The Health Risk Assessment (HRA) is composed of questions that identify practices, habits, barriers, and health tendencies by compiling information of previous and current personal situations. Based on the answers an individual risk categorization is made.
This tool identifies the differences between populations when group measurements are compared. At an individual level, the HRA offers important information that helps individuals establish goals to redirect their routine in a healthier path or confirm de risk profile in different stages of their lives. Each question is made with the purpose of identifying practices that the individual is performing and may predict any health complication, even the ailment of a medical condition or if said practice is performed regularly.
Some questions are directed towards lifestyle, utilization of services and practices with different individual health approaches, from the social, psychological or spiritual levels. The lifestyle questions, for example, Are you a smoker? If the answer is affirmative a disadvantage point is created in the profile because of the probabilities smoking adds to the development of health conditions.
Like this question, there are others that may add to the risk profile final score. A few examples; Do you have breakfast every morning? Do you eat fruits and vegetables? Do you exercise? The answers to these questions can favor or harm the score at an individual level and in a group. This evaluation provides interesting information.
Performing this type of questionnaire allows to establish intervention priorities, research subject selection, determining scope or direction of a topic or health prevention campaign or simply give de individual direction to areas that require more attention in terms of general health care. Various questionnaires can exist that identify what is the level of risk according to age or the interest of the entity that designs the questionnaire. At a prevention and health promotion level, the goal is to identify the profile of a population to better attend to the needs of the interviewees and assess current health status of individuals before and after a program or service.
To some medical coverage, such as Medicare Advantage, it’s a regulation to perform population profiles at the beginning and end of each year to determine needs, perform evaluations of the population under their coverage and at the same time offer benefits in a more accurate way, developing an individualized health care plan.
With other medical insurances, it is utilized in a voluntary manner with the main objective to maintain the health of their population and reduce health services utilization costs. Usually it is included as an initial criteria for wellness programs, because it allows to visualize the participants in the beginning, helps to establish health care goals, and then measure progress in an individual manner at the end of the program. Also, there’s the tendency to see the data as a group to see the impact of interventions in risk reduction and evaluate then narrowing of health costs associated with identified practices.
The next time you have the opportunity of completing a health risk profile do not hesitate, that is the opportunity to evaluate how you are now and how you want to see yourself in the future.