Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently released some new proposed regulations on wellness programs, employers are still grappling with how to incorporate new health technologies into their programs.

Blood testing can provide valuable information about an individual’s health, and in some cases, may lead to early detection and prevention of chronic disease. And, according to recent data from health technology and consumer engagement company HealthMine, 76% of insured people say they should be able to get their blood tested anytime, without a doctor’s orders.

Further, results show 68% of respondents would get their blood tested for wellness or preventive care every six months or more frequently if it was convenient, less painful and more affordable.

Also see: EEOC proposed wellness regs: What employers need to know

“This is an important space for insurers and employers to watch carefully, because accessible and affordable lab testing can revolutionize wellness programs – by helping lead to early detection and prevention for many,” says Bryce Williams, CEO and President of HealthMine.

But others say employers should be cautious about the overuse of biometric screening and diagnostic testing.

“For every story you hear of someone whose risk factors were very high and didn’t know it, there are a hundred stories you don’t hear of people rushing off to the doctor due to a false positive on some kind of screen or diagnostic test,” write Tom Emerick and Al Lewis in their book Cracking Health Costs. “False positives are shockingly common.”

Overwhelmingly, 91% of those surveyed by HealthMine believe health insurance plans should reimburse for blood tests for preventive care and wellness monitoring, in addition to when people are sick.

For employers, two big hurdles in revamping and implementing new wellness programs will be compliance and employee education on new and innovative changes to current blood tests.

Also see: Incentives becoming the major push for wellness programs

While there are promising new alternatives to the historical blood test, consumer awareness is low; only 19% of people are aware of new blood tests that require only a few drops of blood from a finger prick. In addition, just 30% of people know that there is a certified medical testing lab that performs any lab test on samples as small as a few drops of blood, not requiring tubes drawn from patients’ veins. 

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