Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses new research focusing on the effect of staff sickness on UK businesses.
Since founding Now Healthcare Group back in 2014, one of our main areas of focus has been on how digital health services can be utilised to have a positive impact on the ongoing problem of staff sickness and employee absence here in the United Kingdom.
The latest research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW) has found that UK employers are losing a staggering 27.5 days of productive work per employee every year as a result of ill health. If you were to put a figure on the monetary value of this loss, you’d find that staff absence and the problem of presenteeism costs the UK economy a huge £73 billion per year.
CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses how digital healthcare can significantly improve employee wellbeing and reduce employer costs.
To some, the link between digital healthcare services and the workplace might not be quite as obvious as the former’s link with the NHS. The National Health Service is crying out for the adoption of tech in order to ease the burden on the system, whereas businesses might not always consider employee healthcare as a top priority. However, the benefits of digital healthcare for both employees and employers cannot be underestimated. Here are several ways that digital healthcare can transform the workplace.
Reduce staff sickness through early intervention
This is where employers start to sit up and take note – you may be surprised to hear that staff sickness costs businesses in the UK a staggering £29 BILLION each year, with over 130 working days lost annually. Unfortunately, there is an overlap here with the NHS’ current problems – when employees start to feel unwell, they are left with lengthy waits to see a doctor (the average waiting time for a GP appointment currently stands at 13 days), in which time their illness has already escalated. This forces them to stay home and take sick days.
Digital health apps, which connect patients to doctors and nurses remotely within minutes, ensure that potential illness is tackled as soon as possible, eliminating the need for numerous sick days and the avoiding hassle of taking time off work to attend appointments.
Medicines delivered to the office
Our health apps (Now GP/Dr Now) include medicine delivery directly to an employee’s home or office address. This allows users to connect to a doctor remotely when they first wake up feeling under the weather, receive a professional diagnosis and – in some locations – have the medicine on their desk by lunchtime. It’s all part of making healthcare quicker and more convenient for people, intervening early and stopping sickness as soon as it begins to strike.
Combat the problem of presenteeism
While some employees may take time off when they are too ill to work, there are others – 68%, to be precise – who will continue to go to work even if they are unwell. While some may read this as a good thing, it’s actually the opposite – presenteeism, as it’s known, is a serious problem for UK businesses and sees sickness spread throughout the office, taking down an entire bank, team or even division in a matter of days.
Again, poor access to NHS appointments is a major cause of this as people simply can’t afford to take weeks off work. By providing employees with digital health access through mHealth service or white-labelled apps, they can be seen quickly and efficiently, and receive fit notes and fit to work certificates on the same day to determine whether they can come into the office risk-free.
Mental health benefits
9 in 10 major US employers are expected to turn to telehealth within the next year, and we need to see a similar uptake in the UK. An area which has incredible potential is mental health – conditions such as stress and workplace anxiety affect 25% of all employees in the UK, with many feeling uncomfortable discussing it with their employer. By providing remote access to counselling services remotely, employees are just a few taps away from chatting to a professional when things get a bit too much.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the adoption of digital healthcare in the workplace. It’s anticipated that 97% of all large US companies will offer telehealth in some form to their employees by 2019, and I’m hopeful that the UK can follow its lead in this field. Whether it’s simply providing employees with better access to appointments, or utilising the latest wearable technology to monitor sickness trends and safeguard against the spread of sickness, digital healthcare no doubt has a major role to play in the future of workplace wellbeing.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn (Mr Lee Dentith) and you can also follow me on Twitter.
The leading school staff absence insurance provider will be using the Now GP app to reduce teacher absence and minimise disruption to children’s education in the UK.
Now Healthcare Group is delighted to announce a new partnership alongside Schools Advisory Service, the leading provider of staff absence insurance for schools and academies in the United Kingdom.
Schools Advisory Service will be introducing access to the Now GP mobile application to its 100,000 members, who work across 3,500 schools nationwide, from 1 April.
The partnership will enable teachers to have a convenient consultation via smartphone with a UK-based GP doctor at the touch of a button. They’ll also be able to receive their prescriptions and/or medicines as quickly as possible through Now GP’s integrated pharmacy system – helping them get back to work sooner or avoid taking time off.
The arrangement replaces Schools Advisory Service’s previous GP telephone service.
Recent figures show that 2.7 million teaching days are lost each year through sickness, with education professionals losing 10.2 days annually and an average of 4.5% of their working time. By partnering with Now Healthcare Group, Schools Advisory Service is taking steps to ensure that the education of our children is left uninterrupted by attempting to reduce the amount of time teachers lose to sickness.
