The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that nearly one out of three people in the U.S. are pre-diabetic or diabetic, one out of three are hypertensive, and one out of four have high LDL cholesterol. Odds are, some of these people are your employees  – and they may not be aware they’re living with a chronic health condition. Without appropriate intervention, health issues including diabetes, heart disease or other chronic conditions like cancer will impact productivity and increase healthcare costs – for both employees and their employers.

As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, employers are turning to prevention — in the form of workplace wellness programs — to help keep expenses low and improve employee health. The Society for Human Resource Management reported that in 2015, 80 percent of employers offered preventive wellness services and educational information to help employees take a proactive approach to their health. When it comes to measuring success, the proof is in the program: a 2014 Harvard Business Review study of 20 companies found an average annual healthcare cost increase of 1-2 percent for companies with wellness programs, compared to the 7 percent national average.

The benefits of a comprehensive wellness program – one that addresses multiple facets of employee health (physical, mental, social, financial, etc.) – go beyond cost savings. Many companies experience reductions in employee absenteeism and staff turnover, higher morale and greater employee engagement. When designing an effective wellness program, employers should consider taking these five steps:

1. Create a Culture of Health From the Top Down

Sustaining a long-term wellness program is a commitment – not just for employees, but for the entire organization. Companies must establish a top-down strategy, in which leaders – including the CEO – participate. Wellness means something different to every organization and it’s important that companies create a program – vs. a one-time activity – to meet the needs of its population. Organizations looking for a starting point should make sure that their company values promote health and their executives model these values, whether that’s running in a company-sponsored 5K or participating in an onsite health screening event.

2. Make it Easy: Provide Convenient Health Screening Options

Health screenings are an essential component of all workplace wellness programs – they help prevent at-risk employees from becoming chronically ill, connect those who are already ill with next steps in care, and give organizations the information they need to work with their health plan to address underlying trends. Employees are busy, so an effective wellness program should make it as easy as possible for them to get screened. The BioIQ Platform, the first unified solution for configuring and managing health screening programs, enables employers to offer participants multiple screening options, including onsite events, at-home test kits, visits to nearby pharmacies, labs or the employee’s primary care physician.

3. Partner With the Right Technology Provider

There’s a lot to consider when managing a company-wide wellness program. There’s the challenge of coordinating an onsite event — finding approved vendors for everything from clinical staff to perform the health screening to a lab to process samples collected during screening, to ensuring the health coaching company has the results on hand in advance of the coaching sessions. Plus, each aspect of the program needs to be communicated to employees and their eligible family members. Partnering with BioIQ to manage all of the logistical and operational aspects of health testing programs allows HR professionals to focus on other aspects of their job – like creating a wellness program employees can get excited about. The BioIQ Administrative Console makes it easy for administrators and HR teams to orchestrate all program aspects from a central location – from scheduling screening events and enrolling participants to communicating with individuals, tracking and sharing results, and analyzing population trends.

4. Increase Engagement With a Customizable Participant Portal

Research shows that technology can not only help organizations drive participation in health screening programs, it can effectively inspire positive changes and improve health outcomes across populations. According to Deloitte’s 2015 Health Care Consumer Engagement Survey, more than 60 percent of tech users say using health technologies has had a significant impact on their behavior.

The BioIQ Participant Portal guides individuals through all aspects of a wellness program. Through the web-based portal, which is accessible on any device, people can sign up for a convenient screening time and location — whether it’s onsite at a health fair, at a nearby BioIQ partner location or at an appointment with their primary care physician. Program participants can also complete a health risk assessment, view test results and access tools such as an incentives tracker and educational materials that address their unique health risks, all from a convenient, user-friendly interface. Program administrators can easily configure options within the co-branded portal, add wellness plugins and customize the content that participants see to provide a personalized, engaging experience that individuals will want to take part in.

5. Track Progress and Measure Success

Measuring the effectiveness of workplace wellness programs can be challenging. According to ADP’s HR/Benefits Survey on Wellness, 79 percent of large U.S. companies and 44 percent of mid-sized U.S. companies offer wellness programs, but over 60 percent of these companies do not measure their ROI. However, the survey found most mid-sized and large companies reported that their wellness programs met or exceeded their senior executives’ expectations in regards to reducing overall healthcare costs. To better understand whether a program is achieving the desired results, organizations should look at their overall goals and the specific goals of the program in conjunction with real-time data and analytics. With BioIQ,  program administrators can keep a pulse on their wellness program at every stage – by viewing registration details, completion percentages, key participation metrics and population-wide trends to ensure their employees are on the way to better health.

BioIQ enables employers of all sizes and industries, from Fortune 500 companies to unions and government organizations, to create engaging wellness programs. To learn more,  contact BioIQ at (888) 818-1594 or sales@bioiq.com.

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