Employers can influence employees’ long-term health by emphasizing wellness, prevention and early detection using tools such as wearables and digital health innovations, according to a report published by Deloitte.
Deloitte’s Health and Life Actuarial teams identified the top 10 drivers of death and disease, analyzed publicly available data and modeled Americans’ life spans and health spans – years of healthy living.
The teams concluded that Americans could potentially live 95% of their years in good health and live to be close to 90 years old with employers being uniquely positioned to be the catalyst for this change.
Employers should implement healthcare initiatives beyond the traditional health insurance and invest in screenings, prevention and care at home. They should also focus on physical and mental health through digital tools and expanded networks, improve employees’ financial and health literacy, enable wealth management, and encourage and provide incentives for healthy habits. In turn, improved employee health could improve the overall success of a business.
“Wearables and digital tools help enable changes, especially when they’re paired with coaching and nudging,” the report’s authors said.
Although employers can help improve their workforce’s health, the authors note that there should be a joint effort between employers, public health, individuals, and the life sciences and healthcare industries. Simultaneously, health inequities need to be addressed to ensure health improvement for all Americans.
The life span of Black Americans was found to be on average 72.7 years with a health span below 60 years. American Indian or Alaskan Natives’ life span averaged 68.3 years with a health span below 54 years of age. White Americans, however, were found to live an average of 78.5 years with a health span of 66 years.
If employers implement the report’s recommendations, all Americans’ life spans could increase by 12 years on average and health span by 19.4 years on average by 2040, with Black people gaining 25 years and American Indian or Alaska Natives gaining 28 years of health span.
“Healthy aging is not a mirage, but it’s something we can see and get to right now. We have the science and tools available to drive this, and with digital transformation and engagement, have the ability to scale to the average American to act. This is the power of digital health, which gives not just the power of effective care, but can give everyone a heightened sense of awareness to manage their health,” Andy Davis, principal of healthcare practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP and one of the report’s authors, told MobiHealthNews in an email.