how to optimize ceo and executive health

How to Optimize CEO and Executive Health with Chris Nedelmann

Chris Nedelmann CEOChris Nedelmann, CEO of Copeman Healthcare, sat down with Mackay CEO Forums to discuss the current opportunities to drive operational excellence and hard business results through comprehensive health and wellness management plans. Here are some of the highlights of the interview: 

Tell us a bit about Copeman and why you decided to become the CEO.

Copeman Healthcare operates four advanced primary care clinics that focus on prevention and serve clients of all ages, with a strategy of delivering team-based care. We at Copeman see ourselves as a “disruptive force” in the healthcare industry. Innovation is at the core of everything we do, starting with our operating model and going all the way to day to day innovations in science & technology.

I decided to become CEO because I always wanted to be a doctor growing up, so getting out of bed every day to go to work is motivating when I get to hear positive client stories each week. Copeman is also special to me because we focus so hard on nurturing a high performance culture that really puts people first. It’s a wonderful place to work.

What industry changes do you see happening within healthcare?

First, healthcare is going to become more consumer-driven than it has been in the past. The introduction of things like wearables (Fitbits, Jawbones, Apple Watches, etc.) is putting patients in control of their healthcare data. With this data and access to “Dr. Google”, consumers are now better informed on their healthcare needs. Moving forward, they will continue to become more informed and they will demand better customer service.

The second is that we’re going to see a more useful application of new technology. The inventions of things like telahealth (video conferencing for check-ups) and genomics (examining genetics to prescribe medications or nutritional plans more effectively) provides access and convenience for consumers, plus it creates efficiencies for providers. All of this will allow consumers to become more involved in their care with more personalized services, and it will help them to lead longer lives.

Why is it that health is not a top priority for many busy executives?

While you’d think it might be obvious that health would be a priority for both executives and companies as a whole, many have objections to the implementation of a health strategy. Typically there are four main things we hear:

  1. “I’m healthy.” While we’re always glad to hear this, every year we diagnose early-stage disease in many asymptomatic clients. A focus on prevention programs with early stage detection allows us to manage those diseases more easily.
  2. “I/[the Company] can’t afford it.” While financially it might seem tough to justify, the reality is in the event something were to happen, the organization would find the resources needed to fund a replacement executive if they had to. The cost of a health program for 15 people is way less than the cost of the replacement fee for a single executive, which really puts that value into perspective.
  3. “I don’t have the time.” When you consider that illness is one of the major reasons for missing work, spending just five hours per year on a health screening is definitely worth the investment.
  4. “I’d really rather not know if I have a health problem.” Many are unaware of their health issues and don’t fully appreciate that there are so many more treatment options available with early detection.

To summarize, executives will often tell us that health is their top priority, but many of them do not act on this notion. Our teams are really good at helping clients with behaviour change and we find most people start to thrive when they start working towards meeting their health goals.

You mentioned that the cost of a health program for 15 people is less than the replacement fee of a single executive. Do you have any other interesting statistics you’d like to share with us?

Many will find it hard to believe that prevention-based healthcare actually delivers hard business results. However, the fact is that organizations that implement programs that support employee health have found a 70% increase in employee engagement/satisfaction, a 51% increase in productivity, a 36% decrease in disability costs and a 27% decrease in drug benefit costs. Additionally, a recent Harvard business study found that for every $1 investment in employee healthcare, there was a corresponding $3.27 reduction in medical costs and an increase of $2.73 in savings from a reduction in absenteeism.

It pays to invest in the health of your employees. Find out how much you could save in the long run with our free Healthcare ROI Calculator!

Is there one aspect of health that CEOs and other executives are really just not paying attention to?

One thing that CEOs ignore all the time is their poor sleeping patterns and these are the cause of many underlying health issues. With proper sleep, people feel a lot more energized and quite simply just perform better.  It’s important to be really honest with yourself about whether you’re getting good quality sleep. It will make all the difference.

If you had to come up with three key pieces of advice for executives on how to start making their health a priority, what would you recommend?

First things first, set yourself up for an annual health screening. Take a day to go through a comprehensive health assessment, because you never really know what it could reveal.

Second, know your health risk. Take the time with your physician to really understand the results of your assessment, because if you don’t know your risks they will be impossible to manage.

Finally, whether you’re looking to optimize your nutrition plan, were recently diagnosed with something, or want to lose weight, make the time to get a dedicated care team to help you. Most people need support, even high performing athletes or doctors themselves.  All of these things really will help anyone to start making their health a top priority.

The transcript above is just a snapshot of the full interview. To listen to the full podcast on Executive Health with Chris Nedelmann, click here.