New findings from a large three-year study of occupational health programs have again raised questions about return on investment (ROI) from health promotion initiatives. Other research, however, shows that efforts to help manage chronic illness can lead to sustained improvement in health.
Clinical events immobile
ROI of Wellness Programs, Health և Economic Outcomes Up to Three Years After Workplace Health Program. Randomized controlled trial
On health issues. Leading researchers Catherine Baker, Dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and Irui Song, Harvard Medical School Health Policy Assistant, summarized their findings for a general audience.
The: Washington Post:.
Based on the results of the first and second years of the study, the third year data again showed little evidence of improved occupational health in areas that offer typical health programs, including health risk assessment.
The researchers, however, concluded that occupational health programs are common among employees. They found that participating in the program led to better self-reported health behaviors, with about 11 percent of participants reporting that they were actively managing their weight through the program. However, the program did not cause significant differences in clinical health measures. health expenses or use; or absence, tenure, or employment.
The study focused on BJ’s Wholesale Club միջին’s low- and middle-income employees, the largest national retailer in the United States.
“Our partnership with BJ’s allowed us to use a truly randomized controlled trial design,” Biker գրել Song wrote.
Working with salesman Wellness Workdays, they tracked down about 4,000 employees at 25 BJ workshops offering health programs focused on nutrition, physical activity, and stress-related topics, as well as supervising 135 random cases of nearly 29,000 employees. in selected stores as a control group.
There were no significant differences in clinical health measures. health expenses or use; or absence, tenure, or employment.
The results, according to the researchers, were similar to a study by Urbana-Champagne at the University of Illinois, which found that two years later, health program participants had no improvement in their health.
[Want to learn more about wellness programs? Join us at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, taking place Sept. 9-12 in Las Vegas and virtually.]
Still, a valuable benefit
Expenditure on corporate health programs worldwide will exceed $ 94 billion by 2026, up from $ 61.2 billion in 2021.
Does the lack of a significant reduction in health requirements, Biker և Song asked, “mean that health programs are a waste of money?” Their reaction.
Therefore, they wrote: to improve chronic physical health, so far the evidence is overwhelming. ”
Potential for improving health
While the Baicker / Song study found no overall improvement in workers’ health needs, another recent project highlighted that health programs can improve health և reduce health care costs when awareness-raising efforts focus on people with chronic illnesses.
UK Diagnosis Test (DiRECT) Results Published in May Issue
Diabetology, A monthly review of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. The study was funded by the British research charity Diabetes UK.
The DiRECT study included 143 participants with high blood pressure who had early-stage diabetes. To significantly change their diet, participants worked through their GP’s office with a practicing nurse or dietitian who received 12 hours of ongoing training and ongoing mentoring from the research nutritionists.
Among the results, participants’ total blood pressure measurements dropped significantly from the start of the general diet replacement (week 1), were significantly lower in the 20th week, and remained lower for two years. In addition, 53 participants achieved stable diabetes removal within 24 months.
“The study further highlights the link between diet, weight, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and long-term support for maintaining weight loss,” said Michael E., a professor of nutrition at the University of Glasgow. said the Australian College of General Practitioners. Although the study does not address the value of the requirements, it is expected that improved participants’ health standards will reduce their future health costs.
Because employers must respect the confidentiality of employees’ health information, as required by the Health Insurance Facilitation and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the best efforts to provide workers with chronic illness management assistance are left to health insurers or third party health or disease management. project providers.
Earlier research, similar results
The results of both studies confirm the findings of the often-cited 2014 nonprofit Rand Corp report on PepsiCo’s health plans.
Rand researchers concluded that employers could significantly reduce health care costs by helping employees better manage chronic illness, but that encouraging employees to lead healthier lifestyles could not significantly reduce employer health costs or lead to lower net savings for healthy people.