Wellness Programs and Ethnic Profiling.
In many segments of society, we hear about ethnic and racial profiling in negative ways. But what about when it comes to wellness programs?
When used for the specific purpose of beginning – or assessing - a wellness or disease management program, profiling isn’t just legal. It’s also encouraged.
Affects health risks
Different ethnic and racial groups tend to be more at risk – for genetic and/or cultural reasons – of certain medical problems. Examples –
• African-American, Latino, Native American and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk of diabetes than Caucasian employees
• Chinese women are statistically twice as likely to get cervical cancer
• Caucasians have disproportionately high rates of obesity and high blood pressure, and
• Latinos have higher rates of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary illness than other groups. the HIV/AIDS population is also disproportionately Hispanic.
Bottom line – By evaluating the ethnic breakdown of your worker population, you can set disease management program priorities with greater confidence and accuracy.
Healthcare quality an issue
Several studies also show there’s an unfortunate relationship between ethnicity and quality of health care. Many times, minority employees receive inferior treatment and health education at the same facilities where others receive top-notch care.
This normally happens for innocent reasons. A common scenario – a lack of Spanish-speaking physicians in the network for your Latino workers. But the result is normally higher health costs for you and, often, greater reluctance among minority workers to seek needed treatments.
By profiling staff members against the doctors in the network, you ultimately help staff members get the care they need and the corporation to better control long-term costs.