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Health Risk Assessment Findings

Posted Apr 04 2011 11:50am
We recently completed our first real health risk assessment (HRA) with United Healthcare. United offers health risk assessments as part of their Simply Engaged program. They use a tool from the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center. Covered employees and their covered spouses are each offered a $75 gift card as an incentive for completing the assessment. We had 158 people participate -- 56% of eligible staff and 38% of eligible spouses. 


There were no surprises in the information we received about health conditions. We were able ascertain pretty much the same thing by analyzing reports on our prescription drug usage. In the HRA, people reported the following health problems:
  • allergies - 32%
  • high blood pressure -- 22%
  • back pain -- 21%
  • high cholesterol -- 15%
  • arthritis -- 12%
  • depression -- 11%
  • heartburn/acid reflux -- 8%
  • migraine headaches -- 6%
  • diabetes -- 6%
  • heart problems -- 5%
Three preventive health screenings were flagged for low compliance. This information is new to us and we're talking about what we can do to encourage people to take care of these preventive health screenings. Interestingly, there was a high level of compliance with blood pressure, cholesterol, pap tests and mammograms. 
  • tetanus shot -- 53%
  • rectal exam -- 49%
  • colon cancer screening -- 47%
I'm guessing people avoid rectal exams and colonoscopies because they're unpleasant. Years ago we had a doctor come in and talk about what to expect during a colonoscopy and why it's important to have one. He was funny and engaging. We will see if we can have him come in again. 

HRA participants reported they are planning to change the following behaviors during the next six months.
  • increase physical activity -- 85%
  • lose weight -- 70%
  • reduce fat/cholesterol intake -- 57%
  • cope better with stress -- 56%
Our current plans cover the first three behaviors pretty comprehensively. We are discussing what we can do to help people cope better with stress. This article has me thinking in terms of resilience training. 

We will also be assessing how helpful United's Simply Engaged program is to us and if we want to include it in our contract again next year. I know health risk assessments are included in most model wellness programs, but I'm not sure about the ROI. How valuable is what we learned? 
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