Current regulations mean that when teachers are absent from work schools are unable to claim money to cover sickness for three days. By providing teachers with early access to a GP, this partnership will attempt to ensure that the majority of teachers will be able to stay in work thanks to early intervention when they fall ill – saving schools around the country money.
Director of Schools Advisory Service, Les Marshall, said:
“Our new service from Now Healthcare Group will be an essential element of trying to prevent and reduce staff absences in schools. This service is just what teachers have been asking us to provide for years and to finally be able to provide a service of the highest quality from the market leader demonstrates why Schools Advisory Service is the UK’s largest supplier of staff absence insurance.”
Founder & CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said:
“Now Healthcare Group is thrilled to be working with Schools Advisory Service through this exclusive partnership. We’re looking to significantly reduce the number of sickness days lost by teachers and education workers by giving them access to a GP immediately through our mobile app platform, Now GP. Our partnership will benefit schools, teachers and children alike as we look to minimise disruption to pupils’ education across the country.”
Now GP’s video consultation system is one of several benefits offered to businesses through Medex Protect’s new ‘Sick Pay Protect’ scheme.
Now GP, the medical diagnostic branch of Now Healthcare Group, is partnering with medical insurance company Medex Protect to provide businesses with a new type of insurance cover to help manage sickness absence and gain reimbursements of statutory sick pay (SSP) payments.
A company at the forefront of medical insurance development, Medex Protect has created Sick Pay Protect to grant businesses access to a unique policy designed to combine the benefits of effective absence management with greater financial freedom and assurance.
The Sick Pay Protect policy will refund SSP contributions to businesses for up to 28 weeks if employees are absent from work for a minimum of seven days. It includes effective risk management via embedded pre-commencement screening, online risk assessments and access to Now GP’s state-of-the-art online remote video consultation primary healthcare service to grant employees instant access to a GP.
Jason Dunks, commercial director of Medex Protect, said:
“Access to private GP appointments on a same day basis will not only be a valued benefit to scheme members, it will reduce absence costs for the employer associated with the positive benefits derived from prompt access to primary care support at the outset of an illness.”
Now GP is the world’s first mobile app to provide those unwell with a remote consultation with a professionally-certified GP and the delivery of medicines directly to their home or office. Established with both technology and medical knowledge in mind, the platform brings a wealth of benefits to businesses and HR departments looking to provide their employees with a benefit-in-kind free health service to help take the hassle out of healthcare and reduce staff sickness.
Employee absence costs UK businesses collectively £29 billion each year, with Now GP acting as an effective solution for short-term staff sickness. Patients are able to speak to an MRCGP-certified GP at a time to suit them, with medicines delivered overnight or in as little as two hours in central London.
CEO and Founder of Now GP and its parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said of the new partnership:
“Now GP is delighted to be working alongside Medex Protect to offer UK businesses an effective primary care solution as part of the company’s new innovative absence management product. Instant access to a GP is the key to tackling the issue of short-term sickness in the workplace and we look forward to working on this exciting project in the coming months.”
A new study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that the problem of presenteeism continues to negatively affect businesses in the UK, with a huge 71% of people admitting to having gone to work despite being too unwell to do their job.
The reasons behind why UK workers are reluctant to take sick days range from a tough economic climate to a competitive job market. However, perhaps the greatest contributing factor behind turning up to work unwell is the inconvenience and difficulty that getting an appointment with a doctor at the clinic can present.
While some may believe that staff battling through illness to come into work shows signs of commitment to their employer, presenteeism is actually a major problem for businesses in the UK, with the spread of sickness often resulting in a whole bank, team or department suffering. This costs businesses both valuable man-power and money. Minor illness contribute to 30% of all staff sicknesses – for instance, coughs and colds – which are contagious. Sickness can rapidly spread and those employees who have turned up unwell are actually doing their company more harm than good.
Thankfully, there is a solution to this growing problem. A week long wait to see a GP is no longer the case thanks to the innovative telehealth solution provided by Now GP. We offer patients instant access to a professional doctor via remote video consultation, at a time to suit them. This eliminates the need for lengthy waiting times and early-morning phone calls to try and get seen on time.
In the United Kingdom, 58 million people wait for over a week for a doctors appointment, with a staggering 286 million unable to get seen on the same day. We’re providing UK workers with a healthcare solution now, and with medicines delivered to a home or office address within hours, we are helping to combat both presenteeism and the spread of staff sickness.
Our service is available to the general public, as well as to businesses as part of our corporate packages which could save your company thousands of pounds. To discuss what Now GP could do for your business in the battle against presenteeism and staff sickness, give us a call today!