The classical methodology of assessing health risks in executives is outdated, says Dr Jedd Myers.
Health Impact CEO Dr Jedd Myers says executive health and wellness is critical for any organisation to function optimally, and if it is not taken care of, the company runs a risk of catastrophic outcomes .
He says the reason executive health and wellness is so critical is because executives carry with them the responsibility of steering the organisation in the strategic direction they and the shareholders have agreed to, identifying constraints and obstacles, and growing the business. Plus, they are ultimately responsible for the performance of the business. Their health is the base of their ability to perform – poor health affects this performance and increases risk of serious health complications.
However, the messaging and the positioning of the classical annual health assessment is highly ineffective because it lacks substance, is patronising and does not lead to behaviour change and healthy results. It also does not assist the executive and the company in getting the full picture of the former’s health situation.
“If executives are at risk or their performance is compromised, the fallout in the organisation can be dramatic. We continue to discuss concerns around leadership as a general construct in this country, and we need not only the public sector, but private sector leadership to come to the fore. We are also coming out of Covid, which has led to huge mental stress, and economic contraction in many sectors,” says Jedd.
He says when an organisation has executives in good mental and physical health, they perform better at work. “What we are seeing is that not only is there a requirement to identify the risks attached to these executives, but you have the opportunity of improving their performance through improved mental and physical health outcomes. The problem with the interventions in the industry is that the typical approach is outdated, lacks science and is ineffective.”
Jedd says, as an example, they see executives with normal total cholesterol levels, but when they analyse the risk profiles in greater detail, they find that they in fact have significant risk of severe cardiovascular disease. “They are suffering from heart attacks and a range of other complications,” he says.
What Health Impact offers
Health Impact offers companies a service catering purely to executives’ health and wellness needs – ExecCare.
“ExecCare is a niche executive health and wellness solution. It delivers the services primarily at three high end facilities in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. The facilities have been built with a corporate executive in mind,” says Jedd. “These are dedicated spaces that create a first-class lounge experience.”
The assessment is holistic and multidisciplinary in nature, providing the executive with an opportunity to understand their health, how to mitigate their risk and optimise their performance.
Further, for the company, “We de-identify the data and we create a report on the health risk of that population. The corporate will then have a clear view of areas of concern and opportunities for improvement. We start to segment those risks and develop management programmes for these high-risk groups and take them on a journey to improve their health,” says Jedd.
Jedd says they do see health improvements in the executives that they see year on year, however, it’s the high-risk cases that are most important to identify, intervene in, and facilitate behaviour change.