By Brittany Wonnell, RD, CHWC
After completing a biometric screening and taking a health assessment, your employees are now aware of their health. Awareness and receiving education is an important initial step in making healthy lifestyle changes. Carlo DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Model suggests that cognitive processes such as obtaining information and finding the benefits of changing a behavior can ultimately help change behaviors for a healthier lifestyle.
Today, it’s uncommon to find companies that have not begun to offer or even require employees to “know your numbers,” and obtain an annual health screening. Employee screenings help staff see how the inside of their bodies match the outside. Many times the risks of various diseases that employers try to prevent could continue to lower healthcare costs have no underlying symptoms (i.e. elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar). Therefore, it could be impossible at times for an employee to make a change when they don’t know anything is wrong.
Some employees may see this type of policy as a chore or a breach of their confidentiality. This is where it will become vital for employers to understand the importance of biometric screenings and health assessments, while making it clear to employees that HIPAA and confidentiality laws will be followed. Employers need to help employees understand the benefits of screenings and the care their workplace is offering to them at little or no cost.
Have a smaller company without means of providing onsite screenings? Advertise preventative screenings available at no cost, under every insurance, according to the current Affordable Care Act, and then offer your own Health Assessment for employees to assess their health and wellbeing. Try and make your employees interested about their numbers and understand the importance of screenings at least every other year, while providing resources to support employees who may need assistance.