they manifest themselves,” says Martin.

Preventative Health Care: Why your CEO should Act

When you hear discussions about “sustainability,” they often focus on a company’s impact on the environment. While this is an important piece of the puzzle, it’s not the complete picture. The health and well-being of your employees and community is an essential part of any sustainability strategy.

While physicians represent their largest market, Biophysical has seen more interest from businesses that want to offer biomarker screening to their employees. By providing employees with preventative information they can use for their own health decisions, companies hope to improve the well-being of the employee while also lowering premiums for the entire insurance pool.

“From a corporate perspective, it’s important to manage costs. An employee with Type II diabetes can add $6,000 per year to your company’s health care costs,” says Martin. If you can give that person information to change his or her behavior before developing such a chronic disease, you can improve their life and lower your insurance costs.

Corporate sponsorships make the most sense when there are a large number of employees and health care makes up a significant part of cost structure. Such tests typically focus on biomarkers for chronic conditions most prevalent in the population. “If you’re willing to pay $100 to help an employee understand their risk of chronic disease, you save your company money and help that employee avoid a long-term tragedy for the family.”

Business Challenges: Behavioral and Structural Change

To reach its full impact, Biophysical must overcome one of the most resistant forces on earth: human behavior. Just having the information isn’t enough. Employees need a support structure that will help them make real and lasting changes to the way they treat their bodies.

The current health care model also poses a challenge. While the number of concierge doctors is growing, not everyone can afford such independent and dedicated services.

Medical Screening: The Road Ahead

Ultimately, the shift toward preventative health care depends as much upon a change in our behavior as it does to a change in technology or insurance policies. While Biophysical has only been around a few years, they’re already starting to change the way companies think about the health and well-being of their employees.

BusinessEarth applauds Biophysical in its efforts to profitably solve a problem and enhance or extend thousands of lives.  What is your company doing to take preventative steps for tomorrow’s problems?

BusinessEarth encourages, advises and invests in responsible small and midsized companies. Follow BusinessEarth on Twitter to learn how we help business leaders see that social and environmental action is possible, profitable and necessary.

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