Why Corporate Wellness Programs:
Corporate Health & Wellness Programs are organization-wide policies designed to promote and support healthy behaviors. They include group activities, education, coaching, medical screening, gym memberships and more. Personal health assessments and testing can identify people at risk of developing chronic disease. In a well-implemented program, individuals are then encouraged to adopt personalized care-management programs through the use of incentives.
When done responsibly, and with respect for employee privacy, genetic testing can provide valuable insight into the health and fitness of the recipient.
These programs are also known as workplace wellness programs, and have become increasingly popular tools for employers to reduce costs and entice and retain top talent. Such programs have proven effective at reducing symptoms of chronic disease in the workforce, saving health care costs, and boosting employee happiness and productivity. Published studies, have shown a return on investment of at least $1.50 for every dollar spent – and some have shown returns ranging from $2-$4 per dollar spent. Evaluation of employee responses have shown programs that establish a “culture of wellness” increase employee engagement, reduce absenteeism, improve average fitness, and help to reduce stress.
The Evolution To Corporate Genetics Programs:
More recently, companies have begun to adopt the use of genetic tests as well. When done responsibly, and with respect for employee privacy, genetic testing can provide valuable insight into the health and fitness of the recipient.
Genetic predispositions concerning what we eat, how we exercise, vitamin and supplement deficiencies, and behavior help arm clients with the information to work with their body to optimize their health. Additional testing of genetic ability to process medications (i.e. genetic drug sensitivity) can ensure patients are being prescribed the optimal available medication by their doctors, and help reduce the number of medications taken by people with chronic diseases.
A study piloted by AETNA in 2015 tested for only three genes, and used that information in conjunction with consultation, coaching, and assessments to help individuals navigate their health and wellness options. The result was increased employee engagement, 76% of employees lost an average of 10 pounds, and health care costs were reduced $122 per participant per year. Considering the benefits of three-genes, more comprehensive genetic testing, providing more defined and actionable information, will likely further enhance benefits and savings.
It can be difficult to disentangle the effects of genetic testing from other benefits in a wellness program, but employee surveys and interviews demonstrate that the genetic results help personalize their information and reinforce the counseling they receive.
Genetic testing for drug sensitivity have been tested in more controlled setting, and have shown tangible savings, especially in patient populations where multiple medications are being prescribed.
Genetics technologies offer a powerful tool for personalizing health care, and both employers and employees should be on the look out for how they can responsibly integrate these tool to improve outcomes and lives. Click here to learn more about Corporate Wellness by visiting our site page.
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