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The Annual Health Assessment: A win-win approach to workplace wellness

You’ve sponsored the Annual Health Assessment for your workforce. Motivating them to use this valuable benefit provides you with numerous advantages

Employees gathered around a table outdoors

The Annual Health Assessment (AHA) is designed to safeguard employee wellness, detect disease and track health over time. For example, last year the AHA found 95 previously undetected high-risk health conditions, including 40 in people who were under the age of 50 years old. Detecting such conditions early can make the difference between a rapid return to full health, and more problematic scenarios. Early detection is one, obvious benefit of driving high AHA adoption rates among eligible employees.

High adoption rates can also unlock some not-so-obvious benefits for employers. These particular benefits for employers begin when a company’s eligible executives achieve an AHA utilization rate that’s optimally greater than 80% within a given 12-month reporting period. That creates a quantity of data in aggregate that allows Medcan’s analytics team to create the stewardship reports that Medcan provides to larger clients.

Stewardship reports employ anonymized employee data to analyze and assess employee health trends for a given employer. They also enable comparisons in aggregate with the Medcan customer base as a whole.

For example, consider the company ABC Inc., a fictional entity that is nevertheless representative of many companies that employ Medcan’s services. ABC Inc. has 145 executives that qualify for Annual Health Assessments, with 90% of them using the service during the 12-month reporting period. (ABC Inc. also uses Medcan for year-round care and digital health services, but we’ll focus on the AHA for the purposes of this article.)

Due to ABC Inc.’s high adoption rate, Medcan was able to create a stewardship report that compared the health and wellness of ABC’s employees compared to our client base overall. Medcan’s clients in aggregate fall into one of four clusters:

By comparing ABC employees’ self-assessed survey data in aggregate with their clinical results, we find a large difference between how healthy ABC employees perceive themselves to be, and how healthy they actually are.


In ABC Inc.’s case, 96% of their executives believed they were in good health. But the clinical reality in aggregate was that only 37% of the executive population was at a healthy weight. Approximately 46% were overweight, and 17% actually were obese. In particular, we found that 13% of ABC executives qualified as pre-diabetic, compared to just 7% of our corporate clients overall. Clustering the data of ABC executives by sex, we also saw that more male executives were obese compared to the Medcan average.

Another potential cause for concern was that nearly 30% of ABC’s female executives indicated they felt nervous, anxious or stressed in the past month fairly often to very often. The female executives also showed higher-than-normal sleep challenges. Their self-assessed drinking also was higher than our corporate average.

The results, relative to ABC executives overall, suggested that ABC should consider developing a number of wellness programs to bring its workforce in line with corporate averages. For example, for its male executives, ABC might consider programs that address nutrition, weight loss and fitness levels. To address the stressed-out nature of its female workers, ABC also should consider providing programs that promote the use of counselling, and greater access to exercise, sleep hygiene and nutritional services.



With high adoption rates among eligible employees for the AHA comes granular knowledge of the health of an employee population. In turn, that helps us to assess the wellness of a workforce relative to others in the same space. Over time, Medcan can work with HR professionals at your company to create customized wellness programs. Subsequent stewardship reports in future years can track the efficacy of the programs.

So how can you drive up high adoption rates? Following are three ways used by some of our corporate clients with exemplary engagement:


Active sponsorship: Arranging Annual Health Assessments and other Medcan services is only the beginning. The next step is to educate qualified employees. Consider including information about the Medcan relationship in the new-employee onboarding process.


Lunch and Learns and Eat Move Think sessions: Since the publication of CEO Shaun Francis’s bestselling book, Eat Move Think, Medcan has developed an event series that features health and wellness advice from our team of experts, who are available to present on a variety of topics at your next off-site or company meeting.


Inspire Through Education: Medcan presides over a wealth of wellness-related content, from our monthly Live Well newsletter to Shaun’s book to our upcoming podcast. Including Medcan content in your own company newsletters amounts to an easy, high-leverage way to get employees at all levels to think about their wellness choices.


Medcan’s goal is to help you live well, for life—which entails identifying risks at earlier stages to effectively manage and reverse disease, while continuing to improve the overall health of your workforce. Driving up AHA engagement rates unlocks a new dimension of benefits in the Medcan customer relationship. Ask your account manager for options.


Ashim Khemani is the president of Medcan. He is the author of Canadian Group Insurance Benefits—A Practitioner’s Guide and Reference Manual, and the co-author of Global Health Care Systems: A Perspective on Issues, Practices and Trends Among OECD Nations.

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