Employers often wonder if a wellness program can truly fit into their workforce demographic. Every employee’s needs can vary depending on their job description and working environment. Nowadays, this could mean work that is sedentary office-based, labor intensive, extended shifts, travel, working from home, and more. The good news is that there is a way to provide specific information to any diverse demographic.
Health Risk Assessments are beneficial for employers.
Data gathered from Health Risk Assessments can provide employers the most accurate analysis on the health status and health risks of their employees. According to an article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “Health Risk Assessments originally were designed to predict the probability of common causes of death based on an individual’s lifestyle and biometric risk factors.” With time and continued research, health care providers have found these assessments to provide so much more.
On an individual level, it can provide specific data based on their self-report of health history and status. On an employer level, it can help provide structure and specific information in all future efforts made with worksite health promotion. If employees are willing to participate in an HRA, the next step is to adopt a worksite wellness program to address those modifiable health risks among the workforce.
What is a Health Risk Assessment?
An HRA may consist of several different components. Its primary form involves a questionnaire about an individual’s health history and health status. After that, it may be accompanied with a Biometric Screening that may include blood pressure, height, weight, body mass index, cholesterol, or glucose testing. Participation of an HRA is completely voluntary, but when paired with a specific type of Workplace Wellness Program, it can be made mandatory.
What good comes from knowing the risks of your population if nothing is implemented to help improve those specific risks?
Federal regulations do apply when collecting such personal information. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “medical information obtained by any program may only be provided to the employer in aggregate terms that do not disclose or are not reasonably likely to disclose the identity of any employee.” Collected information must be kept confidential, secure, and separate from all other employment records and you must stay in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.
How can a Wellness Program help tackle health risks in your workforce?
A wellness program can offer several different services, which can positively influence your employee’s health and overall well-being. Some examples of these services include:
- Health risk assessments
- Health screenings
- Lifestyle management services
- Lunch and learns
- Disease management services
- One on one communications
- Monthly newsletters
- Informational meetings
- Exercise demonstrations
What research has found is that the delivery of healthcare information needs to move outside of the clinical environment to reach and influence a larger population, such as schools, work, community based organizations, etc.
After an organization adopts a healthier outlook, the next step is to provide ongoing support for those individuals, which is exactly what a wellness program can provide for you. Contact GMS today to learn more about setting up a Workplace Wellness Program for your employees.