Explaining Health Risk Assessments and Why They are Important
The various lifestyles we lead today often threaten our long-term health. Habits and behaviors such as poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, ignoring to wear seat belts are among the common factors that bring an individual to high risks of premature death or getting ill. However, knowledge of the presence of these risks does not always make a change in behavior, people are not aware of which risks need urgent attention.
Undergoing health risk assessments can reduce risks by health education. It primarily motivates and sustains health behavioral changes to improve the population’s health and productivity hence cutting on health care costs.
A health risk assessment is a short set of questions that will educate you about your health risks. Upon completion of the questionnaire, a customized health report will suggest changes that you may want to undergo to improve your health. Questions ask your health habits about physical activity, UV exposure, chronic conditions, alcohol consumption, biometric measures and others. Health Risk Assessment takers are also asked to have the following available:
Total cholesterol level, HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) LDL cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Last checkup, date of last vaccinations, Date of latest cancer screenings
The absence of any of these data will not forfeit your application for the HRA, but results that are more accurate will be given if all information is known.
Health Risk Assessments have three basic sections:
- Questionnaire. Upon registration, you are presented with questions comprising the Health Risk Assessment.
- Risk computation. The answers in the questionnaire will then be compared with the data collected from the greater population. Disease precursors are then matched with individual risk factors and are given numerical “relative risk” to indicate the amount of the precursor’s contribution to the disease.
- Customized risk reports and educational messages. Risk reports are based on the individual’s statistics matched with the data of the similar population group. After which a summary of the individual’s health risk is presented with recommended lifestyle behaviors and suggestions of reducing the risk.
The Personal Health Record
After registration on health risk assessment, the personal health record can be accessed anytime. It is used to keep and monitor important health information, and is available on your homepage. It includes nine tabs: Health summary, Personal information, Allergies and health conditions tracker, Medications Medical care, Dental and vision care, Calendars and reminders Compose Reports
There is not much difference between the questions asked in today’s questionnaire from the ones presented 20 years ago by Lewis C. Robbins M.D. The difference lies on how the answers are used. At present, health risk assessments and preventive medicine play significant roles in managing diseases. Today, corporations, insurance companies, and other networks for managed care are using health risk assessments and statistics from national health to formulate health intervention programs and focus on group risks.
For instance, a risk report may indicate a large portion of employees are not physically fit and could need mobile activities to keep them active when not at work. Alternatively, a company may just discover that a significant number of its members have high cholesterol levels and should therefore develop an education and informational program about preventive measures like diet and exercise.
One of the primary benefits of health risk assessments is identifying high-risk employees whose health status should be monitored closely.