New Medisys Employee Wellness Study Identifies Large Gap in Self-Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk (free download)

Montreal, Quebec, November 27, 2013 – Medisys Corporate Health LP (“Medisys”), Canada’s leading provider of health and wellness services to corporations, is pleased to announce the launch of their new study on workplace wellness that compares responses of self-reported health risk questionnaires to biometric screening for cardiovascular risk benchmarking.

Collecting a wide range of baseline data such as employee health status and health benefit claims prior to program implementation is the key to calculating program ROI, however, a recent Buffett National Wellness Survey reports that less than one-fifth of organizations currently measure baseline data in Canada.

As a part of our Fresh Start employee wellness screening program, we distributed Health Risk Questionnaires (HRQs) to 893 workers at a large national equipment company to obtain a current understanding of their self-reported cardiovascular health. We then performed fasting, venous blood draws on these same participants and sent them to our accredited medical laboratory for analysis. The self-reported HRQ results and blood tests were then compared for each individual.  Here are the four key findings:

1. Many employees don’t know or understand their cardiovascular health risk
Cholesterol risk was underestimated by 258%, hypertension risk by 58% and diabetes risk over 76%

2. More education is required, both on client and company level
We identified at least one previously undiagnosed cardiovascular risk factor in over 44% of the employee population

3. Prevention and testing needs to start at an earlier age
59% of those newly diagnosed with high cholesterol, 58% of those newly diagnosed with high blood pressure and 51% of newly diagnosed with elevated glucose levels were under 45 years old

4. Medical testing is mandatory for accurate cardiovascular risk benchmarking
Biometric testing is the key to accurate cardiovascular risk benchmarking and plays a pivotal role in employee education and wellness program planning

“There are studies from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and many other sources, linking diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors to reduced productivity, increased presenteeism and increased absenteeism,” States Randy McCaig, Director, Strategy and Business Development at Medisys. “Our research shows that accurate benchmarking and more education is required on both an individual and corporate level because neither one understands their true risks.”

 To view the complete results, download our whitepaper:

 Image Wellness in the Workplace:
Cardiovascular Risk BenchmarkingA look at self-reported questionnaires in comparison to biometric screening for cardiovascular risk benchmarking

Free Download



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About Medisys

Medisys is a pioneer in preventive healthcare and has been delivering innovative solutions aimed at improving the health and profitability of Canadian corporations for 25 years.

Through its comprehensive suite of services, which include preventive health assessments, occupational health services and employee wellness programs, Medisys provides over 4,000 corporations proven strategies to reduce healthcare costs, attract and retain talent, mitigate corporate risk and increase employee engagement. Medisys is unique in its ability to design and implement customized solutions via its Canada-wide footprint.

For more information:

Randy McCaig
Director, Strategy and Business Development
Medisys Corporate Health LP
514-499-2777 x 3535

Strengthening exercises to do at the office

You can exercise at work without wasting time! 

The Medisys kinesiology team knows that many workers feel they don’t have enough
time in the day to exercise. That is why our experts have designed a series of short
exercises that busy professionals can do at the office.

Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine! Between meetings, do each exercise
for 30 seconds, and help strengthen your muscles without wasting time. You’ll feel
totally invigorated!

Do each exercise at your own pace (e.g. 5 to 10 reps) for 30 seconds.

1. Squats

• Stand with a chair* behind you. Start with feet in parallel position, shoulder-width apart.
• Sit on the chair.
• Stand up, using only your leg muscles. Repeat.

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2. Wall or chair push-ups

• Keep feet flat on the floor.
• Place hands on a chair* or the wall, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and at shoulder-height.
• Bend elbows and lower body toward the chair or wall, coming as close as you can to it but not touching it.
• Straighten arms and return to starting position. Repeat.

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3. Hip abductors

• Stand sideways next to a wall, knees slightly bent. Place one hand on the wall to keep your balance.
• Bring leg out to the side at an angle of 15 to 30 degrees and hold for 2 seconds.
• Return to starting position and repeat.
• Repeat with other leg.

