Saturday, 21 September 2013

Use World Health Organisation standards when it comes to Health Screening and Wellness Programme Design.

Fantastic advances are being made in Health IT, Electronic Health Records and Mobile Health. This is not only to the benefit of patients in a medical setting, but also to the benefit of employees and the wider community to becoming empowered to be healthier. The ability to interpret medical data and convey it visually and accurately to the range of everyday devices such as smart phones, tablets and desktops is truly revolutionary in terms of communication. It is also a far more effective and efficient way of utilising medical professionals and drastically reducing overall costs.

The range of diagnostic tests coupled with medical advances in equipment at our disposal can make it difficult to decide on what the priorities should be for the population either in the local community or in the workforce when it comes to preventative health. The good news is that preventative health screening is guided by a series of basic principles that are now nearly 50 years old but are equally valid today. Use these to help you make decisions on the design of any wellness programme.

In 1968 the Wilson-Jungner criteria for appraising the validity of screening programmes was published by the World Health Organisation. The criteria set a series of basic rules to ensure that health screening and the test applied under the banner of health screening are necessary and beneficial for the individual.

1.    The condition being tested for should be an important health problem.
2.    There should be a treatment for the condition.
3.    Facilities for diagnosis and treatment should be available.
4.    There should be a latent stage of the disease.
5.    There should be a test or examination for the condition.
6.    The test should be acceptable to the population.
7.    The natural history of the disease should be adequately understood.
8.    There should be an agreed policy on whom to treat.
9.    The total cost of finding a case should be economically balanced in relation to medical expenditure as a whole.
10. Case-finding should be a continuous process, not just a "once and for all" project.

World Health Organisation 1968

At Full Health, we use these principles to guide us to do the right thing by the end user we serve.  This helps us to design health screening and wellness programmes that are genuinely beneficial to both employees in the workplace and patients and end consumers in the community.

Furthermore, the aggregated anonymised data helps underpin that value. A tool such as Full Health that gives a consistency in approach regardless of the intermediary provider who delivers the service ensures that there is a clear return on investment for employers and wider commissioning groups versus just a box ticked and no clear return.

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