Biometric screenings are a common component of wellness efforts in offices across America, and while they are well-intentioned by many conscientious employers, they fall short of being effective on their own. The weakness of biometric screenings lies in the fact that they provide information that can only be reacted to once an employee’s health has already become high risk—it’s lag data. By the time the information has been collected, the opportunity for lower cost mitigation has passed.

Say a biometric screening revealed that an employee was at high risk for a heart attack. That’s the strength of biometrics-the screening has the potential to save their life. But the information gained through the screening also means the employee has already passed the threshold into high risk, in this case indicating heart disease. Once you’re responding to biometric data, the opportunity for primary prevention is lost; you must focus on diagnosis and costly disease management.

Because biometrics tends to raise the alarm about high-risk populations, it encourages you to focus on the risk factors for a fraction of your population. It doesn’t provide information for individuals in lower risk groups to act on to protect their health. It misses anyone who might be on the trajectory for a dire diagnosis but haven’t triggered the biometric threshold yet. 

Costly biometric data only allows for late-stage prevention and management. It catches significant health concerns way too far down the pipeline. 

The Solution 

If you employ biometrics alone, you’ll be playing a perpetual game of defense against costly transitions to the high-risk pool.

What is needed instead is a strategy to prevent costly health events from happening in the first place. The right solutions provide active lead data so employers can act rather than react— something biometrics data doesn’t allow.

Lead data gives you the insights you need to truly move the needle for your population’s health. When you have access to information that highlights the behaviors, beliefs, and barriers limiting the health of a population you can direct your health spend to the right types of programs and stop throwing spaghetti at the wall when it comes to wellness.

When you incorporate a lead data strategy in addition to biometrics, you gain the power to prevent rising risk in real-time. 

What lead data are you collecting?