Healthways provides a biometric screening program that provides an accurate assessment of individual health risk based on biometric measurements from a blood screen and brief physical examination. Program members also complete a health risk assessment (HRA) questionnaire that provides information about perceptions of physical health, health history and lifestyle. The biometric assessment is a critical component of the program since comparisons of self-reported and biometric data indicate that program participants are largely unaware of their actual health status. Health risks in the employee population are associated with substantial financial burden to employers. Compared to low-risk individuals, employees with medium or high health risk levels are far more expensive with respect to medical claims, pharmacy claims and time away from work1. Additionally, health risks affect on-the-job productivity and the costs attributed to these productivity losses are substantial2. Data from screening participants supports the link between absence from work and level of health risk. When the self-reported absences from 89,989 HRA responses were linked with the total scores of these participants, it was evident that better scores were associated with fewer absences. Members with healthy scores (>70) reported an average of two or fewer absences per year.
By educating individuals about their true level of health risk and by elucidating their specific risk factors, the biometric screening empowers program members to make lifestyle changes that can reduce the likelihood of developing medical conditions or prevent the worsening of existing chronic disease. The aim of this study was to determine the level of health risk among a large population of participants and to determine whether this level of risk declines after participation in the program.