Spending Wellness Dollars Wisely

Second in a series on corporate wellness

Nurse checking a woman's blood pressure.

We recently shared that for every dollar spent on wellness, companies saved an average of $3.27 in healthcare costs. Of course, to see a return, you have to spend wisely. One area worth investment is biometrics.

Biometrics provide concrete measures that can be used to improve employee awareness of their current health and motivate changes in lifestyle and behavior. The most commonly used tests include body mass index or BMI, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and tobacco. Many companies hold onsite screening days, as all these tests can be easily completed in the workplace. Others cover 100% of the costs for employees to visit a local lab, doctor’s office or health clinic inside a pharmacy or other retail location.

How you offer the tests is less important than the fact that you provide the opportunity and partner with the right vendor. Why? Because any reduction in elevated health risk can be important. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that for every 1% drop in total cholesterol, the risk of having a heart attack dropped by 2 to 3%, and when there is a one-point drop in elevated diastolic blood pressure, there is another 2 to 3% drop in heart disease risk. One NIH study showed that after one year of starting a wellness program, employees were able to improve 5 of 7 health risks.

While the tests are an important starting point, don’t stop there. If you work with one screening company, ask them to provide a comprehensive overview of results so you can understand the leading health risks impacting your own employees. Continue to collect this data so you can analyze the year-over-year trends and, in partnership with your benefits advisor, create a more targeted, comprehensive population health strategy.

In the end, however you collect the biometric health trends for your own organization, this data can give you important insight so that you can create effective wellness programming. The goal is to create targeted programming for risk factors impacting your organization, whether it is weight loss, blood pressure reduction, stress reduction, smoking cessation or better nutrition. This kind of targeted support is what will drive down healthcare costs.

As always, know that MJ stands ready to help get your employees on the path to better health. Contact your MJ Consultant today with any questions or request for Population Health + Wellness resources.