'Executive physicals' a popular choice for the C-suite

More and more executives make their health a priority not only for their own good, but for the benefit of their careers, according to the Columbus CEO.

The popularity of the Executive Health program offered by Ohio State University's (OSU) Wexner Medical Center, which provides comprehensive medical examinations for industry leaders, is evidence of this trend, according to the article. While the program has fewer corporate contracts, its patient load has increased due to health insurance policies' expanded coverage of preventive care, Andrew Thomas, M.D., OSU's chief medical officer, told the publication.

The Wexner Medical Center isn't the only facility that has made a successful foray into executive-targeted healthcare: The Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Cleveland Clinic also offer programs that cater specifically to the C-suite, FierceHealthcare has reported. These programs allow busy executives to see multiple specialists and receive sophisticated tests and procedures in a perk-laden all-day experience that can cost between $2,000 and $5,000.

But for those companies willing to pay the steep price, there are plenty of benefits in addition to prolonged longevity. CEOs who make their health a priority not only stand to boost their job performance, but also have increased credibility when it comes to encouraging their employees to get healthy, Thomas told the Columbus CEO.

"If [executives] are trying to send the message that they want a healthy work environment, then they can feel obliged to follow the same recommendations they are asking their employees to follow," he told the publication.

Lifestyle role-modeling is also a key issue among physicians, with research indicating that many fail to follow their own advice when it comes to weight and stress management, FiercePracticeManagement reported. Stress is a particularly acute problem in the healthcare industry, with high burnout rates among clinicians risking patient safety and contributing to the physician shortage.

In the healthcare industry and beyond, improving executives' wellbeing is part of making companies pay more attention to the health of their workers, Michael Yaffe, M.D., medical director for OhioHealth's McConnell Executive Health & Wellness program, told Columbus CEO.

The OhioHealth program, which attracts 200-250 patients each year, offers a "holistic, integrated health assessment" that includes a battery of medical tests, lunch, a massage, as well as consultations with a dermatologist, dietitian, sports medicine physician, physical therapist, exercise physiologist and psychologist, according to the article.

Whether all this personalized care produces better health outcomes in executives is an open question--and largely depends on the individual, Thomas said.

"Folks who are executives tend to be intelligent, motivated and sophisticated about healthcare," he told Columbus CEO, "but their focus on their job sometimes makes their health a secondary priority."

To learn more:
- read the article