Health Risk Assessments (HRAs), also known as Health Risk Appraisals, are a current trend among employers as part of their health and productivity programs. They are a valuable engagement tool that provides important employee data for evaluation and gives employees the opportunity to understand their personal health risks.
There is strong evidence supporting their effectiveness in improving employee health when used with workplace health and safety interventions and are recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) and the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) as a component to comprehensive workplace safety, health and well-being programs.
HRAs may benefit employers by:
- Helping build a culture of health.
- Establishing a gateway to targeted prevention and intervention programs that engage employees in health education and self-care.
- Encouraging employees to obtain age-appropriate, evidence-based health screenings.
- Serving as the core of a systematic approach to organizing preventive health information.
- Providing the ability to aggregate data by organizational division and risk prevalence to inform wellness program planning, benefits design, monitoring of trends and evaluation.
HRAs may benefit employees by:
- Serving as a relatively non-threatening, anonymous entry point to health and lifestyle services they might need.
- Creating or reinforcing awareness of personal risk factors for chronic disease and injury, a necessary first step to lowering risks.
- Empowering the individual with information about “do-able” actions he or she can take to impact current and future quality of life.
- Monitoring progress toward health-related goal accomplishments (if HRA is offered periodically)
- Setting goals for lifestyle changes or obtaining preventive health services.
- Linking participants with other health-related services sponsored by the employer, such as disease management or employee assistance programs (EAP)
The Community Preventive Services Task Force also finds sufficient evidence that using assessments of health risks with feedback (AHRA) or HRAs with health education programs improve the following outcomes among participants:
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol use
- Seat belt use
- Dietary fat intake
- Blood pressure
- Number of days lost from work due to illness or disability
- Healthcare services use
- Summary health risk estimates (The Community Guide)
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