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Gaining popularity in workplace wellness programming is the addition of a biometric screening for company employees to help them improve their health while simultaneously reducing health care costs for the organization. So, what does a biometric screening measure and why should your organization consider adding it to your benefits package?

The CDC defines a biometric screening as “the measurement of physical characteristics such as height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, and aerobic fitness tests that can be taken at the work site and used as part of a workplace health assessment to benchmark and evaluate changes in employee health status over time.” By taking a closer look at the individual pieces of this definition the support for a biometric screening becomes more clear.   

Measures health beyond the surface

Health can’t be assessed by looking at a person’s exterior. While there may be clues to the condition of an individual based on their outward appearance, true health can only be measured by the internal numbers provided by a biometric screening. For example, a person who is within their ideal weight range may have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood glucose, while an individual who is overweight may have normal levels in these other important health measures. Knowing these numbers allows employees who might otherwise opt out of health interventions to participate in solutions to prevent and reverse chronic disease in the short and long term once they know they are at risk. Many of the highest health care costs for employers are preventable with simple lifestyle interventions like improving their nutrition, exercising more often, sleeping better, and reducing stress. Companies are equipped to find solutions to help and employees know why these changes are important to their individual health.

Measures changes in health

A biometric screening is most effective when it’s offered more than once. Collecting a baseline measurement is important, but it’s equally critical to follow-up that screening with another one after employees have had time to implement lifestyle changes. While significant changes can be observed in bloodwork after just four months, offering yearly screenings is a better rhythm for most employers. Testing can be done onsite or at an employees healthcare provider or at an annual check-up. Regardless of where it’s measured, a biometric screening provides invaluable data to understand if health is improving or declining and helps the employee make changes as needed. 

Measures the effectiveness of wellness programming

ROI is an important part of wellness programming for an organization. Without data, organizations are left wondering if their initiatives and offerings are having an impact on their employees and their financial bottom line. A biometric screening helps assess the impact of interventions like nutrition coaching, fitness classes, mindfulness training, or education on stress management techniques. Companies can adjust their benefits based on biometric screening data and assure that their dollars are spent in the right places with the right services. Be assured that employers do not see individual data, only the aggregate results of these screenings.  

If your organization is offering a biometric screening to your employees, how have you seen it work for you and your company?