Employers usually see employee health checks as a mere legal obligation. Most employers find it difficult to answer what benefit can occupational health care bring. Most of them think that it is quite nice to show employees that the company cares about their health and spends its money on health exams. However, there are also employers who are furious about high labor costs. “First we pay social tax to cover medical expenses, and then we still have to pay for things family doctors do not bother doing,“ one entrepreneur lashes out.

Next, we will take a closer look at where are the benefits of occupational health care hidden.

Occupational health physician as an extension of a family physician?

An occupational health physician is sometimes seen as a more thorough family physician. Some people think that an occupational health physician has more time for the patient than a family doctor. Employees who have been too busy to visit their family doctor, get their opportunity to meet with a white coat through occupational health care. They can only wonder why have to duplicating systems have been set up in such a small country. One can also wonder why an entrepreneur has to maintain such a system, even though the social tax is already used to finance family medicine.

Medical examinations are suspiciously similar to ones carried out by family doctors

Sharp ones have already noticed that occupational health doctor is a part of primary care medicine. Primary care refers to non-hospital care. Since people are better acquainted with the work of a family doctor, it is easy to find similarities. In addition, health check-ups remind closely those done by family doctors – measurements of blood pressure, weight, and height, taking an ECG, listening to lungs, and taking blood tests. The difference with a regular family doctor is that the eye exam is more thorough. Unfortunately, employees benefit rarely from this, as most people already know if they have problems with vision or not. Therefore, health checks do not usually bring big surprises.

Optometrists in the optic shops do the necessary tests

In addition to the above, Estonia has a very well-organized network of optic shops. In these shops, optometrists perform necessary tests and prescribe suitable glasses. The need for conducting visual examinations in occupational health care has also decreased due to changes in the Health Check Regulation. The new regulation gives the employee an opportunity to get reimbursement for glasses based on a prescription from an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Occupational health physician should not play a family doctor with employer’s money

Should a health check resemble a family doctor appointment? Not really! The idea of occupational health check-ups is not to duplicate family doctors’ work and imposing double taxes on enterprises. However, this raises the following question: if occupational health care does not bother to measure height and weight anymore, what are they doing then? The answer is simple: occupational health care deals with the prevention and treatment of work-related illnesses and the reduction of work environment risk factors.

How can occupational health care be economically beneficial for the employer?

Ergonomics plays an important role in manual workers. Correct work techniques help to achieve results faster and without endangering the employees’ health. There is little benefit from an employee who works hard for one day and is then on sick leave for weeks.

Investing in occupational health care pays itself back 3 to 5 times

Occupational health care helps to reduce work stoppage caused by work-related illnesses. It also reduces personnel costs related to staff turnover. In addition, occupational health care can make the enterprise more attractive in the eyes of new employees, and solve hidden problems of the work environment. According to Nordic data, investing in occupational health care pays itself back 3 to 5 times. This, of course, requires evidence-based, targeted, and risk-based occupational health care services.

If you want cost-effective Nordic-quality occupational health care service for your enterprise, ask for an offer HERE.

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