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Conduct a Health Risk Assessment

stethoscope on paperwork

Conduct a Health Risk Assessment or Employee Health Survey

Conduct a health risk assessment (HRA) or employee health survey to gain information about the current health status of employees, their health concerns and goals. Worksite interventions may use an assessment of health risks with feedback (AHRF) alone or as part of a broader worksite health promotion program that includes health education and other health promotion components offered as follow-up to the HRA.

The Community Guide to Prevention Services defines the use of HRA and feedback as follows:

  • An assessment of personal health habits and risk factors (that may be used in combination with biomedical measurements of physiologic health).
  • A quantitative estimation or qualitative assessment of future risk of death and other adverse health outcomes.
  • Provision of feedback in the form of educational messages and counseling that describes how changing one or more behavioral risk factors might change the risk of disease or death.

Employee health risk assessments or health surveys help individuals to:

  • Evaluate their current health.
  • Assess overall quality of life.
  • Identify steps they can take to improve their health.

For employers, an employee health risk assessment or health survey can help to:

  • Provide an overall indication of wellness across the company.
  • Identify opportunities to reduce future health care cost through early intervention and risk reduction.
  • Contribute to goal setting, designing, and evaluating your worksite wellness program and diabetes prevention and management efforts.
  • Serve as a critical element of the business case for management.

Assessment or survey results can be sorted by employee characteristics such as age, race and ethnicity, type of job function, height, weight and health conditions. Employers can then use this information to customize materials and activities to target groups of employees with particular needs or concerns. The results can also help wellness program coordinators create promotional materials that generate enthusiasm and participation.

Conduct an employee health assessment or health survey before and after (typically after one year) to determine whether the program has met its goals. For example, a second survey can determine whether a worksite wellness program helped reduce the percentage of employees who report cigarette smoking.

Use the results to promote the program to additional participants and gain continued support from company management.

Learn more about Health Risk Assessments and Employee Health Surveys at ACOEM Blueprint for Health.  Tools and templates to conduct health risk assessments and employee health surveys can be found on the ACOEM site.

Aids & Tools

Know More

  1. The CDC offers the Healthier Worksite Initiative to help businesses plan and implement worksite wellness.
  2. Learn more about worksite wellness and safety from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
  3. The Centers for Disease Control also has resources within the Total Worker Health Initiative.

Ask More

  1. Is there one tool that measures several health conditions or gives an overall impression of health?
    Many health risk assessments are non-disease specific and offer an overview of risk and health.  CDC offers a variety of health surveys via widgets
  2. How often should health assessments be conducted?
    At a minimum HRAs should be offered on a yearly basis.
  3. Should health assessments be compared to one another?
    If an intervention has occurred since the last Health Risk Assessment was conducted then a new HRA for the same individual or group of individuals can be compared to determine program impact.
  4. What about discrimination? Will employees fear that they will be discriminated against if management knows they have diabetes?
    Some employees may be anxious that confidential health information may be revealed leading to discrimination.  Using “blind assessments” and aggregate data will help alleviate these fears.

Do More

  1. Conduct an employee health assessment or health survey. Resources can be found here.
  2. Provide information on the health conditions being assessed. Sometimes the assessment by itself can be a motivation to change behavior.