Study Focuses on Understanding Total Impact of Health on Company Bottom Line

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) and the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) have launched a research study to assess the full costs of absenteeism and presenteeism on a company's productivity.

ACOEM and IBI, working with CorSolutions, Harvard Medical School and the Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), will focus their "Health and Productivity as a Business Strategy" study on identifying leading chronic conditions that drive employer health care costs.

The goal of the research is to develop a greater understanding of the total impact of health on the financial bottom line for employers and contribute to industry advancement and the betterment of human health.

The study is designed to survey more than 100,000 employees utilizing a Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ) to confidentially gather data. The HPQ is an online, validated productivity measurement survey tool developed by Ron Kessler, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, in conjunction with researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Additionally, data analysis on health and pharmacy claims will be provided by CorSolutions and evaluated in conjunction with the HPQ to enable calculation of health care expenditures and provide additional financial factors for calculating operations expenses.

ACOEM and IBI will work jointly on this study and production of a final publication.

The study will look to involve strategic partners in both the benefits and occupational health functions of five to 10 major corporations. The study will collect aggregate benefit program information from each corporation and will bring presenteeism into the "full-cost" framework so that the impact of absence and ill-health at work on productivity loss are understood compared to employer out-of-pocket expense.

As strategic partners in the study, the participating organizations will leverage their expertise in group health, workers' compensation, short-term disability, long-term disability, incidental absence and family medical leave to help determine targeted cost/benefit analysis and plan modeling that may include disease management, EAP or wellness programs.

The "Health and Productivity as a Business Strategy" study is scheduled for completion by June 2006.

Study outcomes featuring a validated third-party health and productivity snapshot report will be shared with participating employers to help quantify the effects of health problems on lost company productivity.

In addition, ACOEM and IBI plan to publish final results as well as share findings as part of public presentations.

The study is funded by the National Pharmaceutical Council, a research and education organization supported by more than 20 of the nation's leading research-based pharmaceutical companies.

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