Wellness programs utilize biometric screening as the foundation for engagement, enrollment and education. Biometric results e.g. lipid values, glucose, blood pressure and BMI values are compared to nationally accepted normal ranges. The program participant is made aware how these values relate to their personal risk for metabolic and cardiovascular illness.
A service commonly provided by biometric screening companies is to discuss the results with participants. To refer to this as health education is a misconception. The allotted timeframe typically ranges from 3-5 minutes. This raises the question about the definition of health education and the purpose of the post screening discourse.
Most established wellness programs include educational programs provided by population health management companies, health plans or other related entities. These programs typically focus on nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation and stress management. They are delivered electronically or by health coaches (electronically, telephonic or live video). These programs include the introduction of learning skills and assessments resulting in topic specific self-development.
To compare the 3-5 minute post screening interaction with these true education efforts is a disservice to these programs. The object of result review is three fold:
- To present biometric values in relation to nationally accepted guidelines for optimal health
- To recommend “next steps” related to healthy eating, exercise, smoking cessation and more.
- To engage the participants and to connect them with the programs and services available through the employer wellness initiative.
In short the post screening discussion is a “point of sale” opportunity designed to promote engagement and participation in the programs offered by the employer and program partners. It is not true “health education”.
With the proper focus in place outcome measurements can be structured to compare engagement in appropriate programs to the relative risk of the individual participant. This will increase the overall value of the biometric initiative.