Biometric Screening: Testing for a Healthy and Happy Workforce
Nowadays a lot of corporate businesses are taking an interest in the health of their employees. It’s an investment for the company to protect their employees from potential health dangers, as when there is a healthy and happy workforce, more work will be done and thus more money for the company. Biometric screening is part of corporate wellness programs that are popping up all across the board. These wellness programs often include gym discounts for being an employee, health screenings (like biometric testing) and other health benefits for those that work for participating businesses. If you have happy and healthy employees, chances are you’ll have a happy and healthy business. Read more about engaging your employees and ensuring they are happy in their jobs so your business can succeed.
What exactly is a biometric screening?
A biometric screening is a test that’s run typically by an approved third party health provider to run tests on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, disease risk, body mass index (BMI), triglycerides levels (the amount of fatty acids in the blood) and other measurements that the employer chooses to have included in the test. These tests will give individuals a good look at their overall health and well-being. It sounds intensive, but it’s not. This kind of test will usually only run around 15 minutes and will include taking simple vitals and a blood sample. Some tests are a little more in-depth than others including bone density tests and preliminary cancer screenings – but not all include these things. Even though blood will be drawn, this is not sneaky way to get a drug test from employees. The blood will be measured for preventative health purposes and not for other reasons.
Why is it called a biometric screening?
Biometrics describes quantifiable data that is related to people’s characteristics or traits. Biometric identifiers are unique and can be measured to put people into labeled categories. So if you have high-cholesterol, your biometric identifier would be “high-cholesterol” along with the others that have it, too. Biometrics can be categorized into physiological and behavioral characteristics. For the purpose of biometric screening, however, behavioral identifiers won’t be used. Biometrics also refers to fingerprinting, DNA and retina scanning (these are also identifiers) but this kind of biometrics doesn’t apply to corporate wellness programs. However, if you are interested in all that biometrics has to offer check out this course on biometrics.
What are the benefits of having a biometric screening done?
As briefly mentioned before, biometric screenings are gaining in popularity among companies as way to protect their employees from potential health risks (which in turn saves the company a lot of money!). It’s hard enough to find time to get to the doctor for a regular check-up between work, family and extracurricular activities. Luckily, biometric screenings are usually done at your place of work and are provided free of charge. It’s an awesome way for employees to squeeze in their annual check-up, without paying, and while getting paid! I mean, you are still at work, aren’t you? After the results are in, the employee will receive a report of all of their testing results and any risks that may be associated with the results. If, due to your results, you are considered “at-risk” you will be given a list of what potential risks you have, how to fix them and what providers you can see to start taking care of these issues.
Why do employers decide to provide biometric screenings?
It’s possible that you work at a company that is considering doing a biometric screening, or perhaps you’ve already been through this. Corporations worldwide are beginning to take more of an interest in their employee’s well-being. This can be seen through health initiatives like gym partnerships, self-defense classes offered by the company and programs like biometric screening. Studies have shown that employers who take more interest in the overall health of their employees have seen an increase in productivity coupled with a less stressed workforce. There is also a substantial decline in truancy from work. Many companies are faced with skyrocketing health insurance premiums to cover their workers. When employees are living healthy, taking preventative measures to keep disease at bay and are aware of their potential health risks – they are going to the doctor less which decreases expenses for the company.
What about the privacy of biometric screening results?
Don’t worry. Just because your employer is paying for the wellness test does not mean that they are getting a full run down of your results. Because of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), health providers are bound by law to keep your information and results secure. No one but you (and anyone you designate) will be able to receive your results or personal information. The company will, however, receive a report of the overall health of their employees – but you’re information, specifically, will not be given to them. So rest assured! For more about HIPAA, check out this course on how to understand and comply with HIPAA.
How long until the results are in?
This depends on the extent of testing being done, the testing provider, how many people take the test and other variables. The nature of the test is rather simple, including body measurements, some minor blood work and vitals, so results shouldn’t take more than a week to get back. The results will be given to each individual employee including all testing results, measurements and like aforementioned, treatment plans and potential risks.
How do we schedule a biometric screening at work?
If your employer is on the fence about offering a biometric screening you should provide them with the benefits of the test for the success of the company. The benefits really outweigh the cons. Yes, the company will have to put money out to pay for the screening, and yes, it may not be the cheapest company event they’ve held – but in the long run it could save thousands of dollars in health care expenses. To schedule a test, the company will need to contact a local wellness testing provider. There are several companies like, Wellness Corporate Solutions and Samaritan Health, that do nationwide testing but you will have to contact them to see if they are available to do so in your area. Depending on the time of year and size of your workforce, you can sign-up for a screening two weeks before the testing date. However, it’s recommended that you sign-up months in advance so that you can do proper advertising around the office for the testing date. This way your employees can mark their calendars and ensure they are available to participate!
Other Wellness Programs
If you are a company looking at introducing some wellness programs, including biometric screening, to your employees – good for you! Wellness programs are trending across the nation and it’s proven that the investment of starting these programs is worth it in the long run. First, take a poll in the office. What would employees like to see offered? What would employees likely use? Is there anything that wouldn’t generate interest? Once you tally up the results you can start searching for programs. Another great place to start is by offering some sort of gym membership discount to full-time workers. Some companies even let employees take an extra half hour for lunch if they are going to the gym to work out. Talk about incentive!
Another idea is to offer a nutritionist to come to work for a brown bag lunch discussion. This kind of event gives employees a reprieve from work, a chance to socialize a bit with co-workers and to learn about their diet and what they can do to improve their health. A course like this one – Healthy Eating – can also be a great thing to offer to your employees. Lastly, another option is to offer self-defense classes for the women of the work team. Some employers will reimburse employees once they have completed the entire training. Not only is this obviously beneficial for the employees who take the course, but it’s assurance that your workers will know how to protect themselves from potential dangers.
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