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Preventive care is needed now to improve outcomes for years to come

As the nation emerges from the pandemic, we are taking stock of the impact across populations. Women’s lives, for example, were upturned by life in lockdown – and are likely to experience severe health impacts as a result. The stress of working from home without childcare or while simultaneously overseeing remote school has driven millions of women out of the workforce. A national survey shows “alarmingly high rates” of anxiety and depression as well as food insecurity and interpersonal violence for women over the past year.

This May, we recognize Women’s Health Month by shining a light on the disproportionate impact of the public health crisis on women’s lives and outcomes, as the risks for women are far broader than COVID-19 and likely to last long beyond the pandemic.

The knock-on health effects of the pandemic on women include missed mammograms and other cancer screenings and, as reported by The New York Times, high rates of stress and alcohol consumption. Another national survey found that nearly half (47%) of mothers with children in remote schooling reported their mental health has worsened (30% of fathers said the same). The number of women who reported binge drinking (4 or more drinks in a two-hour period) rose 23% in the last year. Alcohol consumption more than doubled among those who had children between the ages of 5 and 7. While both women and men drank more over the last year, alcohol abuse disorder in women carries a higher risk of multiple chronic diseases, including liver disease, heart disease, and cancer.

The long-term effect of the pandemic on women’s well-being is a red flag for employers and health plans. Without a proactive strategy to mitigate the broad impact on their health and well-being now, women will continue to leave the workforce and the cost of provider their health care will rise for years.

The need for preventive care, in short, is urgent. Employers and health plans must provide convenient ways for women to access screenings and tests while managing multiple responsibilities between work and home. Options for care must be customized to meet employees’ and members’ individual needs, whether an at-home screening test for colon cancer or support and education at the workplace to help women take steps toward better health.

Preventive care is our priority at BioIQ because we know that making it accessible with customized delivery and follow up support makes all the difference. We close gaps in care for women and all populations by offering a range of at-home screenings, preventive tests, and wellness panels. Our holistic health management solution can help your organization discover and manage conditions, while encouraging employees and plan members to take ownership of their health. To learn more about some of the preventive tests we offer for women’s health and all populations, click here.

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