What is a Biometric Screening, and Why is It Important?

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Many corporations are beginning to utilize biometric screening as a means to determine the overall health of its employee base. The screening provides a look into individuals’ health statuses and potential risks to their health and wellbeing, and corporations are looking at this information because those with high cholesterol and risk for diabetes are more likely to miss more work days and cost the corporation more money in health care, according to an article posted on rivalhealth.com. A breakdown of the biometric screening process and its importance is included below.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines a biometric health 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.” That is quite a mouthful. Simply put, a nurse or phlebotomist draws blood intravenously and asks that the patient fill out a questionnaire regarding behavior and family history. The blood work is then tested and evaluated, and the questionnaire is compared to the blood work results to detect any genetic risks.

An individual benefits from the results of their screening by gaining knowledge of their overall health and wellbeing in time to implement any necessary changes. For instance, heart disease and diabetes are both preventable, and a biometric health screening could show that someone is on the path to being diagnosed with one of these ailments prior to the diagnosis. Knowing in advance that a change in behaviors and lifestyles could save someone from a lifetime of struggle or from something severe like a stroke or a heart attack is the difference in life or death in some cases.

Employers are interested in requiring their employees to have biometric health screenings because research shows the screenings can reduce health plan costs, according to careatc.com. Participating in a screening that shows each individual’s wellness level and averages it out to wellness on a company wide scale provides health insurance agencies with the information necessary to re-evaluate health plans.

The catch for corporations is that employees typically cannot be forced to participate in biometric health screenings based on federal regulations that make doing so nearly impossible. The way to get employee participation is to incentivize employees. The only way to truly monitor the company as a whole is to have as much participation as possible, and it is important to know the health of employees.

Biometric health screenings, though not mandatory in the workplace, provide individuals and companies the information necessary to live a healthy lifestyle and perform efficiently and effectively in the workplace for the lowest health cost possible. Participating in a screening only provides more information that is needed to maintain wellness and avoid life threatening issues.