Data, data everywhere,
and not a thought to think!
We live in a culture that is absolutely enthralled with data. It sometimes seems that decision-makers just can't get enough data to quench their desire to make the right decision. Data can be viewed through a microscope or a telescope, depending on what decision you want to support, but data is rarely, if ever, looked at through a personal lens.
The wellness industry has long touted its impact on the bottom line of organizations, whether through health care cost reductions, increases in productivity or decreased absenteeism. While all of these variables are affected by good, evidence-based wellness programs, the data measures fall short of answering the bigger question...
Are your employees becoming healthier?
As I discussed in a previous article, optimal biometrics don't guarantee healthy lifestyles, just as savings in employee health care don't guarantee healthier employees. Because personal health is...well, personal and therefore unique to each employee, a hasty glance at group trends and cost curves will not be enough for you to know the true effectiveness of your wellness program. Sorry all you accountants and actuaries, the answer isn't that easy.
But surely all of that biometric data can't be useless! Holding annual screening events must have a purpose otherwise so many employers wouldn't be doing it, right?
The data derived from a professional biometric screening most definitely has value. Every participant completing a biometric screening receives an accurate and objective view of their current health status. Or, as we like to say,
"The numbers tell you what your body already knows about your lifestyle."
It is important for everyone involved in the wellness strategy to remember what any screening test is actually for. Health screenings were introduced as, and always intended to be, for educational purposes. First, to educate the employee on how their body is responding to their current lifestyle, and second, to educate the organization on what areas employees need support. But the data doesn't really become meaningful if you stop there. Knowing there is a problem is less than half the battle.
The data that really matters is what each employee is ready, willing and able to do to improve their own health and well-being.
Here again, a trained professional who knows how to engage your employees at this pivotal moment can make all of the difference in whether your employees embrace change or wait another year to face what they already know what must be done.