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The Danger of Self Diagnosis and How to Avoid Them

The human body is a complicated thing. Sometimes a fever is just a fever, all you need is rest and a paracetamol. At other times, it could be a sign of a deadly disease like COVID-19. There’s really no telling what your body is fighting, so you cannot risk self-diagnosis. Yet, millions do.

Lets Get Checked, a personal testing company found that 65% of respondents tried to self-diagnose their symptoms online. This is bad news, especially for employee healthcare. There’s a strong link between self-diagnosis and employment, which companies need to know about.

Don’t let your employee’s self-diagnose life-threatening diseases. Partner with Onsurity and give your employees the best in terms of healthcare at rates 50% less than market rates.

The Danger of Self Diagnosis

But first, why is it harmful to self-diagnose? After all, the internet is home to reputed sites like WebMD and Mayo Clinic that are well-known medical sources. Can they not be trusted? A British Medical Journal study found that self-diagnosis tools list the correct diagnosis first in only 34% of cases, in the top three for 51%, and in the top 20 for 58%.

That has disastrous consequences, especially for employee healthcare. Such low percentages mean that more often than not, employees are either not getting the necessary treatment, or getting unnecessary treatments. In case of the former, employees are compromising on their long-term health for short-term gains, I.e. returning to work.

As an employer, that is bad news. You could be having an employee who is very sick not getting the treatment they need. Worse still, you could be having an employee who has taken time off to get a treatment that they do not need.

That’s just for physical symptoms, the numbers are much worse for mental health conditions. Psychology Today found that self-diagnosis causes 26-45% of people to be diagnosed with depression when they do not meet the diagnostic criteria. The complexities of mental health conditions mean that such self-diagnosis can often cause more harm than do good.

That’s because medication for mental health conditions is not as straightforward at it may seem. Medication must be tailored to the specific individual, by a professional. Self-diagnosis and over the counter medication can make the condition worse, leading to depression, anxiety and other issues for employees.

What it Does to Teams

If employees are self-diagnosing, you will notice as an employer. Employees who tend to self-diagnose are often unhealthy. Some of them may show physical symptoms, like coughs, sudden weight gain/loss, weakness and headaches. However, it’s the other symptoms you really need to be aware of.

Poor employee healthcare leads to have high levels of absenteeism. They also tend to be less productive, often missing deadlines and turning in poor work. In case employees are self-diagnosing for mental health conditions, some dangerous symptoms include mood swings, not talking to teammates, shouting and missing meetings.

Whether physical or mental, these symptoms can go on to affect the team and even the whole company. If you are a small business, a single employee can easily bring down the whole team. Increased workloads for others, having to redo work and poor team bonding make it hard for people to trust each other.

Such a negative atmosphere, even when remote working will affect your business. Productivity and creativity go down, and you will find employees leaving more frequently. High employee turnover is damaging for your reputation, but also makes it harder to achieve any goals you would have set for yourself.

That’s where good quality employee healthcare plans come in. In today’s fast-paced environment, the onus is on you, the employer, to provide quality employee healthcare to your team. It can help not just boost productivity,

Employee Healthcare Concerns Rise

Millennials make up the largest percentage of the workforce. They are also the most under pressure. High debt levels, low-paying jobs and increased inflation mean that more millennials are likely to put their careers ahead of their health. The rising costs of medical care have also made it very difficult for millennial workers and Gen Z to afford basic healthcare plans.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health costs have increased 107% between 1998 and 2018. However, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the number is grossly underreported. Analyzing costs of insurance premiums, the foundation found that costs have soared 288% in the same decade.

That’s why employees are more likely to turn to self-diagnosis tools. These freely available tools allow them to quickly and cheaply assess the issue and get over-the-counter medication if needed. Since healthcare is so expensive, they do not want to spend on it unless it is a last resort. Employee healthcare can help bridge that gap, making it more affordable for employees to seek the treatment they need.

Without that, self-diagnosis and medication has led the millennial generation and Gen Z to be branded as one of the “unhealthiest generations” living. These generations are more likely to be working longer hours, suffer a poor work-life balance, eat chemically adulterated food and breath highly polluted air. They also make up a large percentage of binge drinkers and smokers.

While many will call these lifestyle choices, the reality is that for many employees it is not a choice. Since junk food is cheaper, it is the first choice for millions living in near-poverty. Consequently, lifestyle diseases like diabetes, asthma, heart conditions and obesity are on the rise.

Yet, due to healthcare costs, employees are less likely to seek medical attention until it is too late. This never-ending circle is why employers need to step in. By providing employee healthcare plans, they can help break the cycle and help create a healthier workforce.

Employee healthcare plans have a bonus for companies directly, as research platform LabGov has found. According to the company: “the loss brought by an unhealthy employee is roughly $30,600 per year.” That’s just one employee! Imagine having 10 or 15 such unhealthy employees. Employee healthcare plans can help cut down on some of these expenses.

It’s not a magic bullet but offering employee healthcare plans is a start. Especially for those in the gig economy and blue-collar workers. They are most likely to be left out of any benefits, yet they make up a large percentage of the workforce.

Benefits of Employee Healthcare

As an employer, it is vital you have a comprehensive employee healthcare plan. Doing so will allow your employees to put their health first in a safe manner. In an article for Personnel Today, Neville Koopowitz, Vitality CEO said: “the businesses that not only prioritize it (employee healthcare), can see productivity increase in their workforce by as much as 40%, which is no insignificant number.”

Not only will productivity go up, but you will also see employee happiness and retention go up as well. Happy employees are more likely to stay and contribute meaningfully. They are also more likely to promote your company as a great place to work. The benefits are immense.

That brings us to the question: what are the right employee healthcare benefits? Is a group health insurance plan sufficient? For a post-COVID world the answer is no. If you want healthy and happy employees, you need to ensure their all-round wellbeing. That means preventive care measures, so that they don’t self-diagnose or self-medicate.

To help with that, you can get your company a membership to Onsurity. Onsurity’s business health plans provide digital-first healthcare benefits like doctor teleconsultations, discounted health check-ups and medicine delivery. That way, your employees aren’t self-diagnosing.

With an Onsurity membership, your employees can quickly, easily and economically get the medical advice they need anytime, anyplace. That means they will be diagnosed the right way, and can take the appropriate corrective action. It’s how employee healthcare benefits should be. Onsurity’s economical plans are designed keeping in mind the financial pressures small businesses face. An Onsurity membership won’t just give your employees healthcare benefits they will love, but also help you save in the process. That way, you don’t have to compromise.

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