Health risk assessments are a lot like cookies.
Think about it.
Which would you rather have? Highly-processed chocolate chip cookies made in a manufacturing plant or homemade, fresh out of the oven ones like mom used to make. You’d pick mom’s cookies, right?
Sure, any cookie recipe will give you a cookie. But a lot of times, the best recipes have some hard-to-find ingredients. Mom’s secret ingredient was (you guessed it): love. Health risk assessments (HRAs) are that way too.HRAs are an integral part of any results-oriented wellness program. But they range in quality. Just like higher quality ingredients usually produce a better tasting cookie, an HRA with the right ingredients can produce better results.
So how do you know if your HRA has the right ingredients for your corporate wellness goals?
An effective wellness assessment includes these 5 hard-to-find ingredients:
1. Administrative Reporting
If you’re a wellness program administrator, you need the ability to track trends so you can implement strategies and interventions to improve employee health results over time.
But to get that kind of reporting data, you have to start by asking the right questions.
For example, participants must be made aware of their risk factors. Then your health risk assessment can ask a question like: How willing are you to change this behavior?
Capture that kind of data, and you can start to gauge the success of employee health. Maybe your population is ready to quit smoking, but nobody wants to admit they need to lose weight.
The combination of participants’ self-awareness on an individual level and administrators finding patterns in aggregate data between behaviors and outcomes allows for a joint effort to create a healthier population.
What if one ingredient is missing from your recipe for an HRA? It can end up like a bad batch of cookies. Your HRA should fit seamlessly with your corporate wellness portal for an undisrupted user experience.
For example, if users have to log in twice, that could negatively affect engagement. You want to make it as simple and easy as possible for them to participate to improve employee health.
Why? HRAs designed this way will boost user engagement and participation. It’s part of the recipe that will help you reach the health trends that you want to see down the road.
3. Secure Data Storage
Another critical ingredient to a blue-ribbon HRA recipe: Secure Data Storage.
Your health risk assessment results contain sensitive information that should be protected. And it’s not just a matter of confidentiality.
Your organization has a legal obligation to protect that data, too. How important is secure data storage? Consider this:
- A security breach could cause severe damage to your users’ confidence in your system, and cost you millions.
- Health care organizations average $3.7 million in lost revenue for each data breach, and $500,000 in lost brand value.
It’s critical that your health assessment has the necessary protection. Not only that, but the protection offered by your HRA provider should extend beyond the period of time that you license their service.
Here’s an example:
Imagine using a certain HRA vendor for 10 years, needing to switch providers for some reason, and then losing all of that data you’ve acquired. Years of habits and trends that can be studied to assist in future decision-making regarding your population would be wiped away. To avoid this catastrophe, be sure to license your wellness assessment from a company that will let you keep your data, even if you leave.
4. Individual Reporting
Taking a look at aggregate data gives you the big picture of population health. But it’s only one of several key ingredients for an effective HRA. You’ll also have to help individuals understand their health risks and change behaviors. And an HRA can do that.
- Does your HRA provide participants with individual reports?
- Can your HRA show participants how they’re doing?
- Based on the results, can your HRA provide individuals tangible, personalized reporting and advice to live a healthier life?
It’s another one of those differences between an ineffective health assessment and one that improves employee wellness.
5. Scientific Validity
Last but not least, one ingredient that could arguably make the biggest impact on population health data: Scientific validity.
You can start to uncover this part of the recipe by asking questions about an HRA like:
- How was the question set developed?
- Is the information backed by science?
- Does the HRA provide evidence-based recommendations to improve health outcomes?
- Was the HRA created by qualified health professionals?
These are a few questions you should consider to evaluate a health risk assessment vendor. If you really want to ensure the scientific validity of your HRA, choose one that’s peer-reviewed, independently validated, and certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Take a close look at your HRA. Is it meeting these standards? If not, consider learning more about choosing the best Health Risk Assessment.