Clare Bettelley: Data protection must be at the heart of employers’ healthcare strategies

Employers are increasingly taking a more strategic approach to workplace health and wellbeing.

Perhaps the most pressing driver of this is finance directors’ (FD) unwavering demands for a clear return on investment for any new products and services procured throughout their organisation, and in a language they can easily understand.

Clare Bettelley

Our feature on how employers can win FD buy-in to their strategies explores some winning techniques for HR and benefits professionals to consider.

New trend

A new trend driving employers’ strategic approach is a desire to gain insight into the health trends across their workforce, to help them identify, and take a more preventative approach to, health complaints. This explains the increased offer of workplace health checks, such as blood pressure and eyecare tests, in many organisations. 

This mirrors work currently under way by the National Health Service (NHS), which will see a new data-sharing scheme rolled out in England later this year.

The database, which will link doctors’ patient records with hospital records, is an attempt to create a more integrated public healthcare system, helping medical researchers to identify and tackle common diseases, such as cancer.

Data protection is a key concern for both employers with their new strategic approaches and the NHS, with its new data project, which is why only strategies underpinned by a robust risk framework will succeed.

Desire to engage

Another driver is employers’ desire to engage with their workforce, which means their strategies must be relevant to the needs and interests of their staff. Wates Group understands this need, hence the success of its workplace kiosk strategy.

As part of this targeted approach, employers have been gaining confidence about tackling sensitive health complaints, such as mental ill-health and early-onset dementia.

But more commonplace issues, such as musculoskeletal complaints, remain a popular feature of most health and wellbeing strategies, as it does for organisations such as GlaxoSmithKline.

Clare Bettelley
Associate editor
Employee Benefits