I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”
Flu season is on its way – not the much talked about avian flu, but our normal winter-time flu. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management reported that 63 percent of H.R. professionals said their company had done little to educate employees about minimizing the flu’s spread in the office. That’s despite a Harvard study that showed that the flu could result in $20 billion in lost productivity this year, almost twice as much as in a typical year.
It’s a simple message employers need to spread: Wash your hands. Hand hygiene is the most effective practice for preventing the spread of germs, but studies have shown that less than 80 percent of Americans wash their hands after using a public restroom or before eating.
During your next staff meeting, remind your employees that they are the first line of defense against diseases such as the flu. To effectively wash their hands, they can use any kind of soap and warm water. Clean hands by rubbing the soap in for at least 15 seconds. Rinse and repeat often.
At Texas Health Resources, we are working hard to remind everyone that each person can help prevent disease. I hope you take the time to get that same message out to your employees.
For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.