By David Ashley, M.D., Chief Medical Officer
With open enrollment season coming up for a lot of companies, many Provant clients are launching workplace wellness programs that require employees to complete biometric health screenings by late fall. Biometric health screenings are one of the most common components of employee wellness programs. Screenings, such as blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, and glucose studies that are offered outside traditional doctor visits, can do a lot to improve individual and group health.
For countless people, a workplace health screening is their first preventive health encounter since childhood. For others, these screenings are the only proactive care they receive on an ongoing basis. Early identification of health risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure or high glucose is valuable in preventing irreversible complications and chronic disease. If found early, health risks that might normally progress to serious health conditions and chronic diseases can be effectively prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and weight loss.
Early intervention with people who are obese, a health risk which is often closely related to chronic disease, or use tobacco is also of great value. It is generally easier to get someone to change dietary and exercise behaviors or to quit smoking if they are aware of related health risk factors that were identified through biometric screenings.
The workplace is an excellent environment for health screenings to take place: support systems are in place for co-workers to reinforce each other on a daily basis in making healthy changes. Offsite workers can also take advantage of peer support for lifestyle changes. For employees who work remotely and can’t make it to onsite screening events, Provant’s employee wellness programs provide convenient alternative options for getting screened.
Work is also a great environment to hold healthy competitions which are often based on the top health risks of a company’s workforce. Weight loss and walking challenges, for example, are good for employee health and morale. Walking groups, work-sponsored sports teams, and other company-sponsored exercise groups are likely to have successful participation and outcomes due to active and passive peer pressure.
For employers who are often carrying health benefits for employees, a healthier workforce creates a healthier risk pool and improved cost control of healthcare expenses. In addition, there are likely to be fewer sick days and fewer onsite safety incidents.
Employees benefit from annual health screenings because they can track their health status over time and learn if they are on the path to good health, or if they need to redouble their efforts to become healthier.
Employers benefit from workplace wellness programs by tracking the overall health of their employees. Provant’s in-depth aggregate reporting helps companies monitor the health trends of their workforce and determine the most significant health risks on which to focus their wellness program efforts.
Biometric health screenings are important components of wellness programs. Organizations with wellness programs tend to be healthier and happier. Healthier and happier people tend to be more productive. Everyone wins.