Health Risk Appraisal: Starting a Health Promotion Program
Health Risk Assessment vs. Health Risk Appraisal
A Health Risk Assessment is the name for the process of collecting information from individuals. This instrument is used by employers to identify risk factors directly and indirectly related to the health of their employees.
It is also a way of presenting feedback to people in order to connect them with at least one health promotion program initiative that will mediate health, maintain wellness, and/or avert illness.
A Health Risk Appraisal is the screening tool or questionnaire used to collect and record the data from individuals; whereas, the Health Risk Assessment is the completed course of action including the orientation, screening, interpretation and counseling. Assessment and Appraisal are often used synonymously.
How is a Health Risk Appraisal Useful to Health Promotion Programs?
Health promotion programs are the solution of choice for many companies whose finances are drowning between exorbitant health care costs and decreased employee productivity. In order to target areas where improvements in corporate wellness can be made and from which corporate objectives can be established, the employee population should be assessed and relevant data collected.
Health Risk Appraisals are the logical starting block for implementing any kind of health promotion program. The questions addressed in the Health Risk Appraisal should be derived from a clear set of corporate objectives based on financial and health care needs. This will streamline what sort of data is to be exposed during the appraisal.
How do Health Risk Appraisals Relate to Health Promotion Program Objectives?
If the initial health promotion program objective is short-term financial gain, the target area might be to investigate the prevalence of chronic diseases and the dollar value of subsequent claims for medical expenses made on a consistent basis.
The Health Risk Appraisal data might show that accidents and injuries occur as a trend in a predictable area of the workplace, during a specific time of the year or due to similar types of operations. The discovery of this sort of Health Risk Appraisal data may uncover a convenient, quick and inexpensive remedy that will generate some short-term savings.
If the health promotion program is to address long-term financial savings, then adding broad-based questions to determine health risk trends would provide data on unhealthy conditions that build over a long period of time. There are many different components that a Health Risk Appraisal can incorporate and a variety of versions are available on the market.
Some will be more suitable than others depending on the health promotion program objectives. The point is that the questions on the Health Risk Appraisal need to address the unique needs dedicated to the employer’s particular health promotion program.
Are there Legal Guidelines for Using Health Risk Appraisals?
Health Risk Appraisals are subject to HIPAA guidelines and restrictions. Health promotion program data collected from personal information is bound by confidentiality and the employee needs to be informed that their right to privacy will be respected.
The employer should decide how and by whom the Health Risk Appraisal will be conducted and keep in mind that using a consistent person to deliver the feedback will increase the validity of data collected when the Health Risk Appraisal is repeated.
Using the same person to provide and assist with health promotion program data will help to establish a wellness learning curve with individual employees. This sort of personal contact may compel a higher rate of employee engagement and provide a comfortable forum for choosing health promotion program incentives.
Writer Bio: John Bates is a leading wellness industry consultant and prolific writer about all aspects of health and wellness programs. His work can be found on numerous wellness websites including his own: Infinite Wellness Solution’s and Infinite Health Coach.