Health issues make 4 out of 9 employees inefficient in a workplace. But this startup has a real solution

Work productivity in today’s scenario is not only affected by the employees who are frequently absent, but even those who show up at work when unwell and are unproductive through the day.

You may be surprised to know that Presenteeism affects the organization's productivity much more than absenteeism these days because people just hang in there at work and carry on with their symptoms. Even though the employee is physically present at work, because they are experiencing problems such as arthritis, allergies, diabetes or stress, they are unable to fully perform their work duties and are more likely to make mistakes in the work they do perform.

According to a study - Diabetes Advocacy Alliance - American employers lost $20.8 billion due to presenteeism related to diabetes. It inferred that diabetes reduces an individual's ability to work if the condition is not better managed. Hence, it suggested an efficient intervention program for improving the health of employees with Type-2 diabetes for controlling the costs arising from lost productivity.

As per a PWC report on "working towards wellness in India", hypertension and diabetes have the greatest impact on productivity in our country. It estimated that in 2005 the foregone income due to heart disease, diabetes and stroke was $8.7 billion in India. Hence it extolled the business leaders to fight the spread of chronic diseases, and work towards designing wellness programs that are aimed at helping manage chronic problems.

Let' say for example, for diabetics, it is very important to regular monitor their sugar levels and keep in constant touch with the doctor. But its difficult for the employees to do the same as they spend most of the time in offices. Even as not much has been done by corporate in this regard despite the fact that presenteeism is causing a huge dent in their business, there’s a startup called healthplix by Raghuraj Sunder Raju, that is trying to resolve the problem using technology. It helps them to be connected with doctors for real time messaging and handle day to day complications.

During a chat with Business Insider, Raghuraj explained us further about his idea of coming up with Healthplix and what it's for:

- How does HealthPlix connect employees to doctors real time.

We partner with individual clinics that treat diabetes to use our product. Doctors use HealthPlix app and the platform in their practice. Patients get a subscription for on-going chronic care from their doctor. So far, we do not have a partnership with the corporates.

- Where did the idea of HealthPlix come from?

It was an outcome of a personal frustration of not finding a proper chronic care intervention. I chose diabetes as the problem to solve as it affects 70 million patients. Chronic diabetes care transcends beyond the basic clinic setup. There is an immense need to extend the care to patients with chronic diabetes problems in an on-going manner. Because, the only way to deal with chronic diabetes is to manage it well as it cannot be cured.

In India, the gap between the need and the available approaches to chronic care treatment is significant. And this need can be bridged by using a technology solution. Hence, the idea of HealthPlix.

- How has the experience been so far with Healthplix?

One of my entrepreneur friends told me at the beginning of my journey with HealthPlix, "You dont work on HealthPlix, instead HealthPlix will work on you to make a different person out of you." This has held true ever since I started HealthPlix.

Startups demand us to keep bettering our own best efforts. And I am unbelievably kicked about the everyday opportunity I get to catch up with the demands ofHealthPlix! I am just enjoying every moment of it - be it the small successes or big failures.

- What are such issues or challenges in the healthcare sector you feel are unaddressed?

Indian healthcare sector is still behind the technology curve. What I mean by this is that, the extent of tech usage for treating the patients is limited only to the diagnostics devices and robot assisted surgeries among others. While these are essential tools for care interventions, the needs of disease specific technology solutions are lacking. In other words, the verticalized tech offerings for specific diseases are missing.

Raghuraj feels employee demands are different today and companies need to frame policies in tune with these demands. He leaves corporates with an advice: The long hours, stressful schedules, and the fatigue of working for more than a decade or two needs more careful attention by companies. They would do well by focusing on focused initiatives aimed at improving the health of their employees, not just fitness (agree that is the first step) programs. These would go a long way in solving the problem of presenteeism and also absenteeism resulting from ill health of the employees.
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