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Home screening trend will continue growing
The trend of home screening tests for employees will continue to grow, according to Ron Loeppke, MD, executive vice president of health and productivity in the Brentwood, TN office of Alere, a provider of health management services.
"People are recognizing the importance of managing their health in a quantifiable way," Loeppke says. "Biometric data from home testing gives them a baseline for improvement."
The ability to screen from the comfort of home in accordance with the demands of one's own schedule promotes compliance to fasting protocols, with more clinically relevant results, especially for lipid tests, he says. Loeppke says home screening programs are particularly good for employers that have a distributed workforce, since on-site screening isn't economical for small groups. "Employers in the middle market are also gravitating toward home testing solutions since it gives them access to population data that isn't available from their health plans," he adds.
As an occupational health professional, you must stress the importance of identifying risk factors for chronic diseases, Loeppke says. "Educating the work force paves the way for a successful program," he says.
Because the screening tests give you aggregate data to evaluate the health care needs of the population as a whole, "this helps you determine where wellness dollars should be spent and which health benefits are most important," Loeppke says. However, it's also critical to give individual employees help with interpreting their results. Loeppke says an employee should be able to "pick up the phone and call a health coach or consult a personal health portal if they aren't sure what the test results mean."
The home test kit is simply the access point, he says. "The data gathered from the testing process should trigger interventions and follow up programs for high-risk individuals," Loeppke says.
For more information on home screening tests for employees, contact:
Ron Loeppke, MD, Executive Vice President, Health & Productivity, Alere, Brentwood, TN. Phone: (615) 289-5393. Fax: (615) 373-2946. E-mail: Ron. Loeppke@Alere.com.