The Burden of Allergies—and the Capacity of Medications to Reduce This Burden—in a Heavy Manufacturing Environment

ArticleinJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 45(9):941-55 · October 2003with11 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.63 · DOI: 10.1097/01.jom.0000090468.73649.50 · Source: PubMed

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.

    • "Some studies suggest that the impact of AR is more substantive than localized symptoms [4]. Allergy severity has been shown to correlate with reduced work productivity, influencing focus, accuracy, and workload control [10]. Also, AR affects the learning process in children because of daytime fatigue, impaired cognition, and memory [11]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is the most common chronic disorder in the pediatric population. Although several studies have investigated the correlation between AR and sleep-related issues, the association between the duration and time of sleep and AR has not been analyzed in long-term national data. This study investigated the relationship between sleep time and duration and AR risk in middle- and high-school students (adolescents aged 12-18). We analyzed national data from the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2007-2012. The sample size was 274,480, with an average response rate of 96.2%. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between sleep and AR risk. Furthermore, to determine the best-fitted model among independent variables such as sleep duration, sleep time, and the combination of sleep duration and sleep time, we used Akaike Information Criteria (AIC) to compare models. A total of 43,337 boys and 41,665 girls reported a diagnosis of AR at baseline. The odds ratio increased with age and with higher education and economic status of the parents. Further, students in mid-sized and large cities had stronger relationships to AR than those in small cities. In both genders, AR was associated with depression and suicidal ideation. In the analysis of sleep duration and sleep time, the odds ratio increased in both genders when sleep duration was <7 hours, and when the time of sleep was later than 24∶00 hours. Our results indicate an association between sleep time and duration and AR. This study is the first to focus on the relationship between sleep duration and time and AR in national survey data collected over 6 years.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2008 · International Journal of Workplace Health Management
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of survey data to measure and monitor health and productivity differences between groups is an issue of increasing importance. This article examines the capacity of productivity self-reports (derived from surveys) and adverse event measures (derived from administrative sources) to differentiate groups with a priori known characteristics. A replication strategy is used to test the contributions that productivity self-reports make, alone as well as above and beyond measures of adverse events, to the discrimination of 5 pairs of groups classified by clinical, job type, and demographic criteria. These tests are conducted on representative samples of the active, largely blue-collar employee population at International Truck and Engine Corporation. The results show that both productivity self-reports and adverse event measures differentiate and track known groups. Even in the presence of highly significant effects from adverse event measures, self-reports improve the assessment of productivity. We conclude that: 1) although the joint use of self-reports and adverse event measures is the better approach, practitioners can use self-reports with the expectation that this method will track group differences in health and productivity when adverse event measures are not available; and 2) survey self-reports make unique and independent contributions when adverse events measures are used.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2003 · Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
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