Some people go to the gym and others to the doctor’s office in pursuit of optimal health and wellness. Now, there’s another option available that’s especially suited to business types at the San Diego Sports Medicine Executive Health & Corporate Wellness Center.
The center that celebrated its recent opening with an open house that gives a first impression of being a plush office or day spa, but the site on Alvarado Road near San Diego State University has more to offer. Inside are the staff and equipment necessary to perform a Standard Comprehensive Executive Health Assessment that includes a complete medical exam with laboratory tests and comprehensive cardiovascular risk screen ultrasound studies. Stations are set up for such things as an electrocardiogram exercise tolerance test and body composition assessments. Additional optional testing available can range from a CT Cardiac Calcium Scan to a colonoscopy.
Executive Health & Corporate Wellness Medical Director Richard A. Parker said the center was conceptualized as far back as five years ago. It was modeled on the San Diego Regional Firefighters Wellness program, which has been operating out of the San Diego Sports Medicine & Family Health Center facility since 2005. With a staff of 12 family medicine board-certified doctors, the program provides wellness services to 10 fire agencies.
“We took exactly what we do with the firefighters and basically created a center to do the same thing with a few extra services,” said Parker, who explains the theme of the center is “Life is an adventure and you need to be prepared.”
Comprehensive Medical Exams
A menu of options available to participants at the Executive Health & Corporate Wellness center includes Standard Comprehensive Executive Health Assessments that take more than five hours to complete. The medical exam covers lab tests, cardiovascular risk screening, chest X-rays, visual acuity checks and an assortment of fitness and nutritional assessments that include a stress test, body composition evaluation and nutritional consultation. Parker said the sessions are useful in identifying areas of concerns, discovering health risks and putting together strategies to mitigate those risks.
While some participants have been diagnosed with a disease such as cancer or heart disease, others may have conditions such as arthritis or obesity that impact their ability to enjoy life.
“This program is not simply about ridding people of disease, it’s about helping them obtain an optimal state of health and well-being,” he said.
Andy Kotner, vice president of business development at the World Trade Center San Diego, said she was impressed by the Executive Health & Corporate Wellness Center during her visit on Valentine’s Day. Along with convenience, Kotner described the benefits of getting a “holistic” review of her health rather than treating a symptom at a doctor’s office, which in her case was a knee ailment.
“This takes a ‘holistic’ look at the whole health history and provides the executive the perfect opportunity to get a complete and thorough executive physical accomplished in a half a day for a reasonable price,” said Kotner, whose background was running a busy physician’s office for 17 years. “You get the same executive physical — just as you would at the Mayo Clinic, but right here in San Diego and the executive can be back at work in the afternoon.”
Another component of the Executive Health & Corporate Wellness center is Optimal Health Lifestyle Programs that focus on nutrition, fitness, integrative medicine and injury treatment. Along with access to physicians including unlimited email contact and same-day or next-day appointments, participants have access to a range of services such as a pantry makeover, personal training and acupuncture.
Companies such as Sycuan Casino are also using the facility for wellness programs that serve entry-level employees to senior management. Parker said they looked at the company’s databases to understand what disease processes were occurring in the employee population and realized there were preventable conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.
“We do a scaled down version of the executive wellness program to establish who has what risk,” Parker said. “Based on the results of our evaluation we’ve created multiple strategies — one-on-one counseling, Internet-based education programs, group education and group exercise — to try to reduce the risks.
“When we catch these things early we not only create a healthier worker for the benefit of the employee and his or her family, but we also create a healthier workforce and we begin to develop a healthier culture for that company,” he said.
A similar program is offered at the Scripps Center for Executive Health located at the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla Ximed building. Operating since 1981, the program offers a WholePerson Examination, a comprehensive review of health that’s geared to early detection and prevention. The full-day exam that’s limited to eight patients per day includes a clinical assessment, lab tests and lifestyle evaluations.
The process begins with a complete medical history questionnaire and results in a report that is reviewed with the patient by a lead physician either in person or over the phone. Two weeks after the exam the patient is given a final portfolio with complete results. Genetic testing is also offered in partnership with Navigenics Inc.
James Tuck, manager of the Scripps Center for Executive Health, said the program was originally set up for busy executives who didn’t feel they had time for complete health evaluations but has since branched out to serve anyone who wants a comprehensive review of his or her health. Staffed by 12 internal medicine/family practitioners, four cardiologists, four dermatologists and 14 lifestyle experts as well as a radiologist who reviews patient’s imaging such as X-rays, one of the beneficial outcomes of the exam can be detecting early warning signs of such things as heart disease and liver problems.
“What we’re about is keeping people healthy,” Tuck said. “We’re here to examine eyelids to toenails and make sure there are no early warning signs for disease.”