Founded in 1933, North Idaho College (NIC) is a community college located on the shores of picturesque Lake Coeur d’Alene. NIC offers degrees and certificates in a wide spectrum of academic transfer, professional-technical and general education programs. The college stands out in the higher education sector as an organization with a progressive health and wellness policy for its employees. NIC uses proven strategies to improve healthcare outcomes and increase the return on its wellness investments, such as using biometric data to reveal each employee’s critical health metrics and offering monetary incentives to help employees meet specific wellness goals.

“In the past, our wellness program was not nearly as substantial as it is now,” says Andrea Woempner, an HR specialist at North Idaho College. “It included flu shots, community workshops, and wellness newsletters.” Now the program includes regular speakers, wellness fairs and biometric screening events coordinated by BioIQ—with incentives tied to outcomes to encourage people to stay healthy. “Within the education sector we are often told that we are ahead of the curve with our wellness program,” says Woempner. “Other colleges don’t have the emphasis on screening, outcomes, and incentives that we do.”

Employees talking

At the recommendation of Mercer, NIC contracted with BioIQ to improve wellness participation and streamline the overall health-screening experience. The college leveraged the BioIQ platform to gather biometric data from employees and dependents via onsite screening appointments. Wellness participants now enjoy a cohesive interface for ordering tests, scheduling appointments, and viewing results, with intuitive graphs to monitor year-over-year trends and dashboards to track their completion of rewards and activities. The health tests include a complete cholesterol/lipid panel to screen for heart disease and a fasting blood glucose test to screen for diabetes and pre-diabetes.

All college employees can obtain health-screening services, and those who are enrolled in the NIC medical insurance program can earn incentives of up to $1,000 per year ($2,000 if a dependent participates). A large portion of these incentives are tied to regular biometric testing to gauge the population’s risk for chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. “Some people in the program have told me they learned about a previously unknown risk for diabetes and heart disease,” says Woempner. “One employee had such high blood pressure that the onsite nurse sent him straight to the hospital because she was afraid he could have a stroke. This individual had no idea about his condition.”

Since partnering with BioIQ, many NIC employees are looking more closely at their health.

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