What is a Biometric Screening?

Morgan Grant

What is a biometric screening?

A biometric screening, or “biometric assessment,” is a clinical screening performed for employees at a company’s workplace or a commercial lab facility. It’s used to identify and monitor certain health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Employers may request biometric screenings to provide a baseline assessment on the overall health of their workforce, and monitor emerging health conditions that may lead to more serious health concerns.

For employers in an industry that requires physical labor (like construction), a biometric screening can help improve safety by detecting warning signs of chronic conditions that can contribute to work injuries and accidents. Here’s what you need to know about biometric screenings and why they would be beneficial for you and your employees.

What’s included in a biometric screening?

During a biometric screening, clinicians: 

  • Draw blood (often using a finger prick) to measure cholesterol, glucose, and triglycerides
  • Capture resting blood pressure rate
  • Record height, weight, waist circumference, and BMI measurements

These same measurements can be captured through a screening at a medical center, a worksite, or at a commercial lab. The results from the blood draw may take up to 10 days, depending upon the method. Most clinicians prefer to use a fingerstick to provide immediate results.

What is calculated during a biometric screening?

Biometric screenings can tell your employees a lot about themselves and their health, including:

  • If they’re clinically obese
  • If they’re at risk for cardiovascular disease
  • If they’re at risk of sleep apnea
  • If they’re at risk of diabetes

Following the completion of a biometric screening, many employees will receive health information pertaining to the findings during the screening. This ‘teachable moment’ provides a friendly way to introduce early steps to combat elevated cholesterol levels or larger waist circumference – an indicator of heart disease.

Do biometric screenings benefit employers?

Biometric screenings provide employers with aggregate data about the overall health of their workforce, helping employers make adjustments in their health plan benefits and addressing select issues that may be prevalent among the employee population. In addition to this early insight, here are some additional benefits employers get from biometric screenings:

  • Saved Time and Money – According to The Integrated Benefits Institute, the US workforce loses $27 billion a year due to lost productivity from employee illness. This is a problem that has caught the attention of many, including The Integrated Benefit’s Institute’s President, Thomas Perry, who was quoted saying “Illness costs this country hundreds of billions of dollars, and this should serve as a wake-up call for both candidates and employers to invest in the health of workers, for the sake of the people and the benefit of U.S. business.” A biometric screening helps to do this by creating informed, healthy employees. Employees can use their results to begin making healthier choices, leading to fewer sick days and often, better productivity at work.

  • Heightened Morale – Low morale costs the US workforce more than you might imagine. Disengaged workers cost the US $450-550 billion in lost productivity each year. A biometric screening conveys a message to employees that you value their health and contributions, helping to lead to a more engaged and unified workforce. Simply showing you care can do a lot for your company and your employees.

  • Identify Disease & Illness in its Early Stages – Through early detection, employees and employers can take action and address serious health issues before reaching a catastrophic state. This insight means early attention, and likely less money spent by employers over time. Prevented illness and disease also results in reduced claims costs, fewer accidents over time, improved safety, and improved workforce longevity.

A biometric screening and other types of health assessments can help keep your employees healthy. And a biometric screening as part of an integrated wellness program, health assessment or health coach, can improve the health of your employees and reduce overall costs associated with an unhealthy workforce. Talk to a Concentra work health expert about what you can do to improve the overall health of your employees, and ask if a Concentra near you offers biometric screenings.