Many employers are taking a proactive approach and incentivizing employees to get a biometric screening, which measures a person’s overall health through lab work, that includes a blood draw, along with taking body measurements.
Your employees are the lifeblood of your company. And as we all know, a happy and healthy workforce is a productive one. Unfortunately, many employees have little time to look after their health between work and family commitments. For some employees, the cost of a doctor visit may discourage them from seeking help if they’re feeling unwell or they have concerns about their health.
Employee-sponsored biometric screenings allow employees to seek convenient care on their schedule. According to a 2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey, 50 percent of large firms and 33 percent of small firms offer their employees biometric screenings.
Biometric Screenings Help Employees Achieve Healthy Outcomes
Hong Nguyen, a Marathon Health family nurse practitioner and medical director, says biometric screenings provide information that helps healthcare providers identify early indicators of chronic conditions.
The most common chronic conditions detected as a result of biometric screenings are diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
A provider will complete your body composition test and blood draw during the screening, which includes the following:
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
Results are available within minutes after testing. In cases of using venous blood draw, it may take upwards of 24 to 48 hours turnaround time.
It’s important to note that biometric screenings alone cannot diagnose diseases.
If the biometric screening reveals a patient’s cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure levels fall outside the healthy range, providers will recommend health coaching sessions. Health coaches work with patients to create customized plans to improve the health and wellbeing of the patient.
Preparing for a Biometric Screening Procedure
Patients are required to fast for about six to eight hours before their screening. Nguyen says water, plain black coffee and tea without sweeteners or creamer are ok during the fasting period. Nguyen also advises that patients should stick to their usual medication schedule.
Patients must complete a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) form before doing a biometric screening. According to Nguyen, the HRA provides the necessary medical history to create an alert for age-appropriate preventative screenings.
“If the patient is a female over 40 and has not had her mammogram within the past one year, it will create an alert in a patient’s chart, [indicating] she’s overdue,” Nguyen says.
The HRA also asks questions about alcohol consumption and alerts a health coach if a patient is at risk for substance abuse. Questions surrounding mental health also alert providers if answers steer towards self-harm.
“This [information] will help us actively reach out to the patient and provide any additional resources that patients may need,” Nguyen says.
Biometric Screenings Offer Even More Value
Nguyen recalls helping one young patient. This patient hadn’t been to annual physicals in several years as he believed himself to be young and healthy. Thanks to biometric screening, the patient discovered he was at risk of developing prediabetes.
“We discovered that he had elevated fasting glucose. So that biometric allowed us to invite him in for a health coaching visit with a provider,” Nguyen says.
With the help of health coaching and a diet and exercise plan, the patient lost weight and improved his sugar levels. “If it wasn’t the biometrics, the patient may have developed diabetes without knowing it,” Nguyen says.
Employee Biometrics Program Improves Population Health
Nicole Russell, Corporate Compensation and Benefits Manager at Fabri-Kal, a Kalamazoo, Michigan-based food packaging company, praises biometric screenings.
She describes it as a preventive tool for helping employees take control of their health.
“A large majority of our employees do not have primary care physicians,” Russell says. “By offering the biometrics screenings, we raise awareness and educate employees about their own personal health.”
For employers like Fabri-Kal, biometric screenings also provide employees with an opportunity to reduce healthcare costs.
Fabri-Kal incentivizes employees through its Healthy Living Credit Program. Employees accumulate points towards saving for medical plans premium by completing the biometric screenings, a health care assessment and agree to a wellness agreement.
Employees who earn at least 50 points receive a Healthy Living Credit.
According to the 2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey, 65 percent of companies with biometric screening programs offer employees incentives to participate.
As a result of their incentive program, Fabri-Kal saw huge participation numbers. “At our corporate office, it’s 99% participation. Our manufacturing facility is at 88% participation,” Russell says.
Biometric screenings ultimately help patients become more aware of their health. “And our job here is to provide the patients with the tools they need to improve their health status,” Nguyen says.
Does your company offer biometric screenings as part of a complete benefits package? If not, consider this: healthy employees mean more significant healthcare savings across the board.