EKG heartbeat

Why Businesses Are Adding This Metric to Their KPIs

(2.5 min read)

Measuring key performance indicators is a central component of successful business. Sales revenue, profit margin, sales growth, employee retention, engagement, burn rate, blood pressure -

If you have anything in common with most executives and HR leaders, you're likely stopping me right there.

The truth is that the most successful organizations are as focused on factors like blood pressure as they are on revenue and profit margin. Why? Because they're intimately related. Here's the scoop.

Hypertension is a national priority

Reason #1 to get involved: Hypertension is life-threatening, preventable, and treatable.

The United States Surgeon General recently identified hypertension, or high blood pressure, as a national public health priority. This comes after alarming new statistics are released:

  • nearly half of all adults in the United States (which means nearly half of your employees) have hypertension
  • out of the 108 million Americans with hypertension, it remains uncontrolled in three out of four of those people - your workers
  • hypertension continues to affect people of color at a higher rate, directly impacting minority communities and minority workers and widening the social justice gap

Of those who are being treated for hypertension, as many as 1 in 3 don't fill their prescriptions at all; 1 in 2 forget to take their prescribed medications; 3 in 10 stop taking their medications before they run out; and 1 in 4 take less than prescribed.

Untreated high blood pressure leads to damaged arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, eyes, and more, as well as potential disability, heart attack, stroke, or even death.

Hypertension has a direct impact on productivity

Reason #2 to get involved as an employer: Hypertension directly impacts productivity in your organization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employees with high blood pressure may miss more work than those with normal blood pressure or whose hypertension is well-controlled with medication.

There are additional costs to consider when calculating the cost of absenteeism, like the cost of replacement workers, the increase in short-term disability costs or premiums, the cost of training interim staff, and delay in production that may result.

Hypertension dramatically impacts healthcare costs

Reason #3 to get involved: Hypertension drives up healthcare costs for the whole organization.

Workers with high blood pressure spend three times more on health care than those with normal or well-controlled blood pressure. In fact, total spending on hypertension increased by almost 20% between 2012 and 2016 alone.

These costs aren't reserved for the employer alone; workers with high blood pressure also experience 2.2 times higher out-of-pocket costs than their peers, putting financial strain on employees in addition to the organization.

Employers play a critical role

So we've established that hypertension is a leading cause of serious illness and death in the United States, and that hypertension among workers is astronomically detrimental to business operations and finances. What can you do to help?

Employers have the ability to impact employee health by:

  • communicating covered medical and wellness benefits
  • bringing in a wellness expert to provide an evidence-based health risk appraisal to include blood pressure measurement, coaching, and follow-up
  • provide lifestyle programs to support employees that including healthy eating, exercise, and stress management
  • make it easy to make healthy choices by providing services that are free, on-site, and on company time

The good news is that hypertension is both preventable and curable with better awareness, lifestyle changes, and medication.


Scott Foster is CEO of Wellco. Scott is a frequently-invited expert and speaker regarding well-being, engagement, & leadership.  Wellco provides award-winning solutions to measurably improve health experiences & outcomes. For more information, contact Wellco. 

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You may reprint any items from this blog in your own print or electronic newsletter. When you do, please include the following paragraph: Reprinted from Wellco,  free, proven employer leadership, health strategies and market intelligence from Scott Foster, Wellco President.  Learn more at wellcocorp.com. Copyright (c) by Wellco.