3 things to avoid when planning your screening program
Wellness screening events help you make your employees’ health a priority. However, in order to get the most out of your wellness screening program, you should avoid these three common, yet detrimental, mistakes.
1. Making a “one size fits all” screening choice
In order to reap the cost-saving benefits of implementing a wellness screening program, it’s important to make the program fit the specific needs of your employees. If you have offered screenings in the past, don’t ignore the data from prior years. Look at the areas where your employees have the greatest risk and make sure you are having the appropriate tests done. For example, if you have a high population of employees at risk for diabetes, you may want to consider including Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) on your test panel. A fasting or non-fasting glucose measure will indicate a participant’s immediate blood glucose level, but an HbA1c test gives a more accurate view, providing an estimate of blood glucose levels over a 2- to 3-month period. Looking at past years’ risk profiles will help you tailor your plan to meet your employees’ needs.
Additionally, if this is the first year you are offering biometric screenings, consider opting for a service that allows your employees to ask questions about their screening results, like Physician Health Information Sessions. This will help increase engagement as well as encourage employees to take ownership of their health.
2. Thinking short-term only
By thinking about the short-term results of your biometric screening, you may see immediate benefits and cost savings. However, you may end up spending more later if you choose a test panel that doesn’t give an accurate view of your population’s risks and needs. For example, if your company provides incentives for being tobacco-free, you may benefit in the long run from adding cotinine to your test panel. While we would like to assume all employees are honest about their smoking status, the results of a 2014 study of over 47,000 screening participants show that nearly one quarter of the people who claimed to be non-smokers tested positive for cotinine.*
Another area where it pays to think long-term is with incentives. When your budget is already tight, you may struggle to see how spending even more money on outcomes-based or participation incentives are worthwhile. Yet, the bottom line is that incentivized wellness programs see higher participation rates, which leads to a more complete portrayal of the overall health of your population. A more accurate view of your employees’ health will help you make more informed decisions about future benefits plans and help increase engagement in all of your wellness offerings.
3. Underestimating the importance of communication with your employees
Offering screenings to your employees is an important step, but having screenings available is just the beginning. If you want to ensure that your employees participate in the screening, you must make sure they know about it. Because you likely have a diverse population, with different schedules, shifts, and job functions, simply printing out a flyer and posting it in a common area isn’t enough. Instead, be sure to inform your employees about the screening multiple times, in a variety of ways.
The Quest Diagnostics Blueprint for Wellness program includes Reach Marketing Services as an integrated part of the solution, including reminder emails, sample talking points for huddles, posters, flyers, and screen graphics, all which can easily be customized with your logo and program-specific information. Not only does this encourage higher participation rates, but it also takes the communication responsibilities off your shoulders and allows you to focus on meeting the needs of your employees.
Helping your employees learn more about their health with biometric screenings is a great first step in a wellness program. Make the most of your screening program by thinking about the specific needs of your company, considering both short- and long-term goals, and making communication a priority. Keeping these three things in mind will help you learn more about the health of your company and lead to healthier employees and lower healthcare costs.
*Quest Diagnostics Health and Wellness. Making the Most of Your Tobacco Incentives. 2017.
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