This article addresses the observational findings of the first systematic study undertaken by a manufacturer to address the impact of allergies and use of allergy medications on health, safety, and productivity. It provides background for 3 other papers from the same project, including an evaluation of an intervention to promote appropriate medication use among affected employees, which appear in this issue. The observational data are developed on 10,714 employees from: 1) 2 employee surveys; 2) administrative databases monitoring employee absenteeism, workers compensation, short-term disability, and group health. The results show that health, productivity, absenteeism, workplace injury, and workers compensation measures register consistent declines as allergy severity levels increase. This pattern is present but less pronounced for the short-term disability and group health measures. In addition, among the 16 measures registering a significant allergy burden, 6 posted significant advantages for the use of nonsedating antihistamines relative to other medication regimens that included sedative antihistamines. These results document the burden of allergies and the capacity of medications to reduce this burden. Effective intervention programs that target this condition can achieve improved health, productivity, and related outcomes.
"With these well meaning but siloed efforts, employers still experienced a rising tide of total costs – because even though they saw savings in one area, it often led to greater expense in another area. An example of that was taking a higher cost antihistamine off a drug formulary to save money by switching people to the lower cost antihistamine, only to find the sedating side effects of the cheaper antihistamine led to drowsiness at work and subsequent increase in presenteeism and on-the-job injuries and ultimately higher total costs – in spite of a lower pharmacy spend (Bunn et al., 2003). One of the reasons we see such an emphasis on value-based benefit design is to focus on what will truly add broader value in better health outcomes and lower total costs from an overall integrated population health and productivity enhancement perspective, rather than having blinders on to impact only one cost silo just because that is the way employer benefit administrative functions were established (Lynch et al., 2004). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose – Health is inextricably linked to the productivity and therefore the economic viability of individuals, populations and nations. A global strategy for health enhancement would yield a multitude of benefits for humankind. The root cause of the escalating healthcare cost crisis is driven by a health crisis from a growing burden of health risks that are leading to an expanding burden of chronic illness yielding an unsustainable economic burden. This paper aims to present a general review of the business value of health and the power of prevention in addressing solutions for managing total health and productivity costs. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the scientific and economic business case for investing in health enhancement. Findings – Highlights of employer case studies and published research demonstrate that comprehensive, integrated population health enhancement can lower health risks, reduce the burden of illness, improve productivity and lower total health-related costs. The dominant components of the solution are a substantial commitment to prevention and a culture of health rather than just more treatment and cure. In addition there needs to be a focus on the quality and effectiveness of care rather than just the quantity and efficiency of the care. Originality/value – The healthcare cost conundrum can be impacted by reducing the burden of chronic illness and health risk in populations, thereby improving the health and productivity of the workforce, the health of the bottom line for engaged employers and ultimately the health of a nation's economy. Ultimately, the broader value proposition of integrated population health and productivity enhancement should drive this strategy by leveraging the value of health and the power of prevention.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management 06/2008; 1(2). DOI:10.1108/17538350810893892
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of five risk factors which have been shown to be associated with increased odds of developing certain medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. However, changing definitions of metabolic syndrome in the past have made it difficult to assess the true prevalence of this condition and previous research has been conducted in patient populations or in nationally representative studies. The purpose of this dissertation is to determine the prevalence and impact of metabolic syndrome risk factors and the syndrome itself in a specific employed population to compare with nationally representative samples and to assess prospectively whether metabolic syndrome is a predictor of disease. Since employers in the U.S. are common payers of heatlh care costs, they have an interest in whether or not metabolic syndrome is prevalent among working individuals. Results found that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a manufacturing corporation was similar to that found in nationally representative studies. Furthermore, individuals with metabolic syndrome were found to have higher health care costs, pharmaceutical costs, short-term disability absences, and on-the-job productivity losses compared to employees without metabolic syndrome. Finally, metabolic syndrome was a significant predictor of diabetes and heart disease in employees after two years of follow-up, after controlling for age, gender and ethnicity. Metabolic syndrome is an issue for corporations and organizations concerned with rising health care costs and productivity losses. Employees should be offered opportunities to learn of their risk factors as well as ways in which to maintain their good health or improve their health risks. Ph.D. Kinesiology University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/62363/1/abelaire_1.pdf
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extent to which employee responses to productivity surveys assess what they are intended to assess has become a pivotal issue for employers and providers. Much work is now being devoted to the validity and reliability of these self-reports. Such issues will likely be resolved only over the long term. In the interim, the skepticism of business decision-makers who are unfamiliar with survey techniques needs to be addressed. This article taps the widespread acceptance that administrative adverse events have gained as indicators of productivity loss to address this issue. Joint analyses of adverse event measures and productivity self-reports on employees at International Truck and Engine Corporation are conducted to test 2 types of criterion validity: 1) concurrent validity; do prior/concurrent adverse events associate with self-reports as logic and common sense dictate? and 2) predictive validity; do self-reports distinguish the risk of subsequent adverse events? Self-reports are found to perform well in both sets of tests. The results are explored in light of: 1) concerns that users have with respect to how self-reports are now being applied, and 2) ways in which self-reports serve as a cornerstone for 3 articles that follow in this issue.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 10/2003; 45(9):926-40. DOI:10.1097/01.jom.0000090467.58809.5c · 1.63 Impact Factor
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