Why it’s crucial to improve access to preventive care

A message from
 
VSP Global

VSP Global’s President and CEO Michael Guyette breaks down the importance of having accessible preventive care like optometry. 

1. First things first: Why should health access be considered a business issue? How has the pandemic impacted how we view access to health care?

Guyette: The pandemic has underscored the need to focus on employees’ overall health and wellbeing so they can contribute meaningful solutions that support their businesses.

  • It’s also heightened awareness of health care inequities. 

At VSP Global, we’ve used this time to reinforce our purpose of empowering human potential through sight and our responsibility to make care available to everyone regardless of identity, age, income or location.  

2. Why it’s important: Why is it essential that organizations like VSP help solve today’s health access challenges?

Guyette: Improving access to care — especially preventive care — helps lower health care costs and improves overall health outcomes. 

  • By 2030, chronic diseases like diabetes could cost American businesses more than $2 trillion in medical costs and nearly $800 billion in lost employee productivity.

Preventive care like an annual vision care exam can support early detection of more than 270 serious health conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. 

  • If we can support the health and potential of the individual, we can support the health and potential of our businesses and economy, too. 

3. The solution: What are some of the macro trends impacting access to quality health care?

Guyette: Consolidation and telehealth expansion are some of the key drivers impacting access today. 

In my three decades working in health care, I’ve seen private equity’s evolution in other segments like primary care, dentistry and orthopedics.

  • Today, it’s optometry’s turn, and as the industry experiences shifts, we must ensure the focus remains on upholding high-quality care.

The pandemic has also led to wider adoption of telehealth. 

  • While it’s still early days in optometry, we are starting to see some benefits to doctor-remote teleoptometry trials, such as expanding care to remote regions and creating more access for patients. 

4. The idea: What does putting patients at the center of health care mean for you? How is VSP applying this framework? 

Guyette: The consumerization of health care is about understanding where, when and how patients want to access care and offering solutions that meet those needs. 

  • By extension, you can then meet the needs of employer clients who require compelling benefits packages to retain their talent.

Beyond consumers, we also know today’s young optometrists crave more flexibility in their practices and are more open to leveraging telehealth. 

  • By providing a balanced network of options for providers to participate in, and exploring smart teleoptometry integration, you can help offer differentiated and modern solutions that benefit all stakeholders. 

5. Next steps: What steps should the U.S. take to address health inequities? How can preventive care help? 

Guyette: Government-sponsored coverage is only going to grow — especially as more Baby Boomers age into eligibility and live longer. 

  • It’s encouraging to see consideration for the expansion of Medicare to include essential benefits like vision.
  • Employers also see the value of more holistic benefits programs to attract and retain talent. 

What is most important to focus on is providing value-based care, and we must all be open to letting new approaches, business models and consumer preferences guide us to a better, healthier future.