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4. Superman

• Place body in a push-up position, leaning against a desk.
• At the same time, lift right arm and left leg (lift leg 5 to 10 cm off the ground).
• Keep hips square (facing the desk).
• Keep body aligned and use abdominals.
• Repeat, alternating sides.

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5. Tricep chair dips

• Place hands on a chair* behind you, arms straight (fingers pointing forward and not turned outward).
• Stretch out legs (heels on the ground) or bend knees 90 degrees, without sitting on the chair.
• Lower body by bending elbows 90 degrees, keeping feet or heels resting on the ground.
• Raise body and repeat.

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6. Abdominal plank

• Stand on the tips of your toes and lean forward, resting hands against the edge of a table or chair*.
• Keep body straight, aligning shoulders, hips and ankles.
• Hold position for 30 seconds, contracting abdominal and buttock muscles.

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If you have the time, do a second set of each exercise or increase the level of difficulty
by making each rep last 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Do a little every day. You’ll notice your energy levels increase and your
concentration improve, making you more productive.

*Make sure the chair
you choose is stable.

Share these exercises with your employees!  Download the pdf version of the instructions now

Categories: Uncategorized

Save with a flu vaccination campaign

The flu vaccine is the best way to protect your employees against the flu. Research by the Public Health Agency of Canada shows that a healthy employee who has been vaccinated against the flu will take 43% fewer sick days. The flu can last 7 to 10 days. When you consider losses in salary and productivity, a flu vaccination campaign is a smart way to save.

Calculate your Return on investment now! 


Categories: Uncategorized

A sedentary lifestyle is a threat to your company’s productivity

Given the many risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, it is in every employer’s best interest to implement active living programs and policies in the workplace in order to protect its human capital, maintain productivity and ensure the company’s profitability. It has been shown that increasing active living in the workplace reduces costs associated with absenteeism, injuries, accidents, disabilities, worker’s compensation and life insurance, and fosters employee motivation and wellness.

Here are a few steps to help you develop your action plan!

Building foundations

Write the mission statement for your active living program and list the activities that you want to carry out, being sure to clearly identify the role that you want physical activity to play in your company. Describe the expected results and design ways to measure your campaign’s success.


 Identify key players and clearly define their roles. Be sure to choose dynamic and extroverted people who will energize your campaign. Plan training sessions, if necessary. Schedule activities on a regular basis to ensure a shared workload. If you do not have enough internal resources, turn to outside organizations for support.


 Assess the workload and plan the activities for your campaign in order to better estimate the costs associated with your plan. Develop clear policies and procedures in order to establish concrete campaign guidelines.

 Making choices

 In order to accomplish your mission, you can choose from among a wide range of options. Use internal advertising, slogans and logos, bulletin boards, orientation activities and newsletters to help raise employees’ awareness. Plan mini lectures, set up a resource centre and provide physical fitness assessmentand support services to help educate employees. Organize demonstrations, team sports tournaments, exercise breaks, a walking program, special events and contests. Be creative!And don’t forget to offer participants incentives though a rewards program.

 Identify your target audience

 Be sure that your main message and your proposed program are tailored to employees’ characteristics and preferences so that they are inspired to get involved.


Integrating your program’s values into the corporate culture is key to sustaining participants’ interest. In order to do so, it is essential to involve upper management. If you see that interest in your campaign is waning, encourage employees to get involved by asking them how they would adapt the program.


Reference: The Canadian Council for Health and Active Living at Work. “Making It Work with Active Living in the Workplace.” Online. <>. Consulted on June 20, 2013.

Categories: Uncategorized

Help your employees quit smoking

Does smoke threaten your employees’ health and productivity?

Health Canada* has outlined three basic approaches for integrating a smoking cessation support plan in the workplace: 


 This approach involves introducing initiatives in the workplace to encourage employees to quit smoking. You can, for example, organize conferences, introduce a peer support program, provide on-site consultation services or prepare information brochures. This approach has the advantage of being more accessible for employees and sends a strong message of commitment from the employer. Although somewhat more costly, this type of program has proven profitable in the long term and can significantly cut health-care costs.


This approach allows you to work with an outside agency to deliver activities outside regular business hours and distribute materials provided by your partner. It offers employees anonymity and makes use of external expertise. Although this type of program may involve some costs, it allows employees to select the options that work best for them, which will likely result in greater success rates. Encourage your employees to take some personal initiative so that the project has an impact on the overall health of your company.

 Education and Information

 In this case, you provide employees with information about the various options available (external) through brochures and posters. This low-cost solution can be applied in any workplace. It is important to realize, however, that only highly motivated smokers are likely to take advantage of these programs. If you don’t have the resources available to implement a support program, this is an accessible option for employees that may nevertheless have some impact.

Before choosing the best approach, be sure to identify your company’s specific needs by assessing your employees’ overall health and pinpointing priority issues. Medisys can help you determine which health problems hinder the productivity of your company. Ask us how we can help


 *Reference: Health Canada. Smoking Cessation in the Workplace:  A Guide to Helping Your Employees Quit Smoking. Online. <>. Consulted on May 22, 2013. Note: the designations for the three approaches (comprehensive, facilitated and education and information) are taken directly from p. 29 of this guide.


Categories: Uncategorized

Stress at Work? A best practices roadmap to value-adding solutions – by DR. Richard Earle, Medisys’ stress expert.

Today’s rapidly changing workplaces often prove to be high stress incubators. Medisys’ stress expert, Dr. Richard Earle, also the Managing Director of the Canadian Institute of Stress, believes this affects body-mind well being as well as resilience, job commitment and ultimately performance.

Here are 6 HR-led best practices to stress-proof your workforce’s productive wellbeing.

① Diagnostics  

While stress is usually the most visible symptom and the most powerful driver of lose-lose problems, draining both employee wellbeing and their work performance, it is rarely the only “weed in the garden”.  Proper frontend diagnostics sort out strengths from risks, and avoid the too common mistake of mislabeling stress symptoms as the problem-solving focus.

② Target a well-defined value-adding solution

To achieve specific pre & post-pilot metrics … not simply questionnaire measures of employee stress, etc. Solution indicators must be those most meaningful to staff and to team operations; for example: grievances, fatigue, turnover, average cycle time, and up-selling success by a customer contact centre’s staff.

③ Ensure the solution will be seen as corporately value-adding  

Business case results are essential to credibly positioning wellbeing as supporting corporate performance. Institute results include: 19% better up-selling results by a contact centre’s staff; or saving 1.2 days/week meeting time in a refinery’s engineering staff; or a 30% reduction in training time required for an airline’s newly hired cargo agents.

④ Ensure the results are sustainable, rooted in win-win outcomes

“Productive wellbeing” programs succeed because all staff, junior to senior, see it as contributing win-win results for them and the company alike. Each win-win solution cited in ③ above came from, and was deeply appreciated as stress-reducing by the team proposing it.

⑤ Ensure the results contribute to meeting future corporate challenges  

Tomorrow’s success depends on effective leadership today. However, leaders who must depend on fatigued, over-stressed, uncommitted staff simply cannot deliver the needed results. A leaders’ future success presupposes a current base of Can Do – Will Do staff.

⑥ Ensure your solution is involving top to bottom in the organization  

Effective solutions are personalized, using online self-profiling to link each person to the action recommendations supporting their on-the-job satisfaction. High staff participation rates require creativity in program delivery. Today’s scheduling crunches mean that innovators rely on blended learning (classroom, e-learning, and online coaching).

Categories: Uncategorized

[Special Audio Podcast] – Rising Corporate Healthcare Costs… How to Mitigate Your Risk

Dr. Vivien Brown, Vice-President Medical Affairs at Medisys visits BusinessCast to discuss corporate healthcare issues and strategies with Robert Gold, Managing Partner, Bennett Gold LLP and Andrew Brown, President,

Among other things, Dr. Brown discusses the cost of healthcare to Canadian corporations, the top 3 corporate health trends and strategies for companies of all sizes to create a healthier workforce.

Listen now!





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