A good biometric screening program is beneficial to both employees and the organizations they work for. It provides a foundational and tangible measurement of the actual health and wellness of the employees and the entire population. However, successful implementation presents many challenges. Here are three problem areas that organizations need to look at and consider when they decide to implement a biometric screening program.
Access and engagement for all employees is a challenge
A successful biometric program requires getting everyone involved in becoming aware of their own health and wellness issues. The greater the participation, the higher the value of investment (VOI). Those employees already engaging in healthy behaviors can receive validation and confirmation to continue what they are doing and not slip into bad habits.
Not everyone’s health needs are the same, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” corporate wellness program. The one thing these programs have in common is to start with a biometric screening to establish a baseline and identify individual issues, such as diabetes, weight, stress/hypertension, or high cholesterol. You can draw in these at-risk populations by structuring wellness programs that address specific needs.
To ensure the greatest participation, it’s important for employers to make participation easy and convenient. Programs can be made more accessible to all employees through flexible hours such as offering onsite biometric screening events at convenient locations and times (all three shifts if operating 24 hours). Other options include the following:
- Vouchers, which can be taken to an eLabNetwork™ pharmacy location, which has 7,500 locations and growing
- Physician forms, which can be obtained after a doctor’s appointment and turned in with biometric results
- Screening kits, which the screening company can send to remote employees not able to participate via other methods
Including family members in the program is also important and can boost the chance of success for any health intervention plan.
No clear program leadership or goals
Wellness programs require strong leadership, clearly defined goals, and engagement-oriented communication designed to produce action and positive behavior change. Get buy-in from upper management, as they will need to allocate time and resources to the biometric screening program. In addition, involve employees in the program’s planning and implementation.
Make sure the program outlines specific measurable goals, a way to track progress, and methods to achieve positive outcomes. Include a high-touch aspect designed to help motivate employees to take positive action to improve their own health and wellness.
The health screening is the foundation to start building healthy habits. It provides what Impact Health calls the “motivational moment” because during the time the Health Promotion Associate (HPA) has with the employee while taking biometric measurements and reviewing the results, the HPA can share a snapshot of the employee’s current health risks to motivate them. The HPA can also introduce the employee to the other wellness programs the employer provides.
Leadership within the company needs to model healthy behavior and promote the wellness program through data-driven, targeted communications designed for engagement and action. It’s also a good idea to bring in a third-party organization as a trusted partner to implement and manage the program.
Data security and privacy concerns
Biometric screening programs collect and store a great deal of health-related information about employees. This can lead to trust issues regarding data security and privacy.
A third-party biometric screening company, in conjunction with population health management or managed care organizations, provides an independent source of trust so the employer maintains a balanced, proper relationship with employees regarding their privacy and security. The third-party screening company can help establish trust with the employer through:
- Use of HPAs at on-site events who understand HIPAA requirements, provide physical privacy screens and professional, private conversations when sharing test results with employees
- Through interactions with pharmacists at eLabNetwork™ locations
- An on-site secure data collection system, data encryption at rest and during transit, and a HITRUST® data warehouse
- Making sure data is de-identified in reports to protect employee health data
Corporate wellness programs can have a significant impact on employee health as well as health costs. However, without careful planning and execution, they will likely fail or fall short of their goals. An experienced biometric screening company understands the pitfalls and challenges involved in a wellness program and can get yours started off on the right foot to increase the chances of a successful implementation.
To learn more about successfully implementing a biometric screening program, reach out to me here on LinkedIn or email me at: MMcNamara@ImpactHealth.com