More and more employers today offer wellness programs for their associates. A common aspect of these programs is a biometric screening. But what is a biometric screening, and do you need it?
A biometric health screening measures physical characteristics such as height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose and aerobic fitness. These screenings can be taken at your work site and used as part of a workplace health assessment to benchmark and evaluate changes in employee health status over time. Think of it like a check-up for your company.
A typical screening might include:
A fasting intravenous blood draw to test for cardiovascular disease risk or diabetes risk and to detect tobacco use
Body measurements including height and weight, body fat percentage, waist, hip, neck and blood pressure
Biometric screenings have benefits for you and your employer. Screenings can help you identify any current or potential medical issues, determine your risk for preventable diseases and find strategies for improved health and well-being. 75% of health care costs come from preventable chronic conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. Early identification of risk factors can help prevent these issues, saving you pain and money later in life. Additionally, improvement in these metrics is sometimes rewarded by your employer in the form of gift cards or lower insurance premiums. For your employer, biometric screenings can identify common risk factors and ways to reduce health plan costs. Screenings also give employers direction on how to organize their wellness programs. But don’t worry about your employer playing Big Brother: Individual results and identifiable health data are confidential and protected by HIPAA, so your privacy will always be intact. If your company offers a biometric screening, consider participating. It could help your health and your wallet!