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It’s a common misconception that effective wellness programs are time consuming to implement and expensive to sustain. Avista Corporation, a Seattle-based utilities company, learned how to run its corporate wellness program and achieve ROI with limited resources during the  Western U.S. energy crisis.

The company sustained cuts to its wellness budget – some initiatives disappeared altogether and others were compromised, such as Avista’s subsidy for onsite nurses to conduct employee health screenings. Avista wanted to continue to offer wellness benefits to its 1,600 active employees and 900 retirees, but had to find a way to maximize value for the money it spent.

To better align its goals with a dwindling wellness budget, Avista turned to WorkWell Consultants, a health and wellness consulting company. Workwell Consultants co-founder Kathy Worden and her team evaluated all of the leading health screening vendors. After extensive research and interviews, they determined BioIQ was the best fit for Avista’s needs.

“A lot of the health screening companies have good products, but BioIQ has a unique approach that accommodates each client’s individual needs and demographics,” Worden says. “This is what enables BioIQ to achieve such high participation rates.”

Avista worked with BioIQ  to roll out a home-testing program to screen employees for diabetes and heart disease with one simple “combo” test kit. BioIQ also offered an online health risk assessment (HRA) and could integrate lab results with HRA data to create comprehensive personal health records. “BioIQ’s HRA is woven into its online process, which makes it easier for employees to complete seamlessly and to get usable data,” Worden says. “In the end, that’s a critical component of any wellness program.”

Avista’s wellness staff demonstrated how to perform the at-home test, which involves pricking the tip of one finger, squeezing a few drops of blood onto a sample cartridge and then dropping it in the mail for routing to a diagnostic lab. “We conducted about 30 employee meetings to stress the importance of the health screenings and make sure everybody understood what was required of them,” says Keith Rust, manager of Avista’s benefit program.  “We wanted the first year to be a success so that future years would be easier.”

The consensus: Rust and his team liked the low relative cost of BioIQ’s at-home testing option and Avista’s employees appreciated the convenience factor. As opposed to fasting for 12 hours and then waiting in line to have a nurse draw their blood, they could take the BioIQ test at home when they woke up in the morning after a natural fasting period. “Within three months we had great success with BioIQ,” says Rust. “The program was easy to launch, it employs proven strategies to encourage participation and there are lots of perks, including professional staff members, an easy-to-use website, simple testing solutions and more. It was a successful venture.”

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