What to Look for in an Executive Check-Up Program
by Pamela Guggina, MD
Executive Health Programs are highly personalized programs which typically provide busy executives with a one-day appointment covering everything from general medical exams, screening tests, treatment of any active issues, and even nutrition and fitness counseling. Some even include genetic testing and counseling. There are many programs to choose from, but the most attractive executive health programs offer these services in a convenient and luxurious facility, with same-day specialist follow-up, onset ancillary services such as fitness centers and nutritionists, and flexible scheduling. Utmost privacy should be a given.
A typical executive health day starts with meeting with the physician who will become the member’s own physician through the day and going forward. An extensive personal and family history is obtained. A detailed exam and relevant screening tests are then performed. This typically includes testing for cancer, cardiac disease, osteoporosis, vision and cognitive issues, and sleep disorders. Any needed follow-up is ideally provided on a same-day basis with a highly-qualified specialist at an affiliated academic institution.
A second opinion program, such as Advance Medical’s, can be critical, should any health issues be identified. Advance Medical’s board-certified specialist physicians can work directly with the member to identify the concern. Then, medical records, radiologic imaging, and other relevant tests can be reviewed by an Advance Medical expert and a highly-personalized opinion can be given. Advance Medical’s physicians will discuss the opinion directly with the member and the treating physician team, allowing the executive to have a clear plan on which to act as well as a deeper understanding of the issue.
In addition to providing the essential recommended testing, the executive health program should also be personalized to the specific member. For example, while there is of course evidence-based, age-specific testing that is recommended, it is also important to gear the program to the individual’s particular interests and concerns. For example, if there are any genetic diseases that run in the member’s family, then this should be addressed with a qualified genetic counselor and follow-up with targeted testing, or if the member has concerns about specific symptoms, then these should be discussed in detail and any pertinent testing should be accomplished immediately.
Wellness is critical to the optimal functioning of the leadership team, and nutrition and fitness assessments are essential to a complete Executive Health Program. If the member is dedicated to an exercise regime, then optimizing fitness while minimizing the potential for injury should be the focus. But, if the member is struggling to fit in exercise or finds it challenging while on the road, then a close longitudinal relationship with a motivational coach or a trainer is needed. An initial assessment of fitness level, body fat composition, and strength can be done, and then a plan can be put in place.
Stress management, confidential behavioral health services, and sleep evaluations should round out the program, as there is significant evidence that good mental health and quality sleep are critical to overall health, well-being, and optimal functioning.
There is certainly no one-size fits all program for every organization, but there are many programs out there, and taking these factors into consideration when choosing should make the decision easier.