Taking snapshots of employee health

With drug costs continuing dramatic rise, health-risk assessments could gain momentum
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/04/2010

Just before Steve Scanlan stepped on a treadmill as part of a work-sponsored health-risk assessment, he was advised he should first meet with a cardiologist. Tests done earlier at the executive session revealed he had an irregular heartbeat.

“It’s the kind of thing they tell you, ‘Nothing to be alarmed about’ but they just told you you’ve got something abnormal and they can’t explain it,” said Scanlan, head of HR at Macquarie Canada, provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services in Toronto. “It does make you worry a little bit... But better that than being among the three per cent (of conditions) that could be fatal if they don’t get the work done.”

The $1,700, five-hour assessment included tests for heart disease, hardening and narrowing of the arteries, bone density, respiratory function, visual acuity and prostate cancer, an abdominal ultrasound, chest X-ray, fitness appraisal, blood and urine tests and nutrition evaluation. At the end, a comprehensive report showed Scanlan where he sat within his norm group.