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MERCER ISLAND, Wash. UnitedHealthcare and Affiliated Associations of America on Thursday announced that complimentary at-home health screening kits now are available to the approximate 9,000 AAOA employees and their families.
The kits, developed by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based BioIQ, enable individuals to more easily test for such conditions as diabetes and heart disease, and help patients work with their doctors to more quickly develop appropriate treatment plans.
As part of a recent pilot program sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, the insurer found that the results helped identify about 10% of participating employees as having high cholesterol and 4% as having elevated indicators for diabetes.
"At-home health screening kits can make an impact in the early detection of certain illnesses, and ultimately save lives," stated Roger Muller, senior medical director at UnitedHealthcare. "We believe these kits can help improve employees' health and reduce their healthcare expenses. Home test kits can help engage consumers and support the essential relationship people have with their physicians."
Each at-home health screening kit contains components and instructions for drawing a tiny blood sample, from a finger prick, that is then mailed to a certified laboratory for analysis. The lab reports and personalized health recommendations, based in part on the test results, are available through a password-protected, secure Web portal. Individuals can then incorporate the lab results into an online health assessment and their personal health record on Myuhc.com.
"These screening programs represent an important step for Washington businesses to help improve and enhance their employees' health," noted Patrick Chestnut, president and CEO of AAOA, a national trade association based in Washington state. "Improving wellness is a process that begins with employee engagement. These kits are safe, easy to use and provide an opportunity for our employees to be empowered and take control of their personal health."
The health screening kits test for both heart disease and diabetes from one small blood sample. For heart disease, the tests measure the amount of total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol value. The kits also include a choice of diabetes tests — either for A1c, which measures average blood sugar over the past 90 days, or glucose, which measures blood sugar at the time of testing.