RETHINKING HEALTHCARE TO BOOST WORK PRODUCTIVITY
Rethinking and improving the sustainability of healthcare systems also provides an opportunity to improve the employability, productivity and personal job satisfaction of chronically-ill patients and their caregivers. There are a number of approaches that can be taken, based on the principles of patient empowerment and patient-centric care . Encouraging employers to develop or expand tele-commuting programmes is an initiative that embodies both principles and contributes to the well-being of both patients and carers. Workplace-based health literacy, prevention, and early intervention programmes should be encouraged and developed at a national level.
German employers are testing one such approach through the Health@Work 2.0 programme, and a new “Simply Irreplaceable” platform, which demonstrates how prevention in the workplace can potentially revolutionise healthcare.
NOT JUST EMPLOYEE-PATIENTS, EMPLOYEE-CARERS
Adapting the workplace to meet the needs of carers is equally important. Caregiving is a critical—and often overlooked—contribution to healthcare systems. It also frequently has a negative impact on carers’ productivity and personal well-being. Some studies analysed by the European network of Economic Policy Research Institutes, have noted that caring competently for a family member is the equivalent of a full-time job. Compared with their co-workers, caregivers often need to take more time off, are interrupted at work more often, take more unpaid leave, work fewer hours than they wish and, ultimately feel limited in their career possibilities.
Developing more innovative approaches to support carers will ultimately benefit not only their work productivity, but their own well-being and the well-being of the patients they care for. And given the significant contribution of carers, it is in the interest of local, national and EU governments to encourage and develop carer support programmes.
EU White Paper
Riedel and Kraus, Analysis of Informal Care Provision across Europe : Regulation and Profile of Providers. European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes Research Report No. 96, 2011
Spotlight on Prevention: When, Who and How?
Unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical activity are key factors in the development of chronic diseases. Early prevention and diagnosis, better education, and above all collaboration among governments, patient organizations, and industry are crucial to prevent chronic diseases from arising.