What is a Biometric Screening?
A biometric screening is a simple medical test and exam to determine your overall level of health. Screenings provide information about your risk of certain medical conditions and what steps you can take now to improve your health. They’re considered an important part of most wellness programs and have been gaining in popularity all over the country.
What Does a Biometric Screening Test For?
A Biometric screening relies on simple body measurements and a small blood sample and can be performed in as little as 10 minutes. Most screenings start with height and weight measurement to determine the patient’s body mass index (BMI). Other tests include waist and arm measurements, taking blood pressure, and identifying sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels though a finger prick blood test. Some exams also include bone density tests and preliminary cancer screenings with the opportunity to discuss any other health issues or concerns with a nurse practitioner in a confidential setting.
Why are Biometric Screenings Good for Employees?
It can be tough for most people to find the time to get regular check-ups at a doctor’s office. Most of us put off regular screenings and
doctor visits until something hurts or we’re not feeling well. Biometric screenings are extremely convenient because they usually happen at work and are provided free of charge. There’s really no downside.
In addition to the convenience, employees also receive a report detailing their overall level of health and any issues they should be concerned about in the future. For example, if a screening identifies higher than average levels of glucose in the blood you will be provided with steps you can take now to reduce those levels and help prevent diabetes.
Why are Biometric Screenings Good for Employers?
Over the past 10 years more and more employers have been instituting wellness programs to address the health needs of their employees. Studies have shown that employers that take an active role in workers health have employees that are less stressed, more productive, and suffer from less absenteeism than work sites without wellness programs. A US Department of Health and Human Services report from 2002 attempted to quantify the benefits of wellness programs and found that they reduced healthcare costs by up to 52%, sick-leave by up to 32%, and increased productivity by up to 56%!
But the key to a good wellness program is determine what actions will be most beneficial to employees which is why biometric screenings are so important. If you know that a disproportionate number of folks have high blood sugar you can provide healthier food options and hold seminars on making healthy food choices. Annual screenings help measure improvements in employee health.
Is My Healthcare Information Secure?
Yes. Having a biometric screening is no different than visiting a doctor’s office and your individual test results are not shared with anyone other than yourself. If your screening is provided by your employer they will receive a report of the overall health of the company but will not have access to individual results.
How Long Does It Take to Get The Results?
Most screenings consist of no more than some simple body measurements and a finger prick blood test. Results are usually available to individual employees within a week and depending on the size of the workforce a finalized report is provided to the employer in as little as a month.
While biometric screenings are fairly new they have the potential to revolutionize healthcare by making it easy and convenient to track our overall health and identify any potential areas for improvement. If you’re an employee, ask your employer if they offer screenings and when you can schedule one. If you’re an employer and you don’t offer screenings you need to seriously consider the benefits to not only the health of your employees but the health of your company.