Biometric Screenings: A Waste of Time?

 In Chronic Disease

Biometric screenings are popular in the workplace, but are they really worth it? Biometric screenings provide companies with data on employees’ risk factors for chronic disease. However, biometric screenings alone can’t empower employees to make positive lifestyle changes because most people lack the knowledge on how to interpret the results. The fact that most employers are aware of the benefits of biometric screenings, yet few know exactly how they may be used to influence population health decisions, demonstrates a significant disconnect between corporate culture and organizational wellness. This can be addressed by providing additional components such as coaching, education, and physician follow-up so employees have the tools needed to improve their own.

Here’s what to expect:

For an onsite screening, there will be a dedicated day and location for clinicians to come into the office or workspace to perform these screenings.

One at a time, employees will have their vitals taken; height, weight, waist circumference, and BMI measurements recorded; and a finger stick will be used to draw blood. With this drawn blood, cholesterol, glucose, and triglycerides can be measured.

Common diseases or conditions that can be identified on biometric screens include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Risk of sleep apnea, stroke, or pre-diabetes

Finger pricks usually provide results right away, while others (vein-puncture) are sent to the lab for analysis. Employees soon receive a health status report, worry about their health risks for a few hours, then never look at it again – that’s usually the end of the process.

How to Make Biometric Screenings Effective

As mentioned, these screenings provide tons of valuable information, but chances are that most employees are not taking any action after viewing their report. Wellness programs that provide personalized coaching are more effective because they provide employees the opportunity to understand their health risks and receive guidance to improve behaviors. Some programs may have digital tracking and engaging health literacy content to help decipher these numbers. Employees can ask better questions, have improved conversations, and obtain a more effective treatment/action strategy from their doctors when they are more health literate and have access to a coach.

What Makes Wellness Programs Effective

Most corporate wellness programs were based on outcomes – that is, they required workers to meet certain health-related goals to qualify for a reward. This strategy only benefits the healthiest employees in the organization and excludes the less healthy. Lately, the industry has been shifting towards participation/engagement-based programs that focus on rewarding employees for enrolling and taking actions that may directly impact their health. This allows great engagement and helps people to define their wellness journey and get the tools to help them meet their goals. In addition to this, be sure that the wellness program is multi-dimensional covering all aspects of wellbeing. Keep in mind that social aspects, such as challenges and leaderboards, are required for gamification and are great at keeping remote teams engaged.

Don’t just check the box

Biometric screenings should not just be done to check the box.¬† Employees must understand their rankings and the next steps to take once they learn them to influence positive change and improve health outcomes.¬† We can help you integrate biometrics into your wellness program to give you the ROI you need to make the best decisions to improve your employees’ health and empower healthier habits. Let’s talk about streamlining this process with our scalable virtual wellness platform.